Why 'do it yourself' approach is best for Africa

August 18, 2017 was President Kagame’s inauguration day for his new term in office.

August 18, 2017 was President Kagame’s inauguration day for his new term in office.

The inauguration came as a result of millions of petitions and the amendment of the Constitution through a referendum.

As many marveled at the colorful inaugural ceremony, others were meditating on Kagame’s inspirational inaugural speech.

Now, many people may wonder how a “tiny” and “poor” country like Rwanda can organise successfully such a function, after peaceful and incident-free electoral process that was more or less a celebration.

This is unheard of and, of late, Western media has been busy, casting aspersions against Rwanda but with little impact. We have simply carried on with our lives.

The answer is simple; when you love the people you lead and the people love you back, everything becomes easy. Nothing is impossible.

President Kagame’s inauguration attracted many current and former African Heads of State and Government, high level delegations and other friends of Rwanda from across the globe.

In attendance were leaders whose countries have been in conflict in the past or even until now.

This was not only an opportunity for them to shake hands and smile, but also to learn from Rwanda’s uniqueness.

Personally, I was very happy when Presidents Al Bashir of Sudan and Salva Kiir of South Sudan hugged when they met at Amahoro National Stadium.

I was also happy to see President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya with First Lady Margaret, making time to be with us, just a couple of days from their highly contested election.

That said, to Rwandans, the inauguration was another opportunity to celebrate a leadership that fully puts their destiny in their hands, a leadership that is fully accountable to them.

Every society has its own problems, and we have our own fair share. That is no news. News – or bad news if you like – would be, when the leaders and citizens alike do not understand the nature of their problems such that they can sit together to analyse them and, above all, come up with their solutions to their own problems.

As long as people cannot grasp this, Africa will remain with endless problems and that is not my wish.

The Western concept of democracy has taught the world that; “democracy” happens where there is no consensus and where there is consensus, democracy can’t be.

Fortunately for Rwandans, we have a new approach that keeps working for us; democracy based on consensus. This is the foundation for sustainable peace, security and prosperity.

The supremacists – of whichever kind – including the imperialists, shall always try to pull Africans backward. Conflicts and divisions across Africa, though they are apparently driven by Africans themselves, they have their masters in the Western world, because they create market and employment opportunities for them.

Here is real politics; there is no state that I know of that can promote another state in the current capitalistic systems.

Colonialism and technology allowed the West and their multinationals to believe that they are “superior” to others and we have allowed for this narrative to thrive for decades.

This is time for Africa to rise again.

Just recently, a European President said, that; “Africa has civilisational problems”.

It would have been fair for him to acknowledge the immoral character of the colonialists – including from his country – who killed African leaders and looted Africa’s resources and decimated African societies.

And, above all, his country is being accused of crimes against humanity, committed during the colonial and post-colonial era, in a host of African countries.

President Kagame’s inauguration was an opportunity to renew hope for the unification of Africa. But this is not enough. This is time for Africans to re-think democracy and politics in order to forge solutions that fit their own context.

Private operators should promote intra-Africa trade and investments. All leaders and politicians should promote unity and security for their citizens.

Practical solutions can only be achieved if Africa has a well-educated citizenry, who can cast peacefully their vote and hold their leaders accountable. Since the leaders are products of their own society, it is imperative to invest heavily in education.

As President Kagame said during his inaugural speech; ‘do it yourself’, because none but yourself shall do it for you. Africa can make it. There isn’t any other alternative, “sans doute”.

 The writer is a political analyst and a member of PanAfrican Movement, Rwanda Chapter

 

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