President Kagame’s trip to Burundi has opened a new chapter in relations between both countries. For the every first time since both countries got their independence from Belgium in 1962, relations between both countries have gone beyond rhetoric and are now based on shared values and needs.
Ever since both countries went separate ways after independence, both became silent protagonists equipped with mutual suspicion. It is therefore no surprise that both countries went down the ethnic drain for decades, to the detriment of their people.
Both countries have taken different paths in rebuilding their national fabrics and the end results have been different but successful for each. Now all it needs is visionary leaderships on both sides of Akanyaru to keep the fires of patriotism burning.
Compared to Burundi, Rwanda has a head start in reconstructing itself; remolding its social, economic and political structures. The journey has not been a bed of roses, but it has been made bearable by the drive its people have shown in clawing their way out of hell.
Burundi on the other hand is just a few years out of a stormy power-sharing session and it has needed a fine balancing act to keep steady on the tightrope. But as evidenced by recent events, it too has shown it has the mettle and perseverance to bring the country back on track.
This new era should act as a beacon to guide nationals of both nations to opportunities out there which can benefit and bring prosperity to their people- among them, increased cross-border trade.
A famous Bob Marley song goes, A Hungry Man is An Angry man, so the only solution to keep the hunger pangs away from our homes, and the insecurity that follows, are sound economic policies that will translate into lifting our people from poverty.