Our very own trusted and treasured The East African weekly, why do you stoop so low as to ape Western thinking? Or is it actually its thinking? No, methinks it’s its way of trying to influence our thinking. In which case, our weekly informer should be “not-for-the-turning”, in the words of a one-time ‘iron’ lady, Margaret Thatcher, British PM,1979 – 90. Last week, The East African headline was a shrieking “The 4th”! Simply said but screeching to anyone – meaning every global reader of the paper – who understood its message. Screaming because we know that the weekly was not proclaiming this in exhilaration. It was pronouncing this in incredulity and horror, the way the West does. Horror that President Kagame is going to stand for elections for the fourth time. From 2000 as head of the Rwandan state to 2029 is too long, that is. If we have him for longer, say up to 2034, when he’ll be a mere 77 years old (younger than current US President), what are they all going to do? Scream blue murder? So, another term not good for Rwandans, says who? Says a so-called Western influential voice, Phil Clark, who posits: “[President Kagame] will want to avoid being seen as....an old man without a coherent vision for the country, still clinging on power.” Well, dear Phil, if you think that time will come to pass, however long he may stay, perish the thought! The coherence, alertness, and dexterity of the man’s mind, which Rwandans know well and is the reason they opt to cling to him, are no doubt neither infallible nor indefinite. But Rwandans are more than certain that when that time comes and he pleads against their insistence, they will quickly understand and be ready to pick another Kagame. Fears of his clinging to power are therefore misplaced. For it’s the other way round, Rwandans doing the clinging. And it’s they who will understand and appreciate that it’s time for a change. And for that, no sweat. For, unknowingly, President Kagame has been incubating many Kagames. And, bet on it, that incubation is not bounded by borders. When you see Islamist terrorists in Mozambique vanish in the face of a joint Mozambican-Rwandan force, many Africans are taking notes. When you see West African countries gripped in house-of-cards political tremors......pick your opinion! No, not mine! Dear The East African, listening to opposition leader Frank Habineza’s point of view, “We did not support the constitutional amendment......in 2017 but lost our case in court, so he has a right to run for the next two terms.”, maybe should tell you something. That he can also imbibe and internalise what the Rwandan leadership entails and in the end win over our hearts. As for picking the views of Victoire Ingabire as an opposition leader, as the West does, that will always draw a blank suit. And she says it herself: “I cannot run for elections unless I am rehabilitated.” Of course, presidential clemency and rehabilitation have ever happened for genocide ideologues and defenders before, with Ingabire already being a beneficiary of the former. But even with rehabilitation, how will she escape our vigilance as the citizenry? We’ll definitely put her under the microscope. And, who knows, it may turn out that she has grown to realise that what’s good for the goose (us, citizens), is good for the gander (her) and only then win us over! Pardon the misplaced idiom (a gander is male!), but what the heck! Anyway, what these Western commentators do not seem to remember is that the decision-making pillar in this land is the citizenry. When we choose our leader we have made our choice, period. The East African, our EA influencer, pray, make them understand that! Then you’ll be on the side of Africans, as you should be, and all will be well with us. When Rwandans want a leader for as long as they do, it’s because they know what he or she represents. And no Western Power, however big, will convince us that they know better than we, what’s good for us. And so we chose consensual democracy that ensures we do not espouse the lopsided Western winner-take-all type of democracy. Rwandans made a choice and chose President Kagame to be its face. In a word, he or she will be head of this Rwandan state who leads Rwandans in overseeing improved general economic performance, education, health, hygiene, infrastructure, investment, tourism, integration, global diplomatic entente, and so on and so forth. He or she will be our Kagame who will lead Rwandans in driving this land towards the status of developed countries. Don’t be surprised if that leader comes from – wait for it! – the next group of refugees dispatched by the UK. That’s how Pan-Africanist Rwanda is! Of course, when you think of how MTN, Serena, Mutuelles de Santé, RwandAir, leading the African Development Bank, leading la Francophonie (after our acrimonious history), working with sporting giants, advertising with football teams, heading the Commonwealth, etc., came to be, you wonder. What kind of brain will satisfy Rwandans after getting used to these – what at first they took to be – wonders? Nope, where there is performance par excellence, there ain’t no power clinging.