There is this English media know-all I heard on BBC radio last Tuesday (29.5.’18) morning, call him “KA”. You know, one of those fellows who have fronted themselves as experts on the Rwandan society and their citizens’ thinking. So, says this English KA: the Rwandan government is squandering British citizens’ taxes when, at a fee, it partners with Arsenal FC to promote the country’s tourism. And depriving us Rwandan citizens of a precious offer, when we are one of the world’s poorest countries. Pan Butamire If only this KA and similar birds of a feather knew! There is a time Rwanda wasn’t one of anything and yet ‘squandered’ even more of such offerings. When Rwanda was at her nadir after the tragedy of 1994, she depended wholly on foreign NGOs. And since they had the money, they assumed power to run this country, unconcerned with and uncaring of the new government. They were not ready to play a supporting role and let the government run its own affairs. But honour is honour. A man does not claim your house and, slave-like, you say: “Yes, Sir!” So, even without any income to write home about, Rwanda gave the boot to all these NGOs, with their bags of ‘precious’ hand-out offerings. The KAs of the West went berserk! This impoverished tiny country, they shouted, how were her poor citizens going to survive? Rwanda coolly went about her business, ignoring them. When she started working with only NGOs that gave support on her terms and donors who channelled aid through government’s budget, from a blood-splattered lost case she began to transform into a country ready to take her place among respected countries. Then she spoilt everything, again! She started to launch unheard-of programmes like Gacaca, Umushyikirano (national dialogue), Imihigo (performance contracts and assessments at all levels of leadership) and many others. The KAs went bananas! These primitive programmes were disguised tools of torture and Rwandan citizens were in mortal danger, they yelled. Donor countries’ citizens’ were sponsoring a tyrannical regime that gagged and oppressed its people. But these media KAs should have known their noises went with the wind. In 1998 when ICT was alien in many parts of this region, Rwanda approached MTN South Africa to see if it could set up shop in this country. She was given the cold shoulder. Talk about audacity! She offered to ‘squander’ all her meagre resources as shares to partner with it. The rest, to quote a worn cliché, is history. From its South African shell, MTN has become a continental giant, triggering other telecommunication companies to come give it a run for its money. Rwanda today is one of the strongest ITC hubs in the region. The KAs have been gagged instead. Their yodelling met deaf ears. After all, all the time this country has been transparently showing how she touched no offering, only relying on locally raised resources for these ventures. However, before all that, we had yet again sent the KA fraternity into a quandary. Around the year 2002, Rwanda set out to build two world class hotels, another costly venture that she was ‘not supposed’ to afford. Yet within no time, the buildings were up and ready, sending all KAs into a fit. The country is going on a vanity cruse on their citizens’ taxes, they screamed, and Rwandan citizens are being starved of the offerings. Today, the two Serena hotels have been eclipsed by top-range world-class hotels. And so it went on, without any hand-outs being touched. The hullabaloo was therefore dying. Then this Arsenal deal happened! Now the KAs have gone amok. But after having always been caught with an egg on their face and thoroughly shaming themselves every time the KAs tried to attack President Kagame over such trash, they know better than to go that way again. That’s how later that Tuesday, another English KA thought he had landed on the treasure of a softer target to attack. And went at the Rwanda Development Board CEO hammer and tongs. How can an impoverished country, fumed he, sink British citizens’ taxes into a flashy-wealthy Arsenal FC when the Rwandan citizens it was intended for are starving? When the CEO uploaded all the statistics in his face, despite his constant heckling interruptions intended to cow her, the man changed tact and opted for the usual familiar route for all of them. Brutal leadership, with which KAs believe they can pull the wool over their audience’s eyes. But here too, the CEO was ready for him, piercingly penetrating his heckles to point out the positive indices on governance and all. Which he should know, added she, unless he was “…..ill-intentioned”. “Eureka!” this KA must have shouted to himself. And whispered to fellow KAs to come to his rescue and flash out headlines of how she had called him “unintelligent”. Which, come to think of it, maybe he was all along fearing we all might notice! But that apart, watching all this, a media personality commented in The Independent (UK): “…I almost felt sorry for the old sod.” Well, know-alls of the West, seems the days of your feast on Africa are waning. Twitter: @butamire butamire.wordpress.com The views expressed in this article are of the author.