The sight of citizens going about their businesses being clobbered like common criminals by government security forces sends a chill down the spine. Yet in the neighbourhood, this is the unrestrained violence that the media recently showed playing out with frightening abandon. And, seemingly, this sad scenario hasn’t been a ‘monopoly’ of this region. It was shown as the case in one Asian country. The government of a geographically large country, with a population to match but infamous for its population’s economic disparity, was also reported to have unleashed its forces to exact similar whipping wrath on luckless citizens. On the flip side of the globe, the Americas, the opposite is reported to be the option in one country. When individual state-governments see it prudent to do what’s right for their people, as successfully exercised in other countries, the federal-government head himself twitter-calls for revolt! This, despite the fact of the same leader waiting until body-bags started to show before he could mobilise the populace to take necessary defences. As we know, an earlier alert on the need for immediate action would’ve made all the difference. The leader’s priorities, however, seemed to lie in protecting dollar-spinning businesses over respect for the sanctity of life. Gaffe committed, he contents himself with burying his head in the sand of blame-games. When not in business protection or scapegoating, then he was haranguing his government on fending off immigrants as a priority, but to whip up pro-votes, even when these were under lock and key, in home confinement. Remember, the whole world has descended into a state of motionlessness. In our serene neck of the woods, we can’t help but wonder. What happened to good old sense of justice? What, to vital, “speedy and decisive action”? This COVID19 has certainly brought the meaning of democracy into sharp focus. In these times of distress, descending upon citizens with whips or tearing apart the country’s leadership order? The coronavirus pandemic has done worse, of course, paralysing the world like no pandemic before. Reason enough that no country should play around, gloating about being on top of things. Superpower or puny-power, it has brought them all to their knees. Sadly for many, to their death-beds. Ideal time, then, for combined, concerted effort. Despairing isn’t going to do anybody any good, however. Let’s be gay and tease our brains as we deal with it. Some intellectuals of this neighbourhood often make laughingstocks of themselves. So quick to jump up and join the disjointed chorus of these Western superpowers to lecture neighbours on Western ideals of democracy. Rwanda has probably always got the ‘shortest’ end of the stick. “A dictatorship, none breathes, none talks,” etc. So they shout and foam at the mouth about how they’ve successfully aped that democracy. Now that the acid test is here, their tongues are tied. In their backyard, those innocents were being walloped because instructions of taking needed measures, including lockdown, fell on their heads bang from above. No earlier conversation with the populace, no contingency plans. Ditto in the said-world’s largest democracy. With its tiered society, where sections live on its fringes, it’s heartening that things haven’t got worse. Ditto in the said superpower, ‘epitome of democracy’, dispenser of lessons to lesser beings of the third-world. With anti-lockdown revolts that involve citizens’ fingers on triggers, bizarrely egged on by the highest leadership hunk, let’s pray worse ‘ain’t gonna’ happen. Meanwhile in Rwanda, the moment news of the pandemic broke out, the top leadership took to all available platforms to demonstrate the precautions to take. Community leaders and health workers were instantly up to drum up the facts. When lockdown time came, the public was already well-informed about its necessity and eager to cooperate. There have been miscreants, as e expected in any society, but they are well aware of due punishment. And, though reluctantly, ready to cooperate and see it smoothly meted out. Now in the third week of lockdown, Rwanda sees falling numbers of coronavirus-positive cases on a daily basis. All things remaining constant, we should see no upward-pointing graph, no death. Perhaps what has distinguished this country most from the democracy-rubble countries has been that she has taken no chances. Where a single citizen or resident is concerned, there have been no holds barred. There have been extensive testing and care, no consideration of the cost. For suspected cases in isolation, in quarantine or positive cases under observation and treatment in designated areas, government takes it as its duty to pick the bill. By now the world knows how, in sync with community leaders, government is taking food and other essentials directly to the door of vulnerable groups and those whose incomes were disrupted. Without forgetting how the well-to-do in these communities chip in to add their bit, following government example. Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Who needs those slogans? Some governments get down to brass tacks and live their raison-d’être: service to the people. If the above mentioned consider themselves as democracies and Rwanda is not, then it’s true. Democracies are like brains; every society has their own.