The noises coming out of our neighbourhood’s leaderships make for an interesting cacophonic confusion. From our north and from our south, the leaders are blowing their tops and when you look at why, it’s over their very own actions. Exactly what’s itching them about Rwanda? Both leaders seem to regularly crawl out of their Stone-Age dark caves, let out growling rants and threaten hellfire, and then crawl back to their dark-cave slumber. None seems to live in this world, where all other leaders have devoted all their attention to combating this Covid-19 pandemic that’s holding all peoples of the globe in a vice. In these life-threatening and economy-crunching times, who has time for political gimmicks? However, it’d seem that these leaders’ citizens are not their concern. Because if they were, the leaders would dedicate all their attention and effort at addressing their problems. Undeniably, for many citizens of our African countries, problems abound. That’s why all level-headed leaders seek out partnerships with other countries, especially neighbours, to together address these problems. Doubtless, collaboration wins over antagonism if we are to focus on advancing our societies. The integration of east African countries, the East African Community (EAC), was conceived and created to serve this exact purpose. Yet, paradoxically, our neighbour-leaders to the north and to the south would seem to be doing everything in their power to dash this noble endeavour. You cannot but wonder, are they of this world and of this age? President Museveni still abducts and confines Rwandans into unknown dungeons. He harbours a catalogue of Rwandan subversive elements, out to kill and maim. And he has seen them make incursions into this country to try and fulfil those wishes. Still, when he decides to make surface, he ignores all that and instead pleads for his smugglers and breathes fire over Rwanda not giving them free rein to carry out their “trade”. When Rwanda in turn appeals for legal trade between two partners, he pronounces her enemy. Rwanda has everything to gain from friendship with Uganda and cannot be enemy. Their helmsman may not think so but Ugandans know they stand to gain, too. My personal take is that rather than Rwanda, Museveni’s enemy is Biology! He’d like to rule for eternity but his mirror reflects biological wear-and-tear, whose end is known to us, being for us all. So far, no weapon has been invented to halt its relentless march. Meanwhile, these nasty, demonstrating “bazukulu” cannot give their pleasant “grandpa” peace to keep its thought in the back crevice of his brain. To keep them at bay, then, he must arouse their nationalistic chauvinism, inciting them with news of their kindred facing harm from an evil neighbour. The logic of it being wrong to engage in unlawful trade, none will have the patience to think it out! Thus, illegal arrests; assisting fugitives; incursion attempts; all – I see no end to them. At the not-so-distant horizon, he sees an “après moi, le déluge”. The “bazukulu” will wonder, why them and at least not the “underling” next door that was his “creation”? The fires thus must continue to be stoked for the “underling”. The futility of it all that we see, he does not! To our south, where we hoped new leadership would open a new page and give “u Burundi bwachu” (no pun!) hope, it’s not to be. President Ndayishimiye ‘fasts-forward’ towards the last part of the same page from the same script of dividing Burundians even further. Instead of calling his people back from exile and working with all for unity and self-advancement, he continues to trust Rwandan genocide fugitives for his own protection. Against who, his own people? Or as a Trojan horse against Rwanda, even as he makes blatantly false claims that she is holding his refugees captive. Quit the self-flattery and step up to the plate, Ndayishimiye. Invite all Burundian refugees and let them join their brethren/sistren so that together you can build your country. Those scattered in Tanzania, DRC, Uganda and elsewhere, are they being held captive by Rwanda? So, even before the ink of your signature dries, you let off an intrusion into Rwanda. When they find nobody home but the home is locked around them, now you are crying foul! Ndayishimiye says Burundi will not deal with “hypocritical countries” (plural for Rwanda as form of respect?) that put thorns in its (Burundi’s) path. In reference to the intrusion, no doubt. I am made to understand that he heard about Zone Turquoise when one time French forces occupied western parts of Rwanda. If it’s true, he must have also heard about how even a superpower does not export belligerence to Rwandans and find the road to Damascus! When Rwanda seeks cooperation with Burundi, to the extent of one time contributing to its obligations to the EAC, it’s with that tenet that collaboration advances societies. Leaders seemingly of the Neanderthal era in our hood, for your futile efforts at self-serving games, the EAC stagnates. Please cool it, Africa is on the move and so must the EAC, with it.