These are desperate times. “Desperate” in that this global pandemic that today holds the world in a stranglehold seems to easily snub any effort to tame it, as it keeps springing spiteful surprises. In Rwanda it has sprung only one spike, all right. But it’s one too many. Nevertheless, they are not despairing times. In the sense that whatever ugly surprises this Covid-19 may ‘wish’ to hurl, they cannot rattle this country. She has successfully handled worse, going by her history. By the time the pandemic made inroads into this land, the government had made deliberate efforts to consult widely and duly inform the citizenry on measures to take so in order to mitigate its impact. The damage was thus minimized. The aforesaid surprise upsurge has taken its toll today, for sure but, thus far, it’s being kept in check. All has been done through consultations within the country and without, all sans apportioning blame or taking it on any government. The pandemic may have struck from outside but only that it struck was considered. None was blamed for its outbreak; none’ll be for its spikes. And as it’s been for its outbreak and spikes, so will it be for its mutations and resultant variants. Hoping, as we work hard to put guards, that none of the latter will pierce through our shield. It must therefore have come as a painful moment when this government had to make the decision that the country’s airline, RwandAir, should suspend flights to South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. And you can be sure that pain was not so much that the country sorely needed the business as that she should fail to serve esteemed partner countries. We may not have been privy to the process of how the decision was made by our government but one thing is clear. It must’ve been preceded by a long and open conversation on the course to take. At the end of which frank exchange, the three governments must’ve concluded on that suspension as the best option to take, as they wait to see how the situation evolves. Science had established the deadliness of the Covid-19 variant in that region and all knew that the best way to tackle and rein it in is to keep it in confinement. None wished for the interruption in their interaction but they knew they had to obey the dictates of science. For it is a given that big or small, rich or poor, we all must work together in mutual respect. However neighbourly or far-flung apart, we are all held together by the same umbilical cord. Our fates are bound together. This is an established fact for our continent. And it is an established fact for our world. As our Rwandan leadership has always emphasised, with the same signals gladly emanating from the new occupants of the White House, we are an interconnected world as never before. It therefore behoves us all to work together to advance a shared vision for a better future. Denigration of, exploitation of, and wishing ill on, others can take a people so far but no further. Those who hold to the myopic views of returning to the era of empire-building on the back of others are living a pipe dream. The past is past, gone for good; le temps passé ne revient jamais. We are a new world of mutual understanding and cordial concord. Today, we cannot exit (dig?) from that world community bond. The world must come together to join the celebration wherever there is cheer; douse the fires on any trouble spot on this globe; provide assistance but take self-distancing measures wherever there may be contagion. And we all must been keen to scan such global spots. Today more than any other time before, we are enjoined to be our bother’s/sister’s keeper. In this age and even with our trying times of this pandemic, no government should have an excuse not know that Rwanda and Burundi, twin neighbours as they may be, are not the same country. No government should have the excuse to be oblivious of the statistics on the United Arab Emirates and on Rwanda when they are glaringly alive all over the internet. If a government knows that a country in the Far East, New Zealand, ranks first in managing the Covid-19 pandemic, as observed by its neighbouring country’s Lowy Institute (Australia’s), what excuse would it have not to see that Rwanda ranks sixth on the same list? And knowing all that, how does a government dispatch a ‘Trump-esque’ one-liner tweet that lumps totally disparate government-managements together to summarily ban them from its soil for all being victims of the same unnamed deadly Covid-19 variant? And when Rwanda politely asks for elaboration, mum is the word. The land of a people of sensitivity, humility, honour and grace, their government should not disgrace them with “kneejerk nastiness” to become a “Picasso of pettiness”, to borrow the words of one of its witty nationals. It cannot be that 6th position or the June English-speaking community gathering, surely?