Here I was the other day, walking around my neighbourhood when a young man planted himself in my way. For what, I didn’t know until he said it was to thank me for making him go for Covid-19 vaccination. In a hair salon, he reminded me, I’d asked him if he’d gone for vaccination, before he got about cutting my hair. I’d heard that those constantly in contact with many people were offered the vaccine. To my question, then, he’d also posed another: “But I am Ugandan, not Rwandan: as a foreign national, am I also entitled to that free vaccine?” I didn’t think the government denied it anybody on account of a being foreign resident so I urged him to try. And so here he was, thanking me. The young man’s acknowledgement of this government’s good care of a resident somehow jolted me into recalling the words of Commander PC, as the then-RPA Commander Paul Kagame was known, in the early years of the RPF/A liberation struggle (I heard it on YouTube later). Still, don’t count on me for an exact quote! Addressing an RPA ragtag force with little hope of success in their present endeavour, he said, in part: “Nyinyi ndio msingi wa Rwanda mpya tunayopambania kujenga. Mukitenda kama wale tunaopambana nao, tofauti kati ya nyinyi nao itakua gani? …. Pia jueni, mapambano ya silaha ni raisi….magumu yako mbele….” My disclaimer also stands for any attempt at translation and so I’ll give you the general drift, as my brain can summon it: “You are the foundation of our liberation struggle for a new Rwanda……and must therefore make your difference impactful. Or else why not join those we are opposed to?.... Note also that this part of the armed liberation struggle is easy…. the harder part of liberation is yet to come.” In short, the armed struggle was ‘peanut work’ – the few hundreds of ragtag fighters ranged against a whole collection of heavily armed armies notwithstanding. Their PC saw the crux of the work as all Rwandans metamorphosing into a people devoid of extremely vicious acrimony against one another over their poverty. “Their poverty”, yes, because what else is land that’s not put to any productive use? What else is cutthroat competition over pitiful crumbs of donor aid? What else is total dependence on ex-colonialists, then-turned neo-colonialists, for food, security, defence, representation to the outside world, everything? Rwandans needed to return to their original nature of unity, dignity, integrity; to their uniqueness of self-dependence, of hospitality to all who came to them, of sharing whatever they had among themselves and with all who were true friends. They had to again nurture the nature of seeking friendship with all who shared their ethos of comradely co-existence. Of helping out a friend in need; of seeing themselves in prisms of belonging to a bigger entity – Africa. Being “….young birds in the nests…..[that’ve just been]…hatched….opening their mouths for the Mr and Mrs Africa’s to come and put things in them”, in President Kagame’s recent words? No, Rwandans and Africans are not condemned to be being sub-human. Africans, working together, can be equal to the best. So, it’s in that context that the young Ugandan hairdresser resident in Rwanda is entitled to that Covid-19 vaccination. The context in which Rwanda hurriedly answers the request of a friendly country to help halt the beheadings of innocent citizens. In which she is ready to fight for peace anywhere she has the capacity to. That’s how Rwanda is all out to seek partnership with any country that’s verily ready for partnering. Why she’s eager that regional partnerships function and flourish. Why she’s keen to see a United States of Africa finally birthed. Because, as Africans, we can wax lyrical till cows come home about Pan-Africanism but, in the end, what’s going to bring us together is observable pragmatism. The coming home of those cows won’t bring anything to sustain us! What will sustain us is peace and security. It will be the atmosphere that allows us to be productive. Being productive will call for infrastructure to connect us and exchange. This in turn will result in trade and commerce which engender growth. Laggards and outright sell-outs of Africa, wish it or not, this Africa will happen. So, RDF/RNP members will act in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, as they would in any part of Rwanda. When they find villagers holding pestles to rhythmically pound maize in mortars, they will quickly move to give a helping hand and thus build amicable relations. Just as they’ve introduced Umuganda to work with villagers and build kitchens, ‘convenience-places’, boreholes, schools, health centres, name it, wherever they’ve been. They are at home doing these as they are, chasing enemies of the people away. Wherever they go, it is to leave a footprint of friendship and cooperation. Haters can say what they will about Rwanda looking for gain of some sort but they know that’s hogwash. What they don’t know, friendship and cooperation are lots of gain. Otherwise, facts are facts and the truth will out, in the end. The views expressed in this article are of the writer.