We go a long way, Ms Samantha Power, you and us. We remember you for denouncing your country’s (USA) government falsehood of avowing ignorance to what was happening in Rwanda in 1994 as the Genocide against the Tutsi. When you penned “Bystanders to Genocide”, that was some research you’d done there, friend. And we gave you thumbs up. Not so much that we cared for those governments looking the other way while our country burnt, despite their pledged “Never Again”, since only Rwandans could perceive the intrigues that had led there, as that they should appreciate this fact of only the affected party comprehending it and thus giving us space to repair the breakage. Well, dear friend, they didn’t and, to-date, they haven’t. But what makes you different today is that you seem to have joined them. Like them, you go scattering allegations around about societies that are minding their own business without thinking twice of, let alone doing research on, your assertions. What happened to your knack for inquiry, for research? Has superpower politics gone to your head, too? When you say of Rwanda and I quote: “I don’t think there is an environment on the ground that allows criticism or that there is pluralistic party development or the criteria that you would have in any textbook for a liberal democracy,” Ms Power, these are serious claims about a society. These no “environment that allows….”, no “political space….” and other coinages that mean little but are the fad in the West in connection with third world governments, how are you magically able to assess them? If there were galaxies of “political space….” in these countries, how would you, in your air conditioned office, be able to see them or feel their effect? Because if “criticism” in some societies is not the kind that I’d call “fracas criticism” that’s in your political culture, you must admit you may not recognise it. There are societies where criticism does not involve hurling insults, breaking property in streets or engaging in other such dishonourable conduct. But of course, we know what you mean. Like opinion-pushers of your ilk, you are pleading for the fugitives on the loose in your countries, where they enjoy liberal favours. Well, here genocide outlaws and thieving renegades belong to the courts of law. That’s where their fates are determined. If guilty, they must suffer their punishment. When innocent, they are as free as the air we breathe. Pluralistic party development here is alive and well. Only, it’s not the kind that you want: one involving those outlaws in exile. For as long as they are wedded to their vision of division, exclusion and elimination of compatriots, they’ll never have a place in this country. The currently practicing nine political parties agree on this. They also agree that their common denominator is the quest for socio-economic transformation. So, old friend, put your heart at ease. Improved living standards for all citizens are the crux of democracy in this country. Democracy does not spring from any textbook, no, Madam. It’s not a lifeless, bloodless and breathless collection of abstractions. It’s a living, breathing, feeling and life-giving being. And it’s not that it’s not yet mature, no. It’s that it’s organic, that it’s evolving and always will. It’ll always grow and respond to circumstances, contexts, changes and others according to how the wishes, desires and values of the citizenry are or will be at any one particular stretch of time. For this and other reasons, every day adds a letter in the paragraph of the Rwandan textbook on liberal democracy. It’s not a textbook that can be put on the shelf for occasional reference visits. But even as it’s a book in progress, it must at all times be predicated on the solidity of the noblest of values. That’s why the most important pillar in this book is communication. Communication among all citizens; among the led; among the leaders; between the led and the leaders; among those in the private sector; in the civil society. In short, communication all round. With the right to life and liberty ensured, all must be empowered to have an equal voice and so benefit from inclusiveness and equality, which demand for good livelihood, health, habitation, etc., for all. An atmosphere of accountability and transparency ensures these are absolute rights. It also goes without saying that the aforesaid mean ensured freedom of assembly, of association, of speech. And for all this to happen, all must enjoy peace, security and the rule of law. We do not dabble in criticism of other countries as we are busy building our own. But think on it, dear friend: a homeless person folded up on the street. Police kneeing life out of a black. An innocent black coming out of a 55-year prison sentence. In this 21st century? Beggars belief! Ms Power, is it in the land of your birth, Great Britain, where they cautioned us thus? Before worrying about a speck in your friend’s eye, check in case you have a log in your own. The views expressed in this article are of the writer.