And so it came to pass. And shame happened to this land. Shame, good-hearted citizen of this earth, brought upon this community that for eons had collectively been solidly protective of itself. A community of people who had for long rallied around the call of “All for one; one for all”. Who, from too long ago to commit to memory, had fought as one to fend off intruding enemies. Granted, from history books (unreliable, being mostly by foreigners), and folklore (credible as from this land’s sages), we are told of times that, for example, one leader of this community was felled in a north-western area by enemies from its formerly close western relatives and allies. The whole community was decapitated and it was scattered into multiple fiefdoms ruled over by kinglets (Ibihinza), following this rarely-ever-witnessed disruption. Despite it all, in their fiefdoms, Rwandans lived as one and defended their regions as one. Now, in his wisdom, the reigning leader had anticipated the possibility of being felled in the rivalry battles against his western relatives. He’d thus wisely sent his heir-apparent to the extreme eastern part of the land for safekeeping and proper schooling. The young man and cohorts were trained in the Rwandan values of valour, integrity, patriotism, uprightness, unity of his people and fairness, plus the wisdom of partnership with all who shared these values. The purpose of the young man’s education was to cultivate the understanding that it was every Rwandan’s responsibility to give their all to see that their land never lost her glory. And that her glory rested in her sons and daughters living as “All for one; one for all”. And, indeed, from that extreme eastern part of the land, at maturity, the force led by that young man returned and fulfilled its obligation to the letter, notwithstanding resistance here and there. Within a short time Rwanda became whole and one again. It was thus that however much slavers ravaged this whole region, they gave Rwanda a wide birth as the land of Bwana Mkali (Fierce Gentleman-leader), whose single citizen could not be snatched, sold or by trickery given out from the whole. So Rwanda reigned as whole, grounded on the rock of the unity and solidarity of her people. Disclaimer: mine are disjointed titbits picked from folklore sans pretence to historical authority! That aside, it came to pass that finally sweet-talking gunslingers and Bible-totters ambled along. And the moment they set foot on this land, they sent her cascading downhill into division and acrimony, with hatred sown among neighbours who formerly led a brotherly/sisterly life until, after half a century of this discord-sowing, the community hit rock bottom and broke in two. A section of Rwandans had swallowed whole the invader’s poison and was ready to wipe out their own. This land of oneness, trust, honesty, integrity, uprightness, et al, could no longer be recognised. Rwanda that was “All for one; one for all”, what happened that some of your children cannot to this day cleanse their hearts of that hatred planted by aliens? Lone souls they may be, but why? Still, the resilience of Rwandans and their spirit of oneness had not been totally torn from them all. So, when a force from banishment was decapitated as its leader was felled, another leader emerged who gathered the surviving elements of the dismembered group again to raise it from zero. With all the forces of the world, by their consanguinity to those long-ago invading gunslingers and Bible-totters, ranged against our force for good to assist their ‘crafted’ Rwandan traitors, Rwanda was in a truly tight spot. And so shame happened to this land. Rwanda became the sick man of this earth. I talk of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Still, our force for good could not allow it to be consummated. They single-handedly halted it and sent the shame back where it belonged: to the superpowers, who’d dishonourably looked the other way, to give free hand to one of their own to assist its happening. However, as our force for good proved adept at the armed liberation struggle ground, so has it managed to take the power of modernity and today’s technology-enabled power to prove its land could rise from the ashes like a Sphinx and stand head to head with respected countries of the world. And not stop there but show the world that with a human heart, everything is possible. You can give peace, wellbeing, health, wealth and more to yourself but also remember that all humans require them. It’s not like Rwanda, though, to boast. Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, and wherever else Rwanda’s modest means may reach, will tell the story. Why, for instance, should there be trouble in any of our EAC countries? Come out of the woodworks, say the truth and seek cooperation. There is no place for envy, denigration, intrigues or arrogance. For true meaning, our integration should incorporate cooperation in everything. “All for one; one for all” is not only limited to the people of this land. May it be our tenet all?