For a three-day state visit of July 21 - 23 hosted with all due honours, President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s showed his importance to this land. But except for the fluttering flags of the Republic of Congo and of Rwanda along some streets, if you were not a media-enthusiastic Kigalois, you wouldn’t have been any the wiser about this visit happening. How could you? It wasn’t preceded by feverish preparations, except perhaps for the concerned visitor-handling officials. Otherwise, there was nothing like levelling roads, filling up potholes, painting streets, mobilising the populace to line up along the streets, disrupting traffic, all the hassle. Level-what? You’ll be wondering. The last time you ever espied such a kerfuffle was in exile! In Kigali today, a huge conference may take place and you’ll be totally in the dark about it! Because, for instance, that state visit came hot on the heels of a literal invasion of the city by more than 6,000 women who escaped the notice of even the sharpest of our Kigali Casanovas. The Women Deliver Conference 2023 was a big deal, considering the number of delegates in attendance, physically and virtually, without forgetting that it was taking place on African soil for the first time. So, if it didn’t stir up any dust in this city it explains the reason presidential state visits don’t bring everything to a standstill. After all, when does this city sit without hosting a big event these days? Look at this month that’s left with only a day to consume itself. When it does, conferences will still be going on. From the start, the month opened with the AGM of the African Trade Insurance Agency which ran from the 5th to the 9th. Before it could end, though, the African Sovereign Investors Forum (6th – 7th) had inserted itself into its schedule. Meanwhile, the SEGAL Family Foundation meeting (12th – 14th) was revving up to begin. Then the said Women Deliver 2023 and presidential state visit. But the International Congress for Conservation Biology was waiting in the wings (23rd – 27th). Meanwhile, few people noticed that AFRIKINGDOM – GC (24th – 26th) had also squeezed itself into its dates! Was that all? Not on your life! Something that has made Kigali some kind of permanent home is going on – the International Trade Fair (26th – 15th August), now in its 26th edition. And no, that’s not all, either. The FIBA Women’s AfroBasket (28th – 6th August) is here. When every month you are bursting at the seams with such events, as a city you have no choice but to be forever prim and pretty, ‘muhorakeye’. For which, as far as it’s concerned, looks like Kigali needs no prompting. These events are falling over themselves to be hosted here exactly because of its perennial cleanliness and order. However, I remember when Kigali was sent into a panic at an impending massive event. July 10, 2016, was drawing near when it was going to host AU delegates from a whopping 54 African countries, and yet the comfort of Kigali residents is inviolable. A government that disrupts the tranquillity of its people is a traitor to the life-and-death cause of the liberation struggle that made them embrace it. So, some two weeks before that Thursday, July 10, on Friday evening we went home prepared for the worst that whole coming week. But lo and behold! The following Monday morning we woke up to shouts of an incredulous media that announced the ‘birth’ of two bundles of road diversion beauties. One around the Kigali Convention Centre, another around the Kigali International Airport, complete with their three ‘plant and flower’ roundabout lovelies. To this day, we are wondering how we’d borne the dullness of not seeing these scenic diversions! When later an even bigger Commonwealth conference came, Kigali was ready, smoothly accommodative, and dressed to the nines, in high feather, for it. Come any event today, Kigali is good and set for it and not a soul will be disturbed about it. A far, far cry from the pre-1994 Kigali that seemed to be married to dirt and disorder. Not a long time ago by any stretch of the imagination, but, interestingly, Rwandans are beginning to act as if Kigali, particularly, and Rwanda, generally, and their thousand hills have always been in their Sunday best. There was a time Rwanda was either blanketed in dust or mud. When a high-profile figure visit or a big event was imminent, the country went dead for months as officials put a semblance of order in place. Roads were paved anew or potholes were covered with earth in the few places where there was what used to be tarmac. Bushes were cleared and trees hanging low over roads were cut down and piled away from the roads. Muddy puddles that had formed in vast potholes were drained away. On D-day of the visit or event, the whole population, from youngest to oldest, baked in the sun or soaked in the rain to sing and dance in praise of the visitor or event! God forbid, today we’d be lame with singing and dancing every day and night, come rain or sunshine!