Serious thinking and careful reflection should be summoned to the fore as we, all Rwandans, commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. During these 100 days, beginning April 7, Rwanda and the world commemorate and reflect on what befell the country when evil took over good with lightening but shocking efficiency.
At a juncture like this, world media descends on Rwanda to cover the bad, the ugly and the unacceptable that befell humanity as the world looked the other side. A few journalists, however, deliberately take time to visit communities and mingle with individuals, people who survived the wrath of the Genocide and document how they have picked pieces, held together and moved on, living with others confirmed to have visited that vindictive anger on them and their families.
In my deliberation today, I only wish to reflect on how institutions in Rwanda, just like individuals, are getting their act together in the midst of a plethora of challenges.
Bad as our history has been, culminating into the 1994 pogrom, Rwandans have refused to be hostages of that dark history. Under the visionary leadership of President Paul Kagame, we have instead mobilised our inner strengths, rediscovered our energy towards building the foundations that had been so much shaken by the hate-governments and we are, eventually, building the walls that bind us as a people, focusing more on what benefits and unites us than what divides us.
It begins with restoring our dignity. The Rwanda despotic regimes of yester-years, prior to 1994, were bent on keeping a section of Rwandan people ostracised. Kagame’s leadership has reversed all that and, instead, has succeeded in taking good where it had never stepped before, talking to all people with one mellifluous educated voice of looking to the future with steadfast focus, empowering and actually giving them (all) the torch to light in the darkest of corners so that they do not stumble, nay, fall again.
Kagame has been leading from the front, telling and showing the followers, Rwandans, how possible it is – to live, to school, to work, to play and to develop together.
The Rwanda government is now using poverty alleviation as a creative path towards destruction of genocide ideology and hopelessness. TheGirinka, for example, where one gives a calf to a neighbour (even when one is a former enemy) with contagious passion is something that ignites love. It is of course a direct agent against poverty, but an indelible and underlying symbol of reconciliation.
Some of the practices that Rwanda has come to be ubiquitously known for, including zero tolerance to corruption, are deliberately crafted and followed to the dot, to demonstrate to the world that even when, prior to 1994, individual leaders’ inner parts of the hearts were corroded by corruption and hatred, we in this generation, are building an incorruptible breed of servants, servants that are standing tall, serving our country with dignity, commitment and love.
On the surface, one may think that Rwanda Government intolerance to corruption stops at that per se. No, it is more than that. A mind built to be incorruptible, resisting to be tempted by a few dollars to deviate from the norm for personal gains; such a mind can hardly be tempted to betray the cause, the nation and humanity. These are the foundations of patriotism that we, in this generation, wish to consume and nurture.
These have been spread, and should be deepened, in other areas as; universal medical insurance, through which the government is telling every Rwandan, that you can be treated socially and medically with all the dignity that you deserve; universal access to good farming practices, physical and soft infrastructures and a host of other .
For individuals, near and far, that have been trying to tell Rwanda’s story with bigotry mendacity, we do not wish them luck, that’s why we’re committed to continued hardworking, telling our story, as it is; for we are experiencing it, and we can tell it all.
Your slipshod perception of Rwandan issues is neither disappointing nor discouraging us; instead, it is giving us reason and energy to commit to changing things for the better of every Rwandan and prove you and your ilk wrong. We have overcome imbecility, there is no way we can fail to triumph and flourish in the midst of tranquility.
The government of Rwanda has got its priorities. Today, the killers live in the same villages with the survivors, they go to the same Churches, fetch water from the same springs, attend the same village meetings. Reconciliation has been a strong RPF tenet. And, mind you, here is a very sensitive issue. Bringing the killers and survivors (orphans, widows, widowers) back together is not something you easily attain in 25 years. The delicate balance between justice and healing, remembering and ‘moving on’ is supposed to give effective reconciliation.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.