How Africans “perform democracy” for the Western Gallery

kigali– A recent article by Reuters titled: “What limits? How African leaders cling to power for decades,” and another by The East African’s Charles Onyango Obbo titled: “African democrats: going, going, gone” got me thinking about the obsession of term limits as...

Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 12:00 AM

“Kagame has done well, but he is not the world’s president”— a response to Al Jazeera’s Rashid Abdallah

On October 7, 2019, Al Jazeera published an article title “Kagame should not fear opposition” whose author Rashid Abdallah provides a long list of President Kagame’s accomplishments. Yet, he concludes that Kagame is on the wrong path.  Consider that Mr. Abdallah thinks...

Thursday, October 10, 2019, 1:31 AM

Competing Imperatives In Rwanda’s Education System

In Rwanda, Two Broad Schools Of Thought Exist On What Education Is And What It Ought To Do. One Says That Is Teaching For The Market; Another Says Teaching Is For Human Development. These Competing Definitions Have Significant Implications. As You Read You Will Notice How This Explains The Need...

Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 12:05 PM

Kayumba’s view on crisis well-intentioned but analytically flawed

A storm brew over Dr. Christopher Kayumba’s “Kagame-Museveni Peace Talks Can Only Bear Fruits if ‘Ordered’ by Donors” that appeared in his online newspaper The Chronicles on July 15, 2019. In the article, Kayumba appears well-intentioned in his desire to bring to his...

Monday, July 22, 2019, 12:16 AM

Why AU reform critics are wrong

On February 10 President Paul Kagame’s term as Chairperson of the African Union came to an end, paving way to Egypt’s Fattah el-Sisi, who will also be at the helm for a one year term before handing over to South Africa in 2020. At the sunset of Kagame’s term, which coincided with...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 12:00 AM

Makau Mutua proves he’s unfit for President

This article was submitted to The Standard of Kenya the same day they published Makau Mutua’s Sunday column titled “Love him or hate him, Kagame could be Africa’s Lee Kwan Yew”. As common courtesy, I had expected the newspaper to allow a right of response from a fellow...

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 12:00 AM

DRC: The trouble with Africa

An alien visiting from Mars last week would have captured a true reflection of the problems facing Africa from the handling of the DRC political situation. How an otherwise noble initiative needlessly became divisive would be a key takeaway. Here was an organisation that had in its hands the...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 12:00 AM

Rwandans must take their security for granted

President Paul Kagame is known to say things that are counterintuitive. Perhaps one of the most counterintuitive things he has ever said was during the cadet pass out ceremony at Gishari Police Training School; “Rwandans must be able to take their security and safety for granted. It’s...

Monday, May 28, 2018, 4:59 AM

Who will inherit the clarity of purpose?

Over the past decade or so gender and youth empowerment have been some of our society’s main preoccupations. And rightly so given the historical marginalisation of women and the shifting median age towards an increasingly youthful society. In the latter part of 2017 the question of...

Monday, January 8, 2018, 12:00 AM

Laugh at Rwanda's size; joke’s on you

Rwanda’s size is often invoked in denigrative terms. Critics of the government tend to bring it up when they want to dismiss or to minimise socioeconomic progress and to avoid giving credit where it’s due: to those who have overseen the progress. When they don’t invoke size they...

Monday, December 11, 2017, 12:00 AM

Africa's mooted stories

Storytelling is the preservation of memory. It explains why this column elicited strong emotions last week: a people’s memory was at stake. I argued that Africa has no story to tell. I didn’t expect that anyone would take lightly such a proposition. Collective memory was at stake, after...

Monday, November 20, 2017, 12:00 AM

Does Africa have a story to tell?

A fortnight ago I collated some thoughts into a Twitter thread. Readers agreed with most of what I was saying except for the statement that ‘Africa has no story to tell.’ I was not surprised that this was a point of disagreement and it is easy to understand why. Not much time passes...

Monday, November 6, 2017, 12:00 AM

Harmful benevolence in Rwanda's judicial system

The ideology of genocide and justice cannot go hand in hand. You cannot embrace both at once. As such, one of the sectors of the state that suffered serious decay and decimation before and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was the justice sector. Thus, a key challenge for post-Genocide...

Monday, October 16, 2017, 12:00 AM

Rwanda's political messiahs

A while back I wrote in this column about the difficulty facing the political opposition in Rwanda. I argued that it is too simplistic to claim that opposition parties are weak because they are suppressed by the government, as its critics often say. Instead, as I argued then and now, it is the...

Monday, October 2, 2017, 12:00 AM

Rwanda's young cabinet of technocrats

A few weeks ago this town was pregnant with expectations. Just like any experiences of being expectant, Kigali was jittery. Speculations were about in the media and in WhatsApp groups about what was an impending cabinet list: who was in and who was out; there was certainty that young people would...

Monday, September 11, 2017, 12:00 AM

It is 1998 once again

Graduation is usually a period of excitement around town. But if it wasn’t for the gowns about town, few would have known that 8,000 students graduated from the University of Rwanda (UR) last week. Sure, there was some excitement; but it was nowhere near the usual and it certainly did not...

Monday, August 28, 2017, 12:00 AM

A uniquely Rwandan election

A very uniquely Rwandan election has come to a close. Kigali is still in a celebratory mood and it is expected to stay that way until the swearing-in ceremony, which itself will also be a moment for yet more celebrations. But as we celebrate, let’s also take stock of what has been an unusual...

Monday, August 14, 2017, 12:00 AM

The RPF covenant with Musanze

“Abanya musanze dusanzwe dufitanye igihango,” started the RPF candidate, President Paul Kagame, during his stop in Musanze district while on the campaign trail last week. “Uri Inshuti yacu, uri inshuti yacu,” the record crowd of more than 300,000 chanted back in unison as...

Monday, July 31, 2017, 12:00 AM

Why large crowds instil a climate of fear

A story is told about Ahmed Sekou Toure. In the lead up to independence in West Africa, the countries under French colonial rule were placed under referendum to decide whether to stay semi-autonomous republics under the control of the French Government or to choose outright independence. Except...

Monday, July 17, 2017, 12:00 AM

How democracy sponsors distort democracy

When the European Union announced that it would not send election observers to Rwanda it seemed that they’d decided that Rwandans had finally grown and no longer needed to be held by the hand to cross the road. This seemed odd – had they changed their ways, some must have wondered;...

Monday, July 3, 2017, 12:00 AM