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

It’s okay to be ambitious

The much anticipated nomination of the flag bearer of the RPF for the presidential elections took place on Saturday. As expected, President Paul Kagame got his party’s nod to lead it into the elections. It is his acceptance speech that caught many people by surprise. It gave context to his...

Monday, June 19, 2017, 12:00 AM

Rwanda's media commits own goal

Last evening Eugene Anangwe invited me again to his InFocus talk show on Rwanda Television as part of a panel to discuss whether the media is playing its “watchdog” role. Anangwe even put up a mini poll on twitter asking whether the media in Rwanda is “passive in influencing...

Monday, June 5, 2017, 12:00 AM

The impotence of the political opposition

In my discussion with Dr. Frank Habineza of the Green Party, the media picked up the sound bite where I said a discussion between his party and the ruling party would be akin to a conversation between a grown up and a child. Habineza claimed that the reason his party wasn’t doing so well is...

Monday, May 22, 2017, 12:00 AM

Rwanda’s model of democracy

Few would disagree that Rwanda’s progress in the post genocide period is credited to its unconventional approach to statecraft. That there was a heavy dose of trial and error especially in the early days and that gradually as success became predictable it removed whatever element of chance....

Monday, May 8, 2017, 12:00 AM

Genocide deniers want to confuse you to death

Ideas are powerful. This power can be used for virtue or vice. And much of the hope that we carry as human beings is grounded in the belief that on the balance ideas will be used to do more good than harm. However, with vice seeming to dominate public and private space, it is fair to say that...

Monday, April 17, 2017, 12:00 AM

When does a genocide survivor lose it all?

A terrorist attack goes off in a city in Europe. Any city: Paris, England, Brussels, Munich. It claims a million innocent lives. What is the reaction? Does the world change or does it stay the same? If it does change, in which ways? How would governments in those places deal with public outrage...

Monday, April 3, 2017, 12:00 AM

What went wrong with Europe and America?

At college, our professor assigned us a book by a retired Dutch Diplomat. The book, titled “What Went Wrong With Africa,” was a depressing read. In it, the diplomat paints a bleak continent that is irredeemably hopeless. Worse still, the undertone with which the diplomat, who had...

Monday, March 20, 2017, 12:00 AM

Rwanda’s generation 2020: A life of sacrifice

Umwiherero has come and gone. But this one shouldn’t be confused with its previous versions. I wasn’t there. But you don’t need to have been there to know that this one was unlike any other. It couldn’t have been. It is the times in which we live that tells me that this time...

Monday, March 6, 2017, 12:00 AM

Unstated 'qualifications' in Rwanda's presidential elections

Readers of this column will recall a series of articles about the gold standard that future presidential aspirants should measure themselves against. In the first instalment I asked the question: who wants to fill Kagame's shoes? In the second instalment titled 'inside Kagame's shoes' I provided...

Monday, February 13, 2017, 12:00 AM

Our prison of poverty: yes, it hurts much more

An oft-quoted line by President Paul Kagame, printed on tee-shirts and pinned on Twitter handles, implores Rwandans to “work hard until it pains because poverty hurts much more.” It is everywhere.   And it is not out of blind following that Rwandans identify with this quote from a...

Monday, January 30, 2017, 12:00 AM

Between Jammeh and Barrow who is crazy?

Adama Barrow’s supporters are a bit salty. Their man fumbled away the presidency due to a series of blunders, something one commentator in these pages aptly noted was “snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.” In managing the impossible, Barrow won the vote without winning...

Monday, January 16, 2017, 12:00 AM

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper