Pan Butamire

A few Rwandans yet to be drafted onto the self-liberation train

If you have never experienced life as a refugee, you cannot come close to appreciating the shame that it is. I’ve ever lived that life, having only in my late years regained my ‘statefulness’, and think I have an idea of what it is. That is why my heart bleeds every time I hear refugees recount...

Friday, July 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

Africa should divorce self-made world policemen

The season is here. That season in anticipation of which Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) have been salivating.  As happens every year, the government of Rwanda has been pronounced guilty without trial. And the offence is the same as that of last year, just as it will be...

Friday, June 3, 2011, 12:00 AM

Need for all-round service delivery innovation

Everybody, Rwandan or visitor, agrees that when it comes to good service delivery, the Rwandan Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration can favourably compete with any such department on the globe. It’s no wonder that in 2009 the department beat all the contesting African countries to...

Friday, May 27, 2011, 12:00 AM

Tweeting Africa should be seen for what it is

Mr Ian Birrell is on cloud nine. And he should be, seeing as he has resurrected from obscurity. Punch his name into Google and what came up was the picture of a man who had been former everything: former deputy editor of ‘The Independent’ of UK, former speech writer for Prime Minister David Cameron...

Friday, May 20, 2011, 12:00 AM

And daily death of neglect came to an end

Canika was a fringe outpost tucked away in the northernmost corner of Rwanda. The area was shared between Rwanda and Uganda, one as the Canika of Rwanda and the other, of Uganda. The two Canikas were overshadowed by the imposing presence of Mount Muhabura and were hardly noticeable. In fact, in...

Thursday, May 12, 2011, 12:00 AM

Rwandans should buttress positive reports

Sometimes you are ashamed when you read what outsiders write about Rwanda. You are ashamed because you realise that there are some who know the truth and express it better than you and yet you are the creator of that truth. Rwandans should be prepared to be the messengers of their truth and only...

Friday, May 6, 2011, 12:00 AM

Personal experiences tell the story best

Cynics in the old East African countries call them ‘lunatic resorts’. There is Kamenge ‘kwa Rojanti’ (Le Gentil) in Burundi, Mirembe in Tanzania, Mathare in Kenya, Butabika in Uganda and Ndera in Rwanda. All are psychiatric hospitals which, when mentioned in the same breath as your name, can lead...

Friday, April 29, 2011, 12:00 AM

“Remaking Rwanda” or “Wishing to deconstruct Rwanda”?

The inseparable pair of Scott Straus and Lars Waldorf is a pair in despair. Their very credibility as scholars (the first as Associate Professor and the latter as Senior Lecturer), is on the line. In a last-ditch effort, they’ve drawn together a whooping 26 fellow ‘experts’ so that together they...

Friday, April 22, 2011, 12:00 AM

Small homemade solutions for a united Rwanda

Father Ubaridi Rugirangoga, the Catholic parish priest of Nyamasheke in south-western Rwanda, is a man who believes that every human is necessarily possessed of inherent love for fellow humans. He was convinced of that after 1963, after 1973 and even after 1994. That strong conviction survives in...

Thursday, April 14, 2011, 12:00 AM

Rusesabagina as guilty as the terrorists and fugitives he pleads for

In 1954 when Rupfure Thomas and Nyirampara Keziya were blessed with the birth of a bouncing baby boy in their remote Nkomero home of south-western Rwanda, in the wildest of their imaginations they had no inkling that this bundle of joy would one day shake the hand of the most powerful man on earth...

Friday, April 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

‘Girinka’ for unity and equality

The other day someone asked me what the hype was in Rwanda about ‘this cow’. After all, in modern advanced economies, you don’t need to own cattle in order to get milk. You can get milk off the counter for a song in the smallest kiosk by any roadside. Even the poorest peasants can sell some of...

Saturday, March 26, 2011, 12:00 AM

Dr ‘Fickle’ is whining......

The Bible-totting Dr Théogène Rudasingwa is fretting. He is seized by extreme worry because “his people” are not being given new ideas. They are not being modernised; they are engulfed in fear; they are being terrorised; they are being fed on deceptions; they are living in “white-washed graveyards...

Saturday, March 19, 2011, 12:00 AM

In President Kagame, what you see is what you get

SavvyKenya, a Kenyan blogger, was here and got a glimpse of today’s Rwanda. On getting the news that President Kagame would be passing through the northern town of Musanze later in the day, the blogger decided to tweet an invitation to the president: “[I]f you’ll be passing through Musanze town...

Friday, March 11, 2011, 12:00 AM

The unfolding story of Rwanda always exposes the truth….

…..And shames the naysayers! When I returned from exile in August 1994, Kigali streets were chocking on heaps of garbage, piles of rotting corpses and hordes of homeless street urchins. The central Kigali market of Nyarugenge was a no-go area, what with the mountains of rubbish, chocking stench...

Friday, February 25, 2011, 12:00 AM

‘Nests’ are for birds, not humans

There is no Rwandan who can deny that living in a grass-thatched house is a shame. Indeed, the interlocutors on the BBC Kinyarwanda/Kirundi programme last Saturday were in agreement over that. Yet ‘Bye Bye Nyakatsi’ (or simply Nyakatsi), Rwanda’s programme aimed at eradicating those ‘thatches’,...

Friday, January 28, 2011, 12:00 AM

No one else can solve Rwandans’ problems

Referring to Mr Kayumba Nyamwasa (now stripped of his rank) and the prison sentence handed to him, his fellow Rwandan in exile remarked: “Leta irikirigita igaseka!” (Government is ‘tickling itself and laughing’). That Kinyarwanda expression means the government is engaging in an effort in futility...

Friday, January 21, 2011, 12:00 AM

Seek ye to know and respect one another!

I was not all together surprised when I heard a listener comparing South Sudan to Rwanda, on the BBC Radio Kiswahili programme two days ago, even when the gentleman hails from East Africa. Those of us who lived in Kenya remember how we used to be asked if we meant Angola when we said we were from...

Friday, January 14, 2011, 12:00 AM

Gacaca,Umushyikirano: two sides of a coin?

I have an aversion to some catch phrases that borders on hysteria. These are phrases that are cobbled together, from otherwise sober words, and thrown into existence “with sound and fury signifying nothing”. They excite everybody for a while but are quickly consigned to the graveyard of clichés....

Friday, December 24, 2010, 12:00 AM

Rwandans all, marry into your country’s vision!

What was sad about Brussels’ demonstrations early this month was not that Rwandan refugees should show an unwillingness to return to their country when their President invites them. It is known that there are those who, for having been involved in the crimes of 1994 and for other reasons, cannot...

Friday, December 17, 2010, 12:00 AM

Expose the shenanigans of these ‘rights defenders’!

Remember the good old days of human rights activism and freedom of speech militancy? Those were the days when brave men and women put their lives on the line to defend hapless individuals who spoke out. The halcyon days when selfless warriors braved the bullets of rogue regimes to defend innocent...

Friday, December 10, 2010, 12:00 AM

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper