Pan Butamire

The UN should reform if it is to serve all nations equally

The first time I heard of the UN, it wasn’t as that acronym; it was as RONI, a Kinyarwanda corruption of the French “l’ONU” (“l’Organisation des Nations Unies”). I was a young stripling in exile then, listening to the newly launched Radio Rwanda that tested...

Friday, October 27, 2017, 12:00 AM

We need to recruit an army of microbes to help fight our sewage strife

For a long time, we have bemoaned the lack of a central sewage system in our towns, especially our rapidly expanding Kigali. We are panicky because it can mean a lot of things, all of them unpleasant. As an example, if our heavily populated towns were to be seized in a large-scale seismic tremor...

Friday, October 20, 2017, 12:00 AM

Humanity: United we shall stand, divided we shall perish

I cannot aver that I strictly confess to any religious-sect piety. Rather, I’d say I subscribe to the school which holds that communion with God needs no human intervention. But at one time I believed in the existence of anointed human divine messengers of God. That is, until I was...

Friday, October 13, 2017, 12:00 AM

October 1, 1990 shall always remain etched on our mind

Twenty-seven years ago this month, the life of this country hung on a thread. Not literally, not practically, not virtually, not apparently, not with any nearness qualification. It really, truly hung on a thin, stretched-to-snapping thread. However, improbabilities of all improbabilities, a...

Friday, October 6, 2017, 12:00 AM

The Reserve Force: Great catalyst for our development

They had been there, silent busy-bee operators, but they first jolted us into wakefulness to their existence when they put up four roundabouts in this city, flat in two days. Not two, as we might have erroneously thought. Sure, there were some finishing touches to do, for a few more days. But...

Friday, September 29, 2017, 12:00 AM

Will the West ever allow Africa to create her own pictures?

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” we are constantly told. However, none has considered con artists who paint replicas of our pictures and accompany them with trumped-up interpretations. True, when you identify with a picture and its context, it may be worth a whole library of...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 12:00 AM

Who will rescue the Rohingyas and other threatened communities?

What’s wrong with Myanmar, the country that we used to know and respect as Burma? We remember, don’t we, Burma as the name that had been branded on our brains by our aging parents’ stories as the country of a brave people who put up a good fight against some European colonialists...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:00 AM

Kudos to the RPF campaign organisers!

If foreign detractors have been accusing our leadership of being intolerant, may it be happy to plead guilty! And, in fact, beyond that, may it now start to be more severely so! After all, the people of this land are happy exactly because of that. It’s true, though, that even some of us,...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 12:00 AM

From lone "wamfunguriye" voices towards a middle-income society?

I remember visiting the chaotic downtown Kigali market, “Isoko rya Nyarugenge”, in August 1994, fresh from exile. To reach a desired stall, it was a veritable struggle forcing your way through the mob of people in rags all with outstretched hands, pleading: “Wamfuguriye!”...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 12:00 AM

Can Kigali trigger Africa's total unity of purpose?

Seeing the constellation of African governments’ luminaries and a good number from cities as far apart as Beijing and New York gracing the swearing-in ceremony of President Paul Kagame was one moment of a kind. Indeed, wouldn’t everybody marvel at the way we have sailed through...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 12:00 AM

Rwanda is charting its own dignified destiny

Methinks the coming years will see exciting times for everybody, Rwandan or not. When you take into account the changes taking place, especially the increasingly high speed at which everything is being created from nothing or bettered if there, you can’t help but wonder. Where will these...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 12:00 AM

Hunger for power in Rwanda? Give me another!

President Kagame is soon back at his desk and, so, bajya he? To Western do-gooders who called him uncharitable names as the man who has engulfed us all “pitiful citizens” into a “climate of fear”: he is back and you can eat your hearts out! As these unrelenting critics may...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017, 12:00 AM

May the best candidate triumph!

I was filled with joy that brought a lump to my throat on hearing the RPF candidate pronounce these words: “They dug a hole for us, put us in it and buried us. But they didn’t know we were seeds that would grow. Rwandans became seeds; they grew tall and today we are standing strong. You...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 12:00 AM

Tread cautiously, critics; Rwanda is a whiff of many surprises

Pray, why is everybody (self not excluded!) fretting over this flood of criticism from the Western organisations, hurled at the behest of their governments, of course? Haven’t we always been with them, especially when we have had an important engagement going? And yet we have never been...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 12:00 AM

Rights defending tricksters in the grip of a malingering electoral fever

They are back, guns blazing, those champion rights-abuser busters! Those fellows that never tire in their fight for the defence of our rights, whenever a big event is here! Only, poor fellows, they never seem to ever get right that little thing about what Rwandans take for rights-defence. Here,...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 12:00 AM

Presidential campaigns: which candidate carries the message that matches our pace?

A story goes that a young man recently got a photo of what’s dubbed Kigali’s budding financial district, Car Free Zone area, and asked his elderly relative to see what Kigali looks like today. On taking one look, the woman sneered: “Son, you’ve been had, too! Those inyenzi...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 12:00 AM

Presidential hopefuls, who is up to the task of safeguarding Agaciro?

As a Rwandan, especially presidential aspirant, or friend of Rwanda, have you all taken time to think deeply about this word Agaciro? What’s this hullabaloo many are making around Agaciro? As is the wont of oldies, unfortunately, in form of opinion I’ll drag you back into the past...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 12:00 AM

Our army is our kith and kin, not dogs of war

There is a Rwandan saying that goes; ukize inkuba arayiganira (loosely, when you have a brush with death, you’ll never tire in telling the story). And with the life-threatening experiences each of us has undergone in this region at the hands of killer soldiers, who wouldn’t...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 12:00 AM

Tribute to the heroines of these highlands

I remember a fellow columnist musing in these pages that if she were not married, she would consider marrying Rwanda. Well, ma’am, I have good news for you. Even in your happy matrimonial state, you’d not raise your loving husband’s hackles, marrying Rwanda. Because I think he...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 12:00 AM

Why do some govts prefer to pit their security forces against the citizenry?

I don’t know about you but, personally, I found the cartoon that was published in this paper some time ago interesting. A family stands in the doorway of their house late in the night, kid crouching between father’s legs and pulling at mother’s hems, all startled (I imagine) by...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 12:00 AM

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