While Rwanda is busy breaking records, some countries in the region are busy breaking their people’s necks. That surely dampens the most of celebratory moods, for it is only human to care for a neighbour.
Rwandans’ hearts should go out to their neighbours, and it is in the interest of all in the region that in the end reason prevails over emotions.
As to the records of Rwandans, today they celebrate their being pronounced the top global reformer, jumping from the 143rd to the 67th position in Doing Business rankings, in a single year.
The latest record comes hot on the heels of recognition as leading the world in the number of women parliamentarians.
We know also that Rwanda leads the pack of developing countries in the immunisation of infants for pneumococcal disease.
In fact, as far as the health sector is concerned, the country would be the envy of US President Barack Obama, for it has managed to galvanise every single citizen into health insurance.
And the successful health insurance drive is especially welcome when you consider the energy the country has expended in the multiplication of health service facilities and the provision of the necessary equipment and medicine.
This explains why the country has bagged yet another record: that of making the greatest gains in increasing life expectancy since 2000.
Equally, in environment the country has not been left behind. Rwanda now stands as the country with the highest rate of reforestation in the world.
Of course, these records are only a tip of the iceberg, when you consider the mountains of comprehensive reforms and innovations that the leadership in Rwanda has been initiating since 1994.
The overall result is a community of Rwandans who are quickly awakening to their potential and power to emancipate themselves and achieve the civilisation that is thought to be illusive to African countries.
It is thus that Rwanda has placed itself apart from the misery-mired countries of Africa to set itself a fast-paced agenda of pursuing goals to a healthy, wealthy and peaceful co-existence for all Rwandans.
In this context, all who are watching the developments in this country are obligated to cheer her on.
When you are the lucky witness to such a rare star performer in poverty-stricken and conflict-prone Africa, would you care for the obscene shrieks of self-appointed busy-bodies who think they know what’s good for everybody?
I refer to organisations that ‘watched’ Rwanda die 15 years ago and did nothing about it. Yet there is no quarter year that passes without, for example, ‘Human Rights Watch’ (HRW) calling for the prosecution of members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army(RPF/A).
For killing elements of the Habyarimana tyranny that almost successfully wiped out Batutsi, RPF/A is equally culpable, according to HRW.
Over 1.2 million Rwandans killed and those who killed them are no guiltier than the saviours who killed a few génocidaires, to stop the genocide!
Whatever convoluted thinking leads a man to that conclusion, there is no mistaking the fact that his ‘watching’ is influenced by dubious motives. Still, that ‘watching’ would be given the benefit of the doubt if it was accompanied by facts.
Chief Prosecutor General Hassan B. Jallow of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), also UN Under-Secretary, has pointed out as much, in his defence against accusations of complicity.
CPG Jallow was reacting to the umpteenth accusation by HRW that ICTR is an accomplice of Rwanda in a “political whitewash and a miscarriage of justice.”
The latest repeated rant by Kenneth Roth, HRW Executive Director, was contained in an angry letter of 14th August 2009 to Hassan B. Jallow, that the ICTR was not prosecuting RPF forces that drove the génocidaires out of Rwanda.
However, Hassan B. Jallow exposes the bankruptcy of Roth’s accusations when he shows how HRW has failed to produce any evidence to support its allegations.
For instance, Roth is up in arms banging war drums and claiming that ICTR has not made any investigations or prosecutions of RPA soldiers due to Rwanda’s non-cooperation.
To him, ICTR is rendered impotent by “extraneous considerations” and it tries to maintain “balancing acts” to appease the Rwandan government. Roth doesn’t provide any reason, however, why ICTR would want to appease the government of Rwanda.
Nor does he acknowledge the fact that his long touted cases of Kabgayi, along with 35 other files, have been investigated and prosecutions have been made. Unlike Roth who only makes sweeping statements, Jallow provides detailed specifics.
CPG Jallow states that the Rwandan Prosecutor General provided him with a list of 24 RPA soldiers investigated, 19 soldiers prosecuted out of whom 12 were convicted and sentenced, while 5 were acquitted and 2 were absent.
This, however, should not be news to Kenneth Roth because, during those trials, HRW maintained its presence in the courts. Interestingly, though, so did ICTR! And that is why Roth’s cat-and-mouse game is intriguing.
However, HRW’s efforts at diluting the gravity of the Genocide against the Tutsi need not be intriguing. Not when you remember how spiritedly the group defended Leopold Munyakazi, even when he had an Interpol Red Notice on his head.
HRW asserts that the charges against Munyakazi are bogus, yet they have never investigated him. The Goucher College (Maryland) professor stands accused of genocide and war crimes.
Moreover, when HRW claims that RPF killed between 25,000 and 45,000 people, it deliberately ignores the fact that the civilian militia, Interahamwe, was fully integrated into the local population, and had no uniforms.
You are left wondering if this organisation is aware that the Interahamwe together with the then Rwandan army were responsible for the slaughter of more than 1,200,000 innocent civilians!
And who does not know how severely RPA soldiers were punished in the handful of cases where they stepped out of line? At any rate, the UN Tribunal has concretely established the punishments meted out to deviant RPF members.
No wonder then that we read in the American opinion magazine, ‘The Weekly Standard’, that ‘Human Rights Watch’, unbeknown to us, has a heavy bundle of skeletons in its closet.
Only a few weeks ago, HRW was caught pants down when it was revealed that it had sent representatives to Saudi Arabia on a mission to fundraise.
Nothing particularly wrong in that, even if the country is not known for championing human rights, but then the representatives went on the ticket of doing battle with pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the UN.
In fact, when the truth was dug out, HRW’s representatives in the Middle East Joe Stork and Sarah Leah Whitson were found to be hard-line Israel haters and promoters of Palestinian terrorism.
Stork even once praised “the achievement that was the murder of eleven athletes at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972”!
When Rwanda is busy breaking records on her way to civilisation, the least she needs is anybody bent on PHD – Pulling Her Down! Shame on HRW!