Beware of toxic politicians

Rwanda has been on a peaceful road to recovery over the last few years, we have seen steady growth, development of institutions and international recognition. We are not yet the perfect democracy but we are striving to achieve that. This desire for equality and freedom of speech is tested when an unsavoury candidate enters the fray.

Rwanda has been on a peaceful road to recovery over the last few years, we have seen steady growth, development of institutions and international recognition.

We are not yet the perfect democracy but we are striving to achieve that. This desire for equality and freedom of speech is tested when an unsavoury candidate enters the fray.

I will not justify her with unwarranted publicity but her speech at the Gisozi memorial was an insult to all survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. It was meant to provoke a hostile reaction but as if that wasn’t enough she topped it days later by visiting killers in prison.

I began to follow her campaign more closely and found her followers cloak her in messianic tones, calling her a “prophet” or “deliverer” sent by God.

I realised they were taking all the shortcuts to power, first appeal to prejudice, and then pretend to be the messiah. Are Rwandans that stupid?

In the Diaspora I always shared an affinity with fellow Africans and Rwandans in particular. Whatever our background we felt that we could forget the past and make a meaningful contribution to Rwanda.

So I was surprised to see that FDU has no social agenda, no economic policy, no education policy and nothing to offer but revisionism.

This is the irony of today, our government will have to protect her from the wrath of survivors much like the US government has to protect Ku Klux Klan from Blacks.

I think the fact that she is using controversy to gain publicity is lazy politics at its best. The fact is Rwanda has changed too much in the last 16 years.

A friend of mine who returned after 12 years said “My God, this place has changed, those FDLR wouldn’t even know where they are.” My friend warned me that she was Twagiramungu in a skirt, he was right to an extent.

To come from abroad after a long time away requires you to first settle and reconnect with the country.

We need all responsible politicians to stick to the issues at hand and not be diverted from our goal. This election is going to be about issues, not personality, and not history but the future of Rwanda. The Rwandan voter is concerned with their future, they need a vision that gives them jobs, education and healthcare.

We know our true enemy, it is poverty, it is ignorance, and we shouldn’t forget that. The symptoms of this are divisive politics, genocide ideology and revisionism. Luckily the ground is no longer fertile for such tactics to flourish, but we must be on our guard.

So let us talk about the issues, how to get more schools, hospitals, how to get more involved in day to day politics.

We need to be discussing how we can use our public funds better, how we can reduce corruption and waste, this is what really matters. Beware of false prophets who come dressed as sheep but inside are wolves.

Rama Isibo is a social commentator

ramaisibo@hotmail.com

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