Everything is new and everything is created from scratch. We only talk of creating this and that. We never talk about modifying this and that. There is nothing to upgrade or expand. The question that can be asked is “didn’t Rwanda exist before as a normal state”?
Let’s look at some simple things. Let’s take infrastructure as a case in point. The government is left with no option but to build a multimillion dollar international airport in Bugesera because the existing one was poorly planned.
Building an international airport at Kanombe – 13 kilometers away from the city centre – indicates just how shortsighted the previous governments were in terms of development.
It is widely understood that airports are always planned and built far away from the city center because they end up being an impediment to the construction of other facilities.
Another interesting thing is the National University of Rwanda. It was built like a small college rather than a facility with the capacity to produce the crème de la crème of the country in appropriate numbers to meet the standard level of skills required for developing a nation.
The name Universite Nationale du Rwanda simply suggested that there would never be any other university in Rwanda.
In the space of 30 years, the university had produced less than 3,000 students, a number that is produced every year by the universities established in the last 15 years.
Ironically, the famous ‘1930 Prison’ was built to handle about 4,000 inmates- a capacity better than that of the national university. More so, the university was built 30 years after erecting a gigantic prison. What was the vision of this country?
Qualification or admission to the university was based on ethnicity rather than academic performance of an individual. Academic scholarships were open for one group of people.
Obviously, denial of equal education rights serves as impediment to economic development.
Commercial buildings? There isn’t much to say. Before1994, Rubangura’s five-storied building was a dream ‘etage’ even though it was only half built and lacking essential facilities.
It‘s impracticable to build a new city here and preserve the old one, like it is in many countries, because there is nothing worth preserving.
It is evident that the previous leadership focused on nurturing divisionism among its people rather than engaging its people in the sustainable development of their country. It is palpable that a lot of time was allotted to destroying the country rather than building it.
Now that time has come for presidential elections. Some politicians have shown interest in running for the highest office in Rwanda. We have got to be extremely careful when we are deciding our country’s future.
We know where we have come from. We should strongly detest stepping backwards.
I believe that the Rwandans of today are different from those who were fooled into killing their brothers and sisters. I believe that the Rwandans of today are different from those who were fooled into destroying their own motherland.
I believe that the Rwandans of today have overcome bigotry-giving way for open-mindedness focused on development of their nation.
Emma Nsekanabo is a social commentator