Big government vs. small government, capitalism vs. socialism, isolationism vs. open border.
Those are some of the arguments one may consider when thinking of a political argument.
Anywhere else, personal grudges, bruised egos, political alliance with genocidaires, resorting to violence against innocent civilians to advance individual political aspirations would all be considered inadmissible grounds to be called a legitimate political opposition group.
But not in our case.
Where others may be defined as terrorists or opportunists, in the case of Rwanda, being against the government, irrespective of one’s motivation has earned many the title of opposition.
Armed with words such as democracy and human rights, they are in a continuous attempt to reinstate their bruised ego to what they see as their legitimate right to power.
The two accusations are a convenient and easy narrative that captures the attention of the usually ill-informed western world.
Despite their efforts to paint themselves as freedom fighters, the unifying characteristic of the so called opposition is that they got in touch with their righteous alter ego the moment they were being held accountable for serving their interests rather than that of Rwandans.
Ironically and unsurprisingly, they preach democracy while their actions are clearly driven by individual interest. They silence the voices of twelve millions Rwandans by claiming to speak for them and they decry human rights violation while practicing and calling for violence against the very citizens whose rights they claim to fight for.
The question is, can a government of a nation where 15% of the budget is spent on providing free education to all children, where scarce state resources are used to provide universal health care, where one million people have been lifted out poverty, where every citizen is encouraged to stand up for their dignity and where corruption is a punishable crime rather than an encouraged practice really be described as authoritarian?
The answer is simply what the facts continue to show: Progress is not happening against the will of the people. It is happening with their active participation.
Human rights are not an abstract concept that can only be understood and fought for by the enlightened few. Rwandans know what they want.
They do not need anyone to speak on their behalf, decide what democracy looks like or be used as political tools for the fulfillment of individual political aspirations or geopolitical games.
People in government fall out every day and this would not be a particularly interesting story if there wasn’t such a persistent effort to disregard the fact that Rwandans have no time to waste to soothe bruised egos.
Millions of Rwandans wake up every day to build a nation they can be proud of. What they need is not empty politicking but a clear transformational agenda that puts their needs first and sustains rather than destroys what they have worked hard to build in the last twenty years.