Cheers to all Rwandans, leaders and well wishers for a job well done in 2014; we are putting behind two decades of proven resilience, hard work and peaceful co-existence and as a nation, we have definitely cut the mustard.
But 2015 will be a trial in which you are a witness.
They say time heals and with two decades gone, the wounds of this nation may not be as painful as ten years ago but this doesn’t take away the scars; and scars can be wounded by a small scratch.
Actually, 2015 marks the beginning of the 3rd decade since the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the wounds of survivors might have since dried into scars but they’re also delicately prone to fresh injury if not protected.
While positive acts can help erase those scars, negative deeds can definitely scratch those them and open the wounds underneath, in the process deconstructing two decades of hard work.
These scars are in plenty but also know plenty of people have an insatiable appetite to scratch those scars and open old wounds; what we don’t know is who is willing to protect those scars from fresh injury.
Sun Tzu said the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting, but in 2015 and years to come, Rwanda’s detractors are going to try and lure the country into some kind of fracas to undermine the unity that currently prevails.
Where there’s unity, there will always be victory and Rwanda has been winning on all fronts in the past two decades; economically, more Rwandans have defeated poverty and politically, the country is secure and under stable leadership.
But the goddamned ‘Untold Story’ by the British broadcaster is a reminder that enemies will seek to engage in dog-whistle politics to undermine the current unity and scratch delicate scars.
And like Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said, don’t expect any miracle on Friday, Jan 2, 2015.
FDLR gunmen will not surrender, there won’t be an airstrike, and the threat of a Genocidal force hovering over Rwanda’s borders is likely to continue beyond 2015.
But there’ll be some stage-managed huffing and puffing at the FDLR, a new deadline is likely to be announced and expect more megaphone-diplomacy on the matter to prevail.
Also in 2015, more noses will be poked into Rwanda’s political business, a business that seems to worry foreigners more than Rwandans; weird, isn’t it? Expect your serenity to be disturbed by noises from the outside seeking to know the President’s future plans.
Here’s an historical anecdote.
In June, 1838, Lord Auckland, the British Governor-General of India, called a meeting of his top officials to discuss a proposed invasion of Afghanistan.
Auckland and other British ministers had become increasingly concerned with Russia’s growing influence in the area.
The Russians had already made an ally of Persia and they were now trying to do the same with Afghanistan, and if successful, the British in India would find themselves potentially cut off by land to the west and vulnerable to more incursions by the Russians.
Instead of trying to outdo the Russians and negotiate an alliance with the afghan ruler, Dost Mahomed, Lord Auckland thought of a surer solution; invade Afghanistan and install a puppet ruler – Shah Soojah.
Soojah, a former Afghan leader had been overthrown twenty-five years earlier and the British thought by bringing him back to power, he would forever be indebted to the English hence protect their interests in Afghanistan.
The plan was successfully executed by William Macnaghten, the forty –five-year-old Chief Secretary of the Calcutta government.
Soojah was re-installed but because he was a weak leader, the British had to maintain a force in Afghanistan to protect him from opposition. Soojah was an unpopular leader and the proud Afghans grew resentful of his protectors, the British and their Indian sidekicks.
The climax of the story was the lynching of William Macnaghten, on December 23, 1841, after he tried to bribe one Afghan chief, Akbar Khan to betray other chiefs who were opposed to British occupancy.
The failure of the international community to intervene and end Rwanda’s political crisis two decades ago; while regrettable, also helped save Rwandans from a potential puppet leader installed by foreign forces.
Rwanda has cut the mustard because of leaders who have put Rwandan interests first, leaders who have always stood by what is in Rwanda’s best interest and led to protect gains made over the past two decades.
Now as Rwandans set out on a delicate 3rd decade, that resolute leadership is still needed to face the hurdles that wait ahead; Rwandans must resist foreign manipulation that could destroy two decades of committed nation-rebuilding.