I am a 26-year old Rwandan; a youth who has his country and compatriots at heart just like many others like me. I was born a refugee in DR Congo but unlike my parents, and those of their generation, I got a chance to grow up in a nation that I proudly call home.
About 1995, when my parents led us back to motherland, my beautiful nation was all in ruins from the terrible nightmare it had just gone through, dilapidated infrastructure and at the time, it was common occurrence to stumble on a decomposed human body while we were out playing.
Amid all this, however, I could see my parents smile every morning as they took me to school, smiling for the basic fact that they finally had a place to call home, after decades living as refugees.
Secondly, I believe, they were happy with the belief that unlike them, their kids would grow up from a place they call home, a place where equal rights and opportunities for all prevailed, a place where vision and hope had replaced distress and uncertainty.
They had finally got to a place where people were to be judged by their deeds and not how they appeared or the kinds of friends they kept.
Today, I have taken time to write my first article in a national newspaper, and I am doing so because I know my country has afforded me the freedom to express myself like any Rwandan.
I am free to share my thoughts on the current political debate that is going on in my country.
Speaking about the debate on the political dispensation of this country, for some time, I was somewhere in the middle of the debate between the pro and the anti constitutional amendment to allow continuity of President Paul Kagame’s leadership.
In the end, it is clear that the pro-camp has managed carry the day – I mean in my case and many others – reason being that proponents for no change of constitution base their arguments on 'democracy'.
So, how did I pick my side? I used the arguments advanced by the anti-camp to arrive at my choice and here is how;
If democracy is the power of the people, by the people and for the people, then in the Rwandan context, democracy is the power of the Rwandans; by the Rwandans and for the Rwandans.
I, thereafter, asked myself; who is leading the call for President Kagame’s continued leadership? It is clear for everybody that the Rwandans are (the people); they are probably, aggressively, for the first time, asserting their full right to choose and direct the future of their country.
I mean first time aggressively because they have been exercising the same right for now 12 years now. But, for the first time, they seem too assertive for their very choice of leadership. They say they want Kagame beyond 2017.
President Kagame has so far remained silent despite requests by millions of Rwandans who have, on different forums, pleaded with him to stay enumerating an array of reason.
In his usual wisdom, he did the noblest thing; he decided to stand aside to give everyone on the two sides of the debate their merits or demerits, depending on which side of the debate they subscribe to.
By deciding not to belong to any of the camps, he wanted to listen to both arguments as he measures our political maturity in the sense that probably for him arguments had to be convincing and not based on personal emotions.
Any camp therefore could have won his mind.
As we are yet to hear from President Kagame, I personally wish to tell him: "Your Excellency; your leadership has demonstrated a lot of respect to democratic values, it has proved to be one that works for none else than its people; to some extent one that works for Africa."
We have two different camps simply because the interpretation of democracy is being looked at from different angles.
Those in the anti camp base their arguments on democracy but fail to go back to its ideals. They forget that democracy is the power of the people by the people and for the people, which Rwandans in the pro camp are just exercising.
They forget that Rwandans are the people in as far as democracy in their country is concerned; they forget that Rwandans too have the right to determine what happens in their country just like other nationals have in their respective countries.
They ignore the fact that Rwandans have put in place their constitution and remain the only guarantors.
Mr President, Rwandans are only democratically exercising their rights; they want Mr Paul Kagame. I am also a Rwandan who obeys the ideals of democracy and proud to have gained the right to exercise my civic duty from your leadership.
I am for democracy; I am for the choice of Rwandans. I am for Paul Kagame come 2017.