Organise or Die: A cry for Burundi

It has been a hectic few months. The latest breaking news is that President Kagame can stay until 2034. We should be so lucky. We are trying to convince him to stay beyond 2017 but that’s not why I write today.

It has been a hectic few months. The latest breaking news is that President Kagame can stay until 2034. We should be so lucky. We are trying to convince him to stay beyond 2017 but that’s not why I write today.

I want to be a toddler and yell, “Leave us alone, okay, leave us alone!!!” But I’m not a toddler and Rwandans can be trusted to decide the course of our political system and the leader who will lead us.

And no matter how much “fans” shout from the side of the field, the players and their coach know the game plan –unity, dignity, prosperity.  The fans will catch up.

Today I write because my mind is preoccupied with Burundi. A few days ago, France 24 announced that Rwanda was allegedly recruiting Burundians by the border to join a rebel group.

As usual, all witnesses were anonymous and they were dodgy on purpose. If you closed your eyes and went back two years, you could easily take the same story, and say it was the DRC.

Literally, verbatim. I am no conspiracy theorist, but French media are on the offensive; they are even pulling on old Belgian straws – pun intended. It might have to do with a case started by French NGO Survie on French government responsibility in the Genocide against the Tutsi but again,that is not why I write.

I have a friend who has been asking me for months why President Kagame doesn’t march the Rwanda Defence Forces to Bujumbura and end the violence. “He needs to end the killing, who cares about world opinion.

Turigupfaga Natha!” And for months, I have asked him, ‘After President Kagame has done exactly that, then what?’ One of the most important things to remember about the liberation struggle is that it had a clear vision with plans and strategies – and a clear command.

I am always amazed how far ahead they had planned. There was no other choice but victory. They fought with a clear goal in mind: A unified, prosperous Rwanda. How far we have come must encourage our leaders, despite the challenges they face every day.

There is blood on the streets of Bujumbura. There is fear from east to west. Life is at a standstill.

The Diaspora is helpless and those in the country are trapped and afraid. It is hard not to make parallels with Rwanda pre-genocide. It pulls at our heart strings. It makes us angry.

But then what? I may be ignorant, but I am wondering what the plan is. Yes, any President who kills his own people and condones calls for ethnic cleansing, should not stay in office. God is not mocked. We know this, but then what?

I hear young people organizing. I see activists raising the alarm. They are risking their lives, they are losing their lives – but what is the plan? Please enlighten me.

My friend keeps saying, “First, stop the killing.” I agree, but what happens after this is equally as important. Before it is anyone else’s responsibility, it is up to Burundians to come together and chart a way forward.

Your social networks should be used for more than announcing violence and death.

Organize or die. The world will only come after the blood has stopped flowing. Even those media platforms will turn away when more exciting news comes along.

The global humanitarian complex will drag you in every direction unless you know where you want to go. Unless you choose to stay together. Unless you have strong leaders.

We hope that tomorrow will bring peace and prosperity to you. There is nothing I want more today.

The writer is Communications Manager at the Next Einstein Forum, Africa’s global forum for science.

 

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