You know the idiom, “But me no buts”. It’s said if you are fed up with unending objections, like when you say, “my Gir’inka cow is well fed and it’s giving me plenty of milk”. Then somebody unnecessarily qualifies that with, “yes, but its big udder looks ugly!”
At one time Rwanda was so constantly faced with instances which called for such a rejoinder that she must have heaved a sigh of relief when they began to die down. Mind you, she was not making the chest-thumping; the praises were being showered by ‘experts’ from the West.
They always pointed out the meteoric economic rise she was registering but never failed to turn around and ‘but themselves buts’: “The country is making rapid progress but the government is autocratic” – a contradiction, but that’s for another day.
For all intents and purposes, those “buts” had died. And, interestingly, I was beginning to miss them! I used to keep my ears peeled, waiting for another ludicrous “but”.
Then, only the other day, I sighted a title of an article that, coming from the respected news magazine The Economist, seemed set to feed my nostalgia. Considering the title, “Rwanda, a Hilly Dilemma”, it promised to be “explosive” (Remember the “explosive” Mapping Report leak that died in ‘its leaking’?).
But my excitement was immediately dealt an ‘interruption blow’ when Rwandan and some outsider commentators went up in arms, with unnecessary protests.
Surely, why can’t these commentators let these “buts” be? Haven’t they heard of this old African saying? With apologies to you all, I’ll repeat it: “The higher the monkey climbs, the more it exposes its ugly behind”.
Similarly, leaving alone the fierce critics to ply their favourite trade will eventually expose their dark side.
This far, for instance, we know that this crusade (yes, we know it’s that) doesn’t have anything to do with journalists or the media houses they are piggybacked on; nor the rights activists and their rights organisations.
We know that after an appearance of a “Hilly Dilemma” in a London news magazine, there will necessarily be a pronouncement in New York of a “deep disappointment” about Rwanda’s “dictatorship” from some government official.
And, indeed, after The Economist’s “Hilly Dilemma” of 12th March 2016, as sure as the hills of Rwanda, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power was there on 21st March 2016 with “epic scale of achievements” but Rwanda not “promoting civil and political rights”!
Which means these media and rights organisations are hired guns. They are in the service of a Western government. And when one government talks, it’s talking for all.
We know that if we had these governments’ satellites, we would sure, as hell, have seen a collective nod from the other Western governments.
Just as we know that they were together jolted by the speedy, short and sharp rebuttal from Rwanda to Amb. Power: “Ms Power doesn’t have power over Rwanda!” Of course that, and the sober explanation of how achievements cannot happen in a vacuum, was meant for them all.
And, I must say, I relished that, in spite of myself!
So, this harem of like-thinkers united against the progress of Rwanda needs to be taken on eyeball to eyeball, after all. They are showing us something ugly and we must show them we are seeing it.
Because, a few days later, isn’t this a revelatory tweet from the same magazine: “@TheEconomist: 93% of Britain’s one-year-olds were vaccinated for measles in 2015. In Rwanda, 98% were”?
It’s true, what a Sri Lankan ambassador said one time: “There is a clear trend of the displeasure of the opinion-making elite in the West...against strong, independent minded...[the third world] leaders who strive to build...strong sovereign states.”
“Strong sovereign states”. Methinks this is the elephant in the room: the anathema of such states.
Fortunately, Africa is spawning such leaders and countries by the month. Leaders who are not ashamed to look to the good actions of their colleagues on the continent and to emulate them in building strong states.
There may be some Western powers still peddling the crude coup-d’état and assassination threats and scaring some ‘rebel’ African leaders into submission but it won’t be for long. Hasn’t a French tentacle been severed in our neighbourhood to the east, even if it still stokes fires to our simpleton south and to the southernmost tip of our continent?
In any case, the markets are on our side. These powers will soon come down from their high horse and talk co-operation. If Cuba has shown us anything, it’s that we are all better off together than eternally at loggerheads.
It’ll soon be clear, too, that with the threat of global terror, harbouring terrorists because they are from a “tiny East African country” and creating conditions that generate migrants in other countries is not the best form of insurance. Working together to empower one another, as one common world, is.
So, Rwandans, gather together all honest-to-goodness citizens of this single civilised world (from first, second, third) and together let’s shout it to ‘twitter-high’ heaven: