Rwanda-South Africa relations: national interests must come first

Editor, RE: “South Africa looks to stronger ties with Rwanda” (The New Times, May 14).
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during his tour of Kigali Genocide Memorial centre yesterday. (T. Kisambira)
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during his tour of Kigali Genocide Memorial centre yesterday. (T. Kisambira)

Editor,

RE:South Africa looks to stronger ties with Rwanda” (The New Times, May 14).

Relations will improve and become fruitful only when they are based on values and principled politics that eschew corrupt dealings and all manner of illicit trafficking involving key officials and individuals in the two countries.

A healthy bilateral relationship can only come about when key decision-makers put the fundamental interests of their respective people, rather than their own individual profits or those of members of their families and cronies, above everything else.

It also must be based on behaviour that reflects genuine mutual respect rather than any complexes of superiority (never deserved by those who think they are); for if there is anything we Rwandans are allergic to and never accept from anyone, it is to be treated with disdain.

We believe we must treat others with respect, and, in return, to be treated similarly. If there is something Rwandans, especially today, will not acquiesce to, whether among ourselves or from outsiders, it is ‘agasuzuguro’; to be treated with arrogance.

Fortunately, all current signals seem to indicate that this lesson may have been learnt; that, going forward, relations can be based on healthier foundations of mutual respect and a mature partnership. Tensions in our relations that cannot be justifiable by any objective national interests benefit neither our countries nor our people. Quite the contrary; positive and vibrant Rwanda-South Africa relations will bring myriad benefits to our respective people and to our wider region in so many areas.

Mwene Kalinda

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