We must shake off the shackles of dependence

Editor, RE: “Harmful benevolence in Rwanda’s judicial system” (The New Times, October 16). Many such ‘undiplomatic’ diplomats believe their status as donors confers upon them license to act hypocritically without any feeling of discomfort. To seek to meddle in areas usually understood to be the sovereign preserve of the host government-areas from which their own sending governments would certainly tell off any diplomat accredited to their own countries who had the temerity to try to poke their fingers in to keep out-without any consideration of the clear double standards.

Editor,

RE: Harmful benevolence in Rwanda’s judicial system” (The New Times, October 16). Many such ‘undiplomatic’ diplomats believe their status as donors confers upon them license to act hypocritically without any feeling of discomfort. To seek to meddle in areas usually understood to be the sovereign preserve of the host government—areas from which their own sending governments would certainly tell off any diplomat accredited to their own countries who had the temerity to try to poke their fingers in to keep out—without any consideration of the clear double standards.

It is a case of believing that those to whom you extend some financial support should not object if you wish to inspect how they make their bed. They believe the reverse cannot, of course, be countenanced since you do not have any comparable hold on them to demand any accounting for anything. This is the obvious cost of dependence.

We cannot indeed speak of being independent if our poverty forces us to be dependent on the charity of strangers, who condition their support on our having to dance to whatever tune they choose and demand we change our steps every time the fancy strikes them to change that tune—even in mid-dance.

As the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere said, ‘Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts.’ Beggars cannot indeed be choosers. Those who give you their hand-me-downs believe they have a right to criticise the way you wash, iron and wear their cagua.

President Paul Kagame has also warned us to work hard till it hurts, pointing out that poverty is more painful than hard work.

Those who want to impose their choices on us, including how we go about applying our legal provisions or on how we organise and manage our own affairs, do not have to think their path is necessarily better for us. All they need to know is that they can impose on us because we need their money. Thus the need to work our socks off to pull ourselves out of the indigents’ soup kitchens of foreign donors.

Mwene Kalinda

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