RPF at 30, a time for reflection and recommitment

For once in the country’s history, the Rwandan people are delighted to be led by a revolutionary political movement worthy of its name.
The forty housing units of Muyabarayi model village in Masaka sector in Kicukiro District.
The forty housing units of Muyabarayi model village in Masaka sector in Kicukiro District.

For once in the country’s history, the Rwandan people are delighted to be led by a revolutionary political movement worthy of its name.

Today, as the Rwandan Patriotic Front celebrates its 30th anniversary, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the journey so far and the one ahead.

After liberating the country just over 23 years ago, the Rwandan Patriotic Front went on to transform the livelihoods of all Rwandans, giving priority to the low-income citizens.

The political parties that ruled Rwanda before 1994, namely the MDR PARMEHUTU (1960-1973) and the MRND (1973-1994), were rather characterized by ethnic divisions, massacres and social injustices that culminated in the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsis in 1994.

It is the injustices, the discrimination and the quest for dignity and basic rights that inspired the creation of the RPF, also referred to “Umuryango” in Kinyarwada based on its ethos.

Under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, the RPF led government has, without doubt, punched above its weight and achieved way more than anyone would have envisioned.

From being one of the no-go-to countries to one of the safest countries is by no means an easy feat. From being a country where its citizens slaughtered each other to having a society characterized by reconciliation and unity is something to write home about.

Indeed, the list of achievements is quite long and the 30th anniversary is a good time to take stock.

However, the journey ahead demands more and has its own challenges.

According to the third Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer, up to 92.5% of Rwandans feel that unity and reconciliation have been achieved and that citizens live in harmony.

Yes, this is progress, but if you look at the remaining percentage who feel otherwise, there should be a concern. At 7.5 percent, that amounts to over 800,000 Rwandans. This is no small number considering the damage that they can do.

A few years back, a nationwide campaign was launched to give decent housing to vulnerable Rwandans. As a result, 150,000 households got dignified homes and not the grass thatched abodes. This is in addition to the 15,000 who were living in high-risk zones and had to be relocated to better and safer locations.

Beyond the housing, there are other needs. We may have achieved the target of decent housing, but it does not end there. In addition to the housing, we need to deliver better nutrition, quality education, improved health care to mention but a few.

The basics are already in place. We do have the health insurance scheme - Mutuelle, the free basic education for the initial 12 years and the one-cow programme that has enhanced the nutrition and overall well-being of families.

These initiatives will need to be built on, improvements made to make them more sustainable and impactful for generations to come.

Rwandans too deserve the best life has to offer and we must make it our mission to deliver the best within our means. What the RPF track record shows us is that where there is a will, there is a way. Even with the meager resources, Rwanda has achieved a lot.

Renowned Leadership authors Max Weber and James MacGregor argue that a revolutionary leadership focuses on radically changing the existing order in the quest for better solutions that benefits the entire people.

It is the vision, the ideology and the deliverables that demonstrate the revolutionary aspect of the RPF and its leadership.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary, let us reminisce where we have come from, recognize the progress as well as acknowledge those who have made it happen. But above all, let the milestones serve as a motivation to do even more for the generations to come.

Happy 30th anniversary to all cadres and friends of the RPF INKOTANYI.

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