Thoughts on RPF’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

The ban on shisha this week awakened voices we didn’t know existed in this town. One young man asked; the Ministry says it damages our lungs, what is the prize for dying with a healthy pair? Huh! With such attitude, let’s hope the ban won’t trigger a lucrative black-market.

The ban on shisha this week awakened voices we didn’t know existed in this town. One young man asked; the Ministry says it damages our lungs, what is the prize for dying with a healthy pair? Huh! With such attitude, let’s hope the ban won’t trigger a lucrative black-market.

We can also juxtapose the sudden embargo on Shisha with the ongoing important story of Rwanda Patriotic Front’s (RPF) 30th anniversary celebration, and bring infocus one major aspect addressed in the Chairman and President Paul Kagame’s remarks on the occasion.

The leader, in his remarks noted that even as RPF celebrates thirty years of notable achievements, focus should be on how to face the next thirty years, and beyond, to grow a party whose development legacy and political philosophy outlives its current generation of leaders.

Now that is going to be a major undertaking that will require the synchronization of generational priorities and interests; because one must note that circumstances of the day, are what shapes men and grows character as to inspire solutions to deal with problems at any point in time.

The circumstances that shaped the generation behind RPF’s architectural design three decades ago, will never be the same shaping the attitude, character and priorities of that generation’s children, young men and women in their twenties and thirties, today.

Some habits, such as smoking shisha, are simply extras enjoyed in a flourishing society. You would agree if one said that most shisha users are young people mostly below 30 years of age; note, most, not all. These are children of the generation that created the great party we celebrate today.

You have seen pictures of children of Zimbabwe’s revolutionary leaders, showing off in luxury with piles of dollars, on the backdrop of poverty in some parts of their country; yet, ironically, at their age, their parents were fighting to gain independence from colonial masters.

We have been told or read in books about the harsh and mostly cruel physical circumstances that inspired those active at the time, to look for solutions to liberate not only themselves but the country, to ensure their children would live dignified lives.

I couldn’t find a better statement in this context than one on the twitter bio of one of my favorite young men in town (no queer tendency whatsoever): grown up watching and admiring the men and women that built Rwanda; now it is time to do my part.”

To be assured of positive continuity of the party’s ideology and long-term vision, the next generation must be admirers of the work and values of the current generation of leaders. But they must also acknowledge that they have a responsibility to add onto the works of their elders.

Yet, often, when one buys a finished house, they tend to make modifications to suit the taste of the new owner, and in extreme cases, some demolish the entire structure; to build what they think would be a stronger foundation.

It is vital for the next generation to agree that their fore-fathers have built the strongest foundation and chosen the right architectural design for the RPF party, and that their job moving forward would be to add more floors to achieve the highest political tower possible.

This, in summary is therefore a conversation about preserving the principles upon which the RPF party was founded, from one generation to the next. Fortunately, when the idea is right, it will never be abandoned or run short of defenders.

Jesus, for instance, they say, lived for just 30 years. But his ideas have outlived his personality and from just twelve disciples, agents of the Christian gospel have multiplied, in the process spreading Jesus’ idea of salvation around the world.

From that example, we can say that, in their foundational years, strong and charismatic personalities are important for political organizations as it is the respect and attention they command, that helps promote the core principles of their movements to recruit followers.

In the last thirty years, charismatic personalities like President Paul Kagame and others on his team, have managed to articulate RPF’s political ideas to appeal to majority of Rwandans and now it has become the mass party that it is, today.

The RPF has for instance, managed to rally Rwandans behind its idea of what identity should mean for all Rwandans; dignity, self-worth and self-reliance; these being values that have fueled the energy behind Rwanda’s fast but difficult recovery from the 1994 genocide against Tutsis.

As we celebrate RPF’s 30th anniversary, the party’s ideologues still have unfinished work, teaching of party values to deepen understanding of its political ideologies as they prepare the next generation of leaders to take over the mantle.

The views expressed in this article are of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of The New Times.

ADVERTISEMENT