Today, like during this year’s Umunshyikirano, President Kagame spells the message out clearly, not as something new but for emphasis on the weight it carries for the future of this nation: “Ntakugenda buhoro; ntagucika intege; ntakwirara.”
The message: if we are to realise our set goals for transformation, we cannot afford to walk instead of running, or slacken our pace. We cannot allow room for losing heart, feeling discouraged. And for any achievement, we must not indulge the luxury of resting on laurels or being complacent, as if we were at the apex of our desired ideals.
Coming hot on the heels of the 30th anniversary of the RPF-Inkotanyi, it’s a message that should be seared on the minds of this generation, where in some of us it’s not already, and all coming generations for the good of this society.
Thirty years today, when a scattering of Rwandans got together to reorganize and set clear goals of ‘re-railing’ their country, they were groping in the dark. None, in the wildest of imaginations, could have foreseen the state of their nation today.
With their communal back against the wall, they had to push forward or be squashed on the wall. Pushing forward needed all hands on deck; their whole society pushing together as one.
But this was easier said than done. Determination and clear goals alone cannot stitch back together a society split down its middle by some of its very own. In so torn a society, a nucleus that’s part of the disempowered, oppressed, divided, disowned or otherwise marginalized will find it hard popularising its goals for all to together work on attaining them, however noble the goals.
The goals: to re-unite a society; recover its sovereignty and security of person and property; initiate democratic leadership; build a self-sustaining economy; eradicate nepotism, corruption, mismanagement and such ills; uplift the wellbeing of the citizenry; eradicate conditions that generate refugees; work with other societies for shared benefit.
And, later, last but perhaps worst, to fight against the no-where-near-envisioned Genocide and its ideology.
Fulfilling these goals was a tall order. And yet, all this has come to pass.
They are goals that have served this generation well thus far and they’ll always be evergreen for generations to come.
They may not be a 100% in the bag but that total achievement is certainly well in our sights.
This has been possible thanks to the tireless and relentless pursuit of serving the cause of those goals, without being dismayed by setbacks or bogged down in the stagnating of thumbs-up on piecemeal accomplishments. In short, sticking to the tenets of “kutagenda buhoro; kudacika intege; kutirara.”
But this necessarily demands indefatigable leadership.
Fortunately, this 30-year-old RPF with its armed wing, the RPA, that went through the furnace during the armed liberation struggle and came out bruised but not broken is here exactly because of that. It was opportunely beneficiary of an indefatigable top leadership.
Today, it’s this same leadership that’s steering the ship of a united force of Rwandans through waters, tranquil or turbulent, upon which it’ll sail towards the apex; total achievement of those noble goals. We may only be at the foundation, as our leadership always cautions, but we know it’s a firm foundation.
From a launch-pad so strong, there is no reason not to soar.
“Kutagenda buhoro” (fast pace) led the RPA to triumph during the armed liberation struggle, where superior fire-power taught its fighters tricks of going around the fire to advance faster and quickly swell its ranks at every battle won. It has served well after that struggle by leading to our society’s fast progress, considering the impossible odds that had to be navigated.
“Kudacika intege” (no discouragement) came in handy during that struggle where, with multiple moneyed armies ranged against it, the RPA adopted guerrilla tactics that decidedly overwhelmed opponents despite meagre resources. It immunised the new RPF government against donor-country pressures to toe a paternalistic West-serving line so that it freely stuck to its chosen trajectory of politico-socio-economic transformation, with or without donor support.
“Kutirara” (not being complacent) was classically demonstrated the night 1994 gave birth to 1995. To usher in the New Year, some of the triumphal RPA solders tried to shoot in the air, as is customary of celebratory armies, but their commander instantly halted the habit; the liberation struggle was only beginning. The same ethos guides the RPF government today.
In a word, at every point we reach, we must hit the ground running without ever letting up, obstacle or none.
Our young generation, having had the opportunity of being under the tutelage of this indefatigable leadership, should work on replicating it and passing it on.
Again, in President Kagame’s succinct words: “......being young is not enough. You cannot afford to waste any opportunity. Do not let the fear of failure or taking risks stand in the way of who you can be. Claim your rightful place in the world, no one will hand it to you.”
Youth of this land, the ball is squarely in your court.
The views expressed in this article are of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Times Publications.