I decided to write on this subject as a reaction to many articles from various papers, especially from the western world where, despite commending Rwandans and their leaders on the just concluded successful ballots, they are speculating about what will happen in 2017.
Always predicting bad scenarios like: President Kagame will change the constitution to allow him seek a third term, he sent his son to a military academy to prepare him for Presidential job, and worst, what I just read in Japan Times on line of August 16, 2010. (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20100816a1.html).
“Opposition leaders were banned from the election; the deputy leader of one opposition party was murdered. The three men who remained on the ballot were not considered real alternatives to Mr. Kagame: Critics labeled them “sham candidates.”
First of all, let me talk about those labeled opposition leaders who were banned from the election. In our language there is a saying: “Nta nkumi yigaya” which can be translated as “Everybody thinks He is capable.”
1. Frank Habineza, is deputy and his green party:
Frankly speaking this is just a circus of some individuals, self claimed dissidents of RPF who were not even known in that party and who don’t know the reality of this country, quite disconnected from the people.
I can bet that not only the general Rwandan public but also intellectuals of this country don’t know any of their programs nor their projects.
Just for imitating the western world they wanted to play an environmental card…..
The current government got many awards due to its commitment and initiatives in environment protection ie ban of plastic bags, conservation and protection of mountain gorillas, ….
2. Bernard Ntaganda
To lead a country is not an adventure, you need to be charismatic, have leadership skills and so many other qualities, you can’t be elected on the basis of terrorism or threats.
This man has been heard saying publicly that he has to get on power or he will mess up everything.
“Tura tugabane niwanga ndabimena…..”
3. Ingabire Victoire
How can someone who has been disconnected from a country for more than 15 years claim to know better the needs of that same people? To bring back the ethnic divisionism is cowardly.
Rwandan politics has gone beyond that, surprisingly, there are both foreigners and Rwandans who think that Rwandans are still in the 60’s. Her link to FDLR (a terrorist organization) is not a secret, even UN reports mention it.
For the sham candidates, elections are like any other competition, there are rules and guidelines.
Why should people be scared of an opposition without credentials and accept to compete with political parties that have been in existence for more than a decade.
In history, we have seen extraordinary men and women who are special and who have made a mark on the lives of people in their country, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela to mention but a few. Now it’s the turn of Rwanda with Paul Kagame.
But as other special People, he has his mandate, don’t block his way, let him accomplish it and when time comes for him to hand over, he will do it proudly and will remain forever in Rwandan history, since he will have built a strong state and strong institutions.
When People talk about real alternative to Mr Kagame, what do they mean or what do they want? Why don’t they talk about continuity? Is there any real alternative to peace, stability, development and self confidence that Rwandans acquired under the leadership of Mr. Kagame?
What is your agenda for Rwanda even though you have no mandate to define Rwanda’s destiny?
Mr. Kagame will one day leave power but his legacy will remain, that’s why we should talk about continuity because the revolution he initiated will never stop and all young Rwandans and even Africans will be the flag bearers.
It’s an insult to Rwandans to say that after Paul Kagame, Rwanda will no longer exist. How can a country of more than ten million people lack someone capable to lead their country?
People should know that resilience is characteristic of Rwandans. We can’t experience worse than the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
But Paul Kagame with majority of Rwandans worked hard to achieve and get where we are now. We are a people with passion and determination.
That is why 93% voted RPF, as a sign of appreciation to a leadership that has transformed their lives socially, economically, restored dignity and pride.
For the first time in their history Rwandans are confident and believe in a brighter future.
I believe in my people and I know there are young, energetic and dynamic Rwandans who are working and learning hard and so that when time comes, Paul Kagame will proudly hand over, to them, the baton.
What I am sure of is that, he (Paul Kagame) will never hand over the leadership of Rwanda to people who have no vision for their country, who want to use violence as a shortcut to power, who are not connected to Rwandans.
Long live Rwanda, her people and her friends.
The author is Rwanda’s Minister of Sports and Culture.