THE recent election process has taught us a lot, firstly we have to stick to our program and move ahead. It is like a person finding you building a house, you are halfway there and minding your own business.
Then the person complements you on the speed and efficiency of the building process but then says that you are doing it all wrong. Which opinion are you to believe? The same person is giving you two opposing opinions, they both can’t be right. In that case you just have to keep on building.
The building of a nation is a process of national goals fulfilled through personal ambition and targets; it is no good to have clean roads if people are living in slums. It then becomes the duty of the Rwandans to seek personal improvement for societal betterment.
I traveled a lot around the country recently and I saw great changes in society, children in school trying to speak the best English they could muster. Sadly, their hygiene was often wanting, the Headmasters often told me that the parents didn’t give the time and care needed to nurture their children.
Perhaps that was a product of outdated thinking, there was once when high child-mortality meant that parents didn’t get too attached to their children in case they died prematurely. Now infant mortality has been reduced, the same mentality has been persisting.
Another aspect is to see children as family servants to till the land and do chores;that is fine provided it doesn’t get in the way of education. Land is now tilled communally, the whole village devotes a day to every member and many hands make for light work. This might be the best thing for children, now they have a chance in life.
There is a great task ahead of us, to provide jobs for the 3-4 million who will come of age in the next 7 years, they will not want to subsist on farming, they will want plasma screens, cars, modern housing and leisure.
It is in the next few years that we will see an improvement as the economic boom spreads out into deep-lying rural areas. My case study for development is my mother’s village in Nyagatare district, it has seen tremendous growth in just the few years I have been visiting, but many young people are leaving for town.
Unless we provide for them, then the brightest minds in that area will be at the bottom of the pile in town and their communities will suffer. The lure of the city is often too great to change the minds of young eager migrants. We need to grow other cities, we should provide tax incentives for businesses to relocate to other towns or Kigali will just be too swamped.
Most of these other towns have every amenity, water, power, internet, health facilities, business centers, government services. I have great hope for the future, but the task ahead of us is great indeed.