IMAGINE this situation. Some individuals occupy very high positions in government. They use those positions to amass wealth illegally, harass and jail people with whom they have real or supposed differences, try to create a personal following within the institutions they lead as a launching pad to power, and to make sure their plan succeeds, offer their services to foreign interests.
When their misdeeds are unearthed, they flee the country. For a while they lie low hoping that we will forget. Then they present themselves to the world as our saviours from dangers we do not know about.
You will surely conclude that such individuals either have contempt for all of us, or they must assume that collectively we have such a short memory. Either way, they cannot have a very high regard for the people they purport to want to save.
This is the scenario a new gang of four – Kayumba Nyamwasa, Patrick Karegeya, Theogene Rudasingwa and Gerald Gahima – has presented to the world. They want us to believe that they have changed.
Well, actually, not because they were never different in the first place: they were always imbued with the desire to do public good. We know of course that they have not changed. Don’t they say that a leopard does not change its spots however the camouflage?
I can hear the duplicity behind the smooth, articulate pronouncements of one. I can see the inflexibility of the other hidden behind his soft-spoken manner. The intrigue and scheming is written on the faces of the others. No, they do not change.
One can ask the question: why has the gang ratcheted up the noise about supposed goings on in Rwanda at this moment? Why have they come out of the shadows now?
Obviously they have calculated that this is the right time to do so. One possible reason is that they think Rwanda is most vulnerable to attack at this time.
They imagine that the coordinated attacks from some sections of the foreign media and NGOs have weakened the country, that the UN Mapping Report on Congo and the nearly identical Amnesty International instructions to the government have Rwanda on the back heel.
And so, it is time to pounce. I am reminded of a particularly hideous animal which waits for a stronger predator to kill and then rush in to grab pieces of the fallen prey.
Another reason is that they must have (mis)calculated their action on the assumption of anticipated violence and disaffection during the recent presidential election, as indeed most uninformed people had.
Something else that must have influenced them to come out must have been the calculation that they would have maximum impact because Rwanda is currently under blinding searchlights.
Finally they must have thought that they could count on what they imagined must be internal disaffection, presumably by a growing number of sacked thieving officials.
As everyone familiar with Rwanda today knows, the gang of four were way off the mark. Their attempts to appear to wash themselves clean and brush up on their spots will fail woefully.
They may well be advised to heed my fellow columnist, Pan Butamire’s advice that it is not yet too late to bend. They can yet redeem themselves.
Here are some of the reasons that will make them fail. First, they are rooted in the past and because of that they make the same mistakes as others before them. They play the supposed ethnic card.
This is blatant opportunism because by their own admission, this is what they fought before and during their time in government.
But Rwandans have moved on. They are more concerned about how to get food on their families’ tables than listening to the tuneless song of ethnicity.
There is a new and real middle class (not the parasitic and criminal bureaucrats the gang sings about) which has vested interests in the stability of the country.
For instance, there is a growing entrepreneurial class that has a high stake in the stability and prosperity of the country and region, if not for anything else, for selfish economic reasons.
Also, there is a growing professional class of young people whose main interests is getting ahead in their different fields. For them upward mobility, not unceasing intrigues, is the motivating force.
Then there is a sizeable and educated young generation that has grown up in a less toxic social environment.
Finally, the gang of four will fail because of their collusion with genocidaires and other disgraced and discredited groups and individuals.
Rwandans know what their individual and national interests are. They are too busy working to further these interests to be swayed by the selfish calculations of adventurers.
The gang of four might do well to join the millions of Rwandans engaged in rebuilding their country. Of course they will lose the gang tag. But then is it really a loss when you lose a label but regain yourself?