The Commonwealth games in Delhi were supposed to be India’s coming out party.
This was an opportunity to show off their increasing position of strength on the world stage and also to prove to their rivals in China that they too can pull off an international sporting event successfully.
The opportunity turned into a fiasco. An unfortunate mix of arrogant officials, corruption and photographs on the poor state of the facilities combined to severely embarrass the Indian hosts.
Fortunately, the outrage expressed by the Olympic committees of participating countries and the embarrassment at the revelations seems to have galvanised India into action.
It was an unfortunate, maybe even unfair, statement about one of the world’s biggest nations and its very dynamic people.
Meantime, back home, Rwanda’s top athlete, Disi Dieudonne, was unflattering in his comments about the preparations of Rwanda’s sporting delegation to the Commonwealth games.
This lack of preparedness seems to be a familiar song on loop every time our sporting representatives head to major games.
Perhaps, the journalistic fraternity should find a way to sneak into training sessions of our sports delegates and take some incriminating photos.
If some photos can prick mighty India into action, I am confident they will jolt the Rwanda Olympic Committee into actually preparing athletes to win medals.
Same goes for the Amavubi who seem to have lost their sting recently.
In New York, the United Nations annual General Assembly was going on. For a fortnight the leaders of the member states converged on New York to present the concerns and interests of their respective nations.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took the opportunity to recite 9/11 conspiracy theories causing several delegates to walk out of the hall in protest.
The Vice-President of Sudan, Salva Kiir, who also doubles as a leader for South Sudan appealed for support for the referendum on self-determination that is to be held next January and where it is expected that most in South Sudan will vote for independence.
When it comes to Rwanda, the United Nations Organisation has a bit of a Multiple Personality Disorder [MPD].
On the one hand, one of its bodies will write a draft report that accuses the Rwandan Army of massive abuses in the Congo conflict while on the other hand, it will express a lot of alarm at the prospect of their withdrawal from engagements all over the world, most notably in Darfur.
The Secretary General in a recent visit even went ahead to offer praise for Rwanda’s soldiers.
If one were to go farther back in Rwanda’s history, in 1960 following the expulsion of several thousand Tutsi refugees, the UN organised a referendum on whether Rwanda should continue to be administered by a Monarchy and whether it should become an independent nation.
To both topics the voters proclaimed no. Two years later it imposed independence on the very same people who did not want it.
All the while its agencies were content to let sections of Rwandans live out their lives in exile. Then we all know what happened in 1994.
This is not to say that the United Nations is inherently a bad organisation, it is remarkably good when it comes to development programmes. When it ventures into the political, very few will have kind things to say about it.
This is mainly because as an organisation that holds almost every independent nation as a member, the interests that animate it are as diverse as its members.
Inevitably, the interests of the richer and more powerful nations end up prevailing over those of the more numerous but “lesser” nations. Rwanda, as well as most of Africa, is one of those “lesser nations” they think they can be beat up on at will.
Especially by an organisation such as the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights whose natural inclination is to listen to NGOs and Human Rights organisations who have a particular axe to grind with a nation that does not accord them the respect they feel should be accorded to them.
We should all get ready for a period of time where UN agencies will help us achieve the MDGs while forever hounding Rwanda for daring to call out certain NGOs on their misdeeds not to mention this country’s continous reminders to the world on the failures of the United Nations in the particular period of time that the mapping report is so interested in.
Oscar Kabbatende is a lawyer