The National Dialogue, held at the beginning of this week, was a sight to behold; it is was a mixture of a talk-show, courtroom, and town hall meeting. It must be a curious sight for a foreigner, as many Diaspora people and visitors said. It is a great idea to use media to bring accountability, troubleshooting and education/entertainment together.
In a time when Rwanda is said to have no political space it was nice to see ministers, governors, mayors and heads of department on the hotspot disproving this theory. It is both humbling to the leaders and empowering to the people.
In a time when our government is promoting accountability, it is important to keep up this kind of openness. It was amazing to see problems that could take months to solve being solved in minutes, it made you wonder if this can be replicated more regularly into how we work.
I think every office, farm, factory, or place of work should have a Mushyikirano or Dialogue of their own. Then workers, or voters can be active appraisers of their situation and drive change in their sectors. I know that this concept is replicated at every level to local grassroots but we need more of this.
It would be nice to see smaller national dialogues held every month with chosen themes because they have been really enlightening. I found out so many things, from why fertilizer costs so much, to irrigation methods and savings schemes; it was highly educational besides being interactive.
This is an age where most governments and states are struggling to connect with their masses; states can become obsolete if they do not connect with their populous. Facebook has nearly 600 million users and is described as the third biggest nation on earth so people are no longer congregating on geographic lines but technological lines.
In the western world, technology has connected distant people with similar interests but disconnected neighbors from each other. We, Africans, must harness technology to bring ourselves together and solve our problems.it is amazing to think that USA, Japan or UK, with all their technology, have never attempted a national dialogue.
It is not something that only Rwanda needs but many nations need this as well. I hear that TV in Cote d’ Ivoire is showing footage of the Rwandan genocide against Tutsi in a loop to show what could happen if they don’t step back from the brink. They should show our national dialogue instead.
A dialogue is a continual process; it is sometimes truncated and resumes, but it must go on. We need to have open assessment of our progress and policies, we have to continue airing our views and demanding answers, both as voters and tax payers. So that years down the road we can say we had an active part in our development and we chose our path.
The author is a social commentator.