The year 2010 was momentous as Rwanda and the world went through changes. The worst event of the year happened on January 12th with the massive earthquake in Haiti, 10 seconds of shaking and 230,000 dead. The destruction is still terrible and it will take Haiti decades to recover to where it was, a situation that was already terrible.
The world came to the rescue and pledged billions which they never delivered, in typical fashion. The economic crisis caused by the banking sector continued to ripple through the global economy.
Greece almost went bankrupt; this was followed by Ireland also being bailed out, and the full effects of this crisis are yet to be seen. In Rwanda, the global crisis was not as bad as in other countries but the best indicator was that lenders were cautious; only 11% of capital was lent as opposed to 20% targeted.
The Presidential election passed peacefully although some elements in the western media did their best to tarnish the name of Rwanda. Other opportunists popped up and tried destabilize the peace of Rwanda, the grenade attacks were endured by ordinary Rwandans with bravery and dignity and they carried on their lives regardless. The most amazing scenes of the year were the enormous crowds seen at RPF rallies; Gicumbi had over 200,000 people to see President Paul Kagame.
The election was a resounding victory for President Kagame and the RPF, a ringing endorsement of the development policies carried out in 16 years of progressive leadership.
What I saw was the basic aspirations of people, what I take for granted is wanted by all Rwandans: health, education, food security, jobs, and national pride. It was really unifying to see Rwandans dancing at rallies, with a sense of Rwanda-ness and dreams of the future. The RPF campaigned on a positive message with results to show and a wider programme of development.
The bomb attacks in Kampala on the night of the World cup final were the biggest reminder of the age we live in- we are used to seeing terrorism on CNN but it came to our region with a wind of death. Around that time, a little-known website called wikileaks was releasing some classified documents that would shake the world and change international relations forever. Facebook continued its march to world domination, it now has over 500 million users and can be called a nation in its itself.
I have dreams for 2011, I hope Rwanda carries on its quest for development, I hope we continue to be a model for others to follow. I sincerely hope that elections in our region pass without violence, Uganda and Kenya are both in delicate situations and face polls that could set the tone for our region in years to come.
Personally, I want to start on my goal to build a house and hope my fellow Rwandans follow, because that is the only way we will build our country – start with your plot.