Letter from Nyamirambo

The politics of Theogene RUDASINGWA is like the art of Piero MANZONI.  The Italian artist is perhaps best known for his most controversial work of art, “Merda d’Artista”.   Maybe as a gesture of disdain towards contemporary art, Manzoni tinned his own faeces and declared the cans works of art.

The politics of Theogene RUDASINGWA is like the art of Piero MANZONI.  The Italian artist is perhaps best known for his most controversial work of art, “Merda d’Artista”.   Maybe as a gesture of disdain towards contemporary art, Manzoni tinned his own faeces and declared the cans works of art.

That the Tate Gallery of London and other museums in Europe acquired Manzoni’s cans for exorbitant amounts of money is testimony to the gullibility of the human race.

It also is a reflection of how detached elite classes can be to the more pressing concerns of the poor.  Thousands of rich connoisseurs visit Tate and other European museums to gaze in awe at Manzoni’s canned waste. They also pay obscene amounts of cash, by Nyamirambo standards, for this privilege.

I wonder how much they would be willing to part with to gaze at canned Nyamirambo Sh……..t.  I suspect very little if anything. In fact, I can see them wrinkling their dainty noses at the mere thought.

This brings me to Rudasingwa. One would think that claiming opposition to the Rwandan Government; he would care about the poor.

He does not! Like Manzoni, he is only interested in selling “Merda Politica” to Rwandans. We, in Nyamirambo, will not allow him to.

Consider his recommendation that all those convicted of genocide, including by the International Criminal Court for Rwanda, be released. A more cynical and abominable political agenda it is difficult to imagine.

Genocide took the lives of millions of innocent Rwandans for the “crime “of being. The Rwandese Patriotic Front, led by Paul KAGAME, stopped it against almost insurmountable odds.

To echo Elie Wiesel, that thoughtful survivor of the Shoa who spoke of another land and other deaths, if only for this, we in Nyamirambo, are eternally grateful to the RPF. You see, no one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of the night.

To his eternal shame, Rudasingwa has joined those who would belittle Rwandans by calling for the release of the perpetrators of the apocalypse, including the most egregious ones.  I have, for a very long time, doubted Rudasingwa’s politics. Now I doubt his humanity.

Nyamirambo objects to his attempts to lump together all our heroes, from Cyilima Rugwe, through Mutara Rudahigwa to Paul Kagame into one criminal pot.

I know Rudasingwa has a criminal sentence on his head, his political ambitions notwithstanding, but should this provide sufficient motivation to distort our history?  The Monarchs you despise laid the foundations for the Rwanda you would like to destroy, Dr Rudasingwa. 

A number of them were “Abatabazi”, voluntarily fertilizing Rwandan soil with their blood in the defense of this beautiful land.  Through their sacrifice, Rwanda was spared the ravages of the slave trade. You should not drag them into the mud.

Mutara Rudahigwa is a National Hero. He fought to bring Rwanda into modernity, initiating fundamental reforms in the governance of the country, and ferociously resisting colonial opposition to his reform and independence agenda. He paid for it with his life. 

To lump nation builders like Ruganzu Bwimba, Ruganzu Ndori, Mibambwe Gisanura and Kigeli Rwabugiri with the genocidal clique of Gregoire Kayibanda, Juvenal Habyarimana and Sindikubwabo is either the epitome of cynicism, or the manifestation of a bizarre crisis of conscience.

We shall remind Rudasingwa of that other hero he chooses to ignore, Fred Gisa Rwigyema. I imagine Gisa is, in Rudasingwa’s mind, one of the authors of “the repeated trauma we have inflicted on each other”, part of a “chronically sick people that desperately needs healing at home and abroad”!  Moral equivalence is a terrible disease, Dr Rudasingwa. It makes you unable to distinguish between the violence unleashed by a Police man on an armed robber, and the act of robbery itself.

It makes you blur the crisp distinctions between the gratuitous violence unleashed in Rwanda by the genocidal apocalypse inc. of Theoneste Bagosora and the call to arms by the RPF to stop it. To you, they are all the same. In your chosen land of exile, by extension, the violence unleashed by Osama Bin Laden and the response by the United States are morally equivalent!

You make no distinction between the patriotism and cause of the Charismatic Fred Rwigyema and that of Juvenal Habyarimana.  How can this be? The one died fighting for the birth of a new Rwanda, free from the shackles of a divisive, murderous political agenda.

The other was swept away by the fires of a genocidal agenda he had spent decades planning, refining, stoking, and defending. Moral equivalence is a terrible disease when it attacks, Dr Rudasingwa.  We, in Nyamirambo, have chosen to be inoculated against it.

Moral equivalence happens to be, sadly, a twin sister to outright deception.  Rudasingwa wants a review of policies on French as a language of instruction in Rwanda, scholarships in the institutions of higher learning, vasectomy as a family planning tool and housing for the Batwa. 

But there is something he is not telling you. Rudasingwa writes in English, is on English media, has chances in the United States; partly because he is articulate in the English language. His children, even when in Rwanda, went to English schools. I do not blame him.

English is the current International language of commerce, science, and academia. Elites the world over, including fervent anti-Western ideologues in the middle East, make sure their children learn it, to give them a leg up in life. The Rwanda Government has simply decided to extend this privilege to all Rwandan children, including the poorest of the poor.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander, Dr Rudasingwa. What your children have, Nyamirambo children deserve. Today it is English, tomorrow it may be Chinese.  There is a Confucius Institute in Kigali for the first time in Rwanda’s history. Are you going to “review” it too? As an aside, more Rwandans speak French today than did before 1994, and they do so better. Did you know that, Dr
Rudasingwa? And, I can’t resist this, our Mufti speaks impeccable Arabic. Oh la la! What a rich tapestry!!

Rwandan children who competitively qualify for Government scholarships get them, Rudasingwa. More today than in years past.  The additional allowances for food and sundry expenses have been reallocated to improvement of quality within the education system.

This is not new Dr Rudasingwa. You remember the pocket allowance called “boom” Makerere University used to give you as a student?  Remember it was abolished almost three decades ago? Yes, you do remember.

You and I were there. How come you did not take to the streets then? How much boom do the students of California Berkeley receive from the US Government today? I suspect none. Be honest Dr Rudasingwa. Nyamirambo demands it.

Then, Vasectomy, that voluntary procedure now available to Rwandan families who choose it.  Every year, over five hundred thousand of these are performed in the United States of America, where you currently reside. It has also been available to the Rwandan elite.

Now it is availed the poor and you scream bloody murder! Deception dear Sir, pure deception. Next you will be “reviewing” the Government policy of constructing sidewalks for poor Rwandans next to the paved roads the elite have always enjoyed!!

Finally, the ultimate “merda politica”! You are opposed to the provision of decent housing for the poor, including those you call the Batwa. Why?  I do know you did not live in a grass thatched house in Kigali.

I suspect you do not, in the United States. Why should the poor be condemned to live in these substandard houses? Nyamirambo is contributing to bye bye Nyakatsi, that nationwide drive to provide decent housing to the poor. I am surprised you are not.

But perhaps I should not be. I imagine telling Piero Manzoni that canning his faeces as a work of art was in bad taste and unhygienic to boot would have earned me a look of disdain at the very least.

Telling you that your “merda politica” is “merda d’artista” redux may earn me the same but I would have you know that we, in Nyamirambo, consider it as such. We have since moved on to bigger and better things, some of which I will share in my next letter.

Job _jabiro@yahoo.co.uk


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