We all know where this country has come from. We recall the dark days when one would frown upon mentioning Rwanda. We walked with our faces buried in a sea of shame, wondering why the creator had suddenly abandoned this nation.
That is almost 17 years ago! At the end of the 100 gruesome days, we all emerged as losers. And no Rwandan, alive or deceased, will erase this dreadful pogrom from our history.
Fast forward---and today, we stand with our heads high; proud of a nation that has steadily pulled itself out of the deep-ditch of shame with a future pointing to a shining star. No doubt that the post genocide generation is certainly guaranteed a decent life.
Where hope was lost, a sense of optimism is flourishing. Where life was worthless, the value of human dignity is immeasurable and where patriotism was a virtue for the few, a growing pride of being Rwanda is reaching even those in Diaspora.
Better still, this nation’s voice on the international scene grows louder and louder each day that passes.
But not everyone is happy. As we move a step forward, there are those who wish to see us move two steps back. These are individuals simply massaging egos. I will not call them villains for lack of a better word.
Unfortunately the act of being economical with the truth is what they call politicking. Yes, that in politics white is black and Gold is Coal.
But who says politicking is all about distorting the common good? Who says politicking is about throwing mud at even what works well in the interest of the common man.
Take an example of a person trying to paint an ugly coating on a noble initiative like itorero ry’’iguhugu. Itorero, just like many, ‘made-in-Rwanda’, initiatives is a unique home-grown solution that has been instrumental in mobilizing ordinary Rwandans to solve some of the most pressing issues within their midst.
It a civic exercise that aims at instilling a sense of patriotism to Rwandans. It teaches all Rwandans the cultural values of this nation shaped by national unity, social solidarity, patriotism and integrity. It seeks to inform Rwandans of government policies, hence strengthening ownership and involving them in implementation.
Within the Health sector, there’s an itorero that brings together community Health workers (CHWs). A group of volunteers chosen by their communities to perform different health related tasks. They counsel community members on issues like proper child growth, vaccination screening, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and refer sick patients to the nearest health facility.
Today, the Ministry of Health has close to 60,000 cadres in this field and because of their benevolent work, Rwanda is making significant strides in improving the lives of its ordinary citizenry, including attaining some of the Health-related MDGs.
Now some disgruntled chap, simply out of mere politicking or deliberately out of an obsession with smearing mud, decides to describe these people as a “bunch of interahamwe” or some sort of “para-military group” that government is grooming.
Surely, Dr Rudasingwa should know a thing or two about public health and should be in a better position to appreciate the kind of contribution these individuals make when it comes to serious issues of public health. That is, if the seven years he spent in medical school were worth it.
How on earth could this gentleman refer to these cadres as a para-military grouping? I hope Rudasingwa is not insinuating that the interahamwe of 1994 were engaged in ‘social work’ as they butchered innocent people?
I also hope that his latest obsession of equating or describing every noble grouping as ‘interahamwe’ is not a confirmation of his new found love with this group, given what UN records say.
Without any degree of shame, he refers to members of the Diaspora that attended the December national dialogue also as a bunch of interahamwe who, upon visiting, were re-deployed in the Diaspora to carry out clandestine work.
What’s the intent? To create fear, divide these people and sow seeds of hatred. But is there any sane person with Rwandan blood flowing in his/her vein who does not know the consequences of this divisive rhetoric? Must we tolerate this kind of politicking simply because it is politics?
You see, to criticize is one’s democratic right but to simply open up for the sake of pouring venom over a noble cause, is a reflection of simplistic minds.
We have come to a level where every peace-loving Rwandan should jealously guard the fruits of today’s peace.
There are some important values and policies that should not be played around with. There are some important achievements that need consolidation instead of destroying and the UNITY of Rwandans comes above all this.
Therefore it is not one’s right to play political gimmicks on issues that may gravely affect the lives 11 million Rwandans. There certainly must be a limit!
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