If you think RPF is cracking, read its history

This column today was supposed to touch on the latest developments in the media and how the fourth estate should seize the opportunity and not abuse the good gesture from government.But after reading a fact file done on Rwanda by one of the reputable international news wires, I felt it deserved some attention.

This column today was supposed to touch on the latest developments in the media and how the fourth estate should seize the opportunity and not abuse the good gesture from government.

But after reading a fact file done on Rwanda by one of the reputable international news wires, I felt it deserved some attention.

Like the routine copy and paste accusations on Rwanda, this fact file was not any different. It was a mixed bag of contradictions. On one hand showing the economic progress, where IMF is predicting a 7 percent growth for Rwanda, above continental average, and on the other hand, singing the same rhyme of repression.

On one side telling the story of how President Paul Kagame’s war on graft has led Rwanda to be ranked least corrupt nation in the region, but again predicting how his anti-corruption stand could cost him allies.

The main gist of this fact file was on how the RPF is in a state of limbo---that growing rifts within the party and the Army threaten national stability.

When you read this stuff, you at times wonder whether the Rwanda they write about is the same country one lives in.

I know a thing or two about the RPF that clearly shows how this party has stood the test of time and how it has navigated skillfully through the most trying moments of its existence.

When the RPF and its armed wing, RPA launched the liberation war in 1990, its leader and Chairman Maj.Gen. Fred Rwigyema (RIP) died on the second day of the attack.

The news was a shocker and heartbreaking. It demoralized many and to keen followers, his sudden demise meant the end of the RPF/RPA dream.

Juvenal Habyarimana and his Akazu kinsmen certainly gathered to pop one of their best kept champagne bottles and celebrated.

But their celebrations were short-lived. Despite this terrible tragedy, the RPF regrouped under the leadership of Paul Kagame with a determination to disprove prophets of doom.

Because of the resilience, commitment, determination and a deep- sense of purpose, the sudden death of their founding leader did not divert them from their goal.

Similarly, many of their compatriots including very somber commanders died but it gave them more energy to soldier on.

When RPF/RPA took power, it opted for an inclusive transitional government, inviting all parties in a power-sharing arrangement to ensure stability for a fragile state but also out of the spirit of inclusiveness agreed upon during the Arusha peace accord.

As everyone was rolling their sleeves to begin the reconstruction phase, a number of politicians came out in their true opportunistic colours and chose to run away. In their hearts and minds, they thought RPF administration would never live to see the next day.

The list is long, from Speakers to Prime Ministers to a myriad of Ministers to a host of other senior politicians.

17 years on, they still live this illusion---looking at the RPF solidify its leadership and growing stronger each day.

Fast forward and the story of the four renegades is no different.

Like the immediate post Genocide situation, when these men opted out, what followed was a hullabaloo surrounding their defections.

Some sections of media, failing to read from history, were quick to conclude that these defections signaled internal rifts within RPF, threatening to reap it apart.

But is this true? Unless you choose to ignore the history of this movement.

The conditions of a liberation struggle are always harsh but the ultimate goal for many is survival to enjoy the dividends of the post-war situation.

So when revolutionaries come to power, the conditions are quite different.

The comfort and relaxation that comes with the urge to ‘reward’ oneself by way of ‘eating,’ is a common feeling that is hard to suppress. 

Any attempt to block this self-given right can at times prove detrimental, leading to outright expression of resentment.

Therefore, a situation like the RPF, where the top leadership is focused and demands discipline across the board by denying victors the free-will to poke their hands in every money venture, it certainly infuriates many.

In such situations, disgruntled individuals tend to fall out of the system simply because they fail to live up to the requirements and challenges of nation building.

The RPF has stuck to the principles of accountability, loyalty to the nation and discipline. Those who fail to abide by these principles have and will always continue to fall off the cliff. The examples are beginning to manifest in the gang of four.

Does this signal internal disenfranchisement? You would be reading the wrong chapter.

And again, can the RPF collapse simply because of four individuals leaving? Read its history--- right from the sad death of Gen. Rwigyema, to the 1994 transitional government and to-date.  It has grown the thick skin to wither any storm.

On twitter@aasiimwe. Aasiimwe.wordpress.com. akaeus@yahoo.com