Some will have us believe in a flat earth

Give it up for the long misfiring national football team, the Amavubi [the Wasps], who finally buzzed to life and won a match [in an Away match no less!] against a Benin side that had left us all smarting from a 3-0 defeat.In Kampala, a Uganda-Kenya goalless draw ensured that there shall be no East African country represented at the Cup of Nations – yet again.

Give it up for the long misfiring national football team, the Amavubi [the Wasps], who finally buzzed to life and won a match [in an Away match no less!] against a Benin side that had left us all smarting from a 3-0 defeat.

In Kampala, a Uganda-Kenya goalless draw ensured that there shall be no East African country represented at the Cup of Nations – yet again.

The word in print is that FERWAFA is about to appoint a new coach. I would like them to know that I fully expect a Rwanda qualification to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and I suspect I’m not alone. Please appoint a magician.

Last week was not only notable for the football news. There was Independence Day in Uganda with Google giving tribute to the 49th anniversary with a banner that incorporated the black-yellow-red of the flag, the national symbol – the crested crane and the independence monument.

For all you former Beatle maniacs, Sir Paul McCartney got married for the third time, three years after a bitter divorce with his last wife.

In China [both the PRC and Taiwan], yesterday marked a century since the end of imperial rule and the beginning of the Republic of China. It is the one political event that both the Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan both commemorate.

However, none of those were as headline grabbing as the new allegations from Rwanda National Congress supremo, Mr. Theogene Rudasingwa that President Kagame had gloated to him about downing the late President Habyarimana’s jet.

These claims are nothing new, hate-radio and genocidal choir master – RTLM – said the same thing when they were not claiming that the RPA was losing the war or that the rebels had hooves and tails.

I suggest that, unless they can come up with proof for these allegations, anyone who says that the RPF shot down the plane should be treated like people who say the planet is flat – with a raised eyebrow and a polite silence.

In  motoring news, Rwandan owners of foreign registered vehicles are feeling the wrath of the tax collector. Importing a vehicle into Rwanda is expensive for several reasons, the long distance from the port, the higher taxation rate where Rwanda Revenue calculates its dues on the aggregate of the price, the insurance paid on the vehicle and the transportation tax where other East African countries base their tax on the price and the fact that left hand drive cars are generally more expensive.

From the travails of the owners of these cars, I think a powerful argument can be made for harmonisation of fiscal policy in the region as well as ensuring that this policy is uniformly implemented.

Otherwise Rwanda will forever be disadvantaged, today it will be owners purchasing cars in Burundi or Uganda, tomorrow it will be factories moving to Tanzania or Kenya. Without a level field, a landlocked country with a high cost of living and a zealous tax authority will be the loser in the East African project.

okabatende@gmail.com

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