Who’s scared of Chemical Ali?

Writer’s block is a real. Many writers will recognise the moment when you stare at a PC and fail to get past the first 10 words.  Especially when nothing grabs your fancy and no one has said or done anything outrageous to incite a rant.
Oscar Kabbatende
Oscar Kabbatende

Writer’s block is a real. Many writers will recognise the moment when you stare at a PC and fail to get past the first 10 words.  Especially when nothing grabs your fancy and no one has said or done anything outrageous to incite a rant.

Last week saw the return of a visibly stunned Leon Mugesera. The ‘swimming instructor’ emerged out of an express flight from Canada with the expression of a man surprised at the turn of events. Having fought his deportation for over 15 years, he may have began to believe that he could draw out his legal acrobatics infinitely.

The process took longer than usual but in the end, he found himself on a fast private jet home. Mugesera will now have to bring all of his accumulated 15-year knowledge in legal warfare to bear in the criminal case against him. Interesting as this subject is, many with more intimate knowledge of his case have already written about L’Affaire Mugesera. 

Yesterday morning, I read that chemical weapons were on the minds of the People’s representatives at the Parliament.  The House is to debate on a bill to implement Rwanda’s commitments under various international treaties on chemical weapons.

I would have thought that ratification of these treaties would have sufficed. Turns out that the Parliamentarians are worried that as scientific knowledge in the country improves, there may be a rogue scientist or two may decide to go all Chemical Ali on the rest of us.

Or that terrorist groups like FDLR or Al Shabaab may decide to use chemicals such as sarin or mustard gas in their terrorist activities. These are of course valid concerns if not a reflection of the most immediate threats to the security of Rwandans.

There seems to be a misguided belief that one can legislate problems away. I’m willing to bet that when this nation’s scientific capabilities reach the point where rogue scientists can sit in a lab and plan mass destruction, the Rwandan Chemical Alis will not stop and think, ‘hang on, there’s a law against this sort of thing. Let’s drop our evil project’.

 Criminal terrorist groups are even less likely to heed this law. Besides, Rwanda’s body of laws as of today would be more than capable of dealing with current and future terrorists, whatever their choice of weapon of mass destruction.

The debate on this bill is to take place this week, it should be an interesting one to follow.

Tomorrow is Heroes’ day. On this day we are reminded of mostly ordinary Rwandans who observed different injustices and chose to act within their abilities. They could have done the sensible and safe thing by being indifferent and looking after their own hides (admit it, most of us would take this option) but instead they acted and very often died because of it. These heroes continue to inspire because they show that no matter how bad things may get in this country (and things have been as bad as they can get in the past], there will always be a few individuals who will stand up for justice and the right way – in short the values that everyone in this country aspires to. 

okabatende@gmail.com

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