I will not dwell on what has been written widely. Nor will I try to get into all those emotional things which characterize Rwanda’s past. Rather I will try to dwell on the future.
So I will kick off by saying that Rwanda being ‘the new kid on the block’ comes into the EAC with a highly ambitious agenda.
One would think that because of its intricate challenges Rwanda would rather take its sweet time to come full board on the EAC Federation. But this seemed to be the exact opposite to the thinking going along the type of leadership Rwanda has.
Thus what is amazing to some of us foreigners who are in Rwanda is the level of ambition being exhibited around in as far as reconstruction of the country is concerned. Not withstanding the challenges abounding, Rwanda has set very high ambitions for itself.
To me its leadership is using languages of private sector captains to my amazement. They talk about national ‘branding’, ‘national and regional competitiveness’ and dreams like Rwanda being ICT Hub of East Africa and stuff like that.
Back at home in Kenya such terms are only used by our captains of our industries but not our bureaucrats. As a nation with resilience that is awesome, I think that Rwanda to quote Joe Ritchie the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, will be a country that ‘will continue to amaze the whole world’.
Thus other EAC members should brace for a major surprise from this tiny country with lofty dreams.
But why do I make such statements? I will turn to one maverick journalist called Andrew Mwenda from Uganda.
This is what he has to say about Rwanda’s leadership which is setting its agenda for the future. In his editorial page of his Ugandan publication ‘The Independent’ issue number 64 he pens his piece dubbed, ‘Why Kagame succeeds where others fail’.
Mwenda seems to give support to my view of how Rwanda will progress in the future despite a myriad of odds arraigned against it.
He wrote that many observers in Rwanda say its people have an uncanny ability to follow their rulers unquestioningly.
Mwenda observes that this is precisely the reason the Genocide was conducted with a ruthless brutality and attendant efficiency. However he is quick to point out that this attribute is being put to good use at the moment and especially for the future posturing of the country.
‘The Genocide destroyed old centres of power-the political parties, the church, the press and therefore left the RPF as the only well organized political force with moral authority in the country-thus giving it considerable political advantage’.
This is Mwenda’s analysis of Rwanda’s current political climate. He says that all opposition parties have been co-opted into Government .Meaning that ‘the winner takes it all’ fallacy that Kenyans are used to which brought with it Kenya’s post election chaos is not practiced in Rwanda.
So why do I say that Rwanda should be given a chance to help lead the Federation? Because its president enjoys high moral authority locally, regionally and internationally. President Paul Kagame as we speak is one of the world’s most influential personalities according to the Time Magazine poll ratings.
He is a new type of a global thought leader who happens to be one of the Presidents of East Africa and current EAC chairman. Rwanda’s new type of agenda…a new thinking, a new awakening, in effect a rebirth-the Rwandan renaissance is something new within African leadership.
It will take others within East Africa time to get to terms with this new value system from Rwanda. Some are already acknowledging it while for others it will take time. What I am saying in conclusion is that putting new wine in old wine skin is something that will take time too.
Trying to rework the old order into a new order will take time.