No dispute about where Rwanda is coming from

Editor, Reference is made to Lonzen Rugira’s article, “The fury over the RDF sculpture” (The New Times, July 21).
The Liberation sculpture at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura. File.
The Liberation sculpture at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura. File.

Editor,

Reference is made to Lonzen Rugira’s article, “The fury over the RDF sculpture” (The New Times, July 21).

A great column even though, in my opinion, Mr. Rugira has marshaled heavy artillery against political midgets and some misguided journalists in Rwanda who seem to believe that borrowing heavily from the Western media’s template for their own reporting on Rwanda is a mark of their sophistication.

My view is that neither pseudo politicians nor the “journalist” echo-chambers deserve the honour of the sober treatment Mr. Rugira has given to them. I often wonder whether such attention does not in fact serve to boost rather than deflate these characters.

As for the point of whether the country came into existence only in 1994, who can doubt that whatever was in place in the geographical space known as Rwanda died then and a very violent and painful death and something else then rose on the tabula rasa Mr. Rugira evokes.

Perhaps our politician wannabe and the Western journalist in Rwandan skin have been sleepwalking throughout the past twenty years of a truly new nation. But for the majority of us Rwandans post-1994 Rwanda is a new nation that is nothing like what we have ever known before.

And a final point. Mr. Rugira repeats a commonly held though entirely honest fallacy that Dominique Mbonyumutwa presided over some kind of a revolution in 1959. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What we had that year was nothing more than the Belgian colonial administration and the Catholic Church hierarchy in the country—the real authority in the land from the moment they forced King Yuhi V Musinga from the throne and exiled him to die in Moba, Congo, throwing off the mask of indirect rule and finally taking direct charge of the affairs of Rwanda with a very thin veneer of their Hutu agents.

There was neither revolution nor self-emancipation as the real power in the country remained in the hands of those who had exercised it for decades: Brussels’ and the Vatican’s representatives in the country.

Mwene Kalinda, Rwanda

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