The dust has finally settled down in the streets of Kampala, the distinguished visitors have begun trickling back home to recover from what in the last couple of months has been the “CHOGAMU” fever. This excited mispronunciation of CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) has even crossed the border into the land of thousand hills where a new chapter is on the block.
The expectations of Rwanda joining the 53-member state organisation are high because of the political and economic capital that comes along its membership.
However, this should not be confused with the shallow argument of snubbing the Francophone fold in favour of the Anglophones or vice versa. Africa should not get stuck in the quagmire of linguistic maze but instead focus on bringing their people out of misery and neo-colonial mentalities.
In this age of breaking physical and cultural barriers for the sake of national economic development, seeking new markets and trading blocks should be obvious to all. It even becomes more obvious for Rwanda to join a coalition like the Commonwealth that brings together more than a third of all the countries in the world.
Some countries in the Commonwealth might even benefit from Rwanda joining the club. The country’s track record in good governance, ICT, economic and judicial achievements in the last decade might rub off on member States, many of whom are in dire need of lessons in successfully managing meagre resources.
Only recently, both Burundi and Rwanda joined the East African Community (EAC), a regional union that formerly brought together Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Since then, the Rwandan government has announced scrapping of work permits and employment restrictions for professionals from the EAC.
This is in the spirit of the East African Common Market and “walking the talk” of regional integration; namely free movement of people, services and goods, something that should be emulated by all.