A story is told in Bugesera of a wrangle between two or three Pentecostal clergymen that who, like many of their brethren in other parts of the country, are involved a disagreement over-in no particular order and not limited to, a land title, management of funds and or ego rights.
As per usual, such stories have a similar rhyme, in many cases a visiting pastor in Kigali to preach the word of God, meets fellow men/women determined to serve Jesus.
They agree amongst themselves to open a church. Soon, Believers with Hope Worship Kingdom, Kinyinya, opens. New converts are speedily attracted to the church, numbers swell.
After mass mobilization is undertaken to get new converts, a simple structure springs up, and city councils come around and threaten to raze the structure.
A council member who could be among the new converts stands in for the church and the threat from council is temporarily deflected.
Meanwhile, a mass sensitization project ensures to get funds for a permanent structure. The foreign pastor goes back to his/her home country to converse for donor funds.
His local partners also embark on an appeal to the church goers to build a better house of worship. The pastor returns after a while, the church goes up.
City council is sent with papers to shut up. Followers sing hosanna hallelujah on Sunday. After a while the church establishes itself as a prominent feature of that society, it attracts respect, admiration, more converts and in some cases more clout and revenue.
It becomes complex to manage as the top leaders of the church get divided initially ideologically, or so the believers are told.
But their disagreements are kept between themselves. However since the setting is a church, word gets around.
The disagreements are contagious first among the wives of the pastors, then to their clubs, children, relatives and any other given in such a society.
Not long after this, believers are told that there’s a bank loan, a land title, grants, government support and revenue issues that are being discussed in church meeting at all levels.
To this end, it is still an administrative hump but it is slowly developing into an epic script. The story gets thrilling with the podium setting a sweet background to the sometimes theatrical pastors. Many times it ends with each minister getting their own territory.
The script for the church in Bugesera could be quite different from the above, but no one can say there are no similarities with many Pentecostal churches in the country.
Their metamorphosis differs as for example, Christian Life Assembly operates professionally, but many neighbourhood churches start in the above style.
Interesting when the Bugesera church started its natural growth, the news about disagreements between its one American and two Rwandan pastors about land titles, bragging rights, style of preaching and so forth could not be surprising.
But hidden in its body, the story exposed that ugly evil that is genocide ideology raising its head, with new labels.
One of the pastors is alleged to have renamed the Tutsi and Hutu and branded them as Honda and Toyota.
The story continues that he advised the Hondas not to be governed by the Toyotas, henceforth bringing a new dimension to the two famous ethnic tribes of Rwanda and their noted wars in automobile patent books.
The jury is out whether he used the simple analysis of first letters or he went further into differences in fuel consumption and comfort!
Yet this is the history of our country, very few professional, personal, administrative and political issues are given their rightful place in our psyche.
Whenever there have been disagreements in this country, they have been analyzed, debated and then standardized to fit into the two labels of Tutsi and Hutu.
That was certainly the case in the past; and we like to believe in the present. Today we have given it a name, a campaign, a structure and a name. It is Genocide Ideology.
Every effort to help stop its spread is ‘eliminating Genocide Ideology’, and yet in schools, churches and at major universities we have failed.
These efforts-whether they are enforced or just thought about as the new ideology are suspect at closer examination.
It is only two years ago that members of parliament, with the help of strange research techniques concluded that most secondary schools in the country were contaminated with genocide ideology.
Their efforts led to the formation of a law specifically to deal with this ideology, a national commission was established later and we hoped-that the schools would be cleaned up.
Last year, the ideology reared its head in the students’ union politics of the National University of Rwanda, leading to the suspension of student union presidential elections in that institution altogether.
To date the members of parliament have not yet carried out a follow up, so we cannot know the progress of the elimination process in schools.
However with stories from Bugesera, it is safe to suggest that the members need to carry out a new survey in the churches as well.
And the new ideology promoters must be braced because disagreements in church in Rwanda are of particular interest. Rwandans, it can be safely argued, are deeply religious people.
After all many don’t merely stop at believing that there’s a God. Rwandans go further than many Christians and believe that God actually has a job.
He works during the day elsewhere and returns to sleep in the country at night. Somebody actually tried to convince me that he sleeps on top of one of the hills surrounding Rulindo district.
What happens in the church has a very powerful influence to what happens in Rwandan homes. The church is the cradle of all ideologies, the first step Christians, upon arriving in Rwanda-and they were first in Rwanda before other countries in the region-is to establish that there are two sides in Rwanda.
And these two have never lived together peacefully.
One has to eliminate the other for it to stay and the other, if it survives is expected to live in humiliation till the cycle returns.
Genocide ideology, it can be argued has been enshrined in that simplicity, and everybody that knows the country through newspapers and books believes this, especially the visitors.
It also safe to say that the church does not have any power to eliminate the ideology anymore, even our alleged offer of God’s bedroom withstanding.
If one of the pastors in Bugesera that introduced the Honda and Toyota brands in the church was a visitor he was not being too cynical; he was only emphasizing what is popular.
What many Rwandans have mistakenly accepted as normal? There are many other terms used by average Rwandans themselves daily. Toyota and Honda are just among a few that have been published.
So having concluded that the ideology is among us and we have accepted it to stay and continues to be used in defining our destiny what do we do?
Do we just lay back and hope that Jean De Diue Mucyo will send us a pamphlet with better trademarks and solutions?
A Rwanda teacher prying his trade in North America told me he actually drives a Honda, recently said that every effort must start at elementary school through to university and let children find their own identities based on what the professionally trained teachers have taught them.
Let parents keep driving their Hondas and Toyotas.