Rwandan sport needs Real Change

One shrewd decision so prevailing it made Sports and Culture Minister Joseph Habineza look so powerful in his capacity but I assume that for him to be taken more serious by even his most vocal critics, he must follow it with more of the same throughout every department under his docket.

One shrewd decision so prevailing it made Sports and Culture Minister Joseph Habineza look so powerful in his capacity but I assume that for him to be taken more serious by even his most vocal critics, he must follow it with more of the same throughout every department under his docket.

Despite the lack of any noteworthy development in the country’s sport for all the years Habineza has been Minister, however, I think we can all agree the country is far better off with leaders, who are capable of coming up with strong decisions than we have had before.

Since he was appointed in 2004, Minister Habineza has always been seen as a softie, who is incapable of making hard decisions even when the situation demands him to.

People under him have clearly shown incompetence over the years but he just gives a blind eye, something that has resulted in bringing down the rate of the country’s sports development.

He announced his arrival with a bang when he forced the then football federation [Ferwafa] top leadership led by Major General Ceaser Kayizari and his deputy Celestin Musabyimana to relinquish their positions and not to stand in the election because he thought they had failed in their responsibilities.

That was a big way to start, but it set a kind of tone which was always going to be hard to maintain, and to my evaluation, he has come nowhere near sustaining it.

The nearest he has come only came this week when he hounded the incumbent National Olympic Committee boss Ignace Beraho from a meeting.

But there is still plenty of reason to worry about the future of Rwandan sport under Habineza and his style of doing things, but in terms of the here and now, his decision on Beraho, and if he could follow it with similar stances on other incompetent leaders under his docket then we may have some reason for hope.

In sports speak; we would have taken that at the start and through his time in that big office so we should be pretty happy now we’ve got it. It hasn’t been perfect for him by any means, but when is anything in life ever perfect?

Interestingly, although Habineza has faltered all these years and will have to prove he is not suffering from the sort of gratification which has blighted some of the best leaders so many times before, his five years in office has been far less disastrous than Beraho’s nine as RNOC president.

This is a fact and no pun intended!
The country’s sport has lost ground over the years and our sportsmen and women have not taken any international competition by storm, save for one guy Dieudonne Disi, who has carried the country’s flag with some pride at times.

The less said about the national football team [Amavubi Stars] the better, after all, defeats can quickly turn lost ground into an insurmountable gap [for the rivals].

As for the relationship between Habineza and Beraho, the two leaders holding the two highest sports governing offices in the land, the mood has turned ugly - I’ll refrain from making a joke about it never exactly being pretty, oh hang on I just did - and Rwandan sports is in trouble of slipping down the table at a rapid rate.

When the two men took over their respective offices, they did not seem to have anything wrong about them or their plans to develop the country’s sport.

RNOC looked stable and while Beraho had to change things here and there to turn the rooms into real offices worthy the name, he did it calmly without anything like the hysteria which surrounded Minister Habineza’s coming.

However, appearances can be deceptive. The current state of Rwandan sports is a powder barrel waiting to explode.

In fact, it’s possibly only one or two more poor leaders away from combustion. We can’t afford that [anymore]. The two offices and all the others under them need leaders astute enough to make real changes.

So where does the standoff between Habineza and Beraho leave sports in this country?

Well, in my view we are in a very weak position in the middle of nowhere on the international sports scene and it appears as though nothing will ever change [for the better] until some major changes have been done from top to bottom.

However, as we all possibly know, that view sometimes isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

If the country’s sport managed to get where it is at the moment with the major players playing major roles in its rapid slump then there is no guarantee that whoever comes in after them will ever make the real change that we all crave for.

All local sports leaders I’ve seen in this country tend to make good starts, but it is nothing more than that.

I always talk about them making their jobs look easy against their predecessors, but I’ll only believe the real change if someone sustains their good start beyond four years.

As a new man takes over from Beraho as RNOC boss very soon or even when the President of the Republic replaces Habineza [when he deems it appropriate], let’s not assume anything because they could make a mess out of you, me and the country!

nku78@yahoo.com

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