Two weeks ago, this column discussed the goings on in the political opposition and more importantly on the recent utterances of the FDU-Inkingi leader Ingabire Umuhoza.
Her rhetoric that for many years we heard on the airwaves of international media stations had arrived home.
This column posited that talk by politicians, which calls to ethnic solidarity and other utterances that serve to divide the Rwandan people cannot sell in this country.
The position as taken in this column two weeks ago was an opinion, a personal one taken on the basis of observing the goings on in Rwanda. That the people of Rwanda are more preoccupied by the process of national development as championed by our leadership is beyond dispute.
This column as stated then and now holds that many, even in the political opposition realize this, but for purposes of political expediency, will at best be ambiguous on this subject, but in most cases, peddle obvious falsehoods.
Within hours of the opinion piece appearing in print, I opened my mail box and found an email from somebody whose names I do not wish to repeat here because it looks like she /him was using a false identity.
The message she had for me was uncharitable. However, another person wrote and I can say she had a good view in my opinion, of what happens in the country.
When one listens to different Rwandans, giving opinions about the country, one realizes that most who have lived out of the country for the last 15 years, have a view that is detached from the reality.
A number of them still live and imagine a Rwanda that was divided along ethnic lines, where government was the sole source of people’s advancement! Where for one to succeed in any endeavour in the Rwanda of then one had to be connected to the Akazu of Habyarimana that was in power at the time. That obtained even in the most private of business endeavours.
Some have arrogated themselves the role of not only insulting, but also sending veiled threatening messages to journalists, who refuse to buy into their view of the situation in our country.
In any case, I tend to believe that journalist whereas are required to maintain objectivity and impartiality in reporting, they also have opinions and can put them across through different media.
At the same time, they have an obligation in my view of being the opposing what Kangura and RTLM journalists were used for by crafty politicians to saw seeds of hate and consequently genocide.
Here, I mean media practitioners must participate in the process of rebuilding the country through fostering reconciliation rather than buying into the messages of political demagogues like those peddling ethnic politics, and a twisted view of ethnic majority politics.
In recent years, many will attest to the fact that Rwandans now identify themselves with progressive politics.
It will not be surprising when Rwandans return into office, a leadership that guarantees their aspirations.
It is my view that Rwandans have moved on.
The issues of the day are education, health, and infrastructure development to mention but three. Forget the identity politics of years gone by.
So, people including journalists who hold such a progressive view of our country and are willing to put the message across, I believe are fulfilling their fundamental obligation to society.
Moreover, in election seasons especially in developed countries, media organizations, after analyzing the political programs of different candidates and political forces, take a position and choose to support particular candidates.
We recall that on October 23, 2008, the New York Times’ editorial board published an editorial clearly stating its endorsement of Barack Obama for President. Other papers like the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times also endorsed Obama. Even journalist and columnists are known to take positions on electoral candidates and voice their support.
Journalists in 1994 who worked for Kangura and RTLM made decisions, for whatever reasons that put them on the wrong side of history. They have had to pay for those decisions and actions because they sided with a repressive and killer genocidal regime and other political players.
I believe that many in our media are equipped with the tools of analysis, to know the progressive forces of our time and practice what builds and unites Rwanda and Rwandans, rather than being tools of social division and strife.