I (@Rwabigwi) have been on Twitter for the last two years – or so – and I admit that this social media network is one of the greatest platforms one can imagine. Having gained more attention in Rwanda like never before during 2011, Twitter is gathering more and more users from within and outside the country whose passion mostly includes communicating and the itch for knowledge. Like any other online social media site, there are some disadvantages with Twitter but I assure you that the advantages are heavier. There are a good number of people worth following because of their intriguing tweets and day-to-day updates that leave you in the know of what is happening around the country and the entire globe.
Below is my list of the 10 best Rwandan tweeters in 2011. They have definitely made my 2011 year on Twitter. They are truly worth the follow. I look forward to greater things from them—and others—in the future.
1 Lucy Mbabazi
Lucy Mbabazi is the Policy & Strategy Advisor to the Head of ICT at RDB (Rwanda Development Board.) Her tweets are not just about ICT or even RDB; she actually tweets more than anyone else here in Rwanda—covering important topics, all leading to a positive change in our land of a thousand hills. This woman probably has the largest number of tweets about Rwanda. By 2012, she had tweeted 7,544 times, following 224 tweeters with up to 574 followers. Having been “fearfully and wonderfully made,” Lucy is God’s special gift sent from the famous Harvard Kennedy School to Rwanda. She has been significantly taking part in Rwanda’s social and economic transformation that we have witnessed over the years. Her great work and sweat are clearly appreciated on Twitter. God bless her more.
2 President Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame)
Followed by more than 41,129 people, the President of Rwanda is a model like no other on Twitter. Despite his very busy schedule as a President among other things, Paul Kagame gets time to tweet. Astonishingly, by 1st January 2012 President Kagame had tweeted 1,842 times—which is far more than most of us who have been on the site for years. Unlike most of the Presidents we have had on Twitter, he literally tweets by himself and engages in different discussions. Besides, he is probably the one who has proven how effective this platform can be when it comes to communication. He is the man who promoted Twitter in Rwanda and I am sure he has inspired a lot of people even beyond our borders. However, he does not follow anyone.
3 Eugene Anangwe (@AmEugeneAnangwe)
Made famous in Rwanda especially by the Kicukiro-based Radio Contact FM, Eugene Anangwe is a Kenyan whose journalistic skills have usefully reached millions of Rwandans. He also has many valuable contributions through his Sunday Crossfire Show which brings different debates to the table. He was able to tweet more than 3,670 times by the end of last year. He attracted more than 607 tweeters and his tweets range from opinions, breaking news, discussion and debates.
4 Allan Brian Sesonga (@ssojo81)
This young Ugandan’s Twitter account is characterized by 5,022 tweets and more than 380 followers. Alan Brian is a columnist at The New Times (@NewTimesRwanda). Besides his numerous articles on education, he has proven how Twitter can be an important space to lay information and also debate about education-related issues. His profile describes him as a “free thinker and a lover of information.” I admire Brian’s role in transforming Rwanda’s education sector, especially his strong advocacy for a better reading culture. If you want to know what’s going on in our education sector and other related-issues, then you need to follow him.
5 Christine Mutimura (@ChrisMutimura)
By the end of 2011, Christine Mutimura had tweeted 1,254 times. She is one of the greatest legal minds we have here—especially on ICRT/ICC and other cases. She is a lawyer working in civil service and I am sure many would benefit much from following her. Her tweets fascinate me and I guess they captivate even her other followers.
6 Camille N. Kakana (@Camiliciuz)
Camille is a true example of how a young girl uses Twitter to keep interacting with her friends, colleagues and mates whenever and wherever necessary. On 8th December 2011, she tweeted: “Studying with Twitter around was a bad idea…a very bad idea…SMH”. She is one of the few who feel “good to be back after 10 days without Twitter”- 10 days she describes as eternity. After reading some of her tweets I felt like I was a part of her life and I could literally feel how amazing she is—especially to her friends and entourage. According to @AmEugeneAnangwe, she is “humble, friendly, hardworking and very responsible too!”
7 Amin Gafaranga (@AminGafaranga)
When I entered the Kacyiru-based Shokola Lite for the first time, my first question was: ‘How did the owner of this coffee shop come up with this design?’ Having a huge interest in literacy development, I also wonder about libraries. Amin Gafaranga is certainly the person you can get answers from if you ever ask yourself questions such as mine. He is one of the greatest and most important tweeters Rwanda has had during 2011. His 1,564 tweets have inspired many (as much as 838). If you are an entrepreneur, Gafaranga is the right person to follow! He is a Product Designer, a marketer, an ‘idea-preneur’ and founder of Design Village (@DesignVillage), a people-centered social innovation lab.
8 Edmund Kagire
Edmund is a young and unique (if I may add) Kigali-based journalist. Having earned more than 236 followers by the end of 2011, he attracted many of us especially because of his important arguments that lean towards a better media industry in Rwanda. I am sure that with a few more Kagire’s, Rwanda’s media industry will be significantly transformed in a short period. His day-to-day updates are interesting, let alone his argumentative mind.
9 Dave Jenkins (@MzeeDaveJenkins)
Dave Jenkins is a Senior Pastor at Christ’s Church in Rwanda and yet some of his best friends are non believers. He tweeted, “You don’t need to agree with me to be my friend, but I expect you to be truthful and keep your word.” He likes people who make him wiser and he enjoys a good natured debate. 2011 left his account being followed by 125 tweeps. He had tweeted 507 times, covering different interesting subjects, especially sharing his experiences in his ongoing journey to Rwanda.
10 Dr. Agnes Binagwaho (@agnesbinagwaho)
She is Rwanda’s Minister of Health. She is popular for her great work with the National Commission for the fight against HIV/AIDS, known as CNLS, where she worked before being entrusted as Health Minister. With more than 986 tweets by the end of 2011, Dr. Binagwaho has been unique on Twitter. With 1,000 followers, she introduced the Mondays with the Minister (#MinisterMondays) initiative which is a “forum for exchange among payers and everyone interested in health issues” in real-time. This has enabled her to respond to a series of questions from across Rwanda. Students and researchers alike, interested in global health have also joined these sessions from Europe and North America, according to Dr. Binagwaho. I admire how she uses her writing skills to communicate with many through different outlets.
Dr. Agnes only follows two people: @PaulKagame and @dkanamugire, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications which is based in the President’s Office. By 2012, she had more than 1,454 followers.
The author is the founder of High School Review, @HiSchoolReview—a non-profit student run Group/Organisation aimed at developing the reading and writing culture at early ages in Rwanda.