Mr. Golooba-Mutebi’s article (‘The Independent’, July 30 – August 05, 2010) displayed a maturity and sobriety that put to shame the feverish and uncoordinated rants of Mr. Timothy Kalyegira, to whose article earlier he was reacting in the same magazine.
As usual, Kalyegira’s ‘analysis’ was marked by recklessness, frivolousness, languidness and sheer malice. Golooba-Mutebi’s article serves to show that only a calm and carefully researched and analysed argument can win credibility.
But, of course, Kalyegira’s opinion feeds into the same narrative that all detractors of Rwanda and their careless consorts want to assign to the country. They want to be seen as messiahs whose ‘revelation’ they are ‘exposing’ to the world: that Rwanda is inherently violent and the world should only wait for its eruption.
What they ignore, or are too lazy to find out, is that before colonialism Rwandans were among only a few well-organised states on the African continent. A few minutes of research will show that Rwandans then were united under one central leadership and divisions into ethnic groups are a recent construct of colonialism.
It will be recalled that Rwandan fervour to unite against an outside invader was legendary and that was why neighbouring communities lived in mortal fear of ever provoking their wrath. That is also why no Rwandan is ever known as having been taken into slavery and no neighbouring forces occupied any part of the country for long.
It was with the help of the hard force of the gun and soft power of the the bible that colonialism was finally able to break this spirit. After breaking this spirit, now it was possible for colonialism to engineer a process that would in the end pit a Rwandan against another Rwandan and culminate into the 1994 genocide.
The spirit, however, was broken but not dead.
It is this spirit that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has sought to re-ignite. From its inception, even as a ragtag group of scattered refugees in the early 1980s, its first objective on the agenda was “Consolidation of the unity and reconciliation of Rwandans.” It is this rallying call that guides RPF’s every action to-date.
And this rallying call resonates with every Rwandan: from the remotest villager to the most prominent business mogul; from a mechanic to an engineer; a nursery school teacher to a university professor; a cell leader to the country’s president.
That, interestingly, is what is seen as the autocratic hand of Kagame. To a lazy and cursory eye, or an eye with its own agenda, Kagame appears to be riding roughshod over Rwandans, in leading the implementation of RPF objectives.
In reality, a keen observation would easily discern the fact that the man’s whole conduct is informed by RPF principles.
When Rwandans were called upon to rise and fight for the restoration of their dignity, they rallied to the call with vim and vigour. It was not because they had been coerced by local security officials. Now that it is election time, however, that is the message that sections of the media want disseminated.
When Rwandans sing and shout at rallies it is because they have readily abandoned the old ways of one Rwandan always seeking an edge over another one, even if it meant eliminating them. Today, they are celebrating the candidate who led them out of that acrimony.
To them, that candidate is RPF. Rwandans have come out in force to implement RPF’s objectives because they speak to their pursuits and optimism. They are an answer to their prayers for a better future, which otherwise they thought was achievable only if snatched from their fellow Rwandans.
And for showing Rwandans the benefits of correctly identifying what is good for them, setting priorities and how to go about securing them, RPF in turn has been pressured into taxing its leadership to answer the chant of the people: “We want more!”
So, you are right, Golooba-Mutebi, Rwanda is “a strong, organised and functioning state.” The government that is led by RPF is ‘condemned’ to being functional; it cannot wager, it is ‘embarked’. It has no luxury of failure after showing Rwandans that it can lead them in what they thought was their past glory.
Most importantly, the chairman of what I call “The RPF Mission” cannot afford to abort this important assignment that every Rwandan has married into and turned into “The Rwanda Mission”. For, what else does it mean when you see the carnival mood at the rallies organised by RPF and the massive numbers in attendance?
No, Rwandans have got a taste of what they want and cannot allow such a chairman to slacken, to sleep more than four hours, to entertain a divisive media that scorns them by taking them for objects that can be whipped around at will or do-gooder rights activists out to derail “The Mission”.
Especially, such a chairman must lead the way for Rwandans in their fight against ‘genocide-nostaligics’ who think they can waltz to our presidential chair just by whipping up ethnic feelings. For the likes of Ingabire to think that they can share a platform with RPF, with President Kagame, is an insult to Rwandans.
That we share the same air is a humiliation to genocide survivors and an abomination to all Rwandans.
As for the other honourable opposition parties in the race, I say “Brave it, guys!” Even if you don’t make it this time, there is always a next time. Maybe you’ll have honed your skills and tuned in to the rhythm of the changing times and ambitions of Rwandans.
As the Waswahili say, “Asiyekubali kushindwa si mshindi!” (A dishonourable loser will never be a winner). When Rwandans win, everyone is a winner.
Otherwise, “The Mission” must persevere.
Come Monday 9th, may the best party’s voice win!