Rwandans and their friends who cherish the sanctity of life must have heaved a sigh of relief when they heard that Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa was out of danger. It would have been terrible grief if he had succumbed to the bullet of a common gunslinger, knowing the role he played in the liberation of this country.
Rwanda has come a long way and that Rwandans are living together again should be appreciated as a veritable miracle. Anybody who has contributed to this reunion of a community of Rwandans must be given their deserved honour.
After all, their compatriots all but disembowelled that unity.
Indeed, the history of Rwanda is a story of shame. When colonialism came and reigned over Rwanda, its intention was to set Rwandans on a collision course that would for ever divide them into antagonistic camps.
Unfortunately, the colonialists’ mission was successful and some Rwandans truly espoused their evil intent. The first sign of its result was the outbreak of the 1959 pogroms where Batutsi were killed or maimed.
Those who survived were dispossessed and sent into exile. The few who stuck it out and remained in the country were deprived of their citizens’ rights and subjected to periodic slaughter in an extermination effort.
A people who had lived together for millennia and shared everything – language, culture, traditional rites, etc. – were told that they were different races and actually had nothing in common and some of them swallowed this cheap lie hook, line and sinker.
In fact, the leaders in the first and second republics after independence, new champions of division, set out to go a step further than their colonial teachers. For them, division in Rwandans was not enough.
Elimination of a section of their people was more appealing and it became their dedicated mission.
All along, however, there were Rwandans who saw through the machinations of these elements (colonialists and succeeding leaders) and were not caught in the grip of this ‘leap of faith’. The history of Rwanda is replete with fallen heroes who died defending the unity of Rwandans.
For trying to lead Rwandans in resisting the evil influence of the colonialists, King Musinga was banished to the then Belgian Congo (D.R. Congo) together with his close confidants.
His son, installed as a teenager to occupy the throne, at maturity as King Mutara Rudahigwa also saw this dangerous colonial drive and, together with nationalists like Rukeba, tried to lead his people in reversing it. Unfortunately, he was instantly assassinated and his followers banished, if not killed, in the 1959 pogroms.
The so-called ‘Inyenzi’ of the early 1960s, lacking direction as they may have been, must also be recognised as a group that made an effort at fighting for the rights of those Rwandans who had been relegated to the condition of statelessness.
With the failure of the above efforts, Rwandans resigned themselves to the misery of the hopeless fate forced upon them. Those outside the country started to disguise themselves so as to ‘steal’ the nationalities of their countries of exile, but most were confined to refugee camps.
Meanwhile, inside the country Rwandans were divided into classes of those without rights, those that sang to the gallery and those that enjoyed ‘exclusional’ privileges. The first republic after independence favoured the south, while the second favoured the north.
Generally, Rwanda was in a sorry and sad state. It would not be until the mid-1980 that some young Rwandan refugees thought of forming a movement that would liberate Rwanda. From cultural groups, they formed something called Rwandese Alliance for National Unity (RANU).
It is this RANU that metamorphosed into the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) and mobilised Rwandans to a point where they were a force that could even command a fighting wing, becoming RPF/A. Unfortunately, when RPF/A launched its war of liberation it suffered a setback when the RPA commander, Fred Gisa Rwigema, was shot dead.
With that setback, RPA was scattered and practically haunted out of the northern fringes of Rwanda that it had captured. One man is credited with the reorganisation of that scattered group of fighters who slowly grew and methodically fought as a formidable force to defeat the forces of genocide.
That man is today’s President Paul Kagame. He is the man who led a group of hardened fighters to victory. These are the fighters who against all odds were able to end the 1994 genocide and stabilise the country, a country that had abolished the word ‘unity’ from its vocabulary.
Today, Rwanda is again a united country at peace with itself and its neighbours. It is in the fast lane of socio-economic growth.
And yet, to one of these hardened fighters, this noble cause of uniting Rwandans into a self-respecting and internationally respected community is zero. The abuser is no ordinary man, either, but one who was at one time in the driving seat of that formidable force.
He would equate it to the Habyarimana cause of methodically planning and systemically executing a genocide that saw about 1.25 Rwandans spill their blood into the soils of their land.
Surely, this is the height of grief for Rwandans! Whatever hatred you may have for Paul Kagame, you must accord Rwandans their due respect. To embrace Ingabire, whose hero is Mbonyumutwa, one of the chief architects of Hutu Power that sought to decimate a section of Rwandans?
To turn to Yusufu Mugenzi for solace, like Emmanuel Habyarimana, Sebarenzi, Mushayidi, Rusesabagina and other similar rejects of their community, and even peddle similar lies? Who should care that motley self seekers are running away, when eleven million of their compatriots are busy building their country for them?
Why, Kayumba, why?