South Africa was and is still today considered as a relatively developed country. Recently it also successively staged the World Cup.
At the time of its apartheid system, the country was seen as economically prosperous but with all the wealth in the hands of white people.
In the case of Rwanda, before the 60s there was an apartheid similar system but of black on black – Tutsi aristocracy on Hutu peasantry. With the help of the 1994 genocide circumstances, the old system has been modernized and I would say re-branded with a multi-layered arsenal of policies and laws to make it look progressive and even democratic.
In March of this year President Kagame made a public reference to this new system when he declared that his government had developed a ‘wall of laws’ unbreakable by anyone who would want to. These laws and corresponding policies touch every aspect of life of every Rwandan. But the fundamentals and objectives are based on exclusion of the majority of the population by a minority and dividing to rule principle. They are the same as those from the past.
In his 16 years’ tenure as the main strongman, Kagame has managed to channel in Rwanda almost 6 billions $ of aid and investments equivalent mainly by blackmailing the international community about its role in the genocide in which his own responsibility remains officially clean, thanks to his UK and US sponsors who don’t want to enforce French and Spanish international warrants against him.
With such amount of money, Kagame has built and developed what the West praises him fort, but at the same time, modernized the old apartheid that his parents and ancestors applied to the majority of the population with its numerous practices of exclusion in areas such as education, employment, business, administration, property ownership, politic, etc.
Maybe Rwanda is not South Africa. But claiming that there is development when the majority of the population is excluded from it is totally wrong and counter-productive in the long term. Those claiming that Rwanda is prosperous, they may be right when one looks at the buildings in Kigali, but they should also wonder why the South African apartheid was so strongly fought, initially by its victims then by all the people with goodwill around the world.
South African apartheid which was played with the card of the color of the skin has been defeated on the African continent when Nelson Mandela was freed on 11 February 1990. Rwandan apartheid which is being played with the card of genocide should also be defeated with the same energy from everyone in Rwanda and around the world concerned with its impact on our common humanity.