Rwanda: no lesson learnt from 1994

Paul Kagame - BBC image

Paul Kagame – BBC image

Let’s talk about the 94 Rwandan tragedy, not because its significance is paramount in the understanding of the country’s recent history and ongoing politics, but mainly for the reason that it does not teach much to the leaders who should learn from it.

In recent days I was discussing with friends on how two somehow distant periods in history could show similarities at the point that people involved, at least in the current one, should read the past, learn and confront their present and foremost their future while being better equipped.

In the case of Rwanda, that does not seem to be the case. Instead, there has been almost a systematic unlearning of whatever positive practices existed. In fact for informed observers of the country’s politics, it appears that before July 4th, 1994 there is something like a tabula rasa.

The good policies of the previous government of effective harmony between ethnic groups have been strategically erased. This was purposely pursued under the mantra of the “divide and rule” principle.

Political arrogance that I consider as taking personal wish of a leader to be the people’s will, has today reached an abnormal level in Rwanda which can only predict the worst for the country.

After unleashing in the public his intention of continuing to rule Rwanda, President Paul Kagame is currently and deliberately ignoring the expectations of the millions of citizens he made suffer indescribably under his regime. They would otherwise feel relieved once come 2017 because the oppressor and murderer of their people would be at the end of his term and out office.

But lessons cannot be learnt as the Rwandan leader and his cronies continue to prove that. Social media, and many other media outlets led by pro-Kagame circles are in full gear putting in the general public psyche that he is the only who can.

Some tweets are making the waves for the President:

Kim Kamasa
Debate on post-2017 #Rwanda not about third term

Fred Mwasa
News Update: Locals grace heavy downpour on visit of President Kagame in Nyamagabe district, want 3rd term for him #citizenoutreach#Rwanda.

Albert Rudatsimburwa
#RPF in power for 18Y in #Rwanda is also bcoz of incredible performance moving society not to compare w/ #ANC in #SA. 3rd term is domestic.

@msafarid good governance is not bout 3rd term. It’s about delivery to society. If #Africans have homegrown solutions let them do.

But on another note, there are voices like former Rwandan ambassador to the US, Dr Theoneste Rudasingwa, which predict a sinister near future. He explains:

“We have entered a period of high risk and escalation in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region. Within Rwanda we are probably 2 to 3 years to a major event, which could escalate into a full civil war. The political space has become completely closed, with moderate voices dead, in jail or in exile. The regime has become ever more illegitimate, intransigent, and aggressive.”

The odds are not good. 1994 is still fresh in many Rwandans’ memories. Their government is unfortunately interested in referring to the genocide for its political own gains, nothing else, and without any consideration for the people’s suffering. It appears so sad RPF and its leadership cannot learn much from the in-commensurable national tragedy. They are so consumed by their egos that they forego everything else.

Back in the early 90s, at the end of the Cold War, the Great Lakes region became a place where new world influences got played, US and UK expanded theirs by sidelining France and Belgium particularly in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Fully backing RPF was one of the many strategies applied.

From 1994 until today the international general public has been fooled about the responsibility of the mentioned Anglo-Saxon countries in what has been happening in the region since. History is repeating itself under everybody’s eyes. Will people accept any other apologies for additional millions of victims expected in the next episode of the tragedy? No they cannot.

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