On September 16th, 2013 Rwanda goes again to elect its members of parliament. When a dictator decides that his citizens should not have a say in anything concerning their lives, an ethical question arises of why he should pressure them into elections.
If it was up to them they would not surely participate willingly to the electoral process. With or without elections, the result is nothing else but the same policies and mechanisms of oppression from the regime. Rwandan masses cannot expect any different outcome from any Rwandan Patriotic Front’s election.
Consequently, the rationale of holding elections in the Rwandan situation needs to be found elsewhere than in the essence of election which is the search of objective representation of the people and some level of accountability of elected individuals before their electorate.
It is a fact that members of the Rwandan parliament don’t represent any of the peoples’ constituencies, except those not necessarily geographical serving the regime. Even the so widely praised and significant number of women in that parliament is there not to advocate for women’s issues but instead to fool the rest of the world into believing that the Rwandan Patriotic Front cares about them. Obviously it takes credit and advantage of the created image for the country: a place where women are like queens and cared for.
Having said that, if the Rwandan president and his dictatorial system don’t stage elections for Rwandans, who do they then perform them for? This is a critical question.
Dictators are pretentious people. They cannot be real, if they did by accident, they would lose their power instantly. They stage elections in order to pretend they operate in the norms of the politically acceptable standards. They are trying to be like others though it takes them tremendous efforts and ingenuity to be able to fool everyone not well informed about their tricks.
The Rwandan president has to fool donors that his government and institutions are somehow representatives of the will of the people. He badly needs such image because without it he cannot collect external aid from partner countries. The irony of the election masquerade is that these countries take it as a reflection of an acceptable democracy, then pledge their taxpayers’ money to the Kagame’s regime. If the citizens in these donor countries were well informed, they would surely make their governments change their minds about Rwanda and its system of leadership.
Another irony and even laughable side of the story is that sometime the dictator would use whenever necessary his rubber-stamping parliament to enact certain decisions, and other times by-passing it for some other very important ones such as going to war, dispossessing or starving deliberately some sections of the population, or discriminating among Rwandan children about their right to education, and so forth.
He is however also fooling Rwandans in many ways through his sham elections. They are being forced to vote on lists of fake candidates [paraded as so for the sake of it], while he has already selected who will be sitting in his parliament. He has to play this game as a necessary investment for his system which needs external financial support to operate and oppress persistently the majority of its citizens.
I am totally convinced that if Rwandans wanted strongly to end Kagame’s foolishness of elections they could. It is not about its stupidity only they need to act against but also because of the numerous crimes it enables in the name of democracy.
At the end, is the Rwandan regime seriously fooling anybody? I don’t think so. It is only those who feel comfortable in being fooled who believe its electoral treacheries. Unfortunately such comfort can be considered as criminal as it is allowing the commission of crimes which has not stopped for all the time the Rwandan Patriotic Front has been in power.