Why western analysts/’experts’ always fail to get it on Rwanda
I have come to conclude that People fail to understand the true fiber of Rwanda’s political and cultural set up not because it’s in anyway complicated but because they fail to desist from looking at things simplistically and through a stereotypical lens. Laziness, racism and arrogance could also be other reasons. I was following closely debates that preceded Rwanda’s admission to the Commonwealth of Nations and those that came after. But one commentator on news.scotsman.com was amusing in his simplistic round up of the entire process by calling it a ‘grand farce more entertaining than mere politics.’ It is indeed amusing for someone to refer to a grand milestone for 10 million people a ‘grand entertaining farce.’ Their comments actually provided the biggest entertainment.
Fred Bridgland thought that the main driving force behind Rwanda’s admission to the Commonwealth of Nations is Rwanda’s ‘adaption of cricket as a national sport.’ Now, if this isn’t simplistic and arrogant thinking, then these terms don’t exist. The gentleman even goes ahead to allege that the ‘cricket revolution’ in Rwanda was a ‘clear and deliberate kick in the teeth of France.’ How in the world can a nation introduce a sport to merely settle political scores? Anyone who knows Rwanda well should know that this country is a sporting nation and uses it as a medium to bring cohesion among its people as part of its unity and reconciliation programs. And, as far as I know, there is nothing like the Government adapting a national sport in Rwanda. It’s all federation driven.
What happens is that when people are interested in a sport they just register it and simply start playing. What the Government does is to offer support where necessary. In any case Rwanda’s interest in joining the Commonwealth was purely to gain economic, social, political and cultural milestones, just like joining the East African Community, COMESA, CPEGL and others, not because of the urge to’ run away from France.’ The new Rwanda loathes the old idea of being regarded as belonging to this or that country, or divide. What matters to Rwanda now is belonging to groupings that will boost her development aspirations. As for the question of embracing English as the language of instruction in schools, this was part of Rwanda’s bid to open up to the wide world after decades in isolation. English is not only the business language the world over, but in order for Rwanda to efficiently integrate and trade with regional nations, people have to learn English to facilitate their communication.
Mediocre intellectuals might have gotten away with it elsewhere on many occasions but Rwanda will prove uncompromising to them because their carelessness will be exposed at the slightest slip. There is no other reason for this except the fact that Rwanda’s case is different in many ways and therefore provides no room for ‘copy and paste’ analyses. In order to understand Rwanda well, one needs to thoroughly and painstakingly look at the country’s history and measure it against the country’s new vision. Any other way will only yield misleading and doubtable state of matters on Rwanda. That is why you find that at the end this writer contradicts himself like…”of course it is no great secret that Rwanda has won admission to the Commonwealth because it is perhaps the most efficiently run country in Africa..” this leads you to confusion and start wondering what the writer was blubbering about in the first place.
That is why I suggest that any intellectual who wants to make a report or an analysis on Rwanda should first and foremost be prepared to pack a big bag and come to Rwanda prepared for a long stay. What happened in Rwanda took place over a long period of time, therefore no one should expect to analyze it on ‘remote control’ or by merely talking to a couple of people in bars and streets of Kigali. Unlike many African countries, Rwanda’s new leadership has managed to identify the country’s problems and has been able to design flexible solutions, policies, programs and strategies that will be able to address each problem in its own context. It is also pertinent to understand that Rwanda’s leadership is not your typical political establishments where politicians are only interested in power and try to out do each other to occupy the top seat of leadership where they will be guaranteed of all the privileges that come with power. Don’t be surprised to hear people referring to Rwanda as a firm where the President is the CEO. Rwandan people are serious about developing their country and they own every process of this.