Every time in December for the last 11 years, the government of Rwanda organizes the national dialogue. All Rwandans whether they are inside the country or in the Diasporas are requested to give their views on how to build this nation. This is an initiative that is found in few countries and it reflects how in former time Rwandans used to sit with their leaders to find solutions to their problems.
When colonialists came to Rwanda, they found a well organized society with a coherent administration. It was hard for them to rule over Rwandans except by finding ways to divide them. In order to achieve their mission, colonialists had to make sure that the institutions and values that had been ruling this country had to disappear. This is something that was planned by the colonialists with the help of the clergy and the long plan achieved its objectives in 1959.
Atrocities were planned and executed with the help of Rwandans that were inspired by the colonialist’s ideology. Suddenly Rwandans found themselves in exile in neighboring countries of Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania among others. The colonizer’s plan had succeeded to break a society that had been in harmony for over many centuries. This was the first time for Rwandans to be denied their rights to be who God had made them to be that is “Umunyarwanda”.
It took more than three decades for Rwandans to regain their rights. At what price? Recurring genocide since 1959 up to 1994 wiped out millions of innocent souls. A deeply divided society whereby some were denied the rights a citizen anywhere in the world should enjoy such as the right to education, healthcare, the right to vote and be voted into office among other rights. By the time Rwandans took arms to defend their rights to come back home and enjoy all their rights, the neocolonialists was alarmed. They did everything to perpetuate the system they had instigated but failed miserably in 1994.
From that time on, Rwandans have been working hard to fix the society that used to be before colonialism. How on earth victims of the genocide and perpetrators could forgive each other and live in harmony again? It is only in Rwanda that this situation was made possible. This is something that must have surprised those who were thinking that this country was about to descend into an endless chaos. The latter have now chosen to criticize every achievement Rwandans have registered over the last two decades.
Many initiatives borrowed from the Rwandan culture such as Ingando, Gacaca courts, Girinka, Rwanda day, Ndi Umunyarwanda and the national dialogue among others were used to build what Rwanda used to be. President Paul Kagame once said that we can’t change the past but we have power over the future. There is no way Rwandans can accept to die twice the reason why they are working hard not only to heal the past but also to build a prosperous and dignified nation that every Rwandans will be proud of.
It is a good idea for the national dialogue to be broadcast live on TV, Radio so that every Rwandans can take part in the discussions using either an SMS or social Medias. I happen to follow a presentation on good governance by Prof. SHYAKA Anastase the chief executive of Rwanda Governance Board. He was giving facts on what Rwanda has achieved over the last twenty years in terms of good governance. He was also complaining that some foreign organizations close their eyes on what Rwanda has achieved and instead remain endlessly critical.
What do you want them to do? Their aim is to keep selling a bad image of Rwanda to their sponsors. The latter are the same whose policies led Rwandans into a tragic genocide and wars we all know. The task we have at hands is to keep doing what is right for us and the end result will be a prosperous nation that will give dignity to all Rwandans without discrimination. The national dialogue and other initiatives borrowed from our culture should continually be used to seek solutions to our problems.
The long walk to freedom, the new biographical film based on the1994 book Long Walk to Freedom by anti-apartheid revolutionary and the late former South African President Nelson Mandela can be easily compared to the long walk to dignity for Rwandans. The late South African leader was jailed for almost three decades a period of time Rwandans were denied their rights. By 1994 when he became the first black president in South Africa, Rwandans had valiantly defeated the regime that had been denying their rights. Though a lot still need to be done, we should be proud of our achievements as we walk the road to dignity we all deserve.