Rwanda, Aluta Continua?
By Diana Mpyisi, The New Times
At the beginning of this month, in 1990, a group of young Rwandan men and women began a struggle to end a regime which was based on divisionism, ethnicity, genocide ideology, amongst other things. Most of these people were younger than I am now.
Armed mostly with a shared vision, limited ammunition and the invincibility of youth – they set out on a journey to make real their vision of an all-inclusive Rwandan government, one based on unity, meritocracy, human values and anti-corruption.
Their struggle was peppered with massive disappointment, despair, death and misery most of us will only hear about, and hopefully never experience. Sometimes when I reflect on this, I wonder if put in those same shoes, would I drop without a moment’s thought – my career, my family, my friends or my lifestyle – to fight for something I believed in, as these young men and women did? And if I did, would my commitment last until the end?
These are but some of the reflections I, and I’m sure many other young Rwandans have, as we pay tribute to the people who fought to make the Rwanda of 2012 a reality, one that has undoubtedly surpassed many expectations.
Today, we have a leadership that is founded on the principles those young men and women fought for in 1990, and Rwanda today is a model not only for the region, but for the world as well, having transformed itself from its tragic past.
But – the struggle continues.
Today, there is still a war. It’s just more diverse and abstract in nature, and difficult to grasp. Our enemies are more difficult to tackle, and include poverty, unsustainable aid, illiteracy and disease. Our foot soldiers are teachers, economists, scientists, entrepreneurs, farmers, think-tank members, civil servants, writers, doctors, engineers, artists and every Rwandan under the sun.
Our strategy is a unified attack, but alas – this is easier said than done. In between are Rwandan self-interest groups, opportunists and critics who are happy to criticize and do nothing from their lofty pedestals – our current war is far from over.
We have an international community, rife with double standards, that is only too happy to oblige and machine-gun fire baseless, upon baseless accusation against Rwanda for purposes unbeknownst to many.
We in Rwanda have chosen not to be deterred by this, but it is tough getting back on our wagon toward transformation each time we fall off – a result of hitting potholes of these false allegations and whatnot.
Indeed, aluta continua.
Perhaps our biggest challenge is changing mindsets and making Rwandans truly understand the concept of unity. Sometimes I wonder if this inner-squabbling at the expense of progress and wealth, is not something that is in the African DNA.
Years and years after colonialism, almost every African government is typified by conflict based on greed, absolutely pointless tribalism and petty interests. Rwanda has chosen not to take this path, and instead focus on an inclusive vision of progress for all.
Still, our unified national psyche has some cracks in it, often the result of personal interests, and not the genuine desire for that dissident individual or group in question, to transform for the better the lives of 11.6 million people in Rwanda.
I can imagine the shadowy powerful groups gleefully rubbing their hands at the vulnerability of yet another African nation. More control and power for them, and less for these silly divided Africans.
Until we can grasp the bigger picture of all these factors, aluta continua. Until we say – you know what, let’s put our differences aside and concentrate on building a thing of wonder for our future generations – aluta continua. It is a different war. The question is, what are you as a Rwandan and as an African, doing about it?