Peddlers of alternative truths; time you got off your high horse

So, where has this Wild West ‘cowboy’ sprung from, guns blazing, to aptly come to our rescue? Were we not beginning to miss these passionate protectors of ours, no tongue-in-cheek?

For information, ‘cowboy’ is in inverted commas because Rwandan civility forbids calling anybody ‘cowgirl’. Moreover, the lady referred to is “professor of sport management and tourism studies”, no less, by the hitherto-unseen name of L.D. Neirotti.

Intriguing, no, “Sport management and tourism studies”? Lucky compatriots may be familiar with this ‘sport-tourism’ wonder lady. Befuddled old geezer that I be, I’d never had the privilege of accessing views of this grand guru, who seemingly knows best how to catapult this country into a tourism dreamland.

Prof LDN, where have you been all our lives?

Don’t say you were not yet born when Rwanda rose from the pit and, confounding all who thought her dead and gone, started growing exponentially as an economy of a united society.

Imagine if we’d had you as professorial counsellor. Wouldn’t we be high up there, in the clouds?

Writing in The East African (June 16 –22, 2018), this sagacious professor offers this tip, among others: “…in developing countries, up to 90% of the tourism dollars spent by each tourist does not stay in the country, a situation referred to as ‘leakage’”.

How eye-opening! And all along we thought our tourism earnings had surpassed all export earnings. That’s crap, swears our king…er…queen-fish, because those earnings and the impressive rise in living standards that we and the rest of the world see are only “leakage”.

And, avers our perceptive pundit, we are doomed to forever harvest “leakage” unless we overcome our handicaps.

Among which, that of all of us being simply Rwandan and, therefore, incapable of adopting the “Batwa Experience which consists of a hike into the forest with the Batwa pygmies, the first people of the forest.”

Maybe some bright mind out there could decipher for me who these “…pigmies, first people of the forest” are and how lacking them only earns us tourism “leakage”! Plus, how does advertising with Arsenal FC compound our handicaps? Mute mind that I am, it’s beyond me.

“Destination marketing through sport sponsorship” has been successful with countries like Mexico, she contends, but alas! That’s not for us: “it is widely known that the president of Rwanda is an avid fan of the team”. And her penetrating intelligence sees that as killing the targeted fan viewership as a marketing strategy.

Well, I’ll be buggered! As naïve citizens, though, what else can we be except damned?

But hold your horses! Am I the only one smelling a rotten fish in the views of this “sport-tourism management’ czar?

Why does she rely purely on observations of others? Because her analysis confidence is similar to that of a part of her that defied God’s order to get a lid, only to be ‘wasp-stung’ a few steps away? (Disclaimer: the ‘lid’ adage is from a local language in a part of Uganda).

Quoting what others observe as “raising eyebrows”, as “widely known” or what “many people have….expressed….”? Second-hand wisdom? An expert it does not make, if you ask me.

Familiarity with the ground and having facts at your ‘classroom’ fingertips does.

Seek facts, else you’ll end up in the dump pool of professor trolls on Rwanda who found themselves turned into clowns for their careers!

They were a dime a dozen. Filip Reyntjens, the constitution-expert hoax. Peter Erlinder, the rights-defending fraud. And sundry other quacks of the ilk, too many to waste ink on.

They trashed Gacaca; it astounded with justice and reconciliation delivered in record time. They rubbished Umuganda; then saw their countries starting to adopt it. They lambasted Girinka; now see our healthy citizens. Mitweri, Imihigo, Umushyikirano, Umwiherero, Abunzi, Itorero, …. They tried to pick holes in them all but drew blanks, cheap chaps.

Cool your heels then, armchair commentator. Rwanda has seen the likes of you all and showed you up for the phonies that you are.

Tell you what, self-trumpeted “tourism studies” Swami, why don’t you consult your compatriot, Ms. Laura Powell of Skift, lest you imagine we are blowing our own trumpet?

She’ll tell you a thing or twenty about Rwanda’s approach to tourism. And it’ll sure yank you down to earth, from your cloud nine.

She will impress it upon you that instead of exposing tourists to the dangers of killer animals and wasps, your unsolicited advice, “Rwanda is setting itself up as Africa’s new big luxury tourist destination.” To the lack of hospitality facilities you bemoan, she’ll tell you “a spate of international luxury hospitality operators are opening nature resorts in the countryside” to complement the many luxury and other hotels in Kigali.

LDN, innovative ideas like advertising with Arsenal FC are responsible for today’s buzz: “Rwanda, the next new seat of luxury tourism’”.

For laughing out loud, you may wish your editor hadn’t so splashily mocked your “flashy own goal” opinion!

That apart, a plea to our respectable local news outlets: please don’t allow yourselves to be used as conduits of vilification messages by such trolls.

Africa is alive with generators of factual opinion.

Why outsource lopsided opinion from the ‘Wild West’?

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Last call, please! Anybody clinging to the greetings of yore, let go

Reader of this greying column, have you survived the night, waraye, wararmutse, bwacyeye, wabonye (imyugaririro) ivamo, wabonye bucya? With the latter literally asking if you miraculously saw the sun rise!

Or, depending on where you are on this globe, if it’s afternoon or evening, have you survived the morning or day, wiriwe? And, in case you are hitting the hay for a shut-eye, may you survive the night, uramuke.

Only “Sleep where it itches, urare aharyana”, conveyed hope, despite its stinging threat!

Please, in case you don’t understand Kinyarwanda, don’t take offence. Those are all well-meaning greetings, after a restful (or otherwise) night or rigorous (or otherwise) day.

No doubt, the ominous ring to those greetings would scare the pants (for trousers!) off any of you but it can sound worse. When you are sick, the greeting could easily hasten your expiry: are you still breathing, uracyahumeka?

When they were coined, they were all well-intentioned. Yet how they reveal a lot about the lot of Rwandans, as they lived it.

At the time of their coining, for all of humanity, life involved roaming the jungles, which meant that life expectancy depended on who ate who first; humans or beasts of the wild. But as if that was not bad enough, from the day the first animated thinking beings were placed on this earth or evolved from whatever Charles Darwin told us, they’ve courted conflict paradoxically as if their lives depended on it!

Maybe you know these little creatures, the Tasmanian devils. From birth, before siblings can take the first steps, they’ll be at one another’s throat in mortal combat to see who lives and feeds or who gives up the fledgling ghost. Meanwhile the mother, who’ll have survived by a whisker to conceive during clashes with her mate and her older kin, would’ve been lucky to get time to deliver. But immediately after, she’ll be off to resume her wars.

A classic display of Charles Darwin’s theory and Herbert Spenser’s coinage of the phrase: survival of the fittest.

However, when you think of it, parochial humans, even with some reasoning power, are no different. If in doubt, ask anybody in Burundi, South Sudan,Yemen, Syria, et al.

And, in the not too distant past, those greetings were so perniciously pertinent for Rwandans.

With no healthcare at all, after the little left by colonialism was run down by genocidal regimes that succeeded it, they’d been left at the mercy of the elements. This, after killing off and hounding out compatriots in the misguided belief that they’d be better-off, grabbing their property. In spite of which all, hunger and strife ravaged the land.

All along, the infighting within the ruling clique was intense as they struggled to encase themselves around regional roots, dragging in their innocent peasant kith.

The deprivation and deaths the whole kerfuffle left in its wake were inestimable. The future for the surviving fittest was not certain, either. Their hope of “miraculously seeing the sun rise” was zee.

Then 1990 happened.

You remember this as the year the RPF/A came to lay claim on the right of identity and rights of all type denied all Rwandans outside the cliques.

This prompted a pause in their infighting and the reunion of the entire collection of factions – the elephants that fought, the grass that suffered, the sick, the famished, all – to together embark on wiping out compatriots who’d long been denied identity and branded foreigners.

And thus the Genocide against the Tutsi sealed the ominous forecasts of those greetings. For 15% – and counting – of the then population of this land, “miracles of seeing the sun rise” had been put to a halt by compatriots akin to “the Tasmanian devils”.

Then, from the bushes, July 4th 1994 emerged.

And slowly but surely, “seeing the sun rise” ceased to be a miracle.

With hearts and minds bonded together to live in brotherhood/sisterhood harmony, possibility to stretch everybody’s lifespan became real. Today, unshakable security, comprehensive healthcare, countrywide hygiene, healthy nutrition, improved household income, universal education, redirected mind-set, worldly outlook, shared focused-vision pursuit – mpere he, ngeze he? (the lot) – have helped place Rwandans “where it itches”.

Rwanda is no longer the eat-self-to-the-death snake-hole it had become. Numbness and death have been exorcised from her system.

Statisticians have put a Rwandan’s life-expectancy at 66 years up from 47. But I don’t believe in fixed statistics. I believe in what I observe to evolve.

And what I see evolving, the senior citizen that I am, is that myriad numbers of my seniors are increasingly alive and well at later ages. So, I see 70 – 80 years, or else my seniors in towns and the countryside would be distant history.

So, dear reader, wherever you are, have you had a good night, waraye neza? Or have you had a good day, wiriwe neza? And sleep well, ugire ijoro ryiza.

Last call! Those of us still clinging to the past by force of habit, we are better advised to let go.

The pessimistic greetings and byes of yore have lost relevance.

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Can Rwanda, setting example, push for a truly functional AfCFTA?

Rwandans may be decrying the imperfections of service delivery today but they should never forget where they are coming from. Only about two decades ago, there was no service of any kind to talk about.

I remember going to the only shop that sold good shoes, bearing the odd Kinyarwanda name of what translated into something like “At-Mrs-Little-Lunatic’s”!

Quite a mouthful, and rather scary too, but I was not put off. On enquiring as to the price of a pair I fancied, I cringed to see the good lady size me up and spit out: “Hah! It’s beyond your means. I am closing, anyway, it’s time for my mid-day nap.”

Cut to the quick, I feigned politeness and, before she could bang the door in my face, entreated: “Please, can you give me three pairs in different colours?” Not that I needed them; but how else could you have punctured her arrogance? The insolence of it all!

I was still in exile and was only testing out my long-lost home so that I could go back, formalise my departure, and return. Unfortunately, once back I encountered worse in many sectors.

But if I quote Mrs-Little-Lunatic, it’s not to dwell on her as a topic. It’s to recall the pathetic state of the service industry and everything else of the time, generally.

The routed government had built a system of kingpins of all sizes around whom everything gravitated. Which is why many places bore the names of these kingpins. There were places called ‘At-Kabuga’s’, ‘At Rubangura’s’, ‘At Mironko’s’ and on, after the buildings’ or business owners’ names.

That’s how the shop took the nickname of the lady-trader.

The business and trading community functioned in this way following the operational set-up of the government.

In government, at the top was the head honcho who was the country’s president, whose power was the tower guiding everything that happened. His top confidants drew their power from him and in turn distributed it down the chain of underlings to the smallest fish. Everybody who was somebody was not so because of hard work but, rather, of how they paid homage to the top banana and their own immediate superior. And power meant affluence and influence.

Be it in the public or private sector, from top dogs power and wealth were doled down in doses of different sizes or in many ways extorted from hapless citizens. Everybody’s attention was thus focused on creating connections to that gravy sequence.

You were respected or disfavoured according to your apparent place in, or out of, that hierarchy.

The poor masses paid up or sang praises for attention, else they were condemned to oblivion. No ruler gave a damn for their bothersome little existence.
It was this status quo that both the rich who had always been here before 1994 and some nouveaux-riches fresh from exile settled in, hoping it’d puff them up into big demi-gods for eternity.

Little did they know that there was new leadership in town that was an altogether different kettle of fish.

Slowly but surely, the leadership was gnawing at, and disrupting, this whole ‘lick-my-boots-and-I scratch-your-back’ mockery of a system to single-mindedly centre all goods and services on the citizenry.

Remnants of this “man eateth where he worketh” and for whom “he worshipeth” mind-set may still be in existence. But methinks we are seeing the last of these avaricious self-declared power brokers.

From the ashes of that sorry system is rising a country of order and united purpose.
Today, buildings and businesses bear their own names. Individuals are just that: individuals.

Yet again, if I ruminate over the state of this country in 1994 and before, it’s not to celebrate its demise only. It’s also to bemoan the existence of this glorification of patronage in systems among some of our fellow African countries.

What kind of twisted logic leads some leaderships into rejecting the idea of uniting their people around the persistently purposeful goal of together achieving a common good? Why are they averse to opening up to other countries for the good of a united, stronger, wealthier Africa?

With a truly functional African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Africa can go places.

If Western Europe can consume Russian gas, however antagonistic they claim to be, we as Africans are also capable of sharing all, however varied our interests. We can together process our primary products and build and link our different infrastructures. We can consume our own, before exporting the surplus for common gain.

To reach there, however, we need an efficient workhorse of a service-focused workforce for the faultless delivery of goods and services. Can we get there?

Where in Japan, for example, some days ago when a train departed twenty-three seconds too early, the authorities saw reason to apologise? And some years ago, when a train was five minutes late, the in-charge committed suicide?

Yes, for one, Rwandans can. I see them soon making first-class goods and perfect service delivery to a point of rolling out the red carpet at the mere sight of a potential customer.

Indeed, we must, to set example. Even if we are to get the moniker of ‘Little-Lunatic’ for it!

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Advertising with anybody, don’t all countries or companies do it to increase earnings?

There is this English media know-all I heard on BBC radio last Tuesday (29.5.’18) morning, call him “KA”. You know, one of those fellows who have fronted themselves as experts on the Rwandan society and their citizens’ thinking.

So, says this English KA: the Rwandan government is squandering British citizens’ taxes when, at a fee, it partners with Arsenal FC to promote the country’s tourism. And depriving us Rwandan citizens of a precious offer, when we are one of the world’s poorest countries.

If only this KA and similar birds of a feather knew! There is a time Rwanda wasn’t one of anything and yet ‘squandered’ even more of such offerings.

When Rwanda was at her nadir after the tragedy of 1994, she depended wholly on foreign NGOs. And since they had the money, they assumed power to run this country, unconcerned with and uncaring of the new government. They were not ready to play a supporting role and let the government run its own affairs.

But honour is honour. A man does not claim your house and, slave-like, you say: “Yes, Sir!”

So, even without any income to write home about, Rwanda gave the boot to all these NGOs, with their bags of ‘precious’ hand-out offerings.

The KAs of the West went berserk!

This impoverished tiny country, they shouted, how were her poor citizens going to survive? Rwanda coolly went about her business, ignoring them.

When she started working with only NGOs that gave support on her terms and donors who channelled aid through government’s budget, from a blood-splattered lost case she began to transform into a country ready to take her place among respected countries.

Then she spoilt everything, again!

She started to launch unheard-of programmes like gacaca, umushyikirano (national dialogue), imihigo (performance contracts and assessments at all levels of leadership) and many others. The KAs went bananas!

These primitive programmes were disguised tools of torture and Rwandan citizens were in mortal danger, they yelled. Donor countries’ citizens’ were sponsoring a tyrannical regime that gagged and oppressed its people.

But these media KAs should have known their noises went with the wind.

In 1998 when ICT was alien in many parts of this region, Rwanda approached MTN South Africa to see if it could set up shop in this country. She was given the cold shoulder.

Talk about audacity! She offered to ‘squander’ all her meagre resources as shares to partner with it. The rest, to quote a worn cliché, is history.

From its South African shell, MTN has become a continental giant, triggering other telecommunication companies to come give it a run for its money.

Rwanda today is one of the strongest ITC hubs in the region.

The KAs have been gagged instead. Their yodelling met deaf ears.

After all, all the time this country has been transparently showing how she touched no offering, only relying on locally raised resources for these ventures.

However, before all that, we had yet again sent the KA fraternity into a quandary.

Around the year 2002, Rwanda set out to build two world class hotels, another costly venture that she was ‘not supposed’ to afford. Yet within no time, the buildings were up and ready, sending all KAs into a fit.

The country is going on a vanity cruse on their citizens’ taxes, they screamed, and Rwandan citizens are being starved of the offerings.

Today, the two Serena hotels have been eclipsed by top-range world-class hotels.
And so it went on, without any hand-outs being touched.

The hullabaloo was therefore dying.

Everybody has seen the truth of how, from a truly dead case, a happy and confident population in a fast-rising economy is busy at work. From needing 100% foreign, they are fast and furiously racing towards doing away with those hand-outs, already now at a point of financing 86% of their budget.

It’s a prospect that scares the hell out of donors: how will they push their weight around here?

Thus, a desperate clutch at this Arsenal deal straw!

So, their KAs must attack somebody; a huge misstep as it turns out to be.

After having always been caught with an egg on their face, thoroughly shaming themselves every time the KAs tried to attack President Kagame over such trash, they know better than to go that way again.

That’s how later that Tuesday, another English KA thought he had landed on the treasure of a softer target to attack. And went at the Rwanda Development Board CEO hammer and tongs.

How can an impoverished country, fumed he, sink British citizens’ taxes into a flashy-wealthy Arsenal FC when the Rwandan citizens it was intended for are starving (Ahem..!)?

When the CEO uploaded all the statistics in his face, despite his constant heckling interruptions intended to cow her, the man changed tact and opted for the usual familiar route for all of them. Brutal leadership, with which KAs believe they can pull the wool over their audience’s eyes.

But here too, the CEO was ready for him, piercingly penetrating his heckles to point out the positive indices on governance and all. Which he should know, added she, unless he was “…..ill-intentioned”.

“Eureka!” this KA must have shouted to himself. And whispered to fellow KAs to come to his rescue and flash out headlines of how she had called him “unintelligent”.

Which, come to think of it, maybe he was all along fearing we all might notice!
But that apart, watching all this, a media personality commented in The Independent (UK): “…I almost felt sorry for the old sod.”

Well, know-alls of the West, seems the days of your feast on Africa are waning.

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Conditional castaway apparel and footwear? What temerity!

I’ve said here before that if the USA were to offer Rwanda its nanoscience, nanotechnology, nanobots and ‘nano-whatever-else’ for a disease-free life when it fully masters knowledge of them, Rwanda would maybe ponder swallowing her pride and accept its (US) castaway cloth and footwear.

That, of course, was only in jest and, if you took it otherwise, mea culpa. After regaining her self-worth with sweat and blood, today Rwanda is not the country to stoop that low, I can bet on it.

In the good old days when they were whole and before some compatriots gave in to outside forces and allowed themselves to be divided, Rwandans could never wear ‘Vietnam’.

Admittedly, parents could indulge their children and accept charity from colonial priests. The charity often came as second-hand dolls (white ‘skin’, blond hair, blue eyes and all) and wear, capped with the temptation of sweets. That, for the sake of kids’ pleasure, could be tolerated.

But worn clothes for adults? Nah!

Anybody who accepted them knew that they’d be the laughingstock of the villages to no end. They’d be taken for village clowns or madcaps.

To ridicule these clothes, then, Rwandans called them “Vietnam”, sometimes “Cambodia”.

The terms were not ridiculous because they referred to those countries, no. They referred to American soldiers who fought in Vietnam, in a war that dragged on from the early1950s and into the 1970s, in the latter part of the period drawing in Cambodians.

The details of the war, no Rwandan had any idea and neither do I, to this day!
We only knew that the war sounded like an invasion and that Vietnam became the Waterloo for Americans. The way it had been a second Waterloo for the French before that, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, what mattered was the potency of the message that that naming carried.

Castaway clothes were mostly from the USA then, as today. They were therefore called “Vietnam”, and later “Cambodia”, in reference to the American soldiers who died in that war.

The names meant that these were clothes taken off dead soldiers. It may sound crass of Rwandans to talk about victims in that manner but, knowing nil about the war, they did not say it in bad faith.

The message was directed at Rwandans who glorified donning these hand-me-downs, as it was taboo in their culture to wear clothing taken off dead bodies.

There may have been no clothing industry to talk about in this country but there was bustling tailoring activity. So, you could buy the imported brand new ‘tergal’, ‘shikibo’, ‘terlenka’, ‘forongo’, nylon as the various types of material were known, plus cotton khaki and other material. The rest was for you to get a good tailor to dress you up to your best fitting.

If you were among the small circle of moneyed indigènes (natives), you bought them as imported readymade wear.

Those were the halcyon days, when the unity of Rwandans was still holding, though increasingly shaky as it’d been hijacked by colonialists.

Indeed, as the 1950s saw their twilight, that unity was totally put asunder.
It was not until the 1990s that a process to stitch it together again truly gathered momentum.

Unfortunately, by then ‘Vietnam’ was the trending wear of many a Rwandan. There may have been well-heeled Rwandans who wore new clothing, but they were a measly number.
So, for the popularity of the hand-me-downs, from ‘Vietnam’ they’d been christened what was thought to be a respectable name: “caguwa”.

In reality, though, that’s a Kinyarwanda corruption of the Kiswahili “chaguo”, itself a short form of “chaguo lako” to mean “your pick”. The appellation is thus anything but respectable because it means one taking one’s pick from a heap of second-hand clothing in market places.

Which is why, because usually these markets are dusty places, the clothes are referred to as something that’s equivalent to “shake-off-the-dust” in some African countries, to instruct the buyer on how to pick the best!

All in all then, second-hand clothing by any other name remains as demeaning.
And that’s why no amount of threats of cutting the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) facilities can bend Rwandans into ingesting the indignity of parading themselves around in the rejects of others.

When USA gives Rwanda conditions of buying its ‘Vietnam’ before it can continue to honour the AGOA pact the two countries entered, Rwanda sees that as trumping her honour.

The Rwanda of the 1960s-1990s is gone and anyone who wants to peddle their effrontery on any African country should look elsewhere, not at the Rwanda of this day.

After all, it’s not for nothing that she is on the fond lips of the world, on long-watched screens of homes of the world and on glaring armbands of footballers. It’s for rising from the ashes and on her single-handed effort and in record time placing herself among the civilised and principled, thus respected, countries of the world.

That’s how, in this hard-at-work and made-in-Rwanda driven land, ‘Vietnam’ is quickly meeting the fate of the said Waterloo soldiers.

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Will nanotechnology one day bring home our national outlaws?

Fake news is the order of the day these days. And so here is a piece doing the rounds on social media, as you’ve no doubt seen, bearing the bloodcurdling tag of “The Death of Death”.

However, scary as that may sound, it’s reportedly the title of a book that carries the message of hope for eternal life. Nay, not hope. Rather, the authors are said to be nanotechnology wizards who are cock sure that, come 2045, they’ll have made death history.

Some keen technology inquisitor will need to thoroughly check it out for us. Because if there is some grain of truth, then, barring you being snatched by a freak accident, by 2045 you’ll have forgotten what death used to look like. Life will be everlasting.

And going by what nanotechnology manipulators are capable of these days, you should not dismiss such a prospect offhand. You should be wondering: what would it mean?

As I see it, on one hand, as a religious faithful you’d kiss your hope of soaring up to the Kingdom of Heaven goodbye. On another, as an old geezer you’d be condemned to living as a misfit in the company of your progeny. Indeed, one hell of a dilemma!

Even then, some faithful would relish the idea. I don’t know whether Mohammed and prophets of other faiths are set for a second coming. But, for sure, when Jesus Christ reappears on this earth, it’ll be Heaven plus for Christians. They’ll meet Him without having had to leave behind bereaving beloved ones.

Whatever the case, in their second coming, can the prophets have an easy time of it this time round, the way humanity is so steeped in even more sin?

In any case, many societies are involved in so much rough-and-tumble that immortal life cannot be given a chance. Greed, hatred, selfishness, corruption, nepotism, rape, murder, wars, genocides; name any evil, they are in cutthroat competition to see who excels at it.

Yet the crimes of these terrible people are a mere kindergarten variety when compared to the abomination the bully-boy countries of this earth are ready to rain on others.

Right now, if the sabre-rattling between USA and Iran continues, we might find ourselves covered in noxious nuclear dust. If not that, then the way ‘Little Rocket Man’ in North Korea is getting fed up with demands from ‘Bully Boy’ in USA, they may soon slay us all.

However, the trio may shy away from destruction of the world, seeing as they might not be spared either. Which is why the existence of insect spy drones may not be fake news.

Again it’s up to technology inquisitors to confirm this for us but the rumours are too persistent to ignore. So, the next time you see a mosquito, think twice before swatting it.

You might break POTUS Donald Trump’s eardrums!

Yes, the grapevine is alive with news of insect spy drones being in production already. Reportedly, they can be equipped with microphones, cameras and other devices that can take your DNA, leave radio frequency identification (RFID) nanotechnology on your skin, etcetera.

The rest is for the owner of such bugs to sit, listen in and tell them what to do, as per his fancy.

Now those darlings, wouldn’t we as Rwandans love to own a few?

Imagine the genocide fugitives and other transgressors possessively harboured in capitals of the world and the jungles of the D.R. Congo. If we were to be in possession of such furtive little ‘creatures’, wouldn’t we deploy them to go have a conversation with those outlaws?

If you ask me, we should coax countries like USA, if they truly possess these flying objects and scuttling ‘inyenzi’ (roaches), into donating a few to us or showing us how to make our own. For that, we’d eagerly purchase all the tattered castaway apparel and footwear Americans have ever worn!

Imagine deploying a swarm of mosquito drones into the jungles of D.R. Congo. They’d go in generous numbers, each equipped with nano-ability to identify its assigned culprit and plant a device that will act as a nanotechnology magnet to pull our miscreant nationals back home, to have their day in court.

Think of it. There at breakfast table sits illusive arch-génocidaire fugitive Felicien Kabuga, happily munching on his roast sweet potato (nothing else for a Rwandan Mukiga man!), in an East African city hideout. All along, he’ll be unaware of the nano-roach that scurried into his wardrobe last night and into his jacket’s inside pocket.

So, done with breakfast, he picks his jacket from the back of his chair and dons it. Then, like a zombie, he finds himself picking his way to the bus-park to get a one-way ticket to Kigali!

In a few hours, we hear our nano-roach beeping questions of whether the Gatuna-Kigali road repairs have been done with and ‘we are like’ (youth lingo): “Hurray!”

Fake news can play around with everlasting life all it wants.

But this it must get right: our nanotechnology, when it comes, will never be linked to it!

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Is humanity visiting anarchy on this planet?

Mighty Mother Nature is hopping mad and we are at peril! Doubtless, our societies are to blame. Otherwise who else is responsible for the way this earth seems to be coming apart, threatening our very existence? Surely, aren’t we bringing doomsday to ourselves?

As we speak, the Hawaiian archipelago’s Kilauea volcano is spewing out lava that’s hopping skyward. When it comes down, it lays down a scotch-earth carpet likely to keep that area permanently devoid of any creature.

Mainland USA may be a safe distance away but the way the earth’s bowels are unsettled everywhere around, it may not be for long.

In the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is being battered by merciless storms. As for the South American continent, it’s a tinderbox that goes “Boom!” year in, year out.

To the east of our helpless globe, flood waters are washing away everything in the Turkish capital of Ankara. In northern India, freak dust storms are blowing hundreds of people dead. In Pakistan, unprecedented heat is sending citizens scampering for cool cover that’s nowhere to find. In the Middle East, flash floods are ravaging Israel.

We cite all these areas, of course, to only bury our head in the sand; to shirk mention of one area that’s closest to our heart: the East African subcontinent.

But we must face it. These rains, what is it with their devastating ferocity?

They’ve never been so violent for these countries at the same time. Now Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi; none is spared. Heavy rains, floods, mudslides, land split-ups: the whole death load has been loosed upon us. Anarchy stares us in the face.

In fact, the whole gamut of split-ups has led many to speculate that Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique are going to leave us and form a Madagascar-esque archipelago of their own. In this case, we in Burundi and Rwanda will be left as the orphaned duo.

Imagine being marooned with Burundi’s reclusive, hop-hopping and clap-clapping president!

However, speculators have other ideas. After the rains caused a small fissure to open up in south-western Rwanda, they’ve assured us that we are splitting up at the Lake Kivu end-point. That way, say they, we shall join part of the DR Congo, the two Sudans and Egypt to form our sub-continent in turn, if that’s any consolation.

But more seriously, humanity must be offending Mother Nature.

Remember the hole in the ozone layer that’s supposed to shelter us from deadly rays?
We were told to get rid of things like fridges using gases that sailed upward and punctured that layer. Whether anybody actually rid themselves of those gases or whether that hole was sealed, search me. What I know is that all the noises about it mysteriously went silent.

Yet there is no fresh air to breathe in parts of China and none in parts of India.

So the first-world media are all over us, warning us that these countries are misbehaving, soiling the climate and environment and that we should all call them out.

The countries, they say, do not control the pollution gases their mushrooming industries are emitting. These gases are thus heating up our climate and placing the whole fraternity of this planet’s creatures at a precipice.

But between you and me, we know that every developed and advanced country calls itself so exactly because it was enriched by such industries that are pumping up similar gases. Which is why, moreover, in addition to “developed” and “advanced”, they call themselves “industrialised”.

And now, beyond these developed countries assuring us that they are pursuing green economies sans any pollution, they have reportedly gone an extra distance to explore another kind of economy: the “blue economy”.

The little I’ve heard about this kind of economy gives me the shivers!

In search of it, said the titbit of news, people are diving into the bowels of the “Bermuda Triangle”. Mention of that name alone conjures up images of a monster void that swallowed up everybody and everything.

Remember that scary triangle nicknamed “Devil’s Triangle” that used to gulp down people, ships and aeroplanes that ventured above it? Pray, who pacified it?

Anyway, it’s now being touted that there are treasures inside it that are supposed to make our environment cleaner than green Kigali and wipe anger out of Mother Nature’s system.

My view, however, is that even as the hunt for that “blue economy” goes on, the clean air in Africa and South America is being sucked up faster than our natural forests can pump out. And “green”, “blue” or whatever economy, we as countries must work together to protect our environment, without unduly disturbing our earth’s bowels.

We are all inexorably interconnected and, were there to be any implosion it’d do us all in.

So, those who relish dollar-guzzling chest-thumping antics while thumbing their noses at, and trumping, the environment do so at our collective liability.

If we are not to give up the ghost as trivial hobgoblins of this vast universe, we must mend our ways and together, without exception, assuage and pay due homage to Mighty Mother Nature.

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