President Kagame is back at his desk and, so, bajya he? To Western do-gooders who called him uncharitable names as the man who has engulfed us all “pitiful citizens” into “a climate of fear”: he is back and you can eat your hearts out!
As these unrelenting critics may have seen from the massive numbers who turned up at his campaigns and from responses everywhere, especially social media, we, the citizens, are prepared for them.
They may harp on the impossibility of a 98+% win to no end, for instance, but in addition to chewing that cud, let them ask themselves where in their countries they have seen a near-100% voter turnout, with the sick and the infirm insisting on being assisted to cast their vote, if it was the last thing they’d do.
Those mammoth crowds “were forced to cheer and vote”, they’ll say. What they won’t tell us, though, is who forced Rwandans in the Diaspora to do likewise in near-equal numbers.
But still on the cud, let them chew on the way the election was delivered: the order, elegance, efficiency, creativity, spotlessness, calmness in jubilation and all.
That was the work of the youth, sending the critics’ claims of any crave for life presidency flying in their faces. The young in government and other institutions plus the busy-bee involvement of the youth in the polity of this society speak to a dynamic youth leadership already in operation.
So, after witnessing only “a climate of cheer”, as young tweeps put it, and their quivers emptied of all abusive arrows, these hired-gun organizations of the Western hegemonic system may see their ‘feeding bowls’ upturned (imbehe zubitswe); Rwanda no longer being their source of bread.
Because the sole surviving missile, that of “hunger for power”, is a stillbirth today as it has always been. Hunger for power cannot go hand in hand with putting one’s life on the line for the rescue of their people.
In his modesty, of course, President Kagame calls it acting as “shock-absorber” for his society. But one old lady expressed it more graphically and emphatically when she stubbornly stuck on sleeping the night out on the hard cold surface of a classroom bench till voting time in the morning.
“It’s the least I can do,” said she. “My son Kagame can’t have suffered all those years being bombed in the trenches and I fail to brush off one cold night for a chance to vote for him.”
That’s what Rwandans mean when chanting: “Kagame wacu!” (No one else but Kagame, son of our community).
They know that that “son”, as soon as he was capable of enquiry, never ceased to seek answers as to whether Rwandans were fated to lead a life of mockery, statelessness and abject poverty.
Statelessness which meant poaching on other people’s land and living at the mercy of meagre charity or suffering dehumanizing gloom, eking out a living.
That son, when he got the chance to “poach” on foreign schools as a refugee, hungrily absorbed what was taught him and combed all books to get as much world knowledge as possible, including that of whether there were societies created to lead a cursed life.
And seeing that there were none, he resolved to find out why it should be so for his people.
As a youngster, knowing his features would mark him out for death, he ventured back into the land that had cast him out as a baby. In villages, shopping centres and towns, life for many was actually worse than the despair of exile.
At the highest seat of knowledge, Butare University, where he hazarded a visit and received catcalls that almost degenerated into lynching, it was dirt and gloom that’d have embarrassed some primary schools of his exile.
The culprit was bankrupt leadership. So, who was the man who had the callousness to contentedly oversee this shame?
Of course, the closest he could get to seeing the then president, Habyarimana, in flesh was stealing a peek at his residence by passing by, head hidden in the novel he read. How he zigzagged his escape from the guards on sentry through the wooded area when spotted, it’s a story fit for suspense-action movies.
Unfortunately, that modesty compels us to only content ourselves with snippets of such hair-thin escapes (because he won’t let on) in his efforts to contribute to regaining the dignity of Rwandans stolen by all manner of self-seekers.
The escapes include how he cheated death at Kabamba Barracks, in Uganda, and in the rigorous training of TMA in Monduli, Tanzania, that took many a life.
Both of which pale in comparison to the dangers in Rwanda, when the liberation struggle entered a collective phase that’d make or totally break this society and send it into oblivion, after the now matured soldier miraculously escaped myriad traps all the way from USA.
Plunging into a situation of cowering, scattered and scared fighters unprepared to fight again and daring to regroup them and together risk another attempt. Yet in the end he turned them into a force that faced multiple armies backed by a super power and overpowered them all.
Oh, before that, the detail snippet on a tent in which Commander Kagame was briefing the High Command. As he concluded and ushered the fighters out, the tent was bombed to smithereens and nearly made a mockery of that envisaged final “overpowering them all”.
Still – for there is a ‘still’! – the aforementioned are totally eclipsed by the miraculous survival of the guerrilla group together with a section of Rwandans when the UN gave the green light to a superpower for a so-called humanitarian Zone Turquoise that was armed for World War III.
Not only did Commander Kagame and his group survive the “Zone” but they stopped the most horrendous genocide of the 20th century single-handedly, to place Rwanda among respected world nations of today.
From refugee, guerrilla, military strategist to renowned statesman. This highly risky path is no shortcut for anybody hungering for power!