Rwanda Will Write its History, so Will Africa

This is not a news story; it is a treatment for ignorance on the Rwanda-Model.

Whenever statements are scattered by uninformed and biased articles or stories on Africa, I see a whole new dimension of ignorance on display. My amazement never ceases to expand at how narrow certain perspectives can be when forming opinions about Africa. The continent alone has over 54 countries with millions of tribes of varying unique complexities and differences. Yet somehow, when one good thing happens for a single country, that does not fit the stereotypical narrative of war, violence, famine and poverty—a lot of ‘experts on Africa’ refute such beautiful progress.

 President Paul Kagame on the RPF Campaign Trail in Ruhango District (Photo Source: Flicker

Rwanda under Paul Kagame is #Writing its #History and changing the narrative that democracy is the free choice of the people for what works for them. There is no reason for Africa’s countries to avoid emulating the Rwanda-Model. Like all structures, it is not a static model, but rather one that is dynamic and working within the context of Rwanda. Therefore, it is a no brainer that if Rwanda— a once written off country 23 years ago because of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi— can successfully reinvent itself, restore its burnt bridges and do away with derogatory partnerships of countries that contributed to the genocide like France, by overcoming the Françafrique neo-colonial oppression, suppression and depression— why not other African countries?

This question will usually stir up a hornet’s nest because, the fact is that Africa for a very long time has been subjected and conditioned to think that nothing excellent can come out of it. This is besides the beautiful safaris and the feel-good-repose of…wait for it… ‘the warm African sun.’ There is no such thing as the ‘African sun’ but only one sun that rises from the East and sets in the West across all horizons and time zones. Such unthoughtful statements regarding nature in Africa are the very reason the negative stereotypical mindset toward Africa is continuously perpetuated by those who have only watched ‘Jungle Book’ and ‘Tarzan the Ape-man’ cartoons as their only education on Africa.

Having a different kind of leadership model—like the Rwanda-Model— where innovative and home-grown solutions are built from scratch, adapted and rooted on culture for a specific context, are what will change the narrative on Africa. This Rwanda-Model is successful because it is a reality in actual time—it is not an illusion of utopia. 

An aerial view of Kigali's fast growing skyline (Photo: Illume and Akagera Aviation)

And because Rwanda is excelling against the status-quo regarding development in Africa, and is winning against all odds and is proving to be the hope for Africa—it is a great thing. It is such a great thing for Rwandans and Africans because it paints a picture of what is real in Africa— Rwanda is not the ‘Africa for Dummies’, it is Rwanda.

Historically, all societies have created their destinies based on what they consider their needs to be. Even with good returns for the people, the consequences are sometimes appallingly racist. A case in point is this: If African leaders choose to remove their countries from a system of trade extortion to empower its citizens to create more long-term ways of sustaining their livelihoods, sanctions are threatened. 

Recently, the East African countries of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda faced US sanctions because of their ban on used clothes. Yet economics tells us that, the USA exports to East Africa amount to $281 million while East Africa’s exports to USA amount to only a mere $43 million which presents a Trade deficit of $238 million. This is a glaring exposure of extortion and yet the penalty is still unfairly placed on the extorted countries who are blamed for thinking about the good of their people. Such scenarios are what should give Africa more reason to think about itself first. 

If the greater good of the people is put above the individual selfishness of a person, or group of people, then communities thrive. It is hard work and shows that excellence is not unattainable and unusual in Africa. It is possible. 

As long as good policy and procedures exist and are maintained, communities will thrive—even in Africa. Having a different kind of leadership model—like the Rwanda-Model— where innovative and home-grown solutions are built from scratch, adapted and are rooted on culture for a specific context, are what will change the narrative on Africa. This Rwanda-Model is successful because it is a reality in actual time—it is not an illusion of utopia. 

Policy sets the structures while procedures simply express the reality that the community understands itself.

Good policy is the basis of the community and when citizens uphold these systems, the procedures that result will work. This is because procedures are only a means by which Policy is implemented. In other words, critics against the successes of Rwanda, collapse in their attempts, because they focus on procedures as the problem. In other words, Policy sets the structures while procedures simply express the reality that the community understands itself. For such a society, external influences that attempt to form their identity, unity, cohesion and understanding of the community itself, are but a distant glaze of non-effect. 

Let's assume that for some unheard of reason, the colonial mindset toward Africa that other people have will continue to resist the total transformation that Rwanda is going through. Then it will be pertinent to say and argue that if all African countries followed the Rwanda-Model of transformation, then it is true that historically, societies with a high sense of purpose, will become effective. These societies have challenging effort, energy and enthusiasm that leads to efficiency towards ideals of action, creation, contemplation, unity, and cohesion and thus produce an unstoppable sense of destiny. 

Kwibohora: A crowd celebrating 23 years of Rwanda's Liberation on July 4th, 2017 to mark the day the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was stopped. (Photo: Flicker)

The vibrancy that comes with living in a country like Rwanda where positive transformation is happening before your eyes, that challenges the negative African narratives we’ve become so tired of hearing, is to be thankful for. When an African leader delivers on promises previously made, it shows the people that they are on the right track. Rwanda's president has surpassed his targets since the last time they were spoken of on the 2010 Presidential campaign trail. Who wouldn't want the stay of an African leader with such an excellent record, come August 4th, 2017?

Therefore, when Rwandans can’t wait to joyfully cheer and celebrate their President, Paul Kagame on the campaign trail, they are saying that he is the right leader for them. When they gather in the thousands to hear him speak, they are saying they can’t wait to vote him back to power. When they choose unity over division, they are saying freedom of choice is in their vote. When they create an unstoppable #ClimateOfCheer, they are saying they have hope that the promises of development will be achieved by the ‘President of the People’. 

This is the deep motivation for when #RwandaDecides that is evident in the response to the thought of yet another great season under the leadership of Paul Kagame until 2034. This is fantastic and great—not terrible. The Rwanda-Model not only draws in those who make it, but also those who understand and appreciate it, from all manner of groups, classes and races across the continent and world. This is the Rwanda-Model that is good for Rwandans and for Africans.

The setting Sun over Kigali Convention Centre. It is not the 'Rwandan sun' or the 'African sun', it is the sun that sets across all horizons and timezones. This speaks to the equality of all people irrespective of nation, continent and race to transform for the better in their own right. (Photo: Langley Dewitt)

@GloriaIribagiza 

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