Why we should fear for Rwanda

A few months ago, I wrote and explained how Rwanda is a country in chaos. A nation threatened not by a rampant genocide but by the side effects of it. Some people were quick to dismiss my observation as hogwash reminding those so stupid to understand what I was pointing out, not to mind me as “he is a deluded fool”.

It reminded me of the famous adage I grew up with. The one about Prophets having honour except in their motherland. Today, some two months later, I am forced to re-post on exactly why I feel there is genuine reason to fear for my motherland.

Reading today’s opinion in The New Times by one Pan Butamire, the gentleman who until yesterday, I respected with all my might, I was left to wonder whether Rwanda is not living a lie. Mr. Butamire who has a penchant for writing very stinging reports about perceived enemies of Rwanda and very cosy ones on the job well done by President Paul Kagame and his regime in regard to today’s Rwanda started his piece as if he sympathised with Lt. Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa.

“Rwandans and their friends who cherish the sanctity of life must have heaved a sigh of relief when they heard that Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa was out of danger. It would have been terrible grief if he had succumbed to the bullet of a common gunslinger, knowing the role he played in the liberation of this country”, he wrote.

Take time to read on and you will realise that the old fella’s intro in hindsight actually reads: “Rwandans and their friends who cherish the sanctity of life must have heaved with disappointment when they heard that Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa was out of danger. It would have been JOY if he had succumbed to the bullet of a common gunslinger, knowing that he NEVER played any role in the liberation of this country”.

He then went into the beatitudes of Rwanda’s history as known from his viewpoint before landing another of those outlandish statements that have become a trademark of writing off those who Kigali regard as useless because they have fallen out with the regime.

Again, he sheds some light about Rwandan Kings, hinting at the so called ‘Inyenzi’ and making round-turns here and there before coming back to his original subject matter: Making sure that Kayumba (who he blatantly refuses to address by his army rank), is erased from the history of Rwanda’s liberation struggle, first by making him (Kayumba) look useless, and insignificant while maintaining that Rwanda is what it is wholly and solely because of one man, President Kagame.

Mzee Butamire then deservedly but out of interest gives credit to the late Maj. Gen Fred Gisa Rwigema who he rightly says led the invading force only to die early into the struggle leaving a disorganised force of ‘scattered fighters’ lacking a capable and effective leader. He is building up for his crescendo, a mean he delivers with sheer precision in his next para:

“One man is credited with the reorganisation of that scattered group of fighters who slowly grew and methodically fought as a formidable force to defeat the forces of genocide.

“That man is today’s President Paul Kagame. He is the man who led a group of hardened fighters to victory. These are the fighters who against all odds were able to end the 1994 genocide and stabilise the country, a country that had abolished the word ‘unity’ from its vocabulary”, he asserts.

For purposes of clarity, lets put this statement in perspective. Mr. Butamire is essentially accusing the defeated regime of having rid the country of the word ‘unity’. And rightly so, it would appear that Rwanda before April 7, 1994 had lost this word. No wonder people were able to murder each other on the scale they did. One of the present regime’s main tasks since assuming power in 1994 has been unity and reconciliation.

I can not remember any regime that has gone on about unity and reconciliation in my time, more than President Kagame’s. But I begin to question this regime’s very preaching on unity and reconciliation if the Butamires who are senior cadres and trusted mentors to the head of state, have the guts to trash a shot comrade, choosing instead to brand him useless and erase his name out of the history books because he is no longer with them?

Imagine then, what Butamire’s exact position is when it comes to giving advice on those wrongly or rightly accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide whose historical cause, he so carefully details in his opinion?

It is hard to judge anyone at this stage but as a young citizen, I get so terrified as to the future of my country both immediate and long-term, seeing the very people I should be looking up to, peddle the kind of hatred and controversy that I am meant to detest and refrain from.

And to paraphrase Mr. Butamire, Why, Butamire, Why?


Author: ellyakanga

I am Eleneus Akanga. Welcome to my blog about my experience as a Rwandan journalist and all that comes with the trade in East Africa. It's been a great journey so far but very challenging at times. Join me, let's get cracking! ellyakanga@usa.com

4 thoughts on “Why we should fear for Rwanda”

  1. Today in Rwanda, there were anti-government protests for the first time in 16 years. The winds of democracy are blowing. Of course General Kagame’s Gestapo responded by rounding up everyone including many leaders of opposition parties. But the fact that some people were brave enough to stand on the streets of Kigali to protest against the government raises the stakes.

  2. Elenenius,

    Sorry, my dear friend. I don’t know how I’ve just tumbled on this blog. I wish I’d seen earlier, I’d have given my reaction in time.

    Don’t be unfair to me, surely. I have never wished ill of anyone, at the risk of disappointing you. But who wouldn’t be disappointed by erstwhile brave soldier who turn around and try to sell their country to foreign enemies? You should know the true intentions of these turncoats.

    Have you heard of late how the likes of Rudasingwa are singing the same song as Interahamwe and saying Habyariman regime was better than Kagame’s? All this just because they fell out with one man, Kagame? They cannot consider at least that we, their brothers and sisters, have regained our identity?

    These quislings only consider their personal interests as paramount and the rest of us do not matter. Surely, I remember you assuring me that you were not like that.

    Get cracking, Elly, but don’t wish anybody cracked over your interests!

    Uncle Pan

  3. You know what I find most disappointing (and disgusting at the same time) that folks like you who have endured a very difficult exile for more than fifty years — have absolutely no shame going right back to the cut-throat intrigues of Rwambugiri’s palace. All that blood shed — all that negative global exposure of your country now conveniently being sacrifced at the altar of such political immaturity !!!!!!

  4. Mr. Akanga,
    for sure, what Butamire said was right, the genocidal regime lacked an iota of Unity among Rwandans, the only unity they were advocating for was those of the killers to effectively annihilate the Tutsis and this is not Unity by rather groupings or amalgamation of Killers. As for Kayumba, i do believe that the break away of Kayumba does not necessarily mean there has been lack of unity among Rwandans, Rwandan Unity is more broader than Kayumba breakaway, it is rather an individual dissatisfaction, he broke away for personal reasons but had nothing to do with all Rwandans, whatever unit they (gang of 4) have now is just an amalgamation of dissatisfied fellows aimed at personal gains not for all Rwandese.

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