1 August 2012

Rwanda: Blame Group of Experts


There are few things that get me hopping mad. I learnt that being angry at a situation you have little control of, is pointless as it is harmful.

For your health, for your peace of mind and importantly - it hinders your thinking capacity to get round the situation. But, this DRC-Rwanda talk that is making the rounds has elicited in me bouts of extreme irritation, until I realise that like every international incident such as this, it will die out.

From development partners to the naïve viewer of whichever international news channel is regurgitating these sensationalist false accusations - the damage is done.

But, while we're still on it - my question is one based on the rhetoric of how Rwanda bites the hand that feeds it. I've seen lots of comments where people's concerns are on Rwanda's self-importance, how it has the temerity to reject claims by international organisations and rights groups that identify it as being responsible for almost all the woes in the DRC. A country that it can fit 99 times into, please note.

These critics of Rwanda, which is trying to own its own narrative, claim that it is the poor who will suffer the most as a result of Rwanda's haughtiness. This tiny little African nation - why does it insist on defining itself, contrary to what its development partners want? Don't the country's leaders realize it is the Rwandan citizen who will suffer? Better to be quiet and turn away from the accusations, and focus on keeping the aid taps flowing, they say.

My question is, don't the so-called experts (whose report accusing Rwanda was drafted without setting foot in the country nor consulting with the Rwandan side) realise the potential damage their document has? Did they factor in the possibility of their role as a catalyst in creating tensions in the region, and hampering the development efforts of Rwandans? Internationally, damage has been done.

From development partners to the naïve viewer of whichever international news channel is regurgitating these sensationalist false accusations - the damage is done. This UN report by the so- calledGroup of Experts once again, is the quintessential example of how the African narrative is deemed to be in the hands of others - those in the West.

If the Rwandan citizen will suffer, it isn't because of a leadership that believes in a dignified existence of its people. Or a leadership that will at all cost - aid or not - refuse to be defined by others. Rwanda will suffer because of the unfair situation it has been put in, by forces with different agendas other than peace and stability in the region.

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