The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Viva Las Kamonyi!

opinion

Online publication Kigali Today reported that Gisenyi was taking shell fire from the Congolese army this Monday raising my hackles to no end. One can fully understand the current Israeli reaction to rocket attacks but unlike the Jewish State, we are an unimportant and aid-reliant African state.

Investors in the entertainment sector can put up structures and have a reasonable expectation that they will still be there in a year giving them returns on their investment.

There shall be no Operations Cast Lead or Pillar of Defense because if Rwanda dares to defend itself, its economy and the general welfare of its people will take a hit from cuts in aid and a raft of sanctions. All we get is a UN condemnation and then only if the powers that be are in a good mood.

In the meantime we'll probably be asked to overlook the Hamas-like actions of the Congolese army gunners on the pretext that it is an institution with no discipline, low morale and plenty of 'rogue elements' instead of calling it what it is - straight-up provocation.

Firing mortars into civilian areas qualifies as a war crime but seeing as the noisy human rights groups and UN experts were silent about testimony from prisoners of war whose rights had clearly been violated, I doubt very much that this will come up in any discussions on the situation. Incursion by 400 soldiers into Rwandan territory and shelling of a school will not make it into any experts' reports nor will it cause any indignation among those who have appointed themselves the custodians of human rights in the third world. Better to peddle fictitious tales of midnight boat rides, bar counter sightings of Ntaganda and phantom training camps in the national stadium or Camp Kanombe.

Leaving alone the chaos that is our western neighbor and its attempts to drag us into it all, last week saw reports coming out about the imminent closure of K-Club. Given the brouhaha that surrounded a similar attempt to close Papyrus last month, there was no official at hand to officially confirm these reports. All of them were silent or denying everything like Simon Peter of biblical fame. So perhaps it's nothing but a senior official at the city council prank calling the owners [Something for the Ombudsman to look into]. The fact that this is even a story shows that the public have noticed a pattern. Our Mayors hate any place with gathered people, music and a civilised drink [I'm sorry amata na fanta bikonje do not make the cut]. We'll get them in the next elections but for now they have presented districts neighboring Kigali City with business opportunities.

Kamonyi could become the city's playground if its Mayor gives investors in the entertainment sector a few incentives, establishes good 24-hour public transport links with the city and convinces his early-to-bed counterparts in the city to do something about the awful traffic in Nyabugogo. In short, if the Mayor 'woos' [to use a popular term in this paper] these investors.

That way everyone wins. Our administrators get the clean, orderly and deadly dull city of their dreams. Investors in the entertainment sector can put up structures and have a reasonable expectation that they will still be there in a year giving them returns on their investment. The Mayor of Kamonyi will have more places to collect patentes [trading license fees] and land rents from. Something to think about.

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