5 September 2017

Rwanda: Attacks on Kagame - When Repetition Doesn't Make Perfect

Photo: New Times
President Kagame takes the presidential oath in the company of First Lady Jeannette Kagame (left) at Amahoro National Stadium in the capital Kigali.

Why do some people keep doing the same thing and getting the same wrong results? It is baffling, yet it happens quite often.

Any intelligent person will realise that something isn't quite right and change course.

The foolish will go on doing the same thing, expecting different results.

Some, not quite foolish, but convinced that the rest of us are, will keep repeating the same stupid thing thinking that we will eventually believe that it is right.

In Rwanda we have experienced this sort of futile repetition. There are people outside this country who have made it their mission to misrepresent everything that happens here.

They are a diverse lot, mainly those who pass as experts on Rwanda, some in the media and human rights organisations, united by a particular animosity towards President Paul Kagame. A few Africans who crave western recognition also join the hatred bandwagon.

The hatred blinds them to anything good that he has done or is capable of doing. They are so obsessed with him that they probably see him in their dreams and curse the day they saw him.

That would be fine if it was only in dreams. But it is not; it is real. For more than two decades they have vilified and demonised him and done everything possible to unseat him and derail Rwanda's progress. In all that time they have repeated the same thing, but each time with similar results.

I think all the things they accuse him of are actually a projection of what they would do if they were in his place. For some of them it is a refusal to accept failure. It is hard to admit that he has achieved what their protégés were unable to do under their tutelage.

And so they loathe him and have such contempt for Rwandans that they are prepared to propose any alternatives to him. Problem is, they have always selected the wrong sort for this. These can be classified into two broad categories.

First, there are the nonentities who are quickly elevated to some lofty position and baptised as "strong critics" of Kagame, his "fiercest rivals", the "most credible opposition to his authoritarian rule", and many other names..

Seven years ago, there were several of these, the ones they anointed being Bernard Ntaganda and Frank Habineza.

The majority of Rwandans had never heard of Ntaganda. They began to notice him when his name began to appear in foreign media. He was soon adopted by the habitual Kagame and Rwanda bashers as their standard bearer to challenge President Kagame.

There was also Frank Habineza, leader of a Green Party with no known green agenda. He was touted as the "biggest threat" to President Kagame's hold on power, and for evidence they pointed to the fact that his party had been denied registration.

These, however, were soon forgotten. Ntaganda's rabble-rousing antics were exposed as just that. Habineza lost his fierce critic credentials because his political party was eventually registered and he was able to challenge in the presidential election. Apparently qualification for being labelled strong and credible opposition is restricted to those outside Rwanda's formal political structures.

The second category adopted by the missionaries of hate includes criminals and traitors. They are then presented to the world as the genuine opposition and the true voice of Rwandans that has been silenced.

Again, seven years ago, one of these was a one Victoire Ingabire, a person with an extremist agenda and close connections to genocidaires, and intent on resurrecting destructive divisions in the country.

She was cheered on by the all-knowing foreign media, holier-than-thou human rights organisation and so-called experts on Rwanda as the country's "main opposition leader" and President Kagame's "principal opponent" in that year's presidential election. Her only qualification to this high position was her invective against the president and the government of Rwanda.

The same year, there was the Kayumba Nyamwasa led group of fugitives from justice and agents of foreign powers. These too were presented as the real opposition in Rwanda. Their only claim to this level was their escape from justice and murder of innocent Rwandans going about their normal business.

This year, another individual was adopted and added to this category. In fact, she cuts across the two categories. A one Diane Rwigara is an unknown, badly behaved and angry young woman, and a crooked accountant in the bargain.

This is the person, with such severe limitations, that the know-all groups think should rule over these hapless Rwandans.

In all these cases, they have elevated these so-called opposition politicians from obscurity to such dizzying heights that inevitably they must lose balance and fall. And you can't blame President Kagame and Rwandans for this.

We go back to the question we started with: why do these people repeat efforts that yield nothing? Why don't they give up when they realise the futility of their work?

It would be fine if it was only because it pleases them to do the same thing and end up with the same failure. Problem is, they are doing this to Rwandans, and it is an insult to them and their leaders.

Still, one expects them to to have some decency and end their futile attempts. But, of course, they won't, and in the meantime President Kagame and Rwandans will march on.

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