What’s up in Rwanda?

Texas in Africa links to an article by Timothy Kalyegira in The Independent, questioning whether Rwanda deserves the status of an African success story. Using examples of out-break of ethnic tensions in Europe and the turn of events involving Amin in Uganda, Kalyegira argues that

“…in 2010 Rwanda has started making news and attracting attention more for what is usually associated with repressive police states than with rapid economic growth and good governance”

Pan Butamire, writing in The New Times rebuts, saying

Be it in the sector of services, health, education, justice, name it; be it in reconciliation, social welfare and others; in all areas improvements in the last 16 years have been remarkable. That fact is there for all to see and it defies denial.

Yet, Timothy Kalyegira is puzzled “to see Ugandan journalists constantly praising Rwanda because street lights work and the roundabouts along the Kigali city network have flowers.”

But again, he doesn’t stop to think that they may be seeing something he is not. They are seeing that the cleanliness and orderliness of Kigali are only a symptom of a society that has got a grip on what they want to be and are working hard on it, thanks to a leadership that is guided by the aspirations of its people.

You are right, Kalyegira, “a state is not just about buildings, street lights or a functional civil service.” You are only wrong if you don’t know that Rwandans agree with you on that point.

Rwandans do not dabble in impressions; they function. If seeing Rwanda makes you think of the pictures of Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Morocco and the other countries you cite, it’s not because it is a happenstance: those African countries are on the move forward.

Meanwhile, there’s more bad news from Rwanda. I know very little about Rwanda. Lots to read up on…

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