In our culture we say “ubyay’ikiboze arakirigata.” Literal translation is – “if you bear a deformed off-spring it is still yours and you take care of it.” By all accounts, the Rwandan regime is so deformed that it can barely reason. This leads us to another of our tradition. In a broad sense of community, “parents” in the form of Inyangamugayo elders step in to fix problems, including removal of a trouble-causer to society.
Now a nail in the coffin – the US government has told Kagame to cease causing chaos in DRC. The isolation of the Rwandan ruler, now globally-recognised as an agent of terror, is nearly total. Tanzania, South Africa, SADC, UN, USA, and Britain are saying to Kagame “enough is enough.” USA and Britain are of course former Kagame staunch allies. For Paul Kagame, the only friend he has left is Tony Blair. With Uganda’s Museveni, you can’t be so sure. See for example how Uganda recently refused to hand to the Kagame government 16 university students who escaped being forcefully drafted into M23 by Rwandan military.
Back to “ubyay’ikiboze arakirigata” and “Inyangamugayo.”
For Rwandans this is no time to celebrate – not even by those that have been brutally victimised by the Kagame regime. Indeed ubyay’ikiboze arakirigata. More importantly this is the time for our Inyangamugayo to step forward and save Rwanda. Indeed the 11 protesters who dared to match to Kagame residence were crying for a solution that would avoid bloodshed.
So who are our Inyangamugayo? Does the Egyptian model ring a bell? Can the Rwandan army join the Rwandan people to pre-empt bloodshed by removing a bad and globally-discredited regime?
Don’t get me wrong. Military regimes are not my cup of tea. But as an interim arrangement whereby the military can supervise a national conference by all political and non-political actors to forge a new direction, I am all for it. In fact, short of a people-power scenario, I see no other viable option.
Dr David Himbara was the Principal Private Secretary to President Paul Kagame in 2000-2002 and 2009. He was the founding chairperson of the Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU), the founding chairperson of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the founding chairperson of the Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR). A Rwandan-Canadian, David Himbara is an independent reform strategist and an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Witswaterand, South Africa which he has been associated with on-and-off since 1994. Himbara left Rwanda and returned to South Africa in January 2010.