Rwanda is troubled and troubling for most concious and observant compatriots. Only the die-hard sycophants of the incumbent regime would hide heads in the sand and pretend that all is OK.
Today we seem to have what I may term “three Rwandas” briefly described as follows:
* Rwanda 1: Denialism
* Rwanda 2: War drums
* Rwanda 3: Economic meltdown
RWANDA 1: DENIALISM
In this version, we see a confident President Paul Kagame projecting an image of a strong leader cruising towards Vision 2020. Two former ministers publicly beg for forgiveness; the president reinforces his powers among the cowed RPF followers; and everyone goes home assured all is usual and well. But it is denialism, because all is not well.
RWANDA 2: WAR DRUMS
President Kagame went on record on 30 June 2013 that he is waiting for the opportunity to “hit” Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kitwete. Aggressive rhetoric, accusations, and counter-accusations are now flying across the Tanzania-Rwanda borders; in DRC where Tanzania is deploying soldiers under the UN mandate; and in the corridors of the UN in New York City. The tone is akin to war drums.
RWANDA 3: ECONOMIC MELTDOWN
Official development aid to Rwanda is equivalent to over 40% of public expenditures, and as high as 12% of the country’s GDP. So how did the Kagame regime offset the sudden 20% shortfall when donors withheld aid last year? Simple. Squeeze and draw from foreign reserves. As a result Rwanda’s foreign reserves can presently only cover 3 months of imports down from 5 months – talk about reckless lifestyle. Other measures to which the regime has resorted is domestic borrowing further crowding out Rwanda’s tiny private sector, itself dominated by RPF’s Crystal Ventures.
With denialism, war drums and economic meltdown, where does reflection, sanity and even strategic re-direction come from in Kagame’s Rwanda? We better kneel and pray!