By The Rwandan Analyst
Mrs. INGABIRE Umuhoza Victoire and Me NTAGANDA Bernard, the chairpersons of two Rwandan political parties namely the Dalfa-Umurinzi and PS-Imberakuri jointly issued a roadmap whereby they highlight social, economic and political challenges prevailing in Rwanda and propose respective mechanisms. According to the title per se, the Rwandan policies in those sectors seem outdates and deserve to be revisited to address shortcomings that hinder their effective implementation. The present article strives to assess strengths and feasibility of the summarized programs of these political platforms; but prior such an analysis, there is deemed to present a succinct overview of the content of this roadmap.
1.The roadmap in brief
Apart from its introduction and conclusion, the roadmap suggested by the heads of the two opposition political parties is deals with six parts i.e. motivations of the roadmap, proposed solution, stakeholders, implementation, anticipated results and its timeline.
1.1.Motivations of the roadmap
After the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took power in 1994, it held, from 1998 to 1999, national consultations to discuss how Rwanda could solve its issues of national unity, democracy, justice, economy and security. The outcomes of these consultations are the guiding philosophies of the governance implemented by the RPF over the two decades. Among the RFP’s achievements are the maintenance of security across Rwanda, the establishment of governing structures and the reformation of the legislation directing the state’s activities.However, the consensual democracy enforced by RPF with time changed into a disguised dictatorship that suppresses political dissents, restricts political pluralism and civil liberty as well as abuses human rights and infringes rule of law.Regarding unity and reconciliation, there is still conflicting views among Rwandans particularly when it comes to the memorial of victims of war crimes committed before, during and after the genocide against Tutsi.The development programme that aimed to transform Rwanda into middle income state by 2020 driven by a knowledge economy – referred to as Vision 2020 did not attain its objectives and the COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing economic distress of Rwanda.
There is proposed an inter Rwandan dialogue to engage Government and dissenting voices both within and outside the country in cooperative, constructive and positive discussions to define measures and how these can be implemented to reform our country governance so it is in line with today realities. These discussions should cover four main topics that are considered to be roots cause of instability in our country but if managed efficiently could restore good governance in Rwanda.
1.2.1. Inclusive political processes
The current political system has all the signs of a one-party state system where one party dominates all the state structures including deciding on who should be allowed to compete with the ruling party in political elections or even should be registered as a political party. To address this challenge, it is high time to have an all-inclusive political process that is open and allows free political competition in Rwanda
There is proposed to continue the commemoration of the genocide against Tutsi and at the same time take actions and measures that enable Hutu that lost their loved ones in other committed massacres to feel included in the nation’s remembrance. Transform Rwanda’s unfortunate past into a better and an inspiring history by implementing a form of amnesty on all crimes committed in Rwanda. For such an amnesty to be possible, Rwandans must to establish a common understanding on all crimes committed against them between early 1990’s and 2000’s.
1.2.3. Rule of law and human rights
Over the past decades Rwanda has accused of human rights abuses of all sorts entailing prejudice among Rwandans whereby those opposing the policies or actions implemented by incumbent governing regime are quick branded as enemies of states; scepticism between Rwandans living abroad and in Rwanda, as well as between opposition and the Government; the absence of culture of dialogue with those with divergent ideas ; lack of human right respect; the absence of freedom of expression; the absence of political participation. It is high time to engage in constructive debate on how respect of basic human rights and rule of law should be restored and make the political space inclusive in Rwanda.
1.2.4. Sustainable development and shared prosperity.
We believe that when the governance reforms, emanating from the proposed dialogue between the government and dissenting voices, would have been implemented, it will immediately reinforce Rwanda’s brand as best place to do business in. In return this will enable more investment to flow in the country which will contribute toward bringing about sustainable development in Rwanda
1.3.Road Map’s stakeholders
this road map has established the following as the stakeholders in this project.
• Rwandan Government;
• Opposition and civil society organizations (comprising those operating inside Rwanda and in exile);
• The International community
1.4. Road Map implementation
For the proposed Road Map to be successful, it is necessary to set up a commission – made of inclusive politicians, religious and members of civil society – that will thoroughly plan and implement the Road Map; engage Rwandans across the country and abroad in the implementation of the Road Map and prepare a budget for the Road Map;
1.5. Anticipated results of the Road Map
The implementation of such a program will transform Rwanda’s unfortunate past into a better and an inspiring future; plan a better inclusive future for younger generation of Rwandans; bring about genuine and sustainable unity and reconciliation among Rwandans; guarantee durable security for Rwanda; achieve sustainable development in Rwanda; position Rwanda as an indisputably inventive country and indeed a model of reconciliation in the region and on the African continent; changing the mind-set of Rwandans whereby they will be encouraged to direct their effort and creativity as well as know-how on how to bring about sustainable development in Rwanda; encourage the youth born and /or brought up aboard to return to Rwanda do they contribute towards making Rwanda a thriving country and remove reasons to exercise political activities outside Rwanda and create armed insurgencies with intent to take over the power in Rwanda by force. All members of Rwanda diaspora wishing to return to Rwanda will freely do so without any fear for being ill-treated for their opinion among other making it possible for Rwandans interested into politics to do so by competing for power using ideals and applying peaceful and smart actions that safeguard and build on the development achieved.
The Road Map should be carried out during and throughout the remaining presidential term of incumbent president of Rwanda (i.e. during the next 3 years). Thus, the incumbent president will leave the office with a legacy of having solved issues making Rwandans fleeing their country and fortified long-term stability in Rwanda.
There is hereby assessed the content of the roadmap taking into account the official policies of the country and the local reality.
The roadmap published by the two politicians reflects a series of real challenges that encounter among others the effective reconciliation; respect of civil and political rights of Rwandans and the Rwandan economic progress. Indeed, any objective analyst of the Rwandan policies of unity and reconciliation; rule of law and economic program may easily note that the positive reports from the Rwandan authorities are mostly embellished to impress the foreign countries, the international community and funders while the field reality is alarming. The Rwandan social relationships are theoretically good but ethnic divisionism is still entertained by the Rwandan laws on genocide ideology which are enacted to threaten only Hutus; the memory of victim is unilateral while even Hutu lost their relatives. The regime is always oppressing opponents and commits a series of crimes including torture; assassinations; disappearances; imprisonments on politicized trials; and so on. Pluralism in Rwanda is a facade policy because parties gathered in the political forum cannot contradict the RPF views and always pass its views.
Economic programs of Rwanda have deviated the real factors of developments by putting aside the agriculture while the 90% of the population survive from this sector; industries are rudimentary; funds are informally embezzled to finance intelligence and arms against its own citizens considered as enemies.
Ideas from the roadmap are commendable and anyone not politically driven may appreciate them. Better still, the impact of this roadmap is interesting for victims of the Rwandan dictatorship and the international community which was thirsty of a logical program from the opposition parties and may help to implement it. Nonetheless, the Rwandan regime cannot consider them as they emanate from its opponents and are absolutely opposed to its policies. The issue of bilateral commemoration is already considered as ideology of double genocide; the political exclusion is judged by the masters of the country as a strategy to avoid detractor; economic policies chosen by the state serve more the egoistic interests of the governing click as generally poor population are nothing for them.