When Kigali is politically calm, the opposition also goes to sleep.

By Gakwerere

What I have to admit, is that criminal Paul Kagame has mastered the importance of Public Relations. He has poured millions of dollars into different western PR firms for the sole purpose of imaging himself into a “godly” status figure- with mesmerisation of Rwanda being him and vice versa.

An excellent manager will always look for a competitive advantage over his/her competitors. With globalisation, Public Relation has become an important and crucial tool that helps to create competitive advantage.

Criminal Paul Kagame is always looking for an edge, how to out play his opponents especially in international politics. His imaging goals are only aimed at international audience, since the internal audience – Rwandans are already suppressed and submerged into admission of unhindered slavery.

Public relations (PR) allow organisations, companies and individuals to communicate with the public, media and especially there intended targeted audience. It is all about communicating directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the audience.

Rwanda’s opposition parties have failed to grasp the importance of Public Relations and why it is an important mechanism in fighting Rwanda’s entrenched criminal junta. They are always doing a catch up, there Public Relation approach is that of reactionary – always responding to political events, communications and programs set by the Junta government.

When you look across the board, all real Rwandan opposition parties in Rwanda have the same PR methodologies – they all follow what is known in PR as the defensive mechanism. In this case, Kigali sets the agenda and the real opposition parties react. When Kigali is politically calm, the opposition also goes to sleep.

In western world or other African democracies like Kenya, Uganda or Nigeria; opposition parties are always on offensive, communicating policies, ideas and always pouring pressure to their respective administration. There P.R machineries are always organised with deferent messages for respective targeted audiences. For those opposition parties that oppose criminal Paul Kagame, their PR outreach strategy is unorganised and to some extent amateurish.

For example, few months ago, I posted asking the chairman/leader of P5 coalition, within minutes, I was replied by different people. Imagine a coalition of five political Parties without a social media presence. No facebook page or tweeter account!! And all these political parties know how criminal Paul Kagame is obsessed with his imaging, thus being very incest with social media criticism or any press criticism.

These political parties know very well how criminal Paul Kagame has curtailed any form of political ideals which criticises him from being delivered to Rwandans. Last time, I checked the figures released by Facebook (2015), more than 3 million Facebook accounts where opened in Rwanda and tweeter was less than 200,000 accounts (2015). 2017, these figures have dramatically changed with unprecedented increases. Than tapping to this raw audience that is on social media, with all kinds of messages from policies, manifestos, hope and political sensitisation; our opposition political parties are instead operating with the 1990s mind-set, “things will work on their own,” Ibintu bizikora showcase.

In their hype to show democratic credential, the role of communication guru has become an elected post within different Opposition Political parties. Really, these are posts meant for those who have the ideas, experience or the technical knowhow in mass communication or Public Relationship. In the western countries, opposition political parties outsource a private firm to guide, advice and strategize in PR.

In relation to Rwanda’s political opposition, trust, you will find a taxi driver, a warehouse manager or mechanical engineer being voted by his mates to lead the communication department. Communication departments within political parties can never be an elected post, these are appointing posts, but when you look abroad these Rwandan opposition parties, this is an elective post….sic!

For those who have worked in PR, you will know that when you get an account (client), the first thing you will do, is to understand what he/she (private or public organisations) wants, then set short, medium and long term aims/targets/object/goals. This process is always followed despite the main operational objective(s) being emergency or non-emergency cases.

Just ask these opposition political parties their communication themes for this month of November……Goshhhh, they are totally clueless. Trust me; most of them haven’t even though to start composing Christmas or New Year communication messages for suffering Rwandans. That is if they even have the idea of doing it!! After, reading this post, since most of them operate on reactionary instinct, they will start writing end of year messages.

Fair enough, Ishema party of Padiri Nahimana Thomas is on the right track. They understand the concept of communication – PR, what I am waiting to see are posts on policies, i.e what is there white paper policy/intentions in regard to media/freedom of speech, what are their policies on agriculture….etc. But all in all, to me, I am happy with the team’s strategic approach.