"In Tanzania we are ruled by Kikwete
from a tiny Kwele tribe of 50,000 people
in one district of Bagamoyo."
RWANDA VIEW FROM TANZANIA
"Legitimacy to rule should be based on what one can do for the country
and not which tribe he belongs to."
To Orwell Today,
re: neighbouring view of Rwanda
Kagame is a hero of Rwanda and all sensible people should support him and acknowledge what he has done.
When other Africa countries were uniting to chase away colonialists in late 50s, Rwanda’s nationalists were chasing away fellow countrymen. This resulted into Tutsis being disinherited. There were so many state-less Rwandans in the region and world-wide including Kagame, suffering xenophobia. I remember in Tanzania we were calling them Wanyalu.
Then Kagame waged a war to give these people dignity. So, the 1990 war to me was absolutely justified and Kagame was Moses.
Then there came the plane shooting down. Who did it? I read Romeo Dellaire’s 'Shaking Hands with the Devil' and he says the then govt forces and French soldiers denied him access to the crash site. So, Judge Jean-Louis’s indictment, not based on scientific findings, is nonsense.
Genocide: Kagame stopped it and made Rwanda a dignified country for Hutus, Tutsis and Twas.
Amidst genocide, so many refugees poured across the boarder into Tanzania. I was then in secondary school and on vocation I was employed by one NGO to serve them for a few months. I also monitored broadcasts of Radio Rwanda and RTLM everyday.
One day Radio Rwanda was holding interviews with a 12-year-old girl manning a roadblock with other militias:
Reporter: ...I can see you wearing pants and holding impiri (club), what are you doing here?
Girl: I am hunting for cockroaches...
Reporter: How do you know a cockroach?
Girl: It looks umuhwele (weak and hungry) so once I see it, I hit it with my club...and I kill it.
So, this shows how the incompetent and genocidal govt that succeeded Habyalimana mobilized all Hutus into committing genocide and Kagame reacted to fight a mad population.
I was also surprised by attitudes of Hutu refugees! I often interacted with my age-mates, young, smartly-dressed refugees and I even attended their weddings. All were racists and hated Kagame. None of them was saying killing a Tutsi was a crime. This is to show how successive Hutu regimes had succeeded in sowing seeds of destruction!
I read Philip Gourevitch's 'We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow we Will be Killed with our Familes' about the madness of refugees in Zaire and how they were sabotaging Rwanda and those in Kibeho camp, and believe the decision to close those camps at a cost was indispensable.
And also another issue I find interesting is the debate whether Kagame forces killed 500,000 in Congo as some people say. Where are the mass graves?
Then in 1996 Tanzania forced refugees back into Rwanda. I was one of Red Cross employees who escorted them to Rusumo border. They were welcomed by President Bizimungu. I was surprised to hear no reprisal killings, they were only screened and criminals arrested.
In 2001 I went to enjoy Christmas in Rwanda’s border town of Matimba through Uganda. I was completely surprised by what I saw. I once again met my racist friends, who were now riding passengers on motorcycles, running shops and doing tailoring business. They operated side-by-side with Tutsis.
Reconciliation is working, people in Rwanda now believe they are all Rwandans and they have equal stake in the country.
My last word: Rwanda has come a long way. The problems were created by past regimes and Kagame has been trying to solve them to make Rwanda a country that is dignified.
He is from a minority tribe but in Tanzania we are ruled by Kikwete from a tiny Kwele tribe of 50,000 people in one district of Bagamoyo.
Legitimacy to rule should be based on what one can do for the country and not which tribe he belongs to.
I have followed Rwanda a great deal and I honestly believe Kagame, despite his shortcoming, he is a good man and I thank him for returning Rwanda in the fold of dignified countries after it was completely destroyed physically and in soul by extremists.
Happy New Year,
Thank you so much for your detailed account of Rwanda, which will be shared with the World Wide Web this New Year's Eve of 2007. What a great note of optimism to end 2006 on.
One of my favourite photos is of the Rwandan refugees returning home across the bridge from Tanzania. That you were there is amazing! I've scanned the photo above from Colin Waugh's book PAUL KAGAME AND RWANDA.
Happy New Year to you and all in Tanzania,
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~