To the notorious fugitives;
On 10 Apr 2020, posing as ordinary “Rwandans living abroad”, you published through your networks on social media, an Open letter to the President of the Republic of Rwanda on proposals for measures to better manage the Covid-19 crisis in Rwanda”.
I was probably naive to assume that this pandemic was an opportunity for all Rwandans to put aside their differences and join government efforts in the fight against the common enemy, the COVID-19. I was damn wrong.
Your plastic sympathy for ordinary Rwandans does a bad job of disguising your eagerness to exploit public opinion’s emotion while mocking your motherland for being underprivileged. Far from degrading Rwanda’s leadership, this heartless posture you exhibit only exposes your lack of decency as you attempt to exploit every opportunity to undermine the image of your country.
The truth is, you don’t care at all about the fate of Rwandans you abandoned in dire need, opting rather to venture into destabilizing your country. As you mastered the art of predicting an Armageddon to befall our country, the experience of the genocide against the Tutsi has enhanced our ability to confront any threat and spring back stronger.
Thus, your past and current involvement in subversive activities through sponsoring armed groups; (including those responsible of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi); your biases and disconnect to present Rwanda deny you any legitimacy in advising H.E. President Paul Kagame, one of the most influential figures in our time (if I may borrow the terminology from The Times Magazine of 2009) and the 2018 African of the Year!
I’m sure deep inside you do recognize his leadership and your attempt to lecture him is rather a strategy to get some publicity. Commenting on HE President Kagame’s leadership, your fellow David Himbara, was once quoted saying: “I don’t believe that there has been a leader in living memory who has faced something like this. It is incredible how very often what has happened in Rwanda is taken for granted” (Kezio-Musoke David, “Kagame listed among the world’s most influential figures” in The East African of 18 May 2009). Well, unlike him, we don’t take anything for granted.
President Kagame has not only defeated the genocidal regime, its off-springs and other terrorist organizations (RDR, FDLR, RNC/P5) to which many of you belong, but has equally rebuilt the country back and changed people’s lives for the better.
Thus, there’s no single reason to be alarmed. Much to your chagrin, Rwanda is in good hands and blessed to have a visionary leader, HE President Paul Kagame, as well as a strong RPF you demonize all day long.
There are indeed, many reasons to be optimistic about Rwanda’s capacity to confront the pandemic.
First, the country has weathered the storm of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi of which some of you and/or your associates were perpetrators. Remember this: the current leadership inherited a quasi-failed and divided state with more than one million people killed; around 3 million refugees in neighboring countries and about 2 million former refugees returning home; while the genocidal forces continued posing a serious security threat to the country. Besides, there was no functioning administration (no banks, schools, health centers, etc.). Today, while the pandemic has negative socio-economic implications, we have a well-functioning government that has exhibited exemplary leadership to contain the pandemic. Just like we defeated the genocidaires, successfully rebuilt the country and its social cohesion, we will equally defeat the virus and its wide ranging socio-economic repercussions.
Second, the government has exhibited leadership in dealing with the pandemic. The lockdown measures were taken to flatten the curve of the virus and prevent a wide scale outbreak that would overwhelm hospitals and healthcare providers. To date, the country is leading in tests conducted both in Central and East Africa. Besides, out of 275 total cases registered as of 6 May 2020, 131 people have recovered from the virus. Thanks to an efficient government and a dedicated team of Medical professionals, no single death from COVID-19 has been registered so far. As you are locked in shelters in various corners of the world, Rwanda is busy and proudly saving lives!
Despite your efforts to tarnish Rwanda’s image, the country is acclaimed both locally and internationally for the leadership exhibited in the fight and mitigating strategies against the pandemic.
One of the patients who recovered from the pandemic has this to say: “my heart is full of gratitude right now. Someone tells the RBC and the entire Ministry of Health of Rwanda: I felt safe in your hands”. This message was posted on Twitter Handle @nsanzimanasabin of the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre that you can visit and appreciate the genuine atmosphere of gratitude expressed to the Government of Rwanda by the general public.
On 27 April 2020, the Director General of the World Health Organisation twitted the following: “I just spoke to @vbiruta, Foreign Minister #Rwanda. @DrMikeRyan & I congratulated him on the strong efforts on testing, contact tracing, hygiene measures & transparency since the pandemic started. We agreed Africa must continue following its continental strategy to beat #COVI19”.
Third, the government did not wait for your cynical call for action to put in place financial, economic and humanitarian strategies to mitigate effects of COVID-19. These include liquidity support and flexibility in loan repayment, and establishment of support fund. Senior government officials forfeited the salary of April 2020 to support vulnerable people affected by the pandemic.
This commendable gesture heralded similar initiatives not only from public institutions but also private sector and civil society as well as local communities.
Before I conclude, let me make some comments on your appeal for support from Agaciro Development Fund and RPF and the release of prisoners:
• Agaciro Development Fund is one of the RPF-led government homegrown solutions that you have been criticizing since their inception. May I recall that while most of Rwandans contributed en mass to Agaciro, some of you were rather sponsoring genocidal and terrorist groups to negative groups known to have committed genocide and/or crimes against humanity? How on the earth do you have the guts to advise on how its funds should be used?
• The same applies to RPF. I wish it was the richest political party in the world, as you assume. But in any case, RPF is a strong and rich organization thanks to its ability to invest in profitable business. Politically and socially, RPF invested in unity of Rwandans while you chose a different path of divisionism. Proliferation of your groupings under constantly changing acronyms tells a lot about what you stand for: disunity. Economically, RPF played a significant role in spurring economic development of the country by investing in risky sectors where local and foreign investors were unable or unwilling to invest. Most of your organizations have crumbled not only for lack of sound political programme for your country but equally for lack of integrity, poor leadership and managerial skills. This denies you moral high ground to advise a strong and well -managed political organization of RPF caliber.
• Last but not the least, your call for the release of prisoners while attempting to question the 1 April 2020 directive of Rwanda of releasing 1182 suspects is perplexing. As you try to exploit the call for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Bachelet Michelle, recommending governments to release “every person detained without sufficient legal basis”, your partners in crime (genocide convicts, FDLR, P5/RNC and MRCD/FLN elements) have strong cases to answer and shall remain in prisons while Rwandans courts went online during lockdown.