How Has Rwanda Managed To Transform & Recover?
It is now 24 years since the end of the catastrophic genocide that saw close to a million people massacred in cold blood with over 90% of them being the minority Tutsis. The tragedy that happened in the spring of 1994 between April and July was characterized by a tribe getting rid of another tribe within one nation in the most brutal way after considering them as “cockroaches” who were not worthy living together with in the same society. But with 24 years down the road, Rwanda has put the dark history behind them and the country has changed from a land of zombies and misery to become an economic model on the African continent. This has left many around the world wondering what could be the secret especially after seeing many African countries failing to take off economically including those that have never seen anything related to what Rwanda witnessed on their land. Today Rwanda has become a center of attraction to all travellers who love discovering the new world with her tourism sector bringing tens of thousands of visitors every year who love her incredible and unrivalled wildlife treasures including the incredible mountain gorilla tour to Volcanoes National park which most if not all travelers cannot afford missing out on their Rwanda safari.
In order to recover from the genocide and all its consequences, Rwanda has worked on several components in all her sectors and they have helped the country to turn into what we are seeing today.
There is nothing that has spear headed the transformation of Rwanda more than her political system. President Paul Kagame has been the political head of the country since 2000 to steer the nation through a period of political, economic, social and emotional healing. The President knew very well that only a system of equal opportunities, women emancipation, indiscrimination, transparency and accountability would be the one to satisfy the worried hearts of Rwandans who were already torn apart by hate and suspicion. Today you find the Rwanda government made up of members from both Hutu and Tutsi races an aspect that was lacking throughout all the postcolonial governments. 64% of the members in the Rwandan Parliament are ladies a clear indicator of women emancipation in the country. As widely said, politics is the head of every sector in the country, if it is rotten, the whole country would be rotten altogether and we wouldn’t be seeing Rwanda at this stage if it wasn’t the effectiveness of her political system. Therefore President Kagame should be highly commended for being the front-runners on the recovery journey of Rwanda.
The rate at which the Rwandan economy is growing has raised eyebrows around the world. Having understood the country’s need to stimulate economic activities in order to improve the standards of living of her people that were in shambles, the country seems that have taken the right path. Rwanda has earmarked the key economic sectors that can be relied upon to stimulate the economy. These include her tourism industry where massive investments have been made to make the country a high-end tourism destination. According to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Last year (2017) the industry was Rwanda’s foreign exchange earner earned Rwanda $438 million. Among the lucrative investments the country has made to boost her tourism industry include signing a 3 year million dollar partnership deal “Visit Rwanda“ with English Premier League Club Arsenal to advertise and sell Rwanda to the whole world. The agricultural sector has also been boosted heavily with the country exporting various agricultural products to international markets. Today Rwanda is able to process some of her agricultural products including juice, coffee, and foodstuffs, among others.
The government of Rwanda has worked hard to secure the membership into the East African community, a regional economic bloc with the major aim of achieving economic development for member countries. Through the integration, the people of Rwanda are free to move to any member country without many restrictions. The community is also working on free trade terms for all members and this will help all Rwandan entrepreneurs who would like to carry out business across the region.
Security and stability
The government of Rwanda has identified this area as key to the welfare of everything I the country. Therefore massive efforts were directed towards the elimination of all the threatening rebel groups especially those that were concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Western side of Rwanda. Rebel groups such as the “Interahamwe” were subsequently defeated by the government force the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). Today the people of Rwanda are living in a very stable and peaceful country as the RPF have continued to ensure the safety of all Rwandan borders to ensure that there are no external attacks from any rebel group that might be formed in one of the neighboring countries. The internal security within the country is also very tight with forces always moving around communities to ensure that all the citizens are safe.
Justice and Reconciliation
After the genocide tragedy, the Rwandan government under president Paul Kagame wanted to ensure that all those that participated in it were brought to face justice. Apart from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (officially closed in 2015) that was set up in Arusha Tanzania to deal with the genocide criminals, the government also went ahead to install community based courts (Gacaca) were the atrocities were committed. The community courts bring together both the criminals and victims of genocide. The criminals confess their crimes and ask for forgiveness from the victims and the survivors of genocide and then appropriate punishments are given which include community service for a particular period of time. These community courts have done tremendous work especially in giving justice to the genocide victims who lost their loved ones hence relieving them of some of the pain and grief from their hearts. This has further created a more friendly and peaceful environment where people of different parties in relation to the genocide live together.
Transparency and accountability
The Rwandan government in an effort to ensure good governance has opted for a transparent and accountable system. The fight against corruption has been a relentless to ensure that the limited national resources in the country are put to maximum use and that the people of Rwanda get the services due to them in the most transparent manner. The government has imposed very strict punishments for those found guilty of corruption and embezzlement including sacking and imprisoning government officials convicted of graft. The punishments for graft are not discriminative and they apply equally to all Rwandans who may be found guilty whether civil servants or mere civilians.
The role of the education system in Rwanda in the transformation of the country cannot be underestimated. Through education, the country has been able to educate her young people about the evil of genocide and the need to ensure that it does not happen again. Various education programs have been installed targeting the to equip the youth with the knowledge and resources to fight for the common cause of the country and development in all areas. Such programs include “Itorero” where young people are taught to love their country and to protect it from all he enemies. In schools, the students are always reminded about the evil of genocide and encouraged to live together and tolerate one another regardless of their backgrounds.
The government up today has not stopped sensitizing her citizens about the atrocities of genocide and teaching them how to avoid it. The slogan “Never Again” has been popularized everywhere in Rwanda as the citizens are told not to allow anything that result into any such tragedy to corrupt their mind.