This is a facebook status i picked up from one of my friends. She was refering to the incidents in Rwanda in the last one month that have many ears raised in east Africa. Rwanda’s capital has experieced grenade blasts on two separate occasions in the last few weeks. It is still unclear who is behind them but goverment claims some former President Kagame RPF buddies in exile according to the BBC report. The one blast near Kigali’s genocide memorial left at
least 16 people wounded in the near-simultaneous blasts on Thursday 4th.
Rwanda has enjoyed some calm since the 1994 genocide but there are concerns on the ever tightening noose on freedom by the current regime.
There’s lack of space for political dissent as well as media freedom. The media is either government controlled or influenced.
The media played a key role in the genocide and it’s on this background that the government has treated post genocide media as force that you can dare let free.
The country has made major progress in development and it has been hailed for it’s healthcare system especially the insurance, rarely seen in other African states. The government has also managed to introduce technology setting a good example for the continent.
When you travel from Uganda to Rwanda by road, you will take more hours than necessary on Uganda’s potholed roads but as you cross the valley at the Katuna border, you appreciate the infrastructure that has been put on the Rwandan side.
But Rwanda still faces an uphill task of bringing a people together and with the Interahamwe, who were behind the genocide that killed about 800,000 Tutsis (mostly) and moderate Hutus formed a miltia in Eastern Congo after the genocide and are still active.
Amnesty International last month issued a report condemning attacks on a Rwandan opposition group as the country prepares for presidential elections in August 2010.
Also some of President Kagame’s allies have fled the country on accounts of intimidation. The latest being former Rwanda military chief Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa. He gave an interview to Voice of America this week in South Africa. He was Rwanda’s ambassador to India and according to the interview his wife is under house arrest in India after he fled.
Daily monitor also reports that another Rwanda envoy Jean Pierre Bizimana in the Netherlands is also under suspicion for having granted present vocal opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, a Rwandan passport. Ms Ingabire has been out of the country for over 16 years, returned last month and she is aspiring to run for president in the coming election. This will be a challenge for RPF who have won world accolades for the progress in putting women in leadership positions.
But for now the country remains in a fragile security threat and with no developed media and almost no room for the rumour mill and my friend’s question remains, who will watch the watchman?