Rwanda – Reconciliation with Its Past

Rwanda has made great strides in the past two decades, since the genocide.  Hutus and Tutsis live in harmony with one another and many Hutus participate in the government. The cycle of violence that for so long plagued, the nation seems to have come to end. Kigali, Rwanda’s capital is often held up as a model for a clean, sustainable city and was even host of major climate change agreements recently.  Today many regional NGOs are based in Rwanda and it has shown early signs of success in nascent textile and IT sectors.  Still Rwanda has a ways to go.

It remains to be seen whether civil society of Rwanda can endure after Kagame steps down.  He has already expressed his intent to violate the constitutional limit to his term. If Kagame fails to implement Democracy during his lifetime,  Rwandan society may be prone to more violent outbreaks upon his death.  Kagame should make steps to build democratic institutions in his country.

Economic development should not come at the expense of Rwanda’s neighbors.  Rwanda has incurred on the sovereignty of the DRC for the last two decades.  This has rendered the DRC prone to violent outbreaks.  If Rwanda is to succeed it must be part of peaceful region.  To this end, I believe that Rwanda should work with the African Union to move towards continental integration.  Pan Africanism has been a buzzword since the post-colonial period, but if Rwanda and Africa as a whole is to be competitive on the global stage, then unity is essential.  Just as Europe healed its previous wounds by moving towards continental political integration, so to can the peoples of Africa move past its violent pass and realize a better future through unity.  This past summer I was in kigali when they were holding the annual African Union summit.  In the immaculate city,  I couldnt help but feel a tangible sense of optimism for a country that has been through some of the most violent times in modern memory.


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