philosophy called Kintsugi. It is the belief that things are more beautiful because they were once broken and then repaired. The philosophy treats breakage as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. They use gold to repair the broken objects to highlight how their beauty is thus sublime and priceless, due, not to the breakage, but to the masterful repair.
Rwanda is a precious vase; she was broken in a million pieces. The RPF has since been taking care of her and today she appears much prettier than she ever was before. I couldn’t find a better analogy for the 30 years that the RPF-Inkotanyi has been in existence…
uRwanda, as conceived by its creator ‘Rurema’ and its founder ‘Gihanga’, is an ideal. What singer Muyango calls ‘Ijabiro’; the desired place; a united and strong nation. The Rwandan nation was briefly interrupted by colonialism and division of her people, and only preserved in the hearts and minds of Rwandans in the country and in exile; and transmitted to young fighters through songs of Kaligirwa, Kayirebwa and Nyiranyamibwa; through dance by Sentore, Gashugi, Cyoya; poems of Rugamba and tales by Kagame. For those looking for the inspiration of the RPF; you may find it in there.
While receiving the ‘Igihango’: the National Order of Outstanding Friendship, Madamme Daphosa Gautier – with her husband Mr. Alain Gautier; the schoolteacher and the nurse, who spent the last sixteen years of their lives pursuing Genocide fugitives in France; She said, ‘Tukiri abana iwacu baratwigishije ngo: Iyo wihaye umurimo uwukora neza, kandi ukausoza’.
The RPF has taken upon itself the task of restoring Rwanda. Spiritually, materially and socially. Basanye imitima y’abanyarwanda, barabunga, bagura umubano n’amahanga, bazana uburumbuke mu Rwanda.
‘It was not human, Mr. Hezi Bezalel, our Honorary Consul to Israel recalls, also receiving Igihango; but still, during the struggle and after the liberation, there was no revenge…however after you had accomplished victory, referring to President Kagame, you chose to forgo the presidency and let the president be from the other part, to reflect the unity you wanted to see in Rwanda’; he proceeds, ‘this noble and modest decision, would have been if Israel’s founding father, David Ben Gourion, in 1948 nominated [Mohammed Amin] al-Housseini, the leader of Arabs in Israel as Prime Minister and made himself deputy; or that George Washington appointed himself as Vice-President and granted the presidency to a British loyalist. It sounds crazy, but you did it; This is a shining example of your wisdom and leadership…’
Before the advent of RPF, people practiced westernized notebook politics; they still do across Africa; by accepting willingly to share power, the RPF removed the proverbial ‘zero sum game’ from politics, thereby taking a divisive and potentially risky exercise and making it a national peace celebration; the RPF reinvented politics and gave it a human face.
Yet, what has set aside the Rwandan Patriotic Front from other African revolutionary movements, is that, while it has put an end to the Genocide and ushered in peace and stability, it has what to show for its time. It thus hasn’t needed to dwell on the past, for most of its current members weren’t born or old enough to experience Rwanda’s tragedy; they are a ‘born free’ generation of first time voters.
In lieu of the typical: ‘We brought peace! We ended white rule! We gave you your land back! The RPF says to them: ‘look around you; we are delivering; we are changing your lives. And together we shall shape a future, which starts now!
The RPF’s way of Kintsugi has not been a bed of roses, as it wasn’t meant to be. We shall never take for granted the sacrifices of its founders and our country’s liberators. On that, I recall that none of it all could have been possible without the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA); Young men and women who put an end to the last genocide of the twentieth century; the shield of the RPF; the foundation of our national Army. Like the Intoredancers, it has known when to be gentle and handsome and when to be powerful and strong, for Rwandans and other nations across the world…
Concretely, this thirtieth anniversary coincides with the launch of the National Strategy for Transformation (NSP-1). That will be the last strategy in which Rwanda is remembered as a poor country. The next seven years couldn’t be more decisive.
German poet Johann Von Goethe once said: ‘dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men’. In the last thirty years, the RPF has reached for the stars! While many doubted it at first, its accomplishments have come to reinforce our faith in politics that unite the people.
Beyond a source of rejoice, their deeds put us to task. We fear no challenge though, for we will be standing on the shoulders of giants. As Senior Comrade Tom Ndahiro remarked in his recent writings; those who started the RPF were at the same age as we, the new generation are today. When our time comes, we shall not stumble, for they have provided the rock, upon which our efforts will be anchored…