By Nathan Emory Iron
The pre-and-post-election periods in any country will always tell us whether that country is a democracy or not. All in all, countries with a strong democratic culture as well as strong and independent supporting State institutions often witness a smooth transition from one leader to another.
On the other hand, countries that don’t have those things and where incumbents are determined to retain power at all costs often end up with post election conflicts. For example, you will find that in those countries, the electoral body will have been hand-picked by the incumbent without due regard to the interests of the opposition. That is a recipe for disaster.
In this, the 21st century, surely, African leaders must be held accountable to the cause and implementation of good democratic governance. It is not a privilege; it is a right that every African citizen is entitled to enjoy. The energetic youth of our continent must therefore take the lead by demanding good democratic governance from their political leaders and all who aspire to lead them. These actions must be continuous and ceaseless; whatever the consequences. You can never attach an appropriate price to freedom; never. Great leaders like Nelson Mandela knew that very well and so should we.
Conviction, courage, devotion, and the spirit of sacrifice are as contagious as cowardice and submission to dictatorship are. It only takes a few people to stand up and say no and the rest will follow. It has happened before, and I hope it happens again very soon in countries like Uganda and Rwanda where dictatorship has taken root. But the true African freedom fighters of goodwill [who will no doubt emerge to lead such struggles] need the support of all pan-Africanists.
Look at Rwanda today. It is a true African tragedy and it needs a pan-Africanist intervention. The Rwanda Patriotic Front [RPF] regime of Paul Kagame was initially hailed for its moral liberation struggle and for the positive achievements it was registering in the early years. But the Rwandese have now submitted to dictatorship in the same way they rose against it. The reality in Rwanda today is absurd to say the least. President Paul Kagame, just like his mentor Yoweri Museveni next door, has dominated Rwanda’s political landscape in its totality. The Rwandese opposition has absolutely no-space in the politics of Rwanda.
Political persecution and assassinations have become the order of the day in Rwanda! Mr. Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, the leader of the Green Party, is no more. He was gunned down under very suspicious circumstances. Mr. Martin Ntavuka, the Nyarugende leader of FDU INKINGI was arrested and detained on 24th July 2010. Mr. Deogratious Mushayidi was detained, and Mr. Bernard Ntaganda, President of PS IMBERAKURI, was also arrested and detained. All this happened within a few weeks to August 2010 elections. And now, unconfirmed reports indicate that renegade General Kayumba Nyamwasa’s brother/s like Lt.Col. Rugigana Ngabo was arrested.
Fear has gripped the entire Rwandese population. Some political scholars believe that President Paul Kagame’s arrogance is derived from his close relationship with the US Pentagon. In fact, the grapevine has it that the American Defence Department actually supported Rwanda’s invasion of DRC to pursue anti-Kigali Hutu extremists. The volatile security situation in eastern DRC is occasioned by the continued illegal presence of Rwandese Forces there; many of whom have been variously accused of a clandestine but systematic looting of DRC’s natural resources.
Rwanda’s degeneration seems to be gaining a dangerous pace. Recently Rwanda, with the help of the equally lawless NRM government in Uganda, forcefully repatriated almost 3,000 Rwandese refugees from a camp in Western Uganda. The media in Rwanda is in total disarray. Tough laws gagging media houses and journalists are in full play. Independent journalism is now one of the most dangerous occupations in Rwanda today. That is why you find that occasionally it is Ugandan Journalists like Andrew Mwenda, a self confessed [probably paid] fan of the Kigali regime, who host important radio talk shows in Rwanda.
There is a complete and total ban on dissenting voices or critics of the regime. To defy that ban brings you very close to being labelled a genocide supporter or denier. There is now an open abuse of democratic rights by a minority group who claim they liberated Rwanda. Let me repeat: Rwanda’s decline is an African tragedy and Africa must save its face by quickly coming to the rescue of the innocent people of Rwanda.email@example.com