The Rwandan Model is an African Model

African Union flag

The 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2017, elected Rwanda to lead the Union for a period of one year, in 2018.

The 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government, that convenes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 28 to 29, will therefore be chaired by President Paul Kagame in his capacity as Chairman of the Union.

He takes over from his Guinean counterpart, President Alpha Condé.

It will be the very first time that Rwanda will lead the Union since the latter was launched in 2002.

The above quote is the opener of an article which appeared in The New Times yesterday. Please click here the full article, it’s a great read. However, there was another article published on the same day in The Conversation, titled “Why Rwanda’s development model wouldn’t work elsewhere in Africa”.  The motto of The Conversation is “Academic rigour, journalistic flair”, and the article was written by one Prof. Nic Cheeseman, whose bio describes him as a so-called Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham. It’s boring at this point, isn’t it? Another White Western Wiseman here to teach us about democracy by telling us how our president is a dictator, and we’re all too stupid to see we’re living in fear and misery, and Africa will die tomorrow if we don’t follow the Great White Saviour today today today o!

Cheeseman’s article is filled with the usual ignoring of facts about how our country’s government is structured, such as the constitutionally guaranteed power-sharing between the incumbent party and other parties – there’s no winner-takes-all type of democracy like in the United States, for example – and a previous article of mine explains this approach in the racist anti-Rwanda western media coverage. That’s not what’s new. What’s new is this shift from a) “Rwanda will never succeed!” to b) “OK, Rwanda is undeniably succeeding, BUT you can NEVER succeed, if you follow Rwanda.”

Cheeseman says the following, regarding Rwanda’s successes:

  • Out of the ashes of a horrific genocide, President Paul Kagame has resuscitated the economy, curtailed corruption and maintained political stability.
  • This is a record that many other leaders can only dream of, and has led to Rwanda being cited as an economic success story that the rest of the continent would do well to follow.
  • Instead of sitting back and waiting for foreign investors and the “market” to inspire growth, the new administration intervened directly in a process of state directed development. Most notably, his government kick started economic activity in areas that had previously been stagnating by investing heavily in key sectors.
  • Combined with the careful management of agriculture, these policies generated economic growth of around 8% between 2001 and 2013. Partly as a result, the percentage of people living below the poverty line fell from 57% in 2005 to 45% in 2010. Other indicators of human development, such as life expectancy and literacy, have also improved.

Then Cheeseman goes on to insult the rest of Africa by saying the other African countries are too broken, too useless, too hopeless to thrive on the “Rwandan Model”:

States that feature more dominant ruling parties have consistently failed to impose economic discipline on their governments. Instead, entrenched clientelism and internal factionalism have typically undermined anti-corruption efforts. This is true for both Angola and Chad, hurting efforts to reduce poverty and boost economic growth.

According to Cheeseman, outside of Rwanda, the rest of Africa lacks “economic discipline” in governance, is rife with “entrenched clientelism” and “internal factionalism” and can therefore not embark on anti-corruption efforts. Think about what’s going on here. Cheeseman grudgingly concedes Rwanda rose “out of the ashes of a horrific genocide” and with Pres. Paul Kagame went on to 1) Resuscitate the post-genocide economy, 2) Curtailed corruption, and 3) maintained political stability. Think about these achievements, and then let it sink in that this Rwandan success story happened in one lifetime. Not over an arduous period of several hardship-afflicted and precariously stumbling generations. No. Inside 20 years! So of course, African countries are interested in this. Of course, African countries – who fortunately have themselves not suffered a genocide of over a million human beings – will want to know more about this “Rwandan Model”. Then it’s only natural that when you have someone who is coming from a place much worse than you have ever seen, and with their own two feet and hard work is rising to heights you have also never seen …. it’s only natural you will say “Hey, my brother Kagame. What’s your secret? Could you come sort us out, too?”

What makes this particular anti-Rwanda article by “Professor of Democracy” Nic Cheeseman so interesting is the timing. It’s impeccable, and in my opinion a sign of the subtle shift we will experience in 2018 when it comes to western media coverage on Africa in general and Rwanda specifically.

As The New Times article correctly states, Rwanda, represented by our Pres. Kagame, will be heading the African Union for 2018, and the AU’s 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government is scheduled to be held at the end of this January. So what’s changed? What’s this “subtle shift” in the anti-Rwanda narrative? Well, let’s look at a rough summary of western media coverage of Rwanda, post-’94.

Western Media: “The victims of the Genocide Against the Tutsi brought this on themselves. Moreover, the real genocide was perpetrated by that evil supervillain Kagame and his despicable RPA. Naughty people! Rwanda under Kagame is a dictatorship! It will NEVER work!”

Western Media: “OK, so there are some things here and there that are going well in Rwanda, but they will NEVER get anywhere. Because they don’t have democracy, Kagame is a tyrant and everybody is scared. Whatever little things are working, are only working because of Western Donor Aid! Just freeze the aid, and watch that tiny African patch of land collapse, watch!”

Western Media: “Oh… OK, so freezing aid might not exactly have brought about the end of the tyranny in Rwanda. Yes, yes, Kagame is the Darling Of The West, but his own people fear him! There’s a Climate Of Fear! The elections are rigged! Africa still doesn’t understand Democracy, Kagame is a dictator for life. It’s very bad for Democracy in Africa.”

Meanwhile, Africans across the continent marvel at Rwanda’s galactic rise from the ashes, our peaceful and safe country, the sheer ease of doing business. Oooh my, Rwanda is sooo clean! Please, Rwanda, may we borrow Kagame for our country, too? Oooh, if only other African countries could be like Rwanda: zero tolerance on corruption, investment magnet, universal health care, majority female Parliament…

Western Media: “Hey hey hey! Wait wait wait wait WAIT!…. OK, OK …. maybe the Rwandese people are not living in fear. OK? It’s true, it’s true, Rwanda is not quite a dictatorship. But! BUT! It’s not a reeeaaal democracy. It’s a Rwandan Model Democracy! What?… NONONONO!! NOT a Model Democracy! OH MY GOD! It’s a Rwandan Model …. you know what? All you need to know is all these phenomenal things happening in Rwanda, your African countries can’t do it! It can’t work! Why? Well, … you know… because Kagame is a bad man! It can’t work! It’s a Rwandan Model! It can’t work in Africa! The only model that can work in Africa is the Western Model!”

2018 is a dangerous year. The “Rwandan Model” is helming the African Union. All the hatred and lies thrown at Kagame and Rwanda have apparently not distracted or dissuaded our African brethren from believing in us. It has not deterred them from wanting a piece of this “Rwandan Model” for themselves. And what is this “Rwandan Model” anyway? In a nutshell? Self-determination. A farewell to dependency on Western Donor Aid, by embarking on a national journey to self-determination. We don’t need no Cheeseman or any other “Professor of Democracy” to lecture us on what “Democracy According To The West” is and how it will surely lead to our salvation. The West has applied two models across Africa: 1) Slavery, 2) Colonialism (now remixed to Neo-liberalism). And not only have these two Western Models failed, they have almost completely destroyed Africa. They have robbed us of any sense of dignity. We Africans believed so readily in whatever rubbish the West tells us, from the broken education systems that poison the minds of young Africans from Cairo to Cape Town. To the structural adjustment programs that annihilated the fledgling attempts at economic recovery of post-Independence African countries. And all was well for the West. Africa was the West’s for the taking. A self-service raw material pantry where we Africans languish in the mines of our natural resources, sold to the West for peanuts, and then used to power the hyper-affluence of predatory capitalist Western economies. And then these same exploitative Western economies turn around and tell us only by the grace of their handouts will we ever stand a chance.

2018 is a dangerous year, because Western media’s racist anti-Rwanda hysteria is not yielding the expected returns for them. Africans are slowly turning away from the “Western Model” and showing rising enthusiasm for the “Rwandan Model”. The abovementioned New Times articles quotes our Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe as follows:

Nduhungirehe said that it’s sad that 80 per cent of AU programmes are funded by donors though Africa could do it by itself.

Under the Kagame-led reform plan, each country will deduct 0.2 per cent of its tax income from taxable imports and contribute it to the AU commission to help the Union achieve self-reliance.

Self-reliance. Self-determination. That’s the plan. It’s working for us in Rwanda, as you can obviously see. And it will work for you too, if you follow this famed “Rwandan Model“.

2018 is a dangerous year, because a self-reliant Africa is horrible for western interests. African self-reliance is not even political theory anymore, we are living it in practice in Rwanda, thanks to our President Paul Kagame. So, if Africans are realizing this, what does that mean for western reporting on Rwanda? Well, that brings us back to the subtle shift I mentioned. I want to predict there will be a shift this year from “Rwanda will fail!” to “OK, Rwanda is succeeding. But YOU other Africans will fail, because you are all thieves and you don’t understand democracy.” I almost feel sorry for these anti-Rwanda crybabies. First they tried to get us Rwandans to believe we will fail, because we are hopeless. But you fellow Africans saw through this ruse. And now they will try to get you to believe trying a Rwandan approach (which is an African Model) will not lead to self-determination. Imagine. They want to determine for you what is good for you. Obviously, your self-determination is not on their agenda. Yet, Nduhungirehe states openly the plan for this African continent’s union is self-reliance. However, you have the Cheeseman demons whispering in your ears to stay with them and to ignore Rwanda. Africa, the ball is in your court. What will it be? Continuation of this “Western Model” that started with slavery and continues to this day with unrestrained exploitation, generation after generation after generation? Or would you like to try this curious thing called the Rwandan Model, which lifted my country from hell fire to a worldwide success story in just 20 years? Slavery or Freedom? We Africans are not useless like Cheeseman believes. We know what’s good for us and we are well capable of determining our future for ourselves, aren’t we?

In 1402 the Spanish empire invaded the Canary Islands. In 1415 the Portuguese empire captured Ceuta (Morocco). In 1441 the first shipment of slaves was brought to Lisbon (Portugal). Over 600 years later no African country has succeeded with the Western Model. Not a single one. And here we have the Rwandan Model, achieving in 20 years what no Western Model has done in Africa in over half a millennium. If these short 20 years of the Rwandan Model got us this far already, just try to imagine what Rwanda will look like in 600 years.

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