Every year in April, local and foreign, warned against a repeat of genocide in Rwanda or in any other country on our continent.
World leaders apologized for standing by as nearly a million Rwandans were hacked to death, or for living the country with their citizens leaving Rwandans behind to die at the hands of their fellow countrymen and women. But as expected, the people of Rwanda didn’t hide their anger. And why should they pretend to be at peace with the international community which abandoned them to die at the hands of inhuman politicians and their henchmen.
That however isn’t the significance of this week’s events in Kigali. The significance is whether Africans have lessons which ought to have been learnt. As we remember this April week, people are being killed by their fellow countrymen in many parts of Africa.
Progressively we are seeing the abuse of some sections of the media by some politicians. Of course the situation can’t be compared to that of Radio Rwanda, and Radio Télévision des Milles Collines (RTLM) of the Genocide times. The question is what the people of Rwanda keep on asking: ‘could genocide have been avoided or stopped?’
One young girl in Kigali was this week quoted saying: ‘Politics spoiled everything’. “We felt at ease,” remembers Innocent Rwililiza, a teacher in Nyamata. “It was afterwards, around 1992, that politics came and spoiled everything.”
In March 1992 Radio Rwanda broadcast a false report saying that Hutu leaders in the Bugesera were going to be murdered by Tutsi. The rest is history.
In Uganda we have been lucky. Our country has been peaceful. But like everywhere else during political hard times, it is always a sensible thing to remind each other of the value of peace, the value of life, and the very high cost of hatred and intolerance.
Ugandans of Christian faith will most likely be familiar with the Bible’s teaching that Satan’s greatest weapon is Disunity. In October 2004, Dr. Gohar Mushtaq of the Muslim faith stated the obvious in his advice to Muslim nations: ‘The life history of nations shows that whenever there is disunity in a nation, it is a crystal-clear indication of its decline’. And he elucidates the point with two examples:
When Muslims conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453 C.E., the Christian popes and priests were disunited and, instead of getting united and making military plans against Muslims, they were just arguing about nothing. As a result of their disunity, Muslims were easily able to conquer Constantinople, which was the heart of Christian empire.
He goes on to say that when the British were attacking and conquering the different Muslim states of India around 1800 C.E., Muslims of the Indian sub-continent were disunited. The result was that the British were able to conquer all the Muslim states in India by the year 1857 C.E.
He concludes by observing that it was because of the same disunity that the Western imperial powers were able to convert the united states of Middle East into the disunited states of Middle East.
Ugandans know that UNITY is STRENGTH. So why aren’t they bothered by all this growing Disunity in the media? Why aren’t they speaking up for Uganda’s sake?