2022 IN REVIEW – Rwanda held its own

2022 IN REVIEW – Rwanda held its own

And what a year it was. In spite of many challenges and hysterical detractors whose noises are for not, Rwanda had a very busy and successful year. Let us review together.

The 26th Commonwealth Conference (CHOGM) was held in Kigali with 54 Heads of State or their representatives in attendance, and well over 5,000 delegates. It was a superbly organized conference, and with all eyes on Rwanda it went smoothly, to the consternation of our enemies.

Group photo of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda

Prior to the conference the so-called Human Rights organizations made noises and protested to no end crying foul about Rusesabagina’s trial, conviction and a 25- year sentence, and calling for a different venue. Well, you do the crime, you do the time. Rusesabagina’s trial conducted in open court was fair and transparent, showing the world that Rwanda’s judiciary works, is fair and transparent.

At the end of the conference, President Kagame succeeded PM Boris Johnson of UK, thus becoming the Chairman of the Commonwealth until the next CHOGM in two years — indeed a daunting task of reviving an organization that faces an existential threat due to its colonial history. My hope is intact.

Not in a million years would I ever have thought that little Rwanda would head both the Commonwealth and Francophonie with our very own, Louise Mushikiwabo as the fourth and current Secretary General of Organisation International de la Francophone (OIF) having been elected on October 12, 2018 at Yerevan, Armenia.

Louise Mushikiwabo Secretary General of Organisation International de la Francophone (OIF)

Meantime, in West Africa it was open season for military coups. Burkina Faso suffered the fifth coup in nine months around the greater Sahel. This region has become the most pronounced center of a global crisis. Authoritarian governance is breeding extremism and transnational criminality, igniting violence and undermining democracies in the region. Other countries — Chad, Mali, Guinea and Sudan did not do much better and face instability for the foreseeable future.

Nigerian Ramon Abbas, commonly known as Hushpuppi was arrested in Dubai and extradited to the US to face justice. He was sentenced to over 11 years in Federal Prison for conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars from online scams. Which begs the question : why does Nigeria produce so many conmen?

Down south in South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa shocked the nation with what has been dubbed as “FARMGATE”. Parliament accused him of serious misconduct after the theft from his private game ranch of between $500,000 and $5m in cash almost three years ago. Ramaphosa said the money was from the sale of cattle, allegedly hidden in a sofa. The ANC vehemently challenges Ramaphosa’s account.

Who needs a bank when you have a sofa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa

“Operation Dudula” gained traction in South Africa’s major cities, fueling anti-migrant sentiment in the country, a sad state of affairs considering that most African countries supported the fight against apartheid.

In Equatorial Guinea, the world’s longest-standing president Obiang successfully extended his 43-year rule with a sixth term. In 1979 Obiang seized power from his Uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema whom he summarily executed. Guinea gained independence from Spain in 1968 and has had only two presidents.

Other key elections in the year saw Angola’s ruling party MPLA consolidate its hold on the country, and Joao Laurenco took on his second five-year term in office. I have it from good authority that Africa’s alleged richest woman, Isabel Dos Santos, accused of looting Angola’s national treasury is not about to come home. Her mansions in Europe are surely more comfortable than a prison in Luanda. Angola’s top court has ordered seizure of all her assets in the country. It never ends.

Then there is the never ending saga in the DRC over the existence of M23. Instead of governing President Tshisekedi is busy crying foul, accusing Rwanda of formenting insecurity in the DRC, hoping that this would cover up his incompetence and run away corruption on his watch. He is yet to blame Rwanda for lack of roads in the DRC, a broken infrastructure and shortage of food.

President Tshisekedi addressing the UN

Kenya got a new president : William Rutto ,after a grueling and exhausting campaign. His victory gave Uhuru Kenyatta egg on the face for selfishly supporting his political arch enemy for purely personal reasons. Ruto’s win sent perennial candidate, Raila Odinga packing for the last time. Age has caught up with him, and in-spite of Kenyatta’s support it was not meant to be. Democracy is messy, but for the other forms of government we have.

This year could be Africa’s for the asking. But we need to beware the expanding Chinese influence and trick loans. Their expansion on the Continent is worrying, especially when we keep signing contracts written in Mandarin.

We need to push for a seat on the Security Council. If not now, when?

Last but not least, instead of exporting our natural resources (coffee, copper, gold, diamonds, cocoa beans) for others to process and send them back to Africa charging us exorbitant prices, we need to wake up and build our own factories. Time is not on our side.