Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Rwanda Govt breaks dependency syndrome

RWANDA's attempts to break the dependence syndrome, which has hampered most African countries development, could have paid off.

Thirteen years after the 1994 genocide that devastated this tiny central African country, the Kigali leadership has pushed an economic, social and political growth that depends largely on home-made solutions.

Although the issue of borrowing continues to play a role, as the case is in all global markets, in Rwanda, it has become reasonably minimal.
The country is shifting towards utilizing all her resources, human and material to solve development chancellor. The government is working hard to involve every Rwandan in the reconstruction task without relying on foreign expertise.

Immediately after the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army had captured power in 1994, after the bush war struggle that put an end to the debacle in which over million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred, the most urgent task was to build trust among Rwandans, and reconcile them.

The RPF government bonded victims and culprits that had participated in genocide and encouraged them to live in harmony again. Among confidence building strategies was the institution of a National Unity and Reconciliation Commission. The commission has engaged Rwandans of all walks of life in the country and in the Diaspora on how to rebuild their own motherland.

Most of the Rwandan professionals had either died or fled the country, while those that were steering national policies were often inexperienced. Now the RPF-led government of President Paul Kagame has continued to reject the idea that, as a people emerging out of conflict, others should conceive and design systems, processes and strategies for Rwanda.

Mr Kagame has always made his view very clear on this matter that in any event, a development programme that is conceived and executed by external actors is unsustainable in the long run.

Gacaca system
A classical illustration of a home grown policy is the Gacaca court system which addressed genocide cases that would require a lot of time and resources to be resolved.
The Gacaca system is a centuries-old Rwandan community-based justice system in which the accused and the accuser meet in a village square, led by a council of elders, to settle cases.

In the history of this country, it was a tool for reconciliation since the penalties were mutually binding. In modern Rwanda, the Gacaca court system has been modernised to handle part of the bulk of genocide crimes -the less serious cases, while other categories of crimes against humanity are executed by the conventional western style courts.
However, the international community's view on this communal court system in Rwanda is indifferent.

Sometimes the West has reacted out rightly hostile to this initiative, arguing that Gacaca does not fit the principles of conventional court systems. But, in his address to the African Business Leaders Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently, Mr Kagame challenged the critics to provide an alternative to Gacaca.

"We also point to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The tribunal has since 1995 tried 31 people at a cost of over US$1 billion," he noted.

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