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RPF30: Age is not enough; achievements count

Institutions and individuals are often happy to celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries. Many are interested in their lifetime, and they spend a portion of their assets for the celebrations. Happy 30th anniversary to the RPF!

Those of my generation –born before 1990- know how diseases used to kill people, especially the vulnerable ones. Among vulnerable persons are pregnant women, babies and young children, persons with disabilities, orphans and refugees. Such people need special care and protection, especially from the government.

It is the right time to wish happy anniversary to the RPF, because it has gone through such hardships and emerged a strong and successful institution! At 30 years old, one is at the crossroads from youth to maturity. It is better to flashback, looking at the lifetime and marking points before moving forward. That is the RPF today.

Whatever political institutions do, they aim at inspiring hope to the citizens, thus improving their life expectancy and living conditions. Every struggle is for a better life and self-realization.

Life expectancy translates into the real life of the citizenry. Rwandans have no doubt about their increasing confidence in better life in all aspects. In the last 20 years, Rwandans’ life expectancy moved from 28 years in 1994 to 64 in 2015. It was 49 years in 1985.

Statistical data tells us more about the life expectancy trends in our region. In 1987, life expectancy was at 46 years in Rwanda, 46 in Uganda and 59 in Kenya.

In 1990, it was 33 years in Rwanda, 45 in Uganda and 58 in Kenya.

In 1994, life expectancy was 28 in Rwanda, 43 years in Uganda and 55 in Kenya.

In 2000, it was 48 years in Rwanda, 46 in Uganda and 50 in Kenya.

In 2015, life expectancy was at 64 years in Rwanda, 59 years in Uganda, and 62 in Kenya.

These figures indicate that; life expectancy went on declining in the decade before the genocide against Tutsi and went on increasing in the aftermath, under the leadership of the RPF-Inkotanyi.

Most political organizations aim at improving the living conditions of their members, and that is why; they are called “parties” which puts aside the element of inclusiveness. And such political parties have the main objective of seizing and consolidating their power. What makes their root cause of discrimination is their “partisan” spirit.

RPF Inkotanyi made the difference since the beginning. The name is not a “Party” but a “Family”. The essence has been the shared well-being for all Rwandans. This ideology materialized and led to national unity after decades of divisionism and genocide against Tutsi.

What is referred to as “strong institutions” in perceived “democracies” is merely a continuation of institutionalized injustices. Such systems are afraid of change, and they would wish to easily designate who should replace who in the leadership of any country.

Instead of continuity –perpetuation of the discriminatory policies- , the RPF opted for transformation and innovation to accommodate every Rwandan.

The country has experienced many political parties whose membership was discriminatory and exclusive for a particular ethnic group with leadership from exclusive regions. Education for all is now a fundamental right to each Rwandan.

Women, who used to be included in their husband’s movable assets, are now leaders in their country exceeding men in several leadership positions, with equal rights to property.

Rwanda is a united country. Every Rwandan would acquire plots and build houses anywhere in the country, and all Rwandans can comfortably and confidently compete for jobs in whichever part of the country. In the past, settlement and employment in specific areas would be either a punishment or a prestige to the citizenry.

RPF has opened and connected Rwanda with the World –both outward and inward-. Rwandans are now the champions of the human dignity, especially for fellow stateless, threatened and enslaved Africans.

Decent houses, education, access to infrastructure and utilities are no longer subject to corruption or nepotism; they are among basic rights for everyone.

As the RPF celebrates 30 years of existence, Rwanda and the international community shall implement the cessation clause by next month, putting an end to the refugee status for all Rwandans. RPF committed to repatriate all refugees so that every Rwandan shall have a place to call “home”.

Rwanda is stable with democratic institutions, and citizens are used to holding their leaders accountable, much as they are accountable to themselves. The country contributes significantly to peace keeping operations worldwide, and it has become home for stateless refugees.

Foreign and local investments are flourishing across the country with high level of financial inclusion. GDP per capita growth has increased over the last two decades. It was at $352 in 1990; $125 in 1994; $216 in 2000; $287 in 2005 and $740 in 2016.

What makes RPF great? The greatness of the RPF is not due to the years in existence, but the track record and its achievements. Many political organizations are created and fail in their vision. Thanks to its resilience and visionary leadership, the RPF did not stunt. It overcame serious challenges, fulfilled its original ideals, defeated genocidal regimes and formed a new united and pan African Rwanda with a resilient people.

Happy anniversary and long live the RPF-Inkotanyi.

NGENDAHIMANA Ladislas
The author is a Political Analyst & Member of Pan-African Movement, Rwanda Chapter

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