By Ambroise Nzeyimana.
In Rwandan history, as in any other nation’s past, charismatic personalities have risen up in the midst of national and political challenges. They led their compatriots, using their sometime complex attributes of their character to overcome difficult times in one way or another.
These personalities felt so strongly about their countries and people that they resorted to their inner ingenuity to help. They had generally a certain vision of the future. They worked unreservedly pursuing what they thought to be the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, and most of the time, they were characterised by strong egos, which sometimes could be indispensable, but were as well detrimental to the general cause in other instances.
Let’s look at some telling examples to illustrate that. Adolf Hitler started or caused World War II because of his conviction that his German race and country were superior and entitled to world domination. His vision of the world and its pursuit resulted in immeasurable damages among nations almost everywhere around the planet.
Abraham Lincoln, the most celebrated American president for the abolition of slavery, was convinced that though black and white people were all equal human beings, they could not live together because of differences which characterised them.
As a political genius, he however used the slavery problem to preserve the unity of the American nation, by rallying the North against the South slaveholder at the time [1860-1864]. Hundred thousands of lives and properties worth billions of dollars were sacrificed during that American Civil war thatLincolnwon.
In Africa, it is worth mentioning the example of the former president ofBurkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. During his short political life, he exceptionally demonstrated to his compatriots and the whole continent the possibilities of self-reliance and not prostituting oneself to the West as a nation.
The recent history ofRwandabrings to light the personality of Paul Kagame, current president of the country. He has been recognised by his American friends as a great military strategist.
Among outcomes of his actions as a political and military leader, Rwandans have experienced genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, with their millions of victims. The nation continues to live under a dictatorial regime doubled with visible discrimination against hutus.
Congolese have lost five million people as a result of two wars of invasions that Kagame’s army and his Ugandan and Burundian counterparts initiated in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996 and 1998. And it might take several generations to put in the past social and psychological consequences of these tragedies.
To save the country and its people from political decadence demands personalities of special character among the Rwandan political opposition. It requires individuals with strong egos but equally humble, capable of letting it go and sometime compromise wherever necessary, without selling out their soul to the devil.