Rwanda’s Electoral Processes A trend of Peaceful Political Culture
The fate of Rwanda in the last twenty years is known to have been horrific, terrific and shocking to the entire world in which a genocide characterized by brutal killings of innocent citizens occurred. The situation of the time offered no hope for recovery and survival to the minds of normal human beings.
What was to be anticipated by many was endemic misery and despair with probable endless conflicts and killings. If at all the trend would be reserved it could take roughly 50-100 years but not twenty years â€“ No.
The magic behind the quick and positive development of events in the country are attributed to many factors- visionary and commitment of leadership but also resilience of a people.Â Despite all this however, the magnitude of the tragedy, its impact and the value of peace are better understood by Rwandan people.
Those who at one time lost peace in their history understand the value of it better than anyone else. So there are certain realities about Rwandan history that non Rwandans have failed and will never understand but only well consumed by Rwandans. When one carefully, and responsibly listens to Rwandans will understand that they share with no body the degree of grief and pain they incurred twenty years ago. This situation forms the launch pad of their approach to their national issues and their unique determination despite criticism.
Secondly, Rwandans have understood that no third party is more responsible for their survival. When the country was in its worst dark days, during the genocide, no one came to their rescue yet the international community was not in short of resources, let them be human or material.
Ironically, when they choose their own way of conducting their affairs to deal with the challenges accruing to dirty past, uninvited guests in the names of democracy and human rights request for no visa to avail themselves.
Forgetting the past, failure to act in the interests of durable peace for Rwanda would be irresponsibility for the future of the nation and its people and inescapable blame for the current generation in control. Among so many values the nation needs to embrace peace remains supreme
Building, promoting and maintaining the value of peace in every national program is increasingly becoming a responsibly every individual in the country, to them and other values come next after assuring peace. This entails doing everything peacefully even if it may not match with any regarded conventional way of doing the political business. Realizing the extra-ordinary situation the people of Rwanda have passed through requires only extra ordinary approaches to their own affairs.
Coming to the electoral process, particularly in Rwanda, a lot of criticisms have been made. When people wake up in the morning to polling stations and peacefully line up, casting their votes in colorful polling stations, closing the business and going their own business normally as if there have not been such event, to many it looks abnormal and some shamelessly say there is manipulations this is a failure to appreciate the unique experience of Rwandans and their collective zeal to embrace peace at any cost.
It is well documented that elections in many parts of the world and Africa inclusiveÂ are preceded by violence in many forms, clashes between opposition members, vandalizing merchantsâ€™ property , tear gases, citizens and police clashes in streets and all other evils, these are the main characteristics of many elections in many countries.
But are these positive or negative? What many people fail to understand is that Rwandans people have seen the worst and their only wish is to have it never happen again and this to be ensured by themselves, through going their own way by their own means with support of good Samaritans of course.
The country has had a number of elections since 2003, beginning with their constitution after the transitional government. What is evident and persistently registered is peaceful elections and jubilant celebrations thereafter. They may not convince anyone to go their way, but they know it is their own chosen philosophy that will enable them have the value of peace for ever which is they only treasure most.
A humble advice to anyone criticizing Rwandaâ€™s way of conducting its own affairs let them be political, economic or social should first and foremost visit its recent history. No one would be ready to lose a war for survival or like to be held hostage by his/ her unfortunate history.
A number of nations have passed through different political episodes sometimes turmoil but the single factor of success is objectivity other than subjectivity. This informs the validity of the home grown solutions philosophy by Rwanda and the good news is that, Rwandan people have so far no short fall in courage and resilience still informed, by their unique recent experience.
They have courageously fought and stopped a genocide by themselves, have decided instead to embrace reconciliation.
This is what any sober mind should call thinking big, all aimed at burying the dirty and unfortunate history and refusal to be held hostage by the past unwanted past evils. The above decisions are not ordinary. Despite all the extra-ordinary efforts employed to ensure the recovery of the nation and its people, to greater heights, criticisms have been enormous but the courage to with stand them and continue the journey of purpose has grown stronger.
In all this there are two things to compare, the choice remains between fear of criticisms and continuation of search for peace. Even if the two were evils, Rwandans have to choose the lesser evil and that one is the continuation of search for peace. Peace is invaluable and is well known to Rwandans who once in their lives lost it all in the real terms.
As Rwandans struggle to rebuild their country from ashes they should not be tempered within their own way of forging their future. The only justice they need is to consider their concerns and be left alone.
Indeed they have decided to be no burden to anyone and deal with their burden in reorganization of any support from a genuine well-wisher. Today, Rwanda is in electoral process that runs from local leadership to presidential and finally parliamentary, expected to push the country into a new phase of democratic development. The inspiring aspect is the collective desire for the Rwandans to embrace peace and elect their leaders without any disturbance as they continue their business as usual. A sign ofÂ people disgusted of violence and conflicts with the only zeal to look for peace at all costs being well informed by the occurrences in their undesired past.