Peopleâ€™s determination, national interests, rights, and foreign influence
In my recent article â€A purpose driven leadership, term of office and the choice of the peopleâ€ I pointed out that two things: First, the people of Rwandaâ€™s have requested to amend the article 101 of the constitution because they see into President Paul Kagame their future, consequently,Â theyÂ mind less about the issue of term limits.
Also the people of Rwanda have understood that time is an important resource they have to offer to their purpose and impact driven leader; President Paul Kagame, to make an important step ahead with them into the future, to shape their development and elevate Rwanda into a new era of prosperity that will be celebrated for generations.
As we all know, it is within the constitutional powers and rights of the people of Rwanda to amend the constitution. However, we have continued to witness a number of attempts by foreign political actors to oppose the aspirations of the people of Rwanda on political succession and continuity.
Without insinuating, anyway, that Rwanda should not respect other nations and or international political actorsâ€™ views, but I wish to emphasize that Rwanda as a nation and Rwandans a people have exclusive rights to their sovereignty. We all recently saw some countries publicizing their positions, including great powers, thatâ€ Kagame should not take another termâ€.Â To some levels, this is a form of interference in oneâ€™s nationâ€™s internal affairs.
How is it possible to take national aspirations of a people and narrow them to terms of office? Rwandans, in millions, have expressed their wish to amend the constitution, something, that is in their constitutional rights and powers. Then, how does it turn to be the right of any foreign political actor to oppose it? Again, to me, this is a form compulsion that is being exercised on Rwanda.
Definitely, the aspirations of the people of Rwanda should not be seen in isolation. Rather, they should be seen within the larger context of international rights and freedom of peoples worldwide. In fact, Woodrow Wilson, the US president in 1918, emphasized that â€œNational aspirations must be respected; people may be dominated and governed only by their own consent. Self-determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of actionâ€¦â€We, Rwandans hope that this principle has not changed up to date.
Of course, no state has ever lived without needing the intervention of other states on a given issue. Rwandans have been in need of interventions on different issues, particularly on matters of collective security.
In 1994, Rwanda cried for intervention when the Genocide was taking place. Unfortunately one million Tutsi were killed up to the last and the intervention was not given.
Recently, Rwanda requested the international community to intervene to fight and stop the terror activities of FDLR. The UNSC passed resolutions to dismantle FDLR.Â The UN deployed peace keepers including the intervention brigade but the will and effort to do so were so limited.
One may think that when threats like Genocide and terrors activities like the ones of FDLR threaten Rwanda, the international community abstains from intervening, and when the people of Rwanda have worked on something in their best interests like consenting for continuity, they have to be opposed.
Rwanda has interests to protect, politically, socially and culturally. Though, Rwanda has also an obligation to cooperate with other nations and other international political actors. However, there are interests that Rwanda can never compromise, particularly, when they are in line with the aspiration of its people. Of course, some stakeholders will not be pleased by this, but, in this situation, Rwanda will not fear of â€œa cooperation and disagreement relationshipâ€.
We, Rwandans know what we enclosed in the constitution in 2003: all the power derives from us; nobody can vest in himself the exercise of power. National sovereignty belongs to us and we shall exercise it the way we like, through our representatives and why not by a way of a referendum?
Like elsewhere, what matters most is the peopleâ€™s choice. We, the people of Rwanda, know the will and energy employed to be where we are today. We feel the same energy, we feel the same urgency, we feel the same passion to determine our future, choose our leader, rebuild our country and again cover our 1000 hills with 1000 smiles.
In the end and in a context that is not different from what we Rwandans are projecting to do, let me allow myself, the freedom of quoting John F. Kennedy: â€œlet every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of libertyâ€.