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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kagame on Ujamaa, Imidugudu and Stubbornness

Paul Kagame, the resolute leader of Rwanda, had the following to say about 'Africans and our Ways' when interviewed by Jenerali Ulimwengu - You can read the whole interview in The Citizen (1 September 2010: 10 -11)
....
Let nobody tell you lies. These people don't want (Africans to move out of their poverty). They will always say the right things, but when it comes to doing they will always...keep us...and it's really unfortunate that Africans don't understand this. The West, this developed world, don't want us to get out of poverty, because we must remain beholden of them; and they must always be the do-gooders who (do things for you). If you break out of that, or if you are seen to be breaking out of that, you are committing an offense (and you will be punished)....

And I'm saying this from real practice. For me I've come to believe this because I've seen it, I've experienced it. It comes from many things. It's like they are saying, these stubborn Rwandans, by that they are saying, these stubborn Africans. And it's even dangerous because you may infect others with this spirit of being rebellious, doing things your way. I believe it, I experience it, I confront people on this everyday....

I don't even bring it up except where it really concerns what I'm doing because it keeps bringing up other backlashes. Then they will bring up human rights...repression...they divert you from doing what matters to you, explaining yourself everyday...Oh, someone fell off his bicycle and died. We are not sure whether there wasn't a police hand or a government hand. So they create these suspicions so that everyday you are caught up in explaining yourself....

When our officials in the ministry of finance and elsewhere meet with these middle level officials of these powers they are always asked: Why are you doing this? Why didn't you tell us? And...we respond by saying, why do we have to tell you? Why must we first clear it with you? They say they are our partners, but at the same they also own us and own these processes....

In 1995, when we talked about imidugudu (local assemblies) we were told...oh, you see you are going to force people to live together, you are bringing Ujamaa that failed in Tanzania...and we said, no, we are not bringing Ujamaa, and whatever Ujamaa was, we are not interfering with land and property...we are not taking anything away from anybody. We went to the extent of telling them, but even you, in Europe and other places, you live in imidugudu. We overfly all these areas and we see imidugudu. So what's wrong when we also want to do it? And even Ujamaa if it was the choice of Tanzanians, what is wrong?

Then later on, surprisingly, they turned around and accepted it, only giving it another name, these so-called millenium villages.

The same people who were opposed to our concept have it under another name. Actually they have seen that where we established imidugudu, they have served people well....

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