AFRIKADAG Amsterdam November 7, 2015
By Ndereyehe Charles, Chairperson task-Force Highly Included Inter-Rwandese Dialogue (HIIRD).
Paper presentation abstract:
The current situation in Rwanda reveals many signs and conditions similar to those which led to previous conflicts that culminated in the Rwandan genocide. We encourage Rwandans and friends of Rwanda to do everything possible to prevent the recurrence of a new conflict.
There is a general consensus in Africa and elsewhere that the future stability and sustainable economic development of the continent depends on building strong institutions and not strong men.
What we have been witnessing in the Great Lakes Region, is that instead of promoting democratic values, the use of violence to access political power or simply to settle political disputes has been glorified and rewarded. In terms of realpolitik, it will be extremely difficult in the long term to count on a regime that depends on repression and external aggression to maintain itself in power. It will be very difficult to stop the tide of history against tyranny. We need put together efforts aimed at pre-empting a worse tragedy and to lay a solid ground for a better future for Rwanda. Democratic governance, the rule of law and equal opportunity are the only long term guarantees of personal security, stability and economic development in Rwanda and in the region.
It is our very considered view that the root cause of the human catastrophe in the Great Lakes region is the absence of a democratic form of government. History has shown that democratic governance is so far, though not a panacea, the best mechanism for a peaceful management of the naturally divergent interests and societal grievances through legitimate channels: parliament, dynamic civil society, free media and party activity. Indeed, history has shown that violence is more likely in undemocratic systems and those systems have a tendency to be aggressive against neighbours in order to divert attention from internal problems. Rwanda is a good case study. The discussion will explore the means and ways to find out the lasting solution to political crisis in Rwanda.
Rwandan Civil Society and Political Organizations in diaspora (RCSPO) are convinced that it is imperative to hold a Highly Inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue (HIIRD) in Rwanda for effective reconciliation, peace and sustainable development in the African Great Lakes region. HIIRD must be peaceful and respectful of the co-existence that reflects the fundamental human right to live for all Rwandans in order to build trust between Rwandan ethnic groups, a prerequisite for an effective reconciliation.
Through such dialogue, representatives of the various sections of society would agree on the mechanisms of good governance and management of power through constitutional arrangements that would ensure personal security and dignity of each and every Rwandan. The process should lead to a restoration of democracy and genuine reconciliation in which all citizens enjoy equal rights in all the sectors of national life and where interests and solidarity are defined on the basis of political programme ideas that are shared and rather than on the basis of ethnicity or area of origin.
This approach matches exactly with “Foundation Max van der Stoel” vision on Dialogue. (“Ons ideaal: een geïnformeerde samenleving waarin iedereen zich een mening kan vormen op basis van lotsverbondenheid: Our vision: an informed society in which everyone can form an opinion based on solidarity”). Therefore, we would like to request Netherlands to support this initiative.
A positive action on the part of the Netherlands in supporting the Rwandese initiative to install a democratic system and the rule of law in Rwanda would greatly enhance political stability in Rwanda and the region and promote the Netherlands image abroad and economic and political interests.
DIALOGUE IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN WAR.
There is a general consensus in Africa and elsewhere that the future stability and sustainable economic development of the continent depends on building strong institutions and not strong men.
What we have been witnessing in the Great Lakes Region, is that instead of promoting democratic values, the use of violence to access political power or simply to settle political disputes has been glorified and rewarded. We need to put together efforts aimed at pre-empting a worse tragedy and to lay a solid ground for a better future for the next generation. Democratic governance, the rule of law and equal opportunity are the only long term guarantees of personal security, stability and economic development in Rwanda and in the region.
It is our very considered view that the root cause of the human catastrophe in the Great Lakes region is the absence of a democratic form of government. History has shown that democratic governance is so far, though not a panacea, the best mechanism for a peaceful management of the natural divergent interests and societal grievances through legitimate channels: parliament, dynamic civil society, free press and party activity. Indeed history has shown that violence is more likely in undemocratic systems and those systems have a tendency to be aggressive against neighbours in order to divert attention from internal problems. Rwanda is a good case study. The discussion will explore the means and ways to find out the lasting solution to political crisis in Rwanda.
The Africans Development t Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and other recent publications on Rwanda, highlight the economic progress achieved in Rwanda over the past ten years, evidenced by an average economic growth of 7.5 %.
We acknowledge that the current regime in Rwanda has performed well in different areas, but we must also be realistic, look at the bigger picture and look at the other side of coin to realise that a large section of the population who could easily be classified as second-class citizens and also look at the prevailing social and political conflicts. The Rwanda is not a country where all children go to school, where every child has a laptop, where everyone has enough to eat or receives adequate healthcare, where you can pay $ 1000 / night for a hotel room with jakussy and other amenities. There is another side of Rwanda, where there is misery hidden from tourists and far from success showcases including the super-clean Kigali.
Our goal today is not to discuss the plausibility, reliability, accuracy and relevance of the statistics that various publications use to praise the Rwandan regime. The publications that present a picture of the economic life or well -being of the population of a country, are not based on statistics derived from their own investigations.
Most of the time they analyse data provided by governments to evaluate. Rwanda is not an exception; it happens often that data is manipulated.
“Three major cities Rwandan mayors and some of their assistants were arrested one after another. For now, those responsible for Rusizi, Nyamasheke and Karongi are suspected of forgery and use of forgeries. Some officials have admitted to investigators having inflated the number of adherents to the mutual health insurance to obtain better results in terms of Imihigo “ .
It is not a matter of painting the record of President Paul Kagame as all black like the “Angus” race as the opposition is often accused or to paint Rwanda as all white like “Chianina” race and presenting Rwanda as an as a an economic miracle as claimed by the fanatics of the regime.
There should be no cover up of the true picture of the system
We are realistic, and prefer to use the image of the Dutch race “Holstein”, for which the two colours do not prevent to have indisputable great performance.
As President Kagame said on October 3, 2015 during his last visit to the Netherlands, let others talk, including those who experience the Rwandan reality each day.
Rwanda is going through those times when Rwandans suspect leaders of hiding the truth of getting into demagogy.
“Rwanda is also confronted with the problem of growing disparities between rich and poor. The Gini coefficient measures countries’ revenue inequalities. In the mid 80’s, with the Gini coefficient at 0.29, the country was among the most “egalitarian” of the continent. In 2001, the coefficient reached 0.47. The problem was not perceived or at least not considered, and the inequality kept increasing. With a Gini coefficient of 0.51 in 2006 (Ansoms, 2008: 14), Rwanda was well above the average of the other African countries’ Gini coefficients. Another disparity making its way through the Rwandan society is the increasing gap between Kigali and the rural areas. Over the past years, the number of poor has increased, mainly in rural areas. These areas now house 97.5% of the poor (Ansoms, 2007; World Bank, 2007 a). The poverty rate reaches 62.5% in the countryside versus 13% in Kigali and 41% in other urban areas (EICV 2, GoR, 2006). Poverty is therefore strongly linked to agricultural work, and is most widespread in certain areas where population density is the highest”.
On the cover page of this report, it can be easily recognized that the « Kivuruga –Ruhengeri» commercial Centre still appear such as it was 19 years before (1990). Therefore, one may conclude that there are no vibrant economic activities which could have improved the situation.
This case of Study has been confirmed 4 years later by the UNDP – United Nations Development Programme. 
Who benefits from the whole development as displayed in the reports of the World Bank, the IMF and the ADB?
SITUATION FIVE YEARS BEFORE THE 2020 VISION DEADLINE.
- Teachers marginalised
Teachers are considered are usually considered to be the engine of the financial system in rural areas but they are struggling themselves to send their children to school. These teachers are responsible for preparing the future elite who will be leading future generations .
“Heads of parastatals and the recently created boards pocket Rwf2.6 million on top of tax-free and subsidised four-wheel-drive vehicles and hefty telephone and vehicle maintenance allowances. Telephone allowances of these officials are much higher than the Rwf212,504 gross monthly salary of a government secondary school teacher while some public primary school teachers earn Rwf59,000”
- People in rural areas live in abject poverty and famine is very rampant .
Poverty in rural areas, for example among people living in the volcanic areas of the country , once the food basket of the country s, has made them victims of pests like chigger (Tunga penetrans). 
- People are homeless
Seventeen years after the forced villagisation, many poor families are still living in makeshift shelters or have become homeless.
- People starving to death
« Results contained in “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015,” …the report indicates that Eastern Africa has the biggest hunger problem, with 124 million people undernourished. Tanzania has 16.8m hungry people, Kenya 9.9m and Rwanda 3 million…
Overall results in Rwanda show that an estimated 503.6 billion Rwandan francs (RWF) were lost in the year 2012 as a result of child undernutrition. This is equivalent to 11.5% of GDP “ Today (2014, ndrl), there are more stunted children in Rwanda than 10 years ago “ .
- Parents are unable to pay school fees for their children ,
“Despite significant achievements in school enrolment, which is recorded as 79 per cent, the report shows that at least 18 per cent of children aged between five and 14 combine work and school…” .
“The school completion rate has slightly reduced, moving from 58 to 57 per cent despite early guidelines provided by the City of Kigali to eliminate all forms forced child labour”.
Children scramble for a pen from a tourist in Gisenyi, Rubavu District. A report says child labour is still rife in Rwanda. Rwandan children still forced into work, illegal activities instead of school: PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA
- Lack of access to electricity and adequate healthcare
- People are homeless
Only 18% of the population has access to electricity .
In some hospitals or health centers, doctors are forced to use the torch-light or cell phones to assist in maternity wards during delivery , or carrying out surgical procedures .
While the outside world is given the impression that each student has a laptop, or that children have easy access to free education, there are children who attend classes sitting on pieces of lava stones or who cannot obtain the slate and chalk to use. Poverty drives parents to send children to school with pieces of wood cut with machetes and are forced to give them only pieces of limestone rocks to write on the wooded slate.
Moreover, we learn: “According to the Auditor General’s report that covered the year ending July 2014, on the implementation of One Laptop per Child programme in schools, there were operational challenges which were feared to limit the programme from achieving its intended objectives…
The report indicated that, out of 2,334 schools targeted by the programme for distribution by 2017, only 407 schools had received laptops by April 2014 and there was no clear roll out plan covering the remaining schools.” 
- LIFE IN KIGALI
Removed from the inquisitive eyes of tourists and foreign media who are well attended to , lack of drinking water is a sad reality as the picture shows so glaringly 
A. WHO BENEFITS from this development?
Although the Rwandan regime has made indisputable economic performance, if these achievements were realistic and were added to the achievements of the previous regimes, Rwanda would be far, far advanced in the development and welfare of its people.
Why should we destroy in order – to rebuild again? What additional costs do we have paid to catch up and overtake 1990 levels before the war the RPF took power? Catching-up continues to be very expensive (Table 1.12 on page 24 ) . Was it worth paying so much in terms of human lives and financial resources? Is it inevitable? How can we avoid falling in the same trap
Indeed, the war between 1990-1995 destroyed much investment that had cost so much low to the Rwandan people and to donors. The official development assistance (ODA) and interest-free loans almost 1962-1993: 4 billion 1 Million dollars; 1994-2013: 12 billion 666Millions (see also table 14 page 16. ) . Infrastructures were destroyed : health center and hospitals, schools, factories looted , Ntaruka power station destroyed, the cow race developed over several decades of research by ISAR destroyed, the environment destroyed by burning and systematic cutting of the forest , human resources trained at a high financial cost since independence in 1962 were decimated during the genocide and the massacres that followed ( researchers, professors, lawyers, table 16 page 17 ) , political choices guided by resentment such as the sudden introduction of English without transition which jeopardised the quality of education …One realises this by comparing (coeteribus paribus) the 1993-1997 data.
The currently economic achievements in Rwanda, are they sustainable and stable?
“In the medium to long-term, Rwanda’s economic resilience will not be achieved without keeping high investment rates. However, the current investment model (high public investment funded by aid) is not likely to be sustainable; given capacity constraints to maintain high public investment and possible decline in aid relative to GDP in the medium-term.
Finding alternative sources of development financing is a key determinant of future growth. Development of the financial sector is critical to mobilize both domestic and foreign saving for financing development. This is the message of the Eighth Edition of the Rwanda Economic Update (REU). Rwanda’s economy can be illustrated by four characteristics: high growth and low per capita income; high public and low private investment; low exports and small tradable sector; high reliance on aid in the economy.
Although Rwanda’s annual average growth rate of 7.7 percent in the past decade is the 14th highest among 129 countries, its GDP per capita is one of the lowest (Figure 0.1 page 22).
Rwanda’s relatively high level of investment (about 25 percent of GDP) comes from public rather than private investment (Figure 1.2 page 22). The high investment has not developed vibrant tradable sectors (i.e., export crop, manufacturing and mining), which account for only nine percent of GDP. Consequently, the share of exports of goods and services in the economy is lower than Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as other country groups (low income, Sub-Saharan Africa) (Figure 1.3 page 23). The combination of high public investment and low export revenues has made Rwanda reliant on foreign financing, mainly in aid..” 
FOR EVERY WELL MEANING RWANDANS A HIGHLY INCLUSIVE INTER RWANDA DIALOGUE IS INEVITABLE.
The system has transformed itself into a police state in order to survive! Some Rwandan -supported by the regime have made violence their style of expression; we saw this recently at the ” Rwanda -Day ” in Amsterdam -RAI . Some have the rights to debate and some not. It is one-way traffic for ideas and fear that govern everyone.
In terms of realpolitik, it will be extremely difficult in the long term to count on a regime that depends on repression and external aggression to maintain itself in power. It will be very difficult to stop the tide of history against tyranny. We need put together efforts aimed at pre-empting a worse tragedy and to lay a solid ground for a better future.
We could add on top of all these inequalities identified, the unresolved political problems: while the FDLR is high on the regime agenda, there are other key issues including tensions within the RPF, imprisonment of opposition politicians, assassinations or assassination attempts of opponents, Hutu or Tutsi i.e. Kagwa Rwisereka , Patrick Karegeya , Victoire Ingabire , Deo Mushayidi , Kayumba Nyamwasa … . or former financiers of RPF: Rwigara Assinapol , Sisi Evariste , Rujugiro Ayabatwa …
All these frustrations and resentments caused by the denial of rights and freedoms are the antagonisms that currently mark the Rwandan society. They show how the apparent stability and the Rwanda Development are fragile, because it is no longer a Hutu-Tutsi problem like we had the tendency to caricature the Rwandan social crisis. This is a problem of political choices that make sense for Rwandans to live together under the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, peace, justice and social equity.
One could to these problems internal tensions, the simmering or open tensions with neighbouring countries: Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo,, not to mention the sporadic tensions with Uganda. All these ingredients are an explosive mixture in the short and medium term.
We can conclude with CSIS analysts that “ ….the country’s apparent stability masks deep-rooted tensions , unresolved resentments, and an authoritarian government that is unwilling to countenance criticisms or open debate” 
DIALOGUE MUCH CHEAPER THAN WAR
Until when shall we witness arms race?
While elsewhere social dialogue and negotiations are privileged to defuse social conflicts, or to stop the wars, the Kigali regime is opposed to any dialogue.
It is quite strange and yet it is a reality to hear someone in Rwanda expressing his/her grievances being told that he/she has no problem. And if the person says that he/she does not agree, he/she is told that his/her place is in prison. The opposition is seen as quite a nuisance.
Where is the logic that an opponent has to be thrown in jail because he/she challenges the regime while in other places, a political opponent is part of the political scene?
Yet : “The role of the opposition is essential in a democracy and has several functions:
- It is a countervailing: it avoids the majority, once came to power, to get the temptation to pursue a policy which adversely affects rights and freedoms.
- It also represents the possibility of political change: it contributes to the existence of political pluralism, which is one of the bases of democracy. This pluralism allows to choose their rulers. But there is real choice if the voter can decide between alternative policies. Thus, the opposition, proposing a new course in national politics, possibly allowing disgruntled citizens have a remedy.
That is why some countries have organized a true status for the opposition. Britain has erected the opposition leader function in public office (” Leader of the Opposition to Her Majesty” ) . In France, the Constitution provides that the parliamentary groups of opposition and minority groups, enjoy ” special rights“»
“Rwanda has continued to make impressive progress in economic and social development, but the government still imposes severe restrictions on freedoms of expression and association and does not tolerate dissent. Political space is extremely constrained and civil society and independent media remain seriously curtailed. Regime opponents, real or imaginary, continue to be the target of attacks, inside and outside the country. “
Are there chances that Rwanda can get out of this vicious circle? Why should it depend on fate and not defuse the crisis in time? Why do those in power refuse dialogue and the opening of political space and favour confrontation and rebellion?
In Africa we have some good examples even though they are rare. We can mention Ghana and the South African Republic, which have overcome this pitfall by embracing dialogue and charisma of President Mandela. President Paul Kagame who claims pan Africanist could learn from these examples.
Rwandan Civil Society and Political Organizations in Diaspora (RCSPO) are convinced it is imperative to hold a Highly Inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue (HIIRD) in Rwanda for effective reconciliation, peace and sustainable development in the African Great Lakes region. HIIRD must be peaceful and respectful of the co-existence that reflects the fundamental human right to live for all Rwandans in order to build mutual trust between Rwandan ethnic groups, a prerequisite for any meaningful and genuine reconciliation.
Through such dialogue, representatives of the various sections of society would agree on the mechanisms of good governance and management of power through constitutional arrangements that would ensure personal security and dignity of each and every Rwandan. The process should lead to a restoration of democracy and genuine reconciliation in which all citizens enjoy equal rights in all the sectors of national life and where interests and solidarity are defined on the basis of political ideas that are shared and rather than on the basis of ethnicity or area of origin.
Isn’t a nice dream?
We welcome your suggestions on how we can organize this HIIRD.
A vous la parole.
Amsterdam October 7, 2015