It is good we came to Rwanda. At least we, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, Native Authority Mandela and Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, (Malawian Green Card holder), have seen the difference between a landlocked African country that has decided through its successive leaders to be poor and keep begging for crumbs forever and another landlocked African country that has decided to break away from the pangs of cyclical poverty. It is good we came to Rwanda. We have travelled to remote areas in the east, west, north, and south. We have been to Nyagatare, Butare,
Gisenyi and Karongi.
The story is the same. Rwandans have decided to take fate into their own hands and invest in their future. It is good we came to Rwanda. There is no plastic-based soil pollution in Rwanda because there are no plastic carrier bags. This minimal plastic policy worked during Kamuzu Banda’s presidency in Malawi. Then, Malawians carried their merchandise in paper bags, called Jumbo bags. Even today, plastic bags are called Jumbo because Jumbo bags were in Malawi before. It is good we came to Rwanda.
It is good we are here because we have been able to see, from afar, why Malawi is getting poorer, according to economists, and why Rwanda is getting richer, according to economists. It is good we came to Rwanda. If we had not come to Rwanda, we would have had a lot of problems reading all the comments you sent to us because in Malawi email and mobile phone airtime are very expensive. Here in Rwanda, free internet is even available in buses, big long-distance buses; not those toys Malawians squeeze into computers.
Although we have a lot of things to write about Rwanda, this week is your week. Since this week is your week, here are some of your comments on what we said last week; our week. Since you did not ask us to publish your names, we will not reveal your names. We respect your names.
“Ten Lessons from Rwanda was probably the best piece that Bottom Up has to offer. I think it’s about time we, as a country, looked forward from the circus we’ve had for the past 50 years. I pray that my vote will help turn things around come May 20,” Lilongwe.
“I was reading Ten Lessons from Rwanda. [I am] quite impressed with the governance policies in Rwanda. Is there a way the executive arm of government in Malawi can be engaged to borrow from what is happening in Rwanda?”
“First, I want to thank you for your tireless work. The main lessons from Ten lessons from Rwanda are 1) Rwanda has banned any reference to one’s ethnic group and 2) the Rwanda government holds an open national debate or dialogue annually to get feedback from its people. I hope the people in government in Malawi also read this…” Mzuzu.
“Your column entry, Ten lessons from Rwanda, was really moving to me. I do not only totally agree with everything you wrote but also bear testimony. When I was in Kigali, Rwanda last December, I was impressed with the standard of hygiene within the city. As such, one feels ashamed to throw litter anyhow. This level of hygiene is even noted when you go deep into the rural areas. Of all the foreign cities I have been to none surpasses Kigali in terms of cleanliness and safety. If Jesus decided which city to land in, Kigali will not be the wrong choice.
Even service delivery is fast. Did you visit any of their banks? Security is up to date; even on entry into a hotel or public buildings you are subjected to electronic scanning. The road network is good and seemingly durable (no patches and drum holes) but meandering through the mountainous terrains. If you travelled to distant areas outside Kigali you will agree with me that unlike here in Malawi, there are no roadblocks. All in all, I enjoyed my stay in Rwanda – the land of a thousand hills.” Mangochi.
“Keep writing. We are resurrecting!” Blantyre.
Well, we, too, though we are still far away from the morgue called Malawi, are resurrecting and on May 20 2014 we will choose our future.