Why PR is not enough
Rwandans treat development like a sport, we are Team Rwanda, but no else is playing.
Rwandans are addicted to praise, it fuels our government, when we haven’t had a story in the global media about how great we are, we fall into a stupor of misery. Then, out of the blue, NYT or Time does a wonderful piece on the “Tremendous leadership” and morale shoots up. Echoes from a distant echo chamber reaffirming when we already suspected WE ARE AWESOME!! Then we go on Facebook and twitter to post it. WE ARE AWESOME. That is not enough, we have to tag people from other African countries WE ARE AWESOME, YOU ARE SHIT, HAHAHAHA!!! Then we tag Whites to show them how clever we are, especially those who criticize us, see? AWESOME. Then sleep satisfied in our awesomeness. Rwandans are convinced that if every African country was like theirs then all would be fine, we laugh at countries with GDP several times our own because they have dirty streets, or corruption, or failings as a state. Instead of gently explaining our position we shout down the people we try to convince. Africans are not stupid, they see what is behind the “Rwandaful” Prosperity Gospel. It is a racist white notion of what Africa should be, Rwanda is less retarded than the other kids in class, but they think of us as retarded none the less. Rwanda is so clean = Africa is dirty. Rwanda is safe = Africa is unsafe. We know all these to be untrue, but we are excluded from the insult so we don’t mind.
You’re playing yourself
Africans are not stupid, they know the game is rigged, this Rwandan idealism will fade when they see the cold harsh realities of the global economy. The game is rigged against us, yes we want cleaner streets, clinics, schools, but we will lose in the end, we always do. The top teams in this league rigged the game and faked the results to keep themselves on top, they will always get better than the lower teams, get more money, the referees always give them free penalties and disallow your goals. The coaches of our teams are stealing the kit, and equipment, they say fix your team then talk, but the game is RIGGED. Africans gave up on the global economy ages ago, the states officials used this apathy to enrich the elites at the expense of the masses. The West needed a Poster Child for this Neoliberal prescription and Rwanda was it. We comply with policy demands without even thinking, we cut off our nose on command, then the ear, just to be top of the Doing Business list. Maybe other countries saw the policies are detrimental, as many of the policies are, they are not stupid for not implementing them. Neoliberalism was not designed to help countries develop, it was made for Multinationals, the demands of these entities are counter to the needs of ordinary people. When you have an established business sector over decades you are less inclined to open up. However, if you had no businesses like Rwanda post-94, you have to open up.
Why can’t they be like us?
We can be so self-righteous. Why are they so stupid? Can’t they see? All they need is to be like Rwanda. Then Western media reinforces this, look!! Neoliberalist policies work!!! Implement implement implement!! Firstly, we spend millions of dollars on PR firms, we buy articles in Western press, hire Western lobbyists and spokesmen so this Brand Rwanda is not an accident. It is a carefully thought out and marketed brand. When you wake up with positive feelings about Coke, or Bud-lite, it is because somebody took their time to sway you that way. If Kenya closed down every independent media house and hired the best PR firms then they could also be a perfect nation. They would need to pass through the tragedy that Rwandans went through, losing 15% of the population, the political elite fleeing leaving the victor to govern in a vacuum. The wish that others would be like us denies the reality of our precarious situation, we are no closer to resolving our political conundrum, we are regressing in freedom and rights, and it is only the blessings of God which stop Rwanda from exploding again. So we sit on top of a rumbling volcano wishing others could be like us, others say no thanks. Even if we grow, it will take us 200 years to reach Western levels of wealth, by then the whites will all be living on another planet.
Where are the revolutionaries?
I remember when the RPF were true revolutionaries, they wanted more than a changing of the guard. They were people-centered, grassroots up, not top-downers, before the V8’s and the Neoliberalism. All the ideologicals were purged for the V8’s, the V8’s wanted the flash cars, the trapping of power without any principles. So many sold out for a house and a rotting car, then they had to take debts to maintain this fake lifestyle, then start to steal money to maintain their living. The thinking at the top is so deluded, we will spend $300m on the most expensive building in Africa, then use the profits to build affordable housing. The Pyramid of Khufu cost less than our KCC (allowing for inflation) and it brings in $3bn a year. We will be saddled with debt for decades and could pay back $1bn. The old RPF we loved would have built affordable housing for 200,000 and lift them into a middle-class with a disposable income. RPF thinks in the same Neoliberal, top-down, us-first thinking of the donors, in the air-conditioned V8’s safe in their bubbles. How can we go to pose with the greatest economic gangsters in Davos or whatever investment summit? The game is rigged, stop playing. Our poverty is structural, it is not accidental, our poverty creates a surplus in the West. We can win but we have to change the rules. We cannot sit and smile with those who are strangling us.
The law of the jungle no longer favours the lion
The law was made for the lion to eat, but even the lion is suffering in this new world. The election of Donald Trump heralds a new era of Neo-Nationalism, multinationals wanted the tearing down of borders to allow them to earn more, but it allowed them to pay less tax. Global trade was integrated into a single supply chain to reduce costs and industry died in many countries. Globalism is not an accident of natural evolution of the market, it was lobbied for, donations paid to campaigns, media pushed it and brainwashed us. Rwanda adopted this Neoliberal capitalist dream, a few computer programmers running a knowledge-based economy, while the rest work in services and leisure. This would leave the vast 80% out of the economy, they would have to be content with water, power, schools, and clinics while the urban elite drive their V8’s. We need an economic program that employs as many as possible, capitalism is making the most profit with the least costs and manpower. We need a fair system which can protect jobs, provide an internal incentive for manufacturing, if you can import a plastic bucket for less than it costs to make here then we will never develop. We import matches, toothpicks, chewing gum, sweets, cheap stuff to make and easy too. Comesa is killing Rwandan manufacturing, even the EAC means we have no necessity to start production. We are too small for consumption so we can switch to production, but we need to focus on the needs of the villagers not the urban elite, they need farm equipment, and affordable household goods. We have 12m consumers ready to buy, you need products that suit them.
Just try to get out of your V8 and seen ths wonderful place called Rwanda