Somewhere between Uganda and Rwanda is paradise on Earth.

An ever perfect union

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If there was ever a perfect nation, it would be somewhere halfway between Uganda and Rwanda, with just enough rules but also, just enough crazy to make life fun. The ancient Greeks were torn between Athens and Sparta, both had virtues and setbacks. The Athenians had their democracy, free thinking, philosophy and hedonism – the pursuit of pleasure as a lifestyle. The Spartans were cold and militaristic, self-denying, arrogant and dismissive of weaker opponents, pleasure was seen as weakness, philosophy was seen as intellectual bullshit and lies, strength was in unity and sacrifice. You see this as you cross the border, two separate mindsets on display, austere hostility on one side and relaxed fun on the other. You have roasting chicken by the customs, Rolexes by the immigration, you can eat while they stamp your entry. Which system is best? Both have merits and setbacks, and even today in most modern countries, the democratic government is Athens and the military is Sparta. So it was with this Laconic tendency that I started to understand Rwanda and Uganda, a militaristic elite dominate the political scene. Athens is under control of a Spartan elite, they let Athens be Athens provided the Sophists and Oligarchs did not challenge Spartan power. Back in Laconia, the Spartans were able to keep a strict hold over society, to regulate in minute detail all the behavior and rituals of the Perioikoi, to make clean streets, to build huge public works, to strengthen the military and cement power.

 

“Corruption is good!!!” Said my taxi driver, climbing pavements without a fear in the world “at least the policeman gets to eat, and I don’t go to court.” I asked what if someone else knocked his child and was able to pay a bribe to escape, how would he feel? “Then it is a big problem. But I lived in Rwanda, you cannot make a living, too many laws and rules, here they leave you alone.” Growth is everywhere in Uganda, exploding off the pavements, pure unregulated growth, organic growth. In Rwanda we can only pray for that organic growth, it is mostly government spending driving growth, organic growth is stifled by regulations and interference. Uganda just needs order, some kind of control, and a brand-new concept they have barely heard of – consequences. You can kill a fellow drinker in a club and get away with it, you can commit murder and never be charged when there were 113 witnesses. All witnesses are dismissed as drunk, then you have several powerful people all wanting to protect you for money. Uganda is Jazz, they make it up as they go, Rwanda is a tightly-arranged symphony with every note in place. Ugandans say they can never be tamed, Rwandans are naturally slow and can be easily governed, unlike the Unruly Ugandan. In 94, Murder was acceptable, Rape was acceptable, it was total chaos but order emerged.

 

Rwanda is a reaction to Uganda, the RPF vowed never to make the mistakes of NRM, Kagame vowed to never make the mistakes of Museveni, but he made entirely different ones. Such is life, every decision will have its downside, every path its own obstacles. The Relaxed Approach of Museveni is now destabilizing the system and allowing Chaos in through the back door. The Iron Fist approach is also strangling Rwanda, killing our creativity, making a nation of mindless zombies who cannot think for themselves. Ugandans have industriousness, their dirty streets are a sign of clean money, even New York has litter everywhere, when Kigali truly has an economic boom we’ll have litter too. Even if Rwandans had the same industriousness of Ugandans, they are stopped by the overzealousness of local officials who use regulations to stop growth at grassroots. In Uganda people can start-up just like that, the inflation is high and money is worthless but everyone gets a piece of the pie. I wonder what happened to the idealism of Museveni? He let the political class plunder the state in return for staying in power. That is a warning to us in Rwanda, when the political class strikes a grand bargain to allow state capture in exchange for extending rule. I just wish there was a happy medium between the two, the freedom of UG and order of Rw, they say you cannot have both. I would pick order over free chaos, but it shouldn’t be a binary choice, development happens when economic freedom and personal freedoms are balanced. The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance, Uganda has to be more security conscious and fight corruption which is killing the nation. Rwanda has to stop choking itself to death with regulations, these regulations lead to corruption to avoid them. We should ask “Is it beneficial, does it harm (how can we limit harm) and allow it.” Moderation is the key, moderate laws, not too lax, not too extreme, somewhere between Uganda and Rwanda is paradise on Earth.

 

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Death of the Age of Heroes

The last Caudillo, no more heroes

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Judge not

Lest you yourself be judged, that is the catch. You will be judged by the standards by which you judge others. Fidel Castro died this week, my wall of heroes is dead, when I was young I had Samora Machel, Sankara, Gadaffi, and Castro in my scrap book. I was always a leftie, I was influenced by the idealist soldiers in our midst who saw Cuba as a model, a small country punching above their weight. They were attracted to the underdog and looked at their ideology as key to success. Cut to today, we go live to Little Havana to dancing crowds celebrating Castro’s death. “He was a murderer, he supported terrorism, he made his people poor, he oppressed the LGBT community, he was against free speech!” Even his great record fighting apartheid is dismissed because he did bad things. That is how we evaluate historical figures “Do I like this person?” then “Would this person like me?” and finally “How do they fit my current moral values?” Great does not mean Good, we use it to mean good, how’s your coffee? GREAT! Great just means you had an impact, for good and sometimes bad. The age of heroes is gone, it was replaced by twitter polling, you become a meme and gain immortality and infamy. Who could live up to this scrutiny? The solution is separate echo chambers, even the Left is split in 2 camps, Café Pink Lefties hate his Human Rights abuses, especially LGBT abuses. Then the old ideological Left love him, not the Cultural Left, hate him. The New Left loves Salvador Allende, who died pure, a victim, before he locked up anyone and he never even got a chance to, like an singer artist who dies after one perfect album. Ideology is defined by cultural wars like abortion and gays, not on economic because both Left and Right agree 100% on Neoliberal predatory capitalism.

Today Napoleon is a racist, misogynist, homophobe, if you read his letters. Is that all he is? Should I hate Napoleon because he wouldn’t like me personally? Should I dismiss his role in History down to a few words or actions? Or should I see a person as complex and flawed but also brilliant. So I find it absurd that people judge Castro on modern uberliberal standards, while ignoring the role America played in deaths of millions in recent times. People who judge today will be judged tomorrow. In the past we had so many intolerable attitudes, then we had a talk and we decided any person who continues is going to jail, but we understood it was different before that. Future generations will judge us harshly for things we now do casually, maybe Napoleon and Stalin will be judged on their carbon footprint. Maybe meat-eaters and farmers will be seen as cannibals and slavers of animals. Sometimes the difference between the sacred and profane is a matter of minutes. Behaviour may be okay one minute, then banned the next, same with watching TV from the 70’s and it’s all racist jokes.

The Devil his due

I start in Haiti in 1790 because it set off a chain-reaction of Leftist populist uprisings before Marx ever wrote Das Kapital. Pettian of Haiti gave assistance to Simon Bolivar who led the independence of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia. Bolivar was not the only one, Gen San Martin who freed Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, also relied on Haiti support for troops and arms. These men like the Black General Paez, Santander, and San Martin were Caudillos – Populist Generals who raised armies to fight Guerillas (little wars) against a bigger and better equipped army. These Caudillos relied on the people so they had a populist message of social justice and change. Castro is in that line that predates Marx, a more primitive communism. Cuba was always a lawless paradise, just 80 miles off the Florida coast made it perfect for every sin prohibited in USA. It started with prohibition in the 1920’s when all alcohol was banned, so was brewing, distilling and processing of alcohol. All breweries were closed, but the thirst was still there, so Cuban rum became the most profitable and brewing relocated to Cuba and Canada. The Mafia also started to run away to Cuba where they could live in plain sight but safe from the FBI, then they took over hotels and casinos to attract rich Americans who want booze, sex, gambling, sex, beaches, sex, and sunshine, sex. Major corporations had owned Cuba since 1901 when a Newspaper Magnate William Randolph Hirst started a war with Cuba to sell more papers and forced USA to colonize Cuba. Every American multinational was based there, bananas, tobacco, sugar, corn, all grown in old slavery conditions intact since Spanish left. The words Banana Republic originally referred to the Central and South American countries controlled by the United Fruit Company in order to supply bananas and fruit to American supermarkets.

Into this world, steps a brave man, a man whose message can translate to the people who have seen their dignity stripped and led a Populist revolution where the people thronged in their masses and the Government had to flee. He nationalized the industries, this angered the Americans, they would try to assassinate him 700 times. He often felt safest in New York while attending the UN summits where he would give 4 hour speeches, because Americans couldn’t kill him on their soil. He invited Khrushchev, president of USSR to base nuclear weapons in Cuba, this angered Kennedy who threatened all our thermo-nuclear war, and luckily for the world the Russians backed down and withdrew them on condition that Cuba was left alone. Like the chain going back to Haiti, he saw himself as obligated to spread his anti-colonial brand of ideology around the world. Alongside his comrade Che Guevara they spread the tools of freedom, organizing, intelligence gathering, secret communications, investigation, agitation, sabotage, as well as military training. This was due to a quirk of nature, Russians couldn’t survive in tropical zones but Cubans could due to living in the tropical lands and having African blood, this made them perfect agents for Africa. The American had billions to spend, but the Cubans matched them with ingenuity. The groups which got assistance from Cuba are so many that one cannot imagine Africa as it is now without help from Cuba, FRELIMO, MPLA, ZANU, ZAPU, SWAPO, Katanga Tigers, Kabila in the 60’s, CCM, FRONASA, NRM, SPLM, Ethiopia, and even RPF owes them a debt of thanks. The battle of Cuito Carnavale in Angola saw the Apartheid Govt defeated in 1988 by the Cubans, this led to direct talks with ANC speeding up the end of Apartheid. America supported the Racist Apartheid Government and declared ANC a terrorist organization, but they still curse Castro in his death when they were on the wrong side of history.

Alternative lifestyles

Today we accept Capitalism as the only way, but for a time there were alternatives, true alternative lifestyles for nations to adopt. Money is not everything, there has to be more to life than just money, money, money. Money is a tool to get what you want, it is not the objective, but we have come to view is everything. Castro will one day be seen as a defender of Human Rights, but we have to expand our view of human rights. In the west the only right that matters is free speech because it is seen as guaranteeing all the others, but after you speak nothing changes because the means of production are locked in the hands of an elite like in USA. In USA, health is not a right, education is not a right, food is not a right, housing is not a right, but you are free yet none of your needs are guaranteed. We need to see health as a right to understand Castro, he silenced his critics but gave them healthcare, education, food, shelter, the whole Maslow scale was catered for but people call him an oppressor. Future Generation will judge all of us harshly, human ethics and morals change, Castro later regretted his excessive repression and dogmatism on many issues. Leaders can evolve yet we are too quick to judge, something a person said or did ages ago is seen as disqualifying even if they evolve their position. Castro imprisoned and deported gays, later his daughter became a LGBT activist and helped him understand and shift his position, that is called maturity but we dismiss it.

A sum of their parts

No man is perfect, no man is all good or all bad, you are a sum of your parts that make a whole. The real reason I love Castro is he was not a hypocrite, he didn’t pretend to be a democrat, he did bad things and didn’t sanitize them. An American president has to lecture the world on democracy and human rights while secretly torturing people without any real cause or transparent process. Of all the African Presidents, I have a strange respect for Yayah Jammeh in Gambia, he doesn’t pretend to be a democrat to shake the hands of the powerful in the West, while running secret torture chambers. He just runs open torture chambers that are easier to monitor. It is what it is. Castro fought disease and provided $100bn worth of Medical aid to the world, he made his people 100% literate, he gave them a life so they can spend time with their family instead, have leisure time, relax and repeat tomorrow. They are poor because of the blockade and sanctions, so the West must take some blame for their poverty. Gaddafi did the same, he gave every Libyan $25,000 a year as their share of the national pie, now they miss him and are starving. Cuba is well-positioned to succeed, high education and skills levels, proximity to USA, cheaper labour, and a government that genuinely cares about their people. So farewell to Castro, judge him lest you be judged, as future generations will judge us. Let us just take every life lived as a lesson in good and bad, no one fits neatly in a box but they have something to impart.

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Rwandaful PR is not enough

Why PR is not enough

team-rwanda

Rwandaful news

 

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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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Nyabingi

Nyabingi the goddess of abundance

 

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We don’t know our own culture, the white colonizers were so thorough in destroying our history that we can only see fragments of it. Around 20 years ago I was talking to a Rastafarian friend who heard I was Rwandan, he went deep into the story of Nyabingi “the spirit of Nyabingi was meant to protect Rwandans and all black men, Rwandans should have prayed to their mother to save them. The white God divides you, your culture unites. They have grieved Nyabingi and will be cursed.” It took me ages to understand what he meant, I am not superstitious but understanding our pre-Christian beliefs can help us understand and unite ourselves in the present context. There are so many things we do and don’t know why, Rwandans spit, if not literally as you will be fined, but ritualistically “Apppptooooo!!” we disdain and spit symbolically but that comes from curses. I curse you to die, spit to seal the curse. So back to Nyabingi, the Jamaicans revered her since 1896, when Marcus Garvey heard of a rebellion led in Rwanda and southern Uganda by a warrior-goddess called Muhumuza he was spurred into action. Muhumuza was possessed by the goddess Nyabingi, her son Mutabazi was a direct rival to Musinga, the Germans backed Kanjogera and that was that. This battle between Kanjogera and Muhumuza divided us into the nations we are today, the Kiga, Bahororo, Bahima, Basongora, Ankole, Bahweju, Bahaya, Toro, were with the British, while the rest went with the Germans and Belgians.

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The myth vs reality

Muhumuza was trying to portray herself as fulfilling destiny, it was foreseen that at the moment when Rwanda was on the verge of collapse, she would be saved by the Spirit of Nyabingi, then her son Mutabazi would reign in peace forever. She has many names Nyabingi, Nyirabingi, Nyamwinshi, Nyabwinshi, Nyamingi, according to the dialect but the Myth is the same. She was claimed to be the daughter of Ndori Ruganzu, but other kingdoms claim her as well. She was the goddess of plenty, of abundance, of fertility, of love, of comfort. In prehistory she is the daughter of Gihanga the creator god, even after she died she possessed women who acted as her mediums. People would pray to her for good crops, love, comfort, and as an intercessor to Gihanga who was more severe as a father. So at the time when Rwanda was being colonized was total disaster, imagine 100 ebolas, measles, mumps, TB, whooping cough, polio, smallpox, flu, killed 35% of all people. Equal to that was the destruction of livestock, some 70% of all animals died, that includes the antelopes, elephants, lions, even the fish in the river. New diseases that we had no immunity to, so crops were not planted, people ran away to Uganda, Congo, TZ, and it must have been an apocalypse. Into this breach step two women, Muhumuza came out of nowhere so Kanjogera had to depose Rutarindwa because the rebellion in the North was threatening to sweep them all. Muhumuza led many rebellions in the North, the last was in 1928, she died peacefully in 1945.

The context

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At the time it was only Nyabingi who was seen to be able to save Rwanda, there was no Umuganura in 1896 and people feared to eat the food cursed by Gihanga. Kangojera had no choice but to recast herself as a savior Queen, her son Musinga was seen as Mutabazi who will save Rwanda, and it worked. To understand the history of this you have to remove the Berlin Conference borders from your mind. To the Bachwezi Empires of the Great Lakes, Kitara is the oldest dating from 700AD and the rest are fragments of the Empire. In these empires women were co-rulers, even disproportionately powerful because they had two thirds of the power. The Queen-Mother, King and Queen all ruled as a triumvirate, the Mother performing ritual-spiritual purposes, The King as Military head, the Queen had Administrative powers. The ancient Kingdoms of Mpororo and Busongora had most reverence for Nyabingi, Ndori is said to have come from Busongora. During the 16th century a Rwandan Prince Murari fled to Busongora and became a lover of Queen Kitami and she promised him soldiers to fight his borther  Kigeli II Nyamuhesha. Rwandan troops followed Murari into Mpororo and destroyed the palace at the capital Rujumbura, they moved north into Busongora and destroyed the Kingdom and its capital Bunyampaka. Mururi and Kitami had a child called Kahaya Rutindangyenzi, he became the king of the buffer state Ndorwa. Kitami died of a toxic bee sting, and her Kindgom was in disarray, a tiny bee diverted history. Her top generals formed two buffer states, a newer Mpororo and Ndorwa to the south, Kitami was sanctified as a manifestation of Nyabingi who would return to save them.

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The virgin birth

The reason why Muhumuza was taken seriously was scientific proof, she was a pregnant virgin, senior chiefs who doubted her were invited to inspect her intact hymen. How could this be? Without going into too much detail, it involved a very thin straw reed and deviousness. We must disavow our modern thinking to understand Nyabingi, like, women on their periods were seen as blessed by Nyabingi, the goddess of fertility had possessed her and she was in a foul mood. It was a blessing to come home and find your wife in a mood, throwing pots around and screaming. Women were encouraged to let it all out once a month as therapy. Barren women would pray to Nyabingi and give offerings at her shrines, if she blessed you with menstruation then it was a future abundance. Women had central power in our culture, in rituals and spirituality, in confession and advice. Our ancient kingdoms reflected this in how power was distributed, between the physical and the spiritual, military strength was not enough, you needed spiritual and administrative power as well. The home reflected this, with the grandmother often living with you and having sway in matters. So Nyabingi was Venus and the Virgin Mary in one, a virgin and also a goddess of sex and fertility. To fully understand this you must understand the former kingdoms that predate Rwanda, we have a common history and culture.

Our modern world

If you are a Seventh Day Adventist in Rwanda then you come from a former house of Nyabingi, the followers of Nyabingi converted en masse around 1917 because it was the only form of Christianity acceptable to Musinga and Kanjogera. That forever put the Adventists at odds with the Catholic Church in Rwanda, as they are elsewhere. Adventists were one of the targeted groups in the Genocide, even Hutu Adventists were massacred because the religion was wrongly seen as Tutsi. In understanding our prehistory we understand ourselves today, we have labeled it all as “Ubupfumu, uburozi, ubupagani” but it is still in our subconscious. When a Western Evangelical comes talking about “The blood, washing in the blood!” it connects because that is what we used to do in it same rituals. Catholicism took hold because we could equate Nyabingi with Virgin Mary and Mutabazi with Jesus, and find other parallels which meant it wasn’t alien, plus we were monotheistic so it could translate. To see a Saint of Rwanda revered as patron saint of the Rastafarians, second only to God, above Selassie, is a sign that our culture resonates. Nyabingi may not have been real in the literal sense, but she was an idea, of hope, abundance, self-determination, and the intervening hand of God. When we say “Wokabyara we” we refer to her, her fertility, Nyabusa is her cruel sister “Nyabusa we” we beg her. She is particularly revered in the Northwest, the most fertile part of Rwanda, as Bakiga climbed the mountain the volcanic black soil was seen as blessed by Nyabingi. We really need to study our culture, it has the answers to all the questions we have. We need to decolonize education, understand our true context and use our culture to heal ourselves and others. Just like Jamaicans mobilized to independence by having late night prayer sessions with the Drums of Nyabingi calling to her spirit to guide them to fight against the British. It worked for them. What would it do for us?

 

 

https://everlivingroots.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/african-warrior-queen-muhumuza-the-legend-of-nyabinghi-and-the-fight-against-european-colonialism-in-east-africa/

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Trump: A Chance To Make Africa Great Again?

Trump might be good for Africa

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/14/africa/the-conversation-trump-foreign-policy-africa/

Plantation politics

Donald Trump was recently elected President, uberliberals warned us that the sky will collapse in on itself but it hasn’t happened so far. This was just to make us fearful, the Democrats are now just a party of fearmongering to avoid actual policies. The Democrats relations to Africans, mirrored that of their relations to African-Americans, taking them for granted. When Obama was elected we has so much hope, we expected a trillion dollar Marshall Plan for Africa. It was never to happen, he barely identified with us because he was accused of being a foreigner plus his home economy was wrecked. I was surprised Obama was elected by the Democrats, I always expected the GOP to be the first as a cover for their racism. Blacks had to wait their turn in the Democrats, Obama ran on a totally separate platform and organization called Obama for America, he was frozen out by the Clintons. He ran again in 2012 using his private organization only his name was on the ballot. He managed to avoid the chaos of the DNC and get elected, but Bill Clinton angrily said “Who does he think he is? Not long ago he’d be serving us coffee!!” Nigger wait your turn!!!! Ever since Kennedy and LBJ gave them Civil Rights they had to sit and be quiet. This was the new plantation, niggers should be grateful, of course you can’t say NIGGER, they are N-Words.

Modern cultural imperialism

Both parties are nauseating in their imperialist views, the Democrats want to convert us into Manhattan Metrosexual Liberals, GOP wants us to be rednecks, both are overly self-righteous and condescending. A Liberal represents their tiny little bubble, they want to see their parochial concerns as paramount. Liberals are Liberal-Conservatives, they are from the professional classes, their jobs are protected but their heart bleeds. They want small gradual improvements over time leading to wider change, they don’t want to overthrow the oppressive system because they prop it up and rely on it. Liberals today just have 4 answers to anyone who questions them FASCIST, RACIST, HOMOPHOBE, MISOGYNYST!!!!!  Having a Democrat in power must be terrible for US Diplomats, policies change according to Twitter pressure, though Trump might be the same. Uganda has been a vital base for American interests in the region, intervening in Somalia, South Sudan and DRC, but one proposed homophobic law threatened to derail 30 years of alliance. All strategic considerations went out the window, the party donors were angry, they demanded aid be cut, that children not be immunized until the government saw sense and bent over. Same with Rwanda and the M23 crisis. Republicans get angry when you disagree as well “You HATE America and you HATE the troops.” To hell with them both. Trump is not ideological, he won’t be bound by narrow strains on thought.

Liberals don’t like you

They only want to use you, they only want to maintain their superiority over you by pretending to care. George Bush gave more to Africa than any Democrat president, he gave money to AIDS, Malaria, women’s groups and his AGOA program still promotes growth in Africa. Liberals are poverty pimps, they want to exploit poverty to enrich themselves, affirmative action money still goes to white Liberals but Black politicians get a cut. Democrats have deported more people than Republicans, incarcerated more blacks, imprisoned more Muslims, and in any metric they are often worse. This is because since the Clintons took power in 92, they have tried to make it a Republican party clone. If Liberals don’t care for the poor and excluded in America, what makes you think they will care about Africans? This election has proved they are out of touch with ordinary people. One angry UberLiberal said “Okay so you say we don’t understand the fly-over states, but what are they doing to understand us?” That is the worst indictment of the Manhattan mentality. The world has to understand us, we don’t have to understand them, they are stupid and don’t know what is in their best interest. I listed some things that will be different in the Trump era

  1. Less emphasis on Democratic reform and human rights – this will be good and bad. How will Trump lecture Africans when he advocates waterboarding? Some nations will breathe a sigh of relief to see Samantha Powell and her wagging finger gone. It is a fine line, to know when to push and when to leave. Some nations will take advantage to be even more oppressive but some will now do it in a manner that suits them and not dictated from Washington. We would have had demands to legalise Gay marriage or face aid cuts if Hillary won, for her donors.
  2. Neo-liberalism is DEAD or dying, we have been complaining about the inequities and imbalances in Neoliberal trade agreements, now even America is feeling the squeeze we will see change. NAFTA and TPP look dead in the water, we will see a major realignment of trade rules, more protection for workers and jobs. America as an advocate for change will push reforms, Africa has deindustrialised like the Rust Belt, and we need solutions as well. Repealing the Frank-Dodd act
  3. Less intervention – Trump was a reaction against Neo-con policies, he’s tired of being the policeman for the world. Right now, the donors are trying to push Jon Boulton on him, a superhawk, when Trump accused Hillary of being a Hawk. Trump was actually an Anti-war candidate, he prioritized ISIS but wanted all other wars stopped. Hillary had a long list of countries to bomb, long memories, more enemies.
  4. We will wake up – we have this dream that America will save us. This will wake us up. Malcolm X talked about Liberals being dangerous because they hide their hatred of others, even to themselves. White Liberals who advocate for us want to live in all white neighbourhoods, they cross the road when they see you, clutch their handbag in a lift and want to love you from afar. We will wake up, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Trump has shown just how weak the Elite structure is, their money no longer protects them. We can overthrow this global oppressive system.

No one is coming to save us

MAKE AFRICA GREAT AGAIN

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Hubris Hubris, the fall of the Clintons

hillary

 

Spousal privilege

Political spouses are always powerful, that is why we all recognize First Ladies. Pillow talk, you know at the end of a hard day when he or she is at their most vulnerable they talk. What about this minister? This or that General, whether a law should pass or the true state of the nation. Pillow talk is dangerous, but it is protected by the law under spousal privilege. Your spouse cannot be compelled to testify against you, you are seen as one before the law, unless she or he is accusing you. So, political wives know everything, see everything, and have power behind the scenes. Hillary Clinton was the perfect political wife, an intellectual equal who had the skills of machination that Bill lacked. When deals were made, Bill would leave the details to his wife, who was also his lawyer and he had both attorney-client privilege and spousal. The Clinton’s have raised over $3bn for charity and their political causes, some of that went to themselves and less than 10% went to actual help. In Rwanda, they Clinton Foundation opened a cancer hospital in Butaro in 2009, without any cancer equipment till last month, but they claimed they were curing Rwandans of cancer for free. We took my dying aunt there to find empty wards without carers but the website was exploiting us.

 

Why she lost

 

Without a vision the people perish, Trump offered a nightmare vision but it was a vision. Hillary offered nothing “I’m with her” what does that say? What does she stand for? Why didn’t she have a message? She has taken so much money from special interests that no policy would pass her donors. Free college, Banks and student loans would block it. Reduced healthcare costs, she has taken money from pharmaceuticals who overcharge for drugs. Opposing outsourcing, all her main donors have outsourced their workers. She lived in a total bubble, she had to be inaccessible to make to favours more expensive, she relied on pollsters and thinktanks to tell her what the people were thinking. She was detached and out of touch, only speaking to people who agreed with her. Liberals now just shout down the people who question them, you’re a Racist, a Bigot, Homophobe, misogynist and never listen to the substance of what they are saying. The Democrats have been obsessed with toilet rights for transgender people when the economy is hurting, it was the ultimate hubris. 40% of workers are on less than $20,000 in the richest country, 70% are on less than $30,000 when the average is $49,000 so corporations make up the difference. The rust belt is where she lost big, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, there was no message for them, but Trump at least saw their pain.

 

Excuses excuses

 

Racism  – many Trump voters voted for Obama in 08, and 12, yes whites voted for Trump overall but Obama won more white votes than Hillary, 39-36. 30% of Latinos voted for Trump, they voted for a wall to keep their relatives out. This is called the drawbridge effect, when you run into a castle seeking refuge, you want them to close the gate to the drawbridge because your are fine now. Old immigrants who came there the hard way and worked their way up, hate to see newcomers get the red carpet.

 

Sexism – white women voted for Trump, she failed to connect with women, especially younger women who she was trying to inspire. She came from an old school feminism where you never show your weakness, younger women see vulnerability as a humanizing feature that makes people relate better to you. Dilma Roussef in Brazil had the same problem, she was an old school gal, she grew up in the rough and tumble of big boy’s politics, secret deals, nudges, handshakes, and was part of the patriarchy. They failed to transition from the backseat to the front, from shadowy operatives to open accountable leaders.

 

The Media – they gave Trump so much free airtime, some $2bn worth of free coverage, the media is now just 6 companies globally owning 90% of readers, viewers, loggers, so the idea of a free press is dead. The head of ABC was quoted in July saying Trump was great for business and they will see record profits. The media is just 2 echo chambers, Fox vs all the Rest, the media which should be investigating and holding the political class to account is fully in bed with politicians. Most of the pundits were employees of one or another campaign, yet claimed to be unbiased. I watch Daily Show and most other shows it is allowed to be as partisan and horrible as possible. They never leave the Manhattan bubble, not ever to go to Queens or Brooklyn. The media deeply despises rural and small town America and label them racist, homophobic, and other Deplorable terms.

 

Emails and leakage

The puditocracy blame the FBI for strategically taking sides but they never acknowledge that all this is because Hillary broke the law with an illegal server. She could never fully admit wrong, she would try to explain giving long winded answers that showed she was at best, bending the truth. It is this tendency to bend the truth that undid her, you can’t spin your way out of everything. Those leaked emails were from a server she should never have had so they can’t claim privacy. The emails showed that she was the one always trying to bend the law, or cross the line while her staff tried to stop her.

 

The voters didn’t turn up

 

Blame the voters, she knew she was unpopular, her mantra was “You don’t have to like me, just vote for me.” Voters have to like you and at least respect you, the idea that a voter machine can make people leave home on a cold November day when they hate you is wrong. She had too much mileage, we knew her for too long to just change our opinions like that. 7m stayed home, they saw her are part of the system that stole their jobs but they couldn’t vote for Trump.

 

A new way

 

The real revolution was Bernie Sanders’ he raised $200m just from small donors, with no media coverage or official support. The average donor gave $27, this was basically using Mpesa and other similar money transfer apps. Hillary took $22m from Goldman Sachs and she had to sell her soul, there is another way. The corporations wanted unlimited money in politics so they could outbid the common man, before that you had to raise money via activists and voters. Going to Lobbies means you don’t have to have principles, voters demand principles,  donors demand you have none. The Republicans shouldn’t rejoice either. This is like the Barbarians entering Rome and the Romans pretending they always supported them. This is a plague upon both houses.

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True social security through social banking

 

poverty

Why are we poor? Is it our africanness? Is it our global trade laws that allow the third world to be paid less for their goods? There are so many reasons, but the chief one is that we are not fully in this modern world. Our people are not fully subscribed to the cash economy, now cash is strange, it is built entirely on trust and suspension of disbelief. Imagine the first time our ancestors were shown a piece of paper and told “This is equal to a cow” and they laughed. How can a piece of paper be equal to a cow? A cow is equal to a cow. Money is the greatest invention of mankind, it may be the worst invention, but it has driven progress for millennia. How does one quantify labour? If a shoemaker wants to sell to a goat-herder then how many shoes equal a goat, you one need one pair, what happens to the excess money or labour? Money solves that problem of quantifying and rewarding labour. We take a piece of paper and ascribe value to it, we have wizards in BNR who have done forecasts, consulted the financial gods and all is well. When we stop believing the money is worth much we get inflation, the wizards have to come and reassure us again that all us well. Most Rwandans have not bought into the cash economy, they still live by their own sweat growing their own food and it is rare that they need money compared to a city person. There is a crop in the field, honey in the tree, meat in the bush, milk in the cow, and they have no commercialism to aspire to own the latest this or that. They need just medicine, soap, salt, and the odd utensil. School fees and uniform kit can be earned through seasonal labour, and the rest of the time is free. The global economy waits for no man, but we do not yet aspire to that. Capitalism is built on more, more, more, creating a surplus and excessive excess. What if you just want to chill?

angry

What is the point of a bank?

 

You cannot just chill because population pressures are never far away, Rwanda has a high population density so Malthus will not allow us to relax. If one has not subscribed to the cash economy then banking is out of the question. Banks charge monthly fees on average of $4, if you count that annually that is $48 in fees, if you take average earnings at even $900 a year then it is substantial – THE MATTRESS CHARGES NO MONTHLY. No wonder people are not interested in opening accounts, it can cost 15% of your income. What is the point of a bank? Yes, it is to make money for shareholders, but how? Not by overcharging  like my bank KCB does. I asked a question on their suggestions board. WHAT SERVICES DO YOU ACTUALY PROVIDE? ATM, Visa, Chequebook and what? Loans? What else? Ask yourself, what is the point of a bank in this day and age? You can make transactions without them, you can get loans without them, you can do anything, they are largely obsolete especially with mobile money. Quite often we hear of banks which are charged to help development instead lending money to their own employees to make massive profits on land deals. Or all the loans going to the family and friends of the employees, that is what a bank is for, to enrich the bankers at our expense.

 

 

Punitive damages

 

Our banks are stuck in the 90’s even KCB comes to Rwanda to rehash its 90’s model having being thoroughly destroyed by Equity Bank. They are proud of their long queues, we even say “wow look at BK, people are queuing all the way on the pavement outside, they must have loads of money.” And the other banks are jealous, wishing they had people around the block. These queues are just bad customer service, you find at peak times only 2 counters working as workers go for lunch at the time when everyone goes to bank. The banks make money on fees, the workers, lights, water is paid by fees, so they don’t have to make a profit because the basics are paid. We need to abolish bank fees for having an account, maybe charge for services but don’t deduct 4,000 for doing nothing. Access Bank and Equity now have annual single fees, I urge other banks to do so as well. We should be earning interest and not paying just to queue for our money. Mobile money is also heavily expensive, around 1-3% charges on MTN, they punish you the higher the money you send so it will never graduate to serving big business when you can lose hundreds of dollars per day on large amounts. We are overtaxing mobile money before the sector even grows. KCB charges 1,775 to withdraw money from your online account to Mobile money, Banks are punishing customers to prevent them from moving to the inevitable to preserve their business model. We need a monthly fee and transactions to be free of charge after that.

 

porter_value_chain

The labour value chain

 

Why are interest rates high in Rwanda and Africa? The bankers give you a bullshit answer they have prepared. “You see the high interest rates are caused by low capitalization of banks due to lack of a savings culture.” Bull, crap, rubbish, lies. How can we save what we don’t have? How much can a person on $900 save? Unless they starve, they also need to spend to get out of poverty, even borrow to get out. So what chance is there we will start to save on average some $1,000 a year when we earn less than that? The REAL reason is we lend to the WRONG people (the politically connected) and secondly we lend into a messed up value chain. In order for banks to survive we need to remedy these two areas, on risk management and value chain management. Our banks manage risk proactively, by weeding out the risk ahead of time, but if you slip through the net there is a 18% to cover all eventualities. No nation has ever developed on 18%, a debt becomes unviable above 8% and you will have negative equity. In order to reduce our lending costs, we have to manage the value chain, to eliminate risk in real time.

 

Scenario

 

You lend money to a farmer, they give their title deed as their collateral, and now the bank is covered whether you succeed or fail. In fact the bank will be hoping the farmer fails so they can grab the land cheaply, they pray for locusts, droughts, even plagues to hit their client just so they can profit. Our banks are equally betting on us failing and succeeding. Banks have failed to invest in farming, our basic survival, because 18% is too high to start a business on. 18% is an insult to us all, it says they do not believe in Rwanda, they are betting on us to fail, 18% is a vote of no confidence and wanting to pay off a loan within a presidential term. We need to lend longer, over 20-30 year for property at 5-7% instead of 8 years of 20% that is too steep a ladder to climb.

 

Scenario 2

 

A bank decides to do value chain management. They decide to reduce the number of actual bankers they employ, counterintuitive like a hospital sacking doctors. Instead they replace 30% of staff with non-banking people, technical staff: engineers, lawyers, marketing, sales, distribution, transport and logistics. They never invest in a sector unless you have inhouse people who understand it fully.

 

A group gets together to build a mall, around 10 investors put up half, the bank the other half at 10% to be realistic, looking at a 3% margin but also a 50% stake that has to be bought out. The bank needs to be invested and not just win if you lose, you have to be tied at the hip. The bank gives you all the advantages you need instantly, engineers, architects, project managers, foremen, each reporting regularly and inspecting progress. To proactively troubleshoot in the field: if supplies are being overcharged, if transport costs are being boosted, if people are stealing cement on the site, if fake invoices are being handed in. That is why we pay 18% to pay for thug niggaz stealing money on the side. So we have to pay for the building plus a couple secret buildings where the supplies went. It is the only way a bank can protect its investment, they just watch their money flowing down the drain “Look your money is going down the drain.” The bank knows it can raise interest rates 2% and recoup that money gone down the drain, but it is a death spiral.

 

Scenario 3

 

Bank lends money to Cooperative, a well-detailed project is written up, timelines, deadlines, but a hands on approach. Inputs, environment and farmers, to manage the whole value chain from the field to the plate. Every single risk can be mitigated until there is no risk apart from sheer bad luck. Irrigation means you don’t wait for rain, rain is a bonus to boost the harvest, you have enough to last to harvest even if there is a drought. Fertilizers and pesticides can remove other environmental risks. Machinery can increase the capacity of work you can do, then when you harvest you have adequate storage. Finally, you can add value addition and food processing to increase profits. When risk has been mitigated, then we can go into the Futures, where a farmer can sell several years ahead knowing that the return is guaranteed.

 

So when I asked KCB “What services do you actually have?” it seemed absurd, it is a bank, take it or leave it. Your clients need financial services, accounting, auditing, sales, marketing, logistics, payroll management, tax assessment, you name it. Banks are actually cutting staff in a time they should expand, they should invest in risk managers who work in real time to avert disasters. You lend a business money then you hear Revenue closed them down coz the books were sloppy. If that bank had sent even an intern 3 days before to sort out the books then a $100,000 loss could have been avoided. A bank has to leverage its clients to build a business ecosystem in-house, let your clients lift each other, call in favours. A bank manager should call any company that owes them money “Hey I need some help, one of my clients needs a marketing plan done for their project. By the way, your loan is up for review next week, so it would help to keep things smooth…..” Okay we’ll send someone. So your client gets a world class marketing plan as a favour for a favour.

 

The RSSB bank

 

The vast majority have not bought in fully to the cash economy, they see cash as a necessity at times when certain situations demand it. Rwandans are communal and familial, they are not yet individualistic as capitalism demands. So any economic program has to be based on the family and not the person, policies like Mutuelle should be more family centred, a premium should be per home adjusting for the number of residence. We should introduce a credit card system for work, where people can work on projects in exchange for credits that can be exchanged for health coverage, school fees, tax debts, even money. Umuganda is used in rural areas to speed up completion of projects, the community gives its labour in exchange for a new school, or clinic, or courthouse. We should be able to quantify and reward labour, Rwandans should be able to pledge their labour and get rewarded, to pledge 200hr a year to help build their country, and be credited for those hours in return for better social security. In Greece where the nation was about to default, the finance minister Varoufakis came up with a system of a digital currency to keep the nation going. It would allow citizens to trade credits instead of money, the idea was killed by the EU as Greece was forced to accept austerity. The idea of a credit system could get Rwandans into the system quicker, working for money is greed, but working to get healthcare for your family is common sense.

 

The Social Security Bank should be created, merge our pensions, tax and savings into one system. Revenue should issue a number to every Rwandan, that becomes your SS number, tax ID no, bank account number, and your credit risk profile. You should be able to bank money, and time, because time is money and money is time. The time worked entitles you to services in the next year, you can farm to feed your family but the basics are taken care of, and education and healthcare don’t bankrupt people. There should be no monthly charges, just premiums according to the customer’s needs. The top premiums should pay 40% of the workers last salary for 6 months if you are jobless, people would pay 10% for employment insurance, if you are never sacked in that time you can recoup 5% as savings or credits. The biggest creditor and debtor is the Government, the delays in payment by government institutions is one of the biggest logjams in doing business in Rwanda. Our strict accounting systems cause delay though debts are paid in full, a business can be bankrupt by then. Using this credit system means govt debts can be traded or borrowed against, giving a business more time and flexibility.

 

I don’t have all the answers, I realize the difficulty involved but this is just my opinion.

 

Rama Isibo

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