Twenty two years down the road, Rwanda has passed through a number of events and the journey has been rough all along. The roughest endeavor was the starting point of reconstructing a very devastated country in most worst shape Rwanda looked in 1994. It is needless to narrate the situation of the time because its horrible state is by now known to many people in the world.
For the leadership of the time, it could have been a dilemma in all spheres, political, economic, social, and diplomatic and particularly more importantly security, peace and stability to allow the possibility of all other needed essentials for any country to exist. Confronting those issues at a time required means that were not existent at all.
What was invented and indeed a home grown solution was a dialogue commonly known as the urugwiro dialogue. The purpose of the dialogue was to bring together Rwandans of all walks of life on a round table and discuss and identify the correct problem of the country, the society, the nation.
For those who have ever read about the concept of critical thinking and creative reasoning will recall that these concepts are the required basis for problem solving. Critical thinking and creative reasoning were the rationale for the urugwiro meeting. This is because critical thinking entails identifying the correct problem and finding the appropriate solution to the problem.
This to me was the most appropriate approach to the Rwandan problems at the time. Any attempt to begin governing the country in precarious situation without identifying the real problems prevailing at the time would be like going swimming for the first time without swimming skills whose end state would be drowning and for Rwandan particular case redrowning.
In the dialogue, correct problems were identified, causes underlined, context in which the demise occurred mapped and solutions proposed. Many well versed people who were politically mature at the time reaffirm that the urugwiro dialogue forms the nucleus of the subsequent successful approaches to Rwanda’s issues.
Yes, failure to understand a correct problem informs a wrong decision and sets a situation of confusion. All the years post-colonial regimes ruled Rwanda and the conflicts that the country faced up to a genocide, you will hear people including researchers, academicians, prominent and renown politicians say the problem of Rwanda is HUTU-TUTSI conflicts and not a bad regime with divisive politics and bankrupt ideology –no. this is not only misleading but disappointing the entire academic empire of the contemporary era.
The impressive posture the Rwandan government took after the urugwiro dialogue is to recognize the value and significance of a dialogue to resolving problems particularly national issues. The dividend of the first dialogue was well consumed and its recognition in the supreme law of the land and other laws was a true reaffirmation of its role in not only reconstruction of a country but developing it further to greater heights solely and principally in national interest.
Though the issue narrated is about the value of dialogue the readers of this article will seek to know if the retreat is a parallel arrangement dialogue. It is important to note that the government retreat is a dialogue platform as the whole issue is about dialogue.
The national dialogue and retreat carry the same philosophy for Rwandan people. It is all about accountability, planning, reporting, and sharing ideas and views, transparence in which case ordinary people air their views directly in the presence of the head of state.
These approaches that have been reinstated and became routine by law and practice have done incredible job to the country and given the entire populace confidence and hope. Above all however, those two important frame works have significantly contributed to the steady and speedy development of the nation. No wonder why, they involve participation of everybody, whether in position of leadership or in the ordinary citizenry life. Long live the dialogue and retreat for our nation.
By Peter Musabe