From Kigali With Love: Hopping Towards Hope

By Kamanzi-Sengabo
On 29 March 2020 at 07:29

Dear Uncle Tommy,

Thank you for your mail. It was somewhere between painting a grim picture and giving me hope. Hope is what we all clamour for here in Kigali and the entire world.

It would be vast silence reigning over here in Kigali hadn’t it been for drums of hope sounded by the top leadership of Rwanda; drums that massage panic into calmness; drums that that sooth despair into hope and assurance; those drums that create a melody so energizing and reminding everyone of us, Rwandan and non Rwandans alike, so long as they live in Rwanda, that much as we are all prone, none is walking alone, until we beat coronavirus to the throne.

Uncle Tommy, this is what I mean by the sounds from these drums of hope. On Friday last week, while addressing the nation, President Paul Kagame promised to support hard-hit Rwandans living in urban centres without a salaried income, with food and other basic necessities during the coronavirus containment period; a period of social and economic challenges.

True to his word, food distribution to vulnerable families has started, as of March 28, 2020, first, in the three districts that make up Kigali—Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo.

Uncle, don’t you think this is a president we should be proud of? Leading from the front; enabling all; caring for all and proactive in all circumstances. Yes, President Kagame is not a ‘consumer of moments’. He plans for circumstances, and manages a variety of conditions: moments, events, episodes, shortages, skirmishes and disasters. I think his military training, political instincts and business acumen blend into his personality so well to create a trinity of goodness. My thinking. What do you think?

Here is what I mean: Disaster or not, Kagame has been prepared for many years for an unfortunate episode like this of coronavirus. That is how the food items distributed to vulnerable families in Kigali and other secondary cities are drawn from the country’s National Strategic Grain Reserve under the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources which is used in case of food shortage.

You see uncle, this is what I call being visionary. Few countries in Africa have such strategic grain reserves.

And because Kagame has been planting these seeds of a ‘shared vision’ for the last…I think more than 30 years, among Rwandans, strategic support from private individuals towards fellow citizens these days comes so easy, effortlessly. Don’t you remember how individuals contributed to the Girinka—giving out cows to poor families; or to Agakiro Fund; and currently giving out smart phones to poorest families in the country through Connect Rwanda? That is the shared vision he has nurtured and the country is reaping from.

Do you then still wonder why Rwanda Association of Petroleum Products Importers (ASSIMPER) has donated 56,000 liters of fuel to the government worth Rwf 60, 088, 000 to be used in different emergencies during the current coronavirus crisis? It is because the spirit of Rwandanness has been nurtured and given room to bloom.

These are great acts of valor we should all cherish in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.
So dear uncle Tommy, rest assured, we are hoping towards hope. One day, these moments that are tough to bear will be sweet to remember. From Kigali with love.