Let us together look at examples which are quite ordinary. Two weeks ago, at a meeting of RPF senior cadres in Rusororo, President Kagame lamented about the conduct of some top leaders. As he shared his views on how the country has lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, he regretted that some who would have been among better examples of compliance with health rules, are also caught abusing them. Refer to the RDF generals recently apprehended for being found among groups of people attending events with excessive numbers.
Cheaters also double as liars
Here we go. If we can call such a practice of blatantly disrespecting rules its real name, it is cheating. Frankly speaking many are guilty of this kind of abuse.
Cheating in numbers. And by the way, if you and I can cheat in this manner, you and I can also cheat in other ways. Including on time in office, speed on the roads, figures in books of accounts, and more.
Cheaters are liars, I guess we all know that. Caught in the act of cheating, most people on being questioned instinctively and instantly deny. Either we claim the act is not cheating exactly, or we lie on the motive behind. Therefore, in a single moment we sin twice. We cheat and lie in one go. And that is normal. I mean it is common. If what I am narrating here does not apply to someone reading this, simply thank God for being among the few who are either very well morally groomed or have been divinely anointed with righteousness through grace.
On one hand we know that immorality is common among people. On the other hand, though, we have seen people who are morally upright. People who have never cheated and do not intend to. People who have cheated before, but at a certain point in their life decided to straighten up. Or at least people who rarely, rarely cheat consciously. This is dead realistic and practically possible. We only need discipline.
Morally upright people live among us
And among us we live with these people who are or should be our examples. Only if we were willing to emulate them. People for example willing to skip gusaba and subsequent wedding to help keep the numbers at receptions low. Travelers willing to embark on their trips on time to ovoid over-speeding and the likely penalty. Party goers willing to spend less time and money out there to preserve their health as they save some cash as well for more meaningful expenditure. It is all realistically possible. We only need discipline.
Surely some of the things that frustrate President Kagame at these meetings we can do away with instantly. I understand issues to do with competence which may require skill, experience, and natural wit that some people do not have. These are forgivable because they require time to build. But not cheating on time, on spouse, or taking bribes, or mistreating staff, or inflating a bill, or disobeying authority, or awarding a contract where one’s interests are conflicted, or coordinating better and working as a team, and general attitude change. Some of these things are realistic and practically possible, instantly. We simply need discipline.
Raise your hand to the President if the message is not sinking in
Now if anyone on a personal basis assumes some of these things are not doable, they should raise a hand to say Mr. President, with due respect, I feel the message you are preaching to us is difficult or even impossible for me to follow? Please help me Your Excellency. Otherwise, why continue to sit there listening attentively, obediently, cheerfully, and clappingly (all okay), seemingly giving the impression that impanuro zirimo kwinjira, only to get out and revert to business as usual? This is cheating too. This is wrong. Pretending to have heard the message, decently nodding, and promising to rectify matters, but only to leave the meeting place already determined to go and just focus on those areas that will help you avoid further trouble with the law. It is cunningly immoral. Tujye twemera ibyo turi bukore, imvugo yacu ibe ingiro.
To you Mr. President, I will say take heart. You are not alone at least in this world where good messages are largely ignored. Be consoled that Jesus had the same experience. And good pastors today live with it everyday too. Ni yo mpamvu abenshi baba barasaraye. It is through repeatedly shouting to their sheep simple-to-understand messages which end up transforming only a handful into true disciples, that their original smooth voices become hoarse. That’s not nice.
You are lucky Mr. President if 10% are true cadres of RPF
Two thousand years after Christ, history keeps repeating itself, because mankind remains the same. Let us assume you are a farmer Mr. President, out to plant some seeds, like the biblical story in Matthew 13:3-8 tells us. You can be sure that while some seeds planted fall on a footpath where birds eat them, others on shallow soil with underlying rock, and others still fall among thorns that grow up to choke the tender plants, fortunately there are some that fall on fertile soil and end up producing good crop.
If we are to go by the four categories mentioned in this story, Jesus seemed to indicate that 25% of people who receive the good news live according to the word and bear fruit. In today’s Rwanda and world Mr. President, you will count yourself very lucky if you already have 10% of RPF members transformed into true cadres. Because the number could be a lot lower, like it is in many other countries. Naho ni wowe Nkotanyi Cyane. And congratulations Mr. President upon keeping your original preaching voice. Some Apostles have not been that lucky.
Ignatius R. Kabagambe, is the Head of Corporate Communications at the University of Rwanda (UR).