This article originally appears on the news website Jambonews.net, written by Jean Bigambo. Here we present an English translation of the piece - any inaccurancies are entirely down to us.
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You could say, in Rwanda, the poor simply don't exist. Operations “bye bye Nyakatsi”; practices of vasectomy in rural areas; prohibition on walking barefoot in the city; sending to “rehabilitation camps” (ingando) all those categorized a “social deviants” like the street children and, with this latest law: the prohibition of the bicycles from using the main downtown roads.
Yes, the cyclists are a moving public danger. They create accidents where they oblige the large trucks and luxury 4X4s to be less greedy in the road. Thus the bicycles exit! And the problem is regulated. The public highway now belongs to the large gasoline engines, because the poor slow down the growth and the easy passage of the powerful, and especially because the cyclists do not bring anything to the capitalist market economy. Worse, they even harm the image of this country. A poor person, with a bicycle, transporting shoddy goods, quietly, on recently renovated roads... they are dirty and 'anti-modern'. Camille, who lives in the south of Rwanda, shows her indignation at this new measurement, speaking with journalists, stating that “Now, I must pay the taxi to go to buy products with Huye. It is as if the city belonged to the rich person! ”.
The capitalist law leaves us with the principle that in the market, only those capable of wild competitiveness and innovation have a chance of survival. A kind of natural selection borrowed from Darwinian theory. And it is just what is currently happening in Rwanda. After more than fifty years of free-Socialist influences, which worried more about policy, to the detriment of the economy; the beginning of the 21st century sees the country undergoing a radical turning. The end of Communism, marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989: it is the triumph of Anglo-Saxon capitalism which imposes its new development model: neoliberalism. And it is simple: it is necessary to take care of freedom (that is to say the monopoly) markets. And when the economy goes, all goes. Consequently, the policy is found relegated to a second level.
So, in Rwanda, the universalization which is the opening of the markets of the capital, is integrated perfectly in the creation of a geopolitical and arbitrary field. I speak about the Community of East Africa. And the small Country of the Thousand Hills is the engine, even more so as it is a stated ambition of Rwanda to become the African Singapore. But for that, it is necessary to be intelligent to reach such a stage, because the African continent more often has a defect of misery more than business. The potential investors are very demanding… Rwanda already has democracy: it is therefore necessary to find other means to compensate for this weakness. So which means? National security; a policy known as “anti-corruption”; the cleanliness of the city, the infrastructures turned towards the economy and technologies in communication: all external measures which are visible and put confidence into still hesitant investors to take the risk.