Monthly Archives: August 2010

Mr Mwenda, your article on Rwanda is heavily one-sided and probably compromised

By Stephen Twinoburyo

The article in The Independent, a Uganda news magazine refers.

Look Andrew, I don’t know how you came to this analysis. In my opinion, it is out of depths with what is really taking place in Rwanda.

“…the rallies of opposition candidates are not broken up by the police, their supporters are not beaten by private militias…?” Of course that was expected. There was no opposition. Let me post here my facebook post that has brought in some good arguments: “I hear Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame won with 93% of the vote. The other 3 candidates, all from the governing coalition, created a big dent by snatching 7% from him. Those who dared to form proper opposition were shown their space in the new Rwanda. If all of Africa had such a model democracy, we would never have to worry about the nagging opposition”.

The clincher in your article is “All the candidates are strong and seasoned politicians: President Paul Kagame (Tutsi) is the clearly the strongest standing on the ticket of the RPF”. Holding a position in Rwanda’s Kagame controlled parliament does not make one a seasoned politician. Besides, a politician without a political organisation or political space is absolutely nothing. It has been common news that all notable opposition candidates, even though they wouldn’t have unseated Kagame now, were hounded out of the political space. Andrew, have you gotten used to the environment around you that you can hardly recognise what a respectable democratic process should look like?

Andrew, your article is heavily biased and greatly compromised. Needless to say, I think it contradicts the name of the publication in which it exists, The Independent. You even go to the extent of calling those who dissent with Kagame the “African elite”. Andrew, what makes your view and that of Kagame, the best on the way Africa should move ahead? Who does not see that democracy and human rights in Rwanda have hit the skids and are on a roller-coaster. The recent events coming out of that country have provided a clear indication of what governance in that country is like. Rwanda seems to be turning into an enclave in repression in that part of Africa. Rwanda seems to be turning into a country of fear.

This is a view from the New York Times. Of course it’s also elitist: “Some ballot boxes were swathed in shiny pink fabric and festooned with bows, ribbons and balloons. The elaborate decorations, along with the reports of 100 percent turnout in some places, seemed to reinf…orce what Western human rights groups and critics inside the country have been saying about Rwanda’s democracy, that it is essentially a dressed-up dictatorship.”

Yes, Kagame has brought some economic progress to Rwanda. That should not be an excuse for trampling on human rights. Besides leaders are there to foster development and he’s doing what is expected of him as a president. Repressed Africa seems to be taking the view that when a leader does something good for the country, we should celebrate at the favour he has done ‘his’ people.

Yes I acknowledge the development Kagame has brought to Rwanda but again yes, I condemn his heavy-handedness in the way he is governing the country and thinks everybody who has a different opinion does not deserve any space.


Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs


Parents’ role in children education

By Stephen Twinoburyo

To parents, would be parents and friends of parents: I found this interesting info about parental child education:

The document emphasizes the crucial role parents play in their children’s early education.

From my experience of observing the education sector, I know that “effective parents produce successful children’, and the earlier this is done, the better. Children whose parents are involved in their education usually perform well and are confident at school.

I have heard from many adults who say they were good at school because their parents (usually fathers – so know your roles dads) taught them at home. My writing was not school-taught but an inspiration from my father. In fact my studies have been in fields that are not associated with writing – maths and science.

My advice is (and that’s what I strive to do):

 • Give your child an activity daily (maybe 5 days a week). You don’t have to be good at a subject. Most of these activities are on the internet together with solutions. For instance if you google “maths worksheets”, you will get lots of them for all ages. You can get virtually anything you want for any ages.

• Guide your children but don’t do the work for them. Let them strive to get solutions. If my daughter cannot get answers for her school activities, I send her to the internet to search for solutions on her own and only check to see if she’s got it right.

• If you give your children work, please mark it and ask them to do corrections.

• Show delight in your children’s success

• It’s not all academic education, allow them to play too. That’s part of being children. You may not be able to quantify what you are doing but your children, and their teachers, will appreciate the work you have done in their lives.

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Posted by on August 5, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs


Interesting inter-linkages within African languages

By Stephen Twinoburyo, Pretoria.

Last week, South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper carried an interesting debate on the meaning of the Tswana word kgoa, and its various references. Some people argued that it means a tick while others said it is a derogative reference to a white person. This sprung to my mind the interesting inter-linkages in language used by Africans.

In western Uganda where I come from, in Runyankole language, a tick is called ngoha. The pronunciation is not much different from the kgoa above and I suspect that their origin is the same. A white person is called a mzungu, almost similar to a mlungu as refered to by some tribes in South Africa.

My daughter has part ancestry in Venda, a small tribe in northern South Africa. During my numerous visits to the Venda area and from interactions with the people there, I was surprised by the many similarities between Tshivenda and Runyankole. While the Venda refer to a drum as goma, in Runyankole it is engoma. Other similarities respectively are mukekulu and mukeikuru for old lady, mawe and maawe for mother, marume and maruumi for uncle, iwe and iwe for you, mlilo and muriro for fire, ndu and nju for house, kanga and enkanga for a certain type of bird (rare) and very surprisingly eki kitu and eki ekintu (or reversibly kitu eki and ekintu eki) for ‘this thing’. Of course I won’t omit the predominant existence of ‘jjje and shhh’ in the pronunciations.

Despite the fact that I live in Pretoria, Tshivenda is the South African language I have picked up most. I find it surprising that a tribe in western Uganda and another one in northern South Africa have words in common, some of which are non-contemporary. This means that these two tribes were at one time one and if one were to go into research, more similarities would be established. In fact a lot in the behaviours of the two tribes is similar and needless to say, I’ve  found much comfort in many Venda homes.

When my daughter is old enough to put together the two languages, she will find surprising links that bind her parents’ tribes thousands of kilometres apart.


Posted by on August 3, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs