While reacting on The Economist’s story on Rwanda, Andrew Mwenda does what others fail to do: “react on a story by a story, a survey by a survey”. These days, people are using social media to make reactions on others’ works, often with a different tone. The best way is to concentrate on the matter and produce a similar work.
In “The last word” of The independent, Mwenda shows how the British newspaper ignores Rwanda’s context in its neocolonial desire to define that country.
In the opinion, President Paul runs a tight autocratic political system in Rwanda, the conclusion is based on the reporter’s personal feelings, rather than he also involving scientific method in order to avoid relying on biases and prejudices to draw conclusions.
According to Mwenda, it is always good to be rich and powerful before commenting on other people’s lives with the confidence.
Scientifically, one of ways to establish whether a country is free or not is to ask its citizens how they feel about their situation: do they feel free or oppressed? This can be done through a scientific survey with a representative sample.
Another one is neutral and impartial way. To establish whether Rwandans are oppressed or free, one way to do this is to establish an abstract universal standard of freedom. This standard would have boxes to tick. If any country’s experience does not tick most of the boxes, such a country is not free.
If both methods produce the same answer, then there is no conceptual problem. But when the subjective feelings of the concerned people are at variance with the abstract universal standard, then we have a conceptual problem. The question in such circumstances is: whom would we listen to the most?
To conclude, Mwenda sees a dilemma: Those relying on abstract standards of freedom rank Rwanda last; but with survey to gauge feelings of Rwandans about their sense of freedom, the country scores high.
All in all, this is, the way to respond on Rwanda outsiders comments on life inside it: facts, scientific findings support and proofs, in a polite manner. Otherwise, people will write and write on Rwanda, but the country has also writers. People will report and publish, Rwanda has also researchers, but not on social media! As a boo can’t stop a gun, a post on social media can’t face a story in a newspaper.