Welcome to Sparkling Kigali
I had always heard stories of Rwanda fairing better than Uganda when it comes to management and administration. But this didn’t quite prepare me enough for the shock that I faced when I finally arrived in Kigali last week to attend the 5th Nile Basin Development Forum.
Right from Kigali International Airport, a fleet of about ten air crafts labelled Rwanda Air, either loading or taxing off a clean and clearly well designed tarmac was the first sign that the guys here are very serious.
As we rode out of the relatively small airport, which is perfectly manicured with nice concrete and stone blocks, flowers around a beautiful architectural design, into their dual carriage roads, my sense of envy grew.
The squeaky clean, well lit roads hugged by neatly organised trees led us to central ville, through the centre of Kigali or what I can now call the Brussels of the Great Lakes region. And why not if I never felt anything like a jolt arising from hitting a pothole, or noise coming from boda boda cyclists?
The quiet ambience of Kigali, I was to learn, arises not only from the relatively small population, but more so to the great degree of order that is administered by the government institutions such as the police, the city authority that work in unison.
As I settled into my room at Hotel des Milles Collins, famously or infamously remembered for featuring in Hollywood Movie “Hotel Rwanda,” I realised that the neighbourhood was all new with sparkling high-rise buildings.
And the more I explore Kigali, the more I get angry; How come they’ve done it and we in Uganda are not. In fact, although some in Kampala murmured that Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame could have used his iron-fisted hand to influence the outcome of the recent poll, many of those I spoke to do not mind it citing obvious reasons about the beauty of their Kigali and the impeccable service delivery.