Bizimana, Nsekuye. “Development and Breakdown in Rwanda.”
The Myth of the Modern.
Applying the same economic criteria for judging development in Rwanda as in the West, the authorities in Kigali had reason to be pleased with the results attained up until the breakdown in 1994.
In the rural areas the quality of housing had been improved from huts to stable houses, and primary hygiene practices had been instituted.
Many industrial products (with negative effects that only became evident later) offered more comfort than the traditional way of life. More Rwandans were being educated at home and abroad, and the number of subjects taught at the national university had increased.
In fact, Rwandans were proud in claiming that Kigali had become a little European island in Rwanda.
The fact is, however, that from the point of view of human development, a sharp deterioration in the quality of life had taken place. The influx of every imaginable Western industrial product, from washing machines, hi-fi sets and video players to sweets and cars, led to an even greater admiration of the West.
People wanted to acquire these fine things more than ever, but only a small portion of the population could afford them. The result of all this was the creation of an arrogant bourgeoisie, who believed in the principle that 'the more you have, the better you are.
Such powerful bourgeoisies formed a state within a state, thus controlling almost everything. This was similar to the dictatorship-of-capital seen in the West. The benefits of modernisation were rarely distributed equal. Thus those areas with fine modern installations despised the areas without.
As a result, tension developed between different areas within the country. This is known as regionalism. In many African countries, regionalism corresponds to tribalism, because different tribes live in different regions. Money reigns and thus people go to any measure to acquire it.
This striving after money inflicted serious damage upon our culture. Egoism gained ground. Nobody did anything unless he personally intended to gain from it. Little was shared and the spirit of solidarity amongst our people collapsed.