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Academic trashes Western shallow simplification of complex reality

Dr Wandia Njoya delivers the keynote speech

Dr Wandia Njoya delivers the keynote speech

Kenyan academic Dr Wandia Njoya has blasted Western academics, policymakers, politicians and journalists as suffering from a constricted and shallow simplification of the complexities of life and human societies.

Dr Njoya, a senior lecturer at Daystar University in Nairobi, was the keynote speaker at a public lecture to commemorate 30 years since the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994.

Organised by the Rwandan high commission in Uganda and hosted by Makerere University management, the lecture took place at the School of Public health auditorium on April 17, 2024. It was attended by diplomats and students from eight universities, among others.

Western liberalism denies the (European) colonial roots of many problems in the current world, especially Africa, pretends to offer robust solutions through simplistic recommendations for elections and the winner taking all until the next elections.

“The instinct of European liberalism is to automatically distrust all African leaders and to insist on regular elections and term limits as the solution to all problems,” she argued, adding that African lives are not considered as being worth anything.


She argued that even UN bureaucrats who are ideologically and psychologically saturated with Western liberalism are ignorant and incapable of handling genocide situations, as best exemplified by their failure in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, among others.

Not only are they ignorant of the unique political dynamics of specific countries, they are also content to lament over cocktails about “ancient tribal hatreds” which they magnify in their decision- making processes.

Njoya gave examples of how imperialism has ensured that mutual understanding among Africans remains minimal or vanishes by using extensive public relations, diplomacy, academics and media machinery to create and spread oversimplification and more confusion.

“There is an intellectual infrastructure in Africa that blocks us from understanding one another through direct conversations between Africans themselves,” she asserted.


She observed how: “Liberal discourse is frustratingly linear, narrow-minded, individualist, obsessively moralist and hostile to complexity; and so, the lives of millions of people disappear from the conversation immediately the name of a political leader is mentioned. Liberalism pretends to offer robust debate when in reality; it offers us a simplistic view of politics where discussion is only between the dominant side and a ceremonial opposition.”

Explaining Tutsi and Hutu as not ethnic but occupational groups, Njoya blamed European colonialists and neocolonialists of ethnicising the relationship between the two groups.


Joseph Rutabana, the Rwandan high commissioner to Uganda, said the commemoration of 30 years was a generational cycle landmark to reflect the transformational journey Rwanda has made, “building on the legacy of strength, resilience and unity that the new generation is called upon to sustain and carry forward to adapt to today’s global challenges and future aspirations.”

He noted that despite major achievements and milestones in rebuilding Rwanda, among which was unity and reconciliation, security, good governance and welfare of survivors, there is an increase of manifestations of denial and distortion of the planning and execution of this genocide which eliminated the lives of more than a million people between April and July 1994.

Ambassador Pascal Ngoga argued that several warnings have been made by high-level officials about the ongoing killings of Kinyarwanda speakers in DR Congo and the likely eruption of genocide of the magnitude that was experienced in Rwanda in 1994.

He said the warnings have probably been ignored, but the training of youth vigilantes and increased integration of genocidaire former soldiers and militias with the Congolese national army is a cause for concern. Kwezi Tabaro, a panelist, said while the 1994 genocide was organized by the elites and the state, it was largely executed by peasants.

However, the new government chose to have reconciliation and unity instead of revenge and identity politics.


Meanwhile, the main commemoration of the genocide was held on April 20 at Ggolo Memorial Site in Mpigi district, one of such memorial burial grounds of the genocide victims located in Uganda. It houses over 4,771 remains.

Others are Kasensero in Kyotera district with 2,875 and Lambu in Masaka with 3,337 remains, bringing the total buried in Uganda to 10,983. The majority of these bodies were picked from Lake Victoria, having been dumped in rivers Kagera and Nyabarongo.


0 #1 Tim K 2024-05-17 10:55
I pittied Dr. Njoya that however much Africa still crucifies Colonialism and imperialism, Africans are no longer taking themselves as Africans, they are white in black skins. Genocide has severe implications but there are many other killer-mechanisms in Africa done by the Africans to self than the genocide!

Even the failure to have a single language of communication in Africa, using English, it a pivotal killer-factor worse than genocide which those given birth after 1994 are just watching films to feel the genocidal implications on Rwanda.
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