No pictures with this one, because if I had taken them I would be ‘helping the Rwandan Police with their enquiries’! Today Byumba was shut down like a public holiday, just like when the queeen comes. Just in this case it was the President. Town has been full of soldiers, police and security agents (so i’m reliably informed!) for a few days now. Undoubtedly the president has done some amazing things for this country, and those should not be forgotten. But it got me thinking.
As my taxi (motorbike) came over the hill we were confronted with two blacked out 4×4’s parked acoss the road, emerency lights flashing. One glance from the armed police and soldiers and my driver shot off to the left down a dirt track. He clearly understood the look – No locals or onlookers required. As we turned, a cavalcade of similar vehicles swept across the road, their gleaming newness in absolute contrast to the rural poor by the roadside. In one Rwanda’s president on his way to inspect something or other. By then we were long gone, trying to work out a way through the maze of tracks off the main road, avoiding the soldiers and police. Eventually we found our way back.
Of course the harsh realities of political and public life mean security comes first. However benign, or not, the regime there are always detractors and always those graspng towards power for good and ill. And, of course, Cameron, Obama and all the rest have shares in the Black Car Cavalcade Company.
Everything Jesus says about leadership is in the downwardly mobile direction. It’s two feet or a donkey, rubbing shoulders with everyday people. Four words get to the heart of it as he compares Christian leadership to worldly power, ‘not so among you'(Mk 10:45). If they lord it over eachother – not so among you. If they jocky for position or power – not so among you. If they have he trappings of wealth – not so among you.
I certainly did not expect Mr Kagame to pitch up on a moto-taxi for a 20p spin round town (yes that’s the standard fare!!). Does it matter how he travels? Surely this country has bigger fish to fry? Maybe so. Except that the cavalcade does express values, character, attitude. And it did get me thinking…
What does humility look like in public office?
How does a Christian statesman balance accesibility and security?
How much should the public servant adopt a master’s lifestyle?
Hmmm….? As for me, I’m just thankful for the moto driver’s ability to stay stable off the main road!!