Kangura No. 30

The Name is Man; Moreover, the Poor Man Only Dreams of What He Lacks

A Kangura Reader, Nyabikenke

One Gaspard Senzoga, a Radio Rwanda correspondent in Gitarama region, went one day to the Nyabikenke A.P.S. (Association of Parents for Education) Groupe Scolaire. He wanted to investigate the cause of the demonstrations by the pupils of that school.

These pupils were disparaging their headmaster and were saying they no longer wanted him. The chorus of the song and the slogans they were chanting went like this: “Kabandana, we do not want him.” (×3) “If he is not dismissed, we shall not go back to class.”

The pupils were very happy about the arrival of Senzoga and they hoped his reporting would be impartial and their parents would therefore understand their problems. Instead of going to where the pupils were quietly seated outside the school, about 300 meters from Remera Centre, he went directly to the headmaster with whom he talked about his visit. His intention was, furthermore, made clear later when he said that he had not come at the invitation of the pupils. In his interviews with the pupils, he was simply happy to listen to them rather than taking down the salient points of their complaints. He promised he would be impartial in his reporting given the proof in support of the said grievances… [part of text missing] :

  • Lack of control in the teaching provided by the teachers; thus the quality of the teaching by some teachers left much to be desired.
  • The poor atmosphere this encourages between teachers and students.
  • The unexplained expulsion of many students.

These are some of the explanations given regarding the trial of strength that existed between the headmaster and the pupils since 28 November 1991.

What is surprising is that in his reporting, Gaspard Senzoga altered the content of the version he obtained from the pupils during their interviews. According to him, it was the Nyagatare students who formed the core of the demonstration; they drank and became inebriated because of the money they had been given when they abandoned their property in Mutara, the previous year. These pupils allegedly considered the Nyabikenke buildings poorly constructed when compared to those of Nyagatare. The question is whether he allegedly found at least one of these students at the bar or in possession of a beer bottle where they had been seated.

Or, again, the day when they received the money, did those concerned catch red-handed and by surprise any of these pupils at the bar? Since the Nyagatare pupils had no particular problem, how could they have caused these incidents? All the issues raised went back to before their arrival at Nyabikenke. At the invitation of the headmaster, Senzoga went to him and was offered much to drink so that he could tarnish the reputation of these pupils.

Blaming the Nyagatare pupils and claiming that they refused to live in poor quarters though there were nice buildings in Nyagatare has nothing to do with the headmaster’s lack of popularity. In fact, the headmaster’s lack of popularity can in no way improve on the quality of the buildings. Moreover, and more importantly, it is the education you acquire at the end of your studies which will leave its mark on you and not the condition of the buildings at the school attended.

The reporting according to which the pupils allegedly refused to eat sweet potatoes is a big lie or even a false pretext used by the journalist who wants to look good. In fact, the school does not prepare meals because all the children are day scholars and live in “homes” or private homes where they take their meals. Moreover, had the former been the case, they would have denounced the thrift of these “homes” in which they took their meals. And then, the problems imputed upon the headmaster existed well before the arrival of these children. On what basis were they then blamed for these problems?

In his place, I would have preferred to die honorably. There is a saying that goes, “The poor dream only of what they lack.” When his parents gave him the name Senzoga [drunkard], did they know that he was going to consume excessive quantities of beer or did they encourage him to drink large quantities by so doing?

And then Orinfor tells us, “The fault of one member is blamed on the whole group.” Rather, it is high time Orinfor gave work to those who deserve it!