Government Explains What Happened to 200 Cows Offered by India PM Narendra Modi
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Following The Chronicles story on an offer of $200,000 by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to buy 200 cows for a village in Bugesera district, the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) has issued the following statement.
Clarification on the story published by The Chronicles:
The $200,000 equivalent to 200 cows donated by the Prime Minister were received by the Government of Rwanda and channeled through Rwanda’s ONE COW PER POOR FAMILY Programme (Girinka) through which poor families are provided with cows to improve their welfare.
Out of that envelop, 47 cows were bought & given to residents of Rweru model village in Bugesera District; because the remaining 153 families had previously received cows through Girinka Program when when they were settled few months prior to the visit of the Prime Minister.
After this donation all the 200 families in Rweru IDP village had cows.
The balance of the envelop was used to build infrastructure for water supply, sanitation and hygiene, disease control, and feeding for all 200 hundred cows on that site.
The Indian High Commissioner to Rwanda was informed of this arrangement when he visited Rweru IDP village.
The low milk production is attributed to a long drought that struck Bugesera District last year causing shortage of animal feeds in that area.
For short term mitigating strategy: we are buying feeds from elsewhere and trying to sustain these cows while waiting for a good harvest of forage.
Long term strategy: we are helping farmers to cultivate drought tolerant forage as we teach them how to feed agriculture byproducts such as Rice and Maize bran and straw available in the area.
Why independent media is important
I find your publication very interesting, in this peculiarly Rwandan media landscape. Except for Taarifa, there’s no other newspaper worth the label in Rwanda, in my humble opinion. And seeing the “backlash” you keep getting on social media, for what basically amounts to consistently pushing the envelope when it comes to keeping the public informed and keeping government accounting, I have come to realize that education is not the root cause of our beloved country’s problems alone. No. Underneath the education layer is the cultural layer.
In developed climes education and culture live in symbiosis. Here in Rwanda the relationship is adversarial on its best days. One of the reasons human development is stagnant (or perhaps regressive in Rwanda) is because there is no culture of questioning those in power, regardless of how high or low they stand in the hierarchy. And boy do we love us some hierarchy, no? Unquestioning and uncritical and unexamining rose-tinted glasses. That’s how most Rwandans prefer their news. And it’s a sad state of affairs. We’re failing our President by playing this eternal game of Hear-No-See-No-Speak-No.
Our relationship with authority is extremely problematic, and in my own personal opinion, it might stem from this primitive form of colonialist Catholicism we’re practicing as a society, be it implicitly or explicitly. Our public servants (presidential servants) are generally not used to being answerable to the people. Because in our society, authority figures have been granted this air of papal infallibility. It’s unfortunate and extremely discouraging.
You will continue to face “backlash” from those with diabetic mentalities borne of a steady stream of Sweet Stories Only diet, veracity be damned. But I’m the Chronicles will not be swayed by this. Your job as journalists is among the most important ones, specifically in a society as stubbornly archaic and closed-minded as ours.
To quote President John F. Kennedy in his address to the press:
“Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.”