Kigali, 29 October 2010

President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette Kagame attended the ‘Executive Family Enrichment Dinner’ which was held at the Kigali Serena Hotel, organized by the Christian Life Assembly Church. In his remarks, President Kagame thanked Drs. Mary and Paul Wangai for their thought provoking presentation on family.

President Kagame said that Christians should regard themselves as soldiers organized in small units of different sizes under a supreme commander. He said that for soldiers to fight well and win battles, the small units have to be well organized and effective.  “Like soldiers, Christians are organized in small units –family, and once you get it wrong at family level, you are likely to get it wrong at other levels. That is why talking about family tonight in reference to the strength of society and nations are of critical importance,” the President said.

Comparing a nation to one big family, President Kagame said: “This family can be functional or dysfunctional depending on whether it is well nurtured and well led or whether it is neglected and exploited. People in a family are bound by a kinship and loyalty to one another. In the case of a nation, this bond is a common identity, a shared history as well as future, and aspirations. Families also need order and leadership – which should not be a monopoly of men or women, to thrive.”

President Kagame said that the families people grow up in heavily influence the values and habits that are displayed in the public arena. “If positive values such as discipline, fairness, compassion, truth, tolerance and perseverance are learned from an early age, the benefits to society are obvious and far-reaching. We must note that strong, stable families do not just happen. They require attention, focus and hard work just like any other valuable thing yet we continue to see family ties coming loose in the name of modernity,” the President said.

President Kagame warned that if the world is not mindful, the fast paced lives people lead driven by technology and other modern ways and trends could erode family traditional family values that groom people to be responsible, selfless citizens and future leaders. “That is why I believe that we all should play a role to restore what has been lost, protect what is threatened and strengthen what has been weakened. As leaders of this country we should and do recognize that preserving and strengthening the family has a direct impact on the quality of our people’s lives,” President Kagame said.