Kigali, 21 December 2010

President Kagame today officially concluded the 8th National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) which started yesterday at Parliament buildings. In his closing remarks, President Kagame thanked organizers and participants for making Umushyikirano 2010 a success. President Kagame pointed out that Umushyikirano is of great significance to Rwandans because it provides them with the opportunity to draw new strength and review progress as they forge ahead.

President Kagame asked Rwandans to embrace development of their country and own it because only then would they be able to sustain it. “Rwanda belongs to all of us, and all of us have a role to play in our country’s development; those inside and outside the country, the strong, the weak, those with low understanding and those with higher understanding. Those who want a debate should come to an understanding and move ahead in the understanding that progress is ours,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame said that a firm foundation had already been built and all that remains now is to build on the foundation laid, bearing in mind that this has to be in conformity with the changing times and aspirations of Rwandans. “The building of our nation must be based on institutions rather than individuals if we have to make it sustainable. Building should be done taking into account of the fact that there will be generations taking over from one another,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame asked Rwandans not to be distracted by those who trade in rumors and falsehoods for a living because they don’t deserve anyone’s time. “I keep mentioning them once in a while because when you have white linen you need to keep cleaning it lest it gets dirty. A large majority of Rwandans want clean linen and therefore we will have to clean it once in a while to keep it clean,” President Kagame said.

Turning to leaders, President Kagame asked them to provide services to the people and also help them be able to work and feed their families and live dignified and fulfilled lives. President Kagame implored leaders to draw energy and motivation from the dialogue and implement what has been recommended. Asking Rwandans to reflect and draw energy from the past to move ahead, President Kagame said: “We went through very bad history; one may forgive or ignore some things, but we definitely cannot forget because we cannot afford to go through the same history. It happened once and this is bad enough – if it happened twice this would be unspeakable. Bad history was not an accident; we caused it ourselves. There were external factors but those are still there and will be there even tomorrow. However, we can change make a change.  We cannot change what happened and neither can we change those who wish us ill; we can only change how we will be in the future, through changing our mindsets and our reaction to obstacles,” President Kagame said, and wished Rwandas, wherever they are, Merry Christmas and a happy new year.