16 December 2016
President Kagame today officially closed Umushyikirano 2016 after two days of debate by leaders and citizens on the state of the nation and the way forward towards prosperity. In his closing remarks, President Kagame urged Rwandans on service delivery and self belief.
“To improve service delivery, you need to change your mentality and believe in your right to demand what you are due. Providing good service is not something we need to be given, we are capable of achieving it if we set our mind to it. If we don’t demand that we get good service, we also have a problem.”
On self belief and determination, President Kagame said:
“What we do is not about being praised, it is about the interests of Rwandans. Our mindset should be about achieving everything that is within our abilities. We should not accept to be compared with developed nations of centuries ago; we should aim to be the best we can be.”
While fielding questions from local and regional journalists after the closing of Umushyikirano, President Kagame addressed varying issues of local, regional and international dimensions.
On the Rwanda’s economy, President Kagame said the Government was doing its best t grow the economy to make sure Rwandans were standing on solid ground, with the ultimate goal of surviving without support from elsewhere. He stated that by 2020, Rwandans would have achieved a good percentage of their goals and they wuld use the lessons learned to move forward.
Concerning the recent apology by a group of local catholic clergy for role of colleagues in the genocide against the Tutsi, President Kagame wondered why the Vatican has failed to apologise to Rwandans for genocide against the Tutsi and yet the Pope had publicly apologised to people elsewhere in the world where Catholic Church clergy had committed far much lesser crimes.
“The Vatican has apologized elsewhere for the role of individuals who belonged to the Church, why not in the case of Rwanda? The role of the Catholic Church in the Genocide can be traced back to the intertwining of the Church and colonialism.”
On the Burundi crisis, President Kagame stated that the way forward was what was already being done, which he said were the role of the facilitator and the wish of the people of Burundi. On the wish of President Benjamin Mkapa, the facilitator in the Burundi negotiations, to have all refugees sent back home, President Kagame said:
“As Rwanda, what we stand ready for is to contribute positively to the resolutions of Burundi problems. Telling refugees to go back is easy, but the question is what the consequences are? Do we also have to tell the 80,000 refugees to wake up one morning, pack up and go back because everything is fine?”
Concerning what was termed growing anti West rhetoric in Africa, and Rwanda in particular President Kagame said he was not anti-west or anti-east, but that he was against being anti-self, serving someone else’s interest against those of his people.
“Expressing yourself as matter of right is used against you, yet we live in a world with lessons on freedom of speech. When we speak of anything that paints the West in a dark light, we pay for it, yet we are given lessons on being free.”
On the ICC, President Kagame said the reason Rwanda did not become signatory to ICC because the Court was not serving justice but political interests disguised as international justice.