Kigali, 15 January 2015
President Kagame today held a press conference that gathered local, regional and international media, where he addressed various matters concerning Rwanda, the region and the world.On the issue of FDLR, who failed to meet a January 2 disarmament deadline issued by SADC, President Kagame said Rwanda was still skeptical that any action would be taken against the militia composed of genocidaires, judging by how the issue has been handled in the past.
“I would be too extravagant with my confidence that things are going to work out, based on the history of the problem. We have been with FDLR for over a decade now and what has been playing out relating to the militia has not been helpful at all. The insensitivities around this issue despite the heinous crimes they committed during the genocide is revealing of the fact that the genocide might have been broader than what people might have wanted us to believe.”
President Kagame said that considering the way the issue of FDLR is being handled, it creates the impression that killing people during the genocide was not such a bad thing after all:
“This group is closely associated with genocide and the way things have been unfolding; different groups have been attacked with vigour and at short notice, without having to consult, but when it comes to FDLR, people step back and you start hearing excuses about how these are children and are mixed with civilians. The same powers or people who have expressed outrage on the genocide and the causes and the people responsible, but when it comes to the real issue, they step back. Elsewhere, when people kill people on the streets, it’s an outrage, but when the same is done in Rwanda, when people throw grenades, it’s about political grievances. This is all clear to everyone who wants to see.”
President Kagame said that while closely watching how things unfold concerning FDLR disarmament, Rwanda would keep getting better in ensuring its internal security, irrespective of the outcome of the process. He said he should be blamed if anything happens in Rwanda.
On terrorism that is becoming rampant around the world, and the recent incident in Paris, President Kagame pointed out that the main challenge has been identifying the root causes of the problem and all energy is lost in confusion resulting in more problems.
“The state of the world today needs more collaboration and for us to get to the root causes of situations faced globally: The fact that freedoms that people are happy to enjoy are being attacked in this manner should enrage everyone. The world is sucked in between extremes of diehard minorities, which calls for common sense to prevail in order to create global harmony.”
On Boko Haram whose terror activities are ravaging Nigeria, President Kagame said this should not be happening to a country like Nigeria and called for cooperation between nations to find solutions for the problem, especially considering that the threat is now spilling across Nigerian frontiers.
President Kagame attributed the relatively good diplomacy that Rwanda has been enjoying over time to the country’s firmness on issues that affect Rwanda and its people. President Kagame said that Rwanda has upheld the value of truth as its weapon and has remained firm under all circumstances.
“We are what you see; we are the embodiment of truth. What we tell you is what we mean; the way we understand, see and think about issues is exactly the way we put it to you. Over time we have been tried and tested and insulted and the truth about us has remained, and I am sure people have had the opportunity to understand us better and it helps us to overcome our future and present challenges.”
On the recurrent questions raised about Rwanda’s increasing mineral exports, especially those of Coltan, President Kagame said there should not be confusion about this because it is a verifiable fact that Rwanda not only has a lot of Coltan deposits but of superior quality too, and asked anyone with doubts to come to Rwanda and visit the mines for as long as they want.
President Kagame said Rwanda had learnt a great deal from others by representing Africa in the UN Security Council, and that he was confident that Angola, who are replacing Rwanda as non permanent members, would ably represent the continent and act globally.
On the progress of the East African Community integration process, President Kagame clarified that the process was still on course, as member countries proceed with different efforts to ensure East African Community integration is realized, heading in same direction at different levels. He said the upcoming East African Community Summit in February would be about devising strategies of fastracking projects that are already in the pipeline.
Concerning Rwanda’s private sector, President Kagame said:
“We are not where we were a decade ago, but we are not where we want to be, we have to keep investing. If you compare where we are coming from and what we have achieved, it gives optimism, but we have to aspire to do more. We want our economy to be private sector led.”
Noting the consistent exemplary performance of the Rwanda cycling team, President Kagame said he had been vindicated because he had continually recommended the diversification of sports disciplines, as opposed to focusing on only football. President Kagame pointed out that what was needed was for all local sports stakeholders to be serious stay focused.
Asked whether he has a role model since most leaders and those aspiring to be leaders take him as their role model, President Kagame said his role models are the people of Rwanda, who he said are keen listeners, good people who go about the business of improving their lives with vigor and without prejudice.