Village Urugwiro, 18 January, 2010

President Kagame today held a Press Conference that gatheed together journalists from the public and the private media in Rwanda and international media correspondents. The President kicked off by wishing the media fraternity a happy and prosperous new year. President Kagame said that the next seven years of his second mandate would be about consolidating the achievements that have been registered, working together with Rwandans to build on the achievements to improve the lives of all Rwandans.

On the question of the ongoing eradication of grass thatched houses around the country which has attracted some controversy from several quarters, President Kagame clarified that by introducing the policy Government had good intentions of ensuring that Rwandans live in decent shelters. He said that if some implementers were committing mistakes in the process, the blame should be laid on those individuals because the overall intention is not to cause distress to the people but to improve their lives. President Kagame said that those mishandling the process should be punished.

Concerning reports in the Press suggesting that the original East African Community nations may be keen fronting the next Secretary General of the community President Kagame said that so far, all information he had heard were coming from the Press and therefore unofficial. “From what I know – what is official is that the post is falling vacant in April. What I have not been told officially is that there may be a dispute over the issue. From what I know, this is not an elective office or an office post where people have to compete. It is rotational – country by country and this is what has been applying and I don’t know how this is going to change when there have not been discussions to change that. My expectation is that rules will be followed. To my knowledge, it is the turn of Rwanda or Burundi. If things have to change, there are certain rules to follow,” the President said.

Giving his thoughts on the ongoing political crisis in Ivory Coast, President Kagame said that this is an issue of concern because it is an African problem. He said that as much as mediation efforts by ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations are important, external efforts can only help to compliment the efforts of the people with the problem. “Prime Minister Raila Odinga who has been nominated by the African Union to go and help with the resolution of the problem will not be able to deliver peace there unless the Ivorians are responsive. Neither will the UN offer solutions. We are all willing to support these efforts either through the AU, UN but the Ivorians have a problem at their hands which they should be at the forefront in dealing with,” President Kagame said