Kigali, 6 September 2010

President Kagame was today sworn in for a second term as President of the Republic of Rwanda in a ceremony held at the Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali, in the presence of more than 60,000 Rwandans and fourteen invited African Heads of State and Government: President Boni Yayi of Benin; President Blaise Compaore of Burkinafaso; President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi; President Francois Bozize of Central Africa Republic; President Idriss Deby  Itno of Chad; President Joseph Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo; Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia; President Ben Bongo Ali of Gabon; President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi; President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria; President Faure Gnassingbé of Togo; President Rupiah Banda of Zambia

Also present were a number of African Prime Ministers, the Presidents of the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank, Ministers and representatives of international organizations, as well as groups and individuals who built friendships with Rwanda in the last 16 years. The ceremony, broadcast live in Rwanda and the rest of East Africa, included special prayers from Mufti Swaleh Habimana, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege and Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church.

Today’s swearing-in ceremony was officiated by Rwanda’s Chief Justice, Aloysia Cyanzaire, who administered the oath and handed President Kagame the instruments of office; the Constitution, Rwanda’s Coat of Arms, the National Flag and the National Anthem.

In his Inaugural Address, President Kagame pledged to continue to do his best to meet the expectations of Rwandans, “I stand before you greatly honoured by your renewed trust and confidence; and mindful of the responsibility you have bestowed upon me, to lead our country in this new mandate, and the new challenges that come with it.” President Kagame said increased cohesion among Rwandans, and their determination to shape their future had led Rwandans to value national interests above all else and that this was evident in their vote for unity, reconciliation and socio-economic transformation.

President Kagame pointed to the negative reports on Rwanda from media and human rights organizations, which deliberately distorted the reality in the country, and led some to expect violence, saying that this was in keeping with the prejudiced way in which African affairs were viewed, and that Rwandans having learnt tough lessons had chosen a different, forward looking path.

President Kagame noted that Africa’s biggest problem was not lack of democracy but poverty and the dependence that comes with underdevelopment; “It is this situation of dependence that allows some governments, and even NGOs – who are not accountable to anyone – to think they have a right to dictate the conduct of legitimate state actors.”  He noted that Africa needed more tools and resources to implement ideas relevant to the continent’s circumstances, and not the hypocrisy and patronizing attitude that perpetuated the cycle of poverty and deprived Africans of dignity.

President Kagame rejected the accusations of Rwanda’s habitual critics and said that Rwandans would forge ahead in their quest for self-determination regardless. He said that this should not stop the country’s leadership to continually look at themselves critically, and continue to empower citizens and deliver effectively.

President Kagame said that Rwandans had achieved a lot together so far, and pledged do even more for guaranteed food security; quality education and health; increased trade and investment; modern infrastructure that responds to the direct needs of citizens; economic and political participation of Rwandans; enhanced empowerment of women and girls; and equipping Rwandans with the skills necessary to succeed in a competitive world. He said that Rwanda will continue to advance regional integration, and work for the wider integration of our continent.