It is fitting that I start by greeting you all. It has been a long time since we last met here. I hope that you have all stayed healthy. Let’s keep it that way.
We are gathered here as usual for the swearing-in of new government officials, in this case, senators. I would like to thank those who have just taken their oath of office for accepting to serve our country. I wish them success in their new responsibilities.
The newly sworn-in senators were selected from among us and represent Rwandans from all walks of life. As usual, we want all Rwandans, irrespective of their origin, status, or belief, to have the right to feel they belong in their country and be represented, and to have a voice so that their ideas and specific concerns can be heard.
These new senators bring to this job, to these responsibilities that they have just accepted, their experience and their ideas. They bring in new blood so that we can continue to rebuild our country at the right pace.
Rwandans understand Senators to be their representatives, their eyes and ears, and their heart that follow up on citizens’ desired priorities, including oversight of other public institutions, especially the government.
I would like to also add that the job that we do as leaders at different levels requires the right mindset, commitment, and always doing what is right and the way it is expected to be done.
Our history is filled with challenges that we are trying to solve. These include challenges related to Rwandans’ wellbeing, economic hardships, justice-related issues, and in all the other areas that affect our country’s development.
As a country, we have come from very far, and the journey ahead is still long. What this requires from us in terms of effort is understandable. We are not short of challenges on our way. There are those particular to our country and others that we share with other nations, but in which we have our portion to deal with and try to solve.
In these times I don’t have to remind you of the Coronavirus pandemic that we have been trying to fight for some time now. It is not specific to us as it has affected the whole world. But we have our portion of these challenges to deal with and I believe that we are making progress. We have been doing all that is possible to protect ourselves from this virus although there are consequences that we cannot avoid.
For instance, we are protecting ourselves from the virus itself but that has resulted in disruptions that stop us from conducting our usual activities, to feed our families and develop our nation. Being confined in our houses without even being allowed to move outside our homes… we can’t prevent that from happening. It is difficult but we must do it to sustain our fight against the virus. This has affected the lives of citizens, our economy, and hindered the pace of our progress. That is understandable.
This means that the challenges we face have multiplied several fold. When there is an increase in challenges we face, what do you do? You then double your efforts to address these challenges. Your actions should increase, should be speeded up, and should be of the highest possible standards.
We were facing many other challenges that we were trying to solve. Now we also have those caused by this pandemic. This means that we request everyone, especially our leaders, to put more efforts, be more efficient; that is how we will be able to fight this pandemic.
I believe that this swearing-in ceremony is an occasion to remind Rwandans that even where we were able to make progress, that should not make us complacent; instead, we should always strive to deliver on our promises.
With regard to the challenges we face, be it the usual ones, or those that just came up as I was saying, you should try to explain to citizens that we are doing everything possible to mitigate the consequences of these challenges. They should also look to what is happening in other countries. Solutions don’t appear as quickly as we wish. Often it requires patience and continuing to do as well as one possibly can.
I have seen people imploring us on issues regarding the cost of transport. That is right. If you look at the history of this pandemic, the way we are getting out of it, everything cannot be back the way it was quickly. That is why what we are requesting from citizens should be in line with rebuilding their lives and move forward. Instead of starting ahead, we need to start from where we are and try to make progress. We are still trying to find a solution to that and we shall see what is possible.
On the other hand, the fact that people are complaining about how expensive transport has become can also be considered as a step forward because where we are coming from, no one was allowed to move. We have moved from where we were not allowed to move to where we can move but with a huge cost. We are going to crosscheck and see where the problem lies and try to solve it. But that is a lot easier than being confined to our homes, not allowed to go anywhere.
I would like to conclude by once again thanking you all, and asking you to continue to do what is possible to try to solve the challenges we face as Rwanda, in collaboration with countries in the region and in other parts of the world because this pandemic is everywhere.
Thank you and have a nice day!