Kigali, 12 January 2014
Good Morning all,
I would like to first thank Pastor Rutayisire for the good and articulate lessons he gave us today filled with practical examples.
I would also like to thank all present, leaders of our country at different levels for finding time to be here. Thank you for inviting us to come to be with you today.
Before I proceed, I trust that you ended the year well and started the new one in good health.
A moment like this one, to me, and I know others may have different views on this…to me, this is a good time to come together and reflect on many things. A time for reflection is a good thing. It doesn’t matter whether its 30 minutes or an hour, the results exceed the gains of an entire year.
I would equate this reflection time to someone in a nice car, speeding on a highway only to encounter a roadblock – here I don’t mean the roadblocks that Pastor Rutayisire used to encounter in the past – the roadblock is there to tell you to slow down and think about where you are going, and whether you will reach your destination. Will this road get you there? Is this the right road? It’s not a bad thing to slow down and reflect before proceeding. This is a time to put things in order if they are not, and make even better what is going well. Again, let me thank you for this opportunity.
Another thing, I would like to add something else that is by no means bigger than thanking God, I want to thank all of you because our God has helped us to work towards our benefit. There are those who misuse the abilities given to them by God but when majority use the capabilities in a good way, they deserve to be commended.
Leaders here present and the people that we lead who are not present here today, as it was said, and as will continue to be said, concerning identity, Rwandanness is very crucial. We have to have a common identity. Pastor Rutayisire talked about cohesion, he was looking for the Kinyarwanda word. Social cohesion is co-existence, unity and trust. Those three things are key. This allows us to value what we are. You cannot say you value God when you don’t value yourself and value what God made you. There is actually no conflict at all with valuing yourself and giving others value because God has also made them what they are.
So, we begin with ourselves, building our country Rwanda and then give value to others. This is in line with God’s will. God’s word strengthens and encourages this.
Normally, Rwandans should feel very lucky. Even if our country has faced tragedy, as some people have said or continue to say, “Don’t waste the tragedy.” This means that the tragedy that you have faced should help you become a better person than you were before. Don’t waste the tragedy doesn’t mean you have to necessarily go through tragedy. But for us, that is what happened and we cannot do anything to change our past. The only way to change our past is to build a better future. Now, that happened but what did you gain from it? Either, you can get out of one and go into another tragedy depending on how you face the consequences, or build something new, something better out of that tragedy. We have to constantly remind each other what happened so as to never lose sight of what we must do.
For us, what came out of that tragedy is energy and renewal. We have gained power to work in coherence. If you don’t learn from the tragedy you went through, it is another way to invite another tragedy.
So let’s focus on what builds our country based on these lessons learned. If we could only learn to see the value and dignity of being a Rwandan, the value of the country as some other people see it, especially those who are not Rwandans. Let me give you an example, I was in a conference in Los Angeles and one of the topics was about Rwanda and Africa in general and I was asked to speak. After my presentation, one of the panelists was a women working for a big US corporation and she said: “I have been to Rwanda only once and spent there only a few days, but I have never seen a country like Rwanda.” The reason why she said this was because of the Agaciro Development Fund. She continued saying: “I have never seen a country where the leadership draws a plan and tells the population dig into your pockets and fund the plan and people do exactly that.”
She said that the key word was the word: trust. The trust the people of Rwanda have in its leadership brings cohesion and coherence which strengthens this relationship. This will make Rwanda achieve whatever it dreams to achieve. And there is nothing that Rwanda wants to achieve that it won’t with this trust. This is a foreigner looking at us, and seeing that. That is what I want us to discuss as well, trust between people from different backgrounds, religions, languages, social standing or whatever else. Trust brings us together, from our various backgrounds, from our differences to work together for a common goal to build the nation and fulfil God’s will, why he created us. Then we are valuing who he created us to be and honouring what God has given us.
Not doing this will have negative consequences but we should make sure that only those who cause problems bear the consequences alone and not everyone else. It shouldn’t be a burden for the whole country.
I saw Prime Minister’s message on Twitter the other day.He wrote a very interesting tweet, very powerful words about what happened recently and I actually haven’t discussed it with him yet. He wrote: “Betraying citizens and their country that made you a man shall always bear consequences for you”. And someone replied to him asking who exactly he was referring to.They clearly were trying to make a connection with the recent case of death in the diaspora. And they were trying to corner him into saying that: “Yes, I am talking about that person indeed”. This would have created an opportunity for them to argue that Rwanda was admitting guilt for the killing. And Prime Minster again was very clever in his response because he said: “Not necessarily. This applies to anyone”This should be one the values of Rwanda leaders. You were right Prime Minister. God gave us the strength to accomplish good things but He has also given us the strength to protect it.
Going back to what Prime Minister said, no one will betray Rwanda and get away with it. Regardless of who you are, there will be consequences. God gave us the strength to protect what we have built. Whoever it is, even those still alive will bear the consequences; it’s just a matter of time.
Going back to what Rutayisire said earlier about those who forget how they were set free from slavery; there are also consequences for those who forget, including all of those you keep hearing about, living freely abroad as well as the ones Prime Minister was referring to. They have become ungrateful and forgot how they were set free from slavery. They forgot Rwanda, forgot the people of Rwanda as well as the Almighty God, creator of all things. No one can rise above him, it’s not possible.
They seem to have time to waste, doing useless things, but there are always consequences, eventually. Remember what happened the other day. I shouldn’t even be mentioning it because it is giving it more value than it really has.
I was following the discussions [on Twitter] looking at what Prime Minister said as well as other people, I personally didn’t comment, this is my first time to address the issue.
I was seeing some of our people defending themselves saying:”It wasn’t us, we didn’t do it” denying the accusations. And it’s true, we didn’t do it, but my question is: shouldn’t we have done it? I really don’t feel the necessity for politeness on this issue, no need for being diplomatic, of being politically correct. What’s surprising is that you didn’t do it, not the other way around. Because how can people betray their country… a country that made them who they are boasting to be today? All those fellows would have been nothing if it wasn’t for this country, if it wasn’t for Rwanda.
Rwanda made them who they are today. And they have now turned against it, they are now insulting it, abusing it. I honestly have no diplomacy in that regard. We should have been the ones, we should have been the ones to do it; it shouldn’t have been somebody else. Because no one will do it for you, no Bangladeshi peacekeeper, no Pakistani, no white person, no one else can protect your country and grant you peace. Only you can do it, and you shouldn’t feel bad about doing what you need to.
It’s our duty to protect the blessings we received from God. There is no shame in protecting your country against those who kill our children. You all heard about the grenade attacks. Members of the police present here remember in what state they used to find the bodies; pieces of limbs all over the place, young people losing their arms due to the attacks…and you expect me to be apologetic about that? Never.
As for the rest it is pure speculation, people arguing…This world we live in is not always truthful.
Those who come and stand over your head asking you why you did it…do more, more than a thousand times more, In defense of their nations. You know that, they have done more than that, a thousand times more.
Going back to the tragedy I was talking about earlier, it was a result of the politics that there was genocide, and we cannot allow that to happen again at any cost.And we also know that what kills is not just bullets or machetes. Words kill. A bad tongue, bad words, bad thoughts are what make people pick up guns and kill each other, pick up machetes and kill. Words!
So I want to tell you, sincerely, betraying the pact you have with Rwanda has consequences, betraying a country, wishing evil upon people has consequences for you.What remains is the how. There are many ways this can happen.
And Rwandans, Christians and people of God here, your beliefs or faith should give you the power to do good.
Who can be ashamed of the good things we have achieved with God’s help here in Rwanda? Why be ashamed? No one should be ashamed. If it means confrontation using words, then confront each other, if it means confronting using other means, then do that.
For me, I signed up even for confrontation. If you made a mistake, then you will ask me to account. But when I was sworn in at the stadium, you gave me the duty to confront such situations. Even though this means that everyone has a role to play, a duty in regards to this.
Whether it is teaching people like we see today, responding to people who say things about you that are not true and even using tougher means.
If the other person wants to use these means, than why not us who are entitled?
If your desire is to destroy Rwanda, destroying what we are building and that is what makes you to dare, I cannot be the one to fear, I who am defending it.
We should not waste time, waste the lessons we have learned from our tragic past.We should use our strength to do what God created us for and wishes for us.
It was what I was saying earlier, that we should stop and reflect, remember God. Reflect that even if you are running very fast, with many good things happening, we should remember that we must use this for good, what God desires for us. That is the importance of a time like this.
What remains is discussion and debate, looking at different ways of doing things, with a common purpose.
And everything else that we need to fulfill that is in line with what Monique told us, things that we should be proud of, of course remembering other things as well.
Like what we say everyday with regards to service, in a hotel like this; if you are going to give a service, give it in an excellent way.
Give good things built on trust. Provide quality service and always remember this is the way things should be done. That is how it should be.
So when we do things in relation to our faith like praying, thanksgiving and remembering God, it should be translating into action, seen in how we live our lives, evidencing what we are taught every day.
In conclusion, as for Rwanda, no one can betray Rwanda and prosper.
Rwanda is for Rwandans and Rwanda is in the hands of God.