Kigali, 6 October 2012

Today I don’t want to use the podium

Good afternoon. Umurinzi young professionals. Thank you for inviting me, but more importantly thank you for putting this event together which goes a long way to add value to a project that already has enormous value – – that is Agaciro as a concept and the Fund as a specific project go together.

Thank you to the speakers.

I heard you had very good speakers today. People that motivated you and also made other contributions other than just giving you motivations. I am told others gave cash, the head of Equity bank made a contribution of 100million to the Fund, and I thank him in your presence.

During the motivation speeches you had, what next? I am asking this because listening to good speeches and being motivated is not an end but a means to an end.

People have made contributions but I think that is not an end in itself. We are still going on, this Agaciro thing is about you, me and future. It’s about the value we want to give to our name, to our country, it’s our future. There are clear choices to be made, that’s where I come from.

I look at all of you in this room and through you I see Rwanda. I may start asking myself other questions; how less important are you than others from other countries? I find no reason that should make people look at you as less important, or that you yourselves should ever believe that you are less important. There is no justification; you are as important a humanbeing as anybody else in this world.

You have done many things, qualified for many things that put you in that category; you are as qualified in many ways, and here I don’t mean degrees, diplomas but I mean the value you have in you as a person because you could still have these degrees and actually maybe present no much value. Yes, it depends on how you raise yourself to put that is in you to good use, to benefit yourself, others, and your society.

That is the major difference between nations and people; some have put to good use this that is in them to a point that it has seemingly raised them above others. We are trying to build our nation to a point that nobody should see us as being below others. My question is why would you accept to be seen as being lower than others? What is it that is missing in you?

So the motivation and inspiration you got from the people who spoke to you today; I know it’s not the first time people have spoken to you in a manner that would inspire you and that’s why I began with a question. What next after the inspiration? We need to go beyond just being inspired and motivated so that we can do real things and make them happen as a result. This Rwanda has a very strong foundation based on values, traditions and culture of a proud people.

You should be proud of yourselves for being who you are. Never ever want to be somebody else; be yourself and only improve yourself so that you can be better. Many of you have gone travelled wide; America, Europe or Asia, and you have seen and learnt various things, there is a lot to learn out there. But you don’t learn to turn into somebody else. You learn to be a better person. Even Rwanda as a nation we want to learn and be inspired by others but most importantly we want to be a better Rwanda, not another nation.

And am happy to be here to say that your generation is the one we have been waiting for. So you better standup to be worth the expectation and the name so that others behind you may even do better and we’ll keep growing.

It’s an opportunity for every problem; every challenge in a sense has a silver lining. I think we need to learn never to despair, even with the hardest of the challenges we may face. First prepare yourself mentally and say, I will be there to be counted, and counted on to deal with it. The silver lining is that once there is a problem you look and confront it and in the process of dealing with the challenge you will discover that you had in you more than you actually knew you had thought you had whereby if it was a situation of comfort, of course as a human being you would want to seat back and feel comfortable.

Rwanda, the ordinary circumstances we live in and the new ones we keep facing, for me the message should constitute another motivation and inspiration for us to search in ourselves what we have..

This Agaciro fund is part of our Agaciro concept, if you look back in history; you will find it’s not the only one of its kind we have had. After the genocide, when we had so many problems in the mid 90s, when it came to 97, when the war was over, RPF fighters spent two years without getting a salary, not because they didn’t need it but there was no where to draw it from. The treasury was empty, when we made some good progress, we discussed paying arrears, and at the same time we had an insurgency in the northern part of our country. We sat with the commanders, attacks were coming from across the border everyday, and I knew we had no arms, ammunition, what do we do? I proposed an idea; since you survived two years without salary and 4 years before that, why don’t we use this money to buy things that will help us fight the insurgency, and everybody agreed.

We got the salaries for the soldiers and agreed amongst ourselves which equipments we needed to buy. Some were for the idea of buying helicopters to fight the insurgency but we realized we didn’t have pilots. We decided we could use the helicopters to fly and fight, but we first had to train the soldiers.

I remember for combat, you would raise their salaries from the one for flying helicopters. We would pay them to fight, normal duties and training. I am trying to bring to your attention the point of sacrifice. The point of saying how do I get out of the problem is part of us, it’s our ideology, and it’s how we think. We want to do more, get more, for less. It’s part of our situation. We have very high ambitions, fewer resources, but we must get there, this is how people who give themselves Agaciro operate.

When you are hungry, you don’t complain, you just look for how to get food. You can decide to run away because you don’t belong in places where there is nothing to eat. That is the same as some other places where there is more than enough to eat but people go ahead and eat other people. What Agaciro do you have in such a case? Even if you have, you don’t brag about it. If you get something you have worked hard for, you should be happy, don’t have an attitude of wanting free things. If someone has to give you favours all the time to get what you want, it’s just borrowed it’s not yours. This is who we are and this is who we should be, no apologies about it, that’s why like the political animals some of us are, am happy to say that the RPF I know well and I’m part of believe in this Ideology.

This is the ideology we need to realize ourselves and realize being who we want to be, this is an ideology infact all Africans need. I don’t think there is a better group of people I should be telling this than your group. So that’s why this Agaciro Fund is not just money. We are happy, and the bigger the fund becomes the happier we’ll be. The biggest value is in the concept, and this is what we ask of you so that our country can develop and continue to develop. We ask for your understanding of this concept and philosophy and we ask for your commitment that I feel infact you owe your country.

The Fund also helps us bring in friends, .from near and far. There are many people who have identified with Rwanda’s challenges and pain but who are also happy and associate with Rwanda’s good progress. We thank them and all our friends who are here today. So I’m happy to say that as you are here and those you represent and those following in your footsteps are the invincible army of our nation. The army that would never be defeated by any challenge, it’s up to you to be part of that. It’s your choice to fallout and belong somewhere else, and hope that you will be happy with the consequences of either choice you make. Our choice is a different one – – that of continuing to match forward.

Let me finalise by mentioning that some of the big achievements in this life are as a result of small things that matter. If you ignore the small things then u don’t get to the big thing. Let me challenge to do things that matter, that you will probably notice in people from societies that have developed, and are far ahead of us and far ahead of the rest. You work hard, they work so that they become competitive globally, they mind trying to perfect things to take them that far, they don’t easily get tired and collapse, they go on.

Societies that are still developing need to work hard to perfect things because someone is always behind you sympathizing that you are working too hard. I beg you to drop this attitude, this mentality, cultures change. People really get satisfied with little or nothing, but attitudes go together. I am taking about the acceptance of mediocrity, why do you embrace and accept to seat with mediocrity? Don’t accept it as a person and don’t accept to put up with it with another person you are working with. If we want to be where we want to be there is no way we can avoid it, do not accept mediocrity.

We have been talking about poor services we almost get almost everywhere. You are the people who work in those companies please I beg you to just get rid of it. Nobody needs it, you don’t need it, even if people get a lot of money out of this incompetence. In a country like ours, one can make alot of money by not doing anything. You come, build a house, somehow there is nothing in line with the other and after you come to me and I pay you and stay in this bad house with no good foundation while someone walks away with a lot of money. I’m I saying something you are not familiar with?

The problem is the one who does a bad job and the one who accepts it and pays for it, both don’t help our societies. It works both ways. Rwandans, we need to be very demanding, have work done properly because it is our duty. That is my challenge to all of you in this room. Be the ones to set the example by demanding good services, it’s your right. Always put yourself on the receiving end and imagine how you would want to be served.

This is how we can change, we can elevate ourselves to the level we deserve to be; Customer Care. When you are getting money from that customer you must pay a lot of attention, you must not be thinking that you are doing this customer a favour. Actually the customer is doing you a favour. You must treat this relationship as very important, this is your homework.

Societies that have achieved good customer service have some level of discipline which doesn’t mean you conform to one thing. Discipline is sticking to the good choices you have made and moving as if there is an agreement that is the best to do as a society. Do things differently, think differently but everything by adding all the values I’m talking about.

I know how some of these speeches can make people sleep, but I just want to thank and appreciate that we can be together in this fight to bring our country to where we want it to be that is no less valuable than where other people have taken their countries to higher levels. In your private time ask yourselves questions; especially about these good Samaritans who switch their money on and off to give to us towards our development.

Why should another citizen from another country have an obligation to pay taxes that feed me forever? All of you here are smart but ask yourself I’m I the person that should forever live on the generosity of other country’s citizens? The countries squeeze their citizens, tax problems are everywhere in this world, there is no citizen in any country that doesn’t complain about taxes. Even here when you complain about RRA, I understand you and those tax collectors as well.

Citizens from other countries are complaining that they are being squeezed and part of that is to feed these beautiful Africans. I don’t mind if it’s done in a temporary manner but to be done forever is blasphemy, it’s an offence. This should motivate you and drive our country out of this. I would rather we were in a place where our citizens are held responsible for this and should contribute to the well being of others. Some of them are starting to get problems, they may need our help, and don’t you think some of you should politely help by employing some of them in your companies? I think they can help you to make your companies work better by bringing in another culture you are not used to. They are out there looking for jobs, so take advantage of that so that you improve each other. There is some expertise, the manner in which they do things.You have some resources to make them earn a salary. Goodluck