Southern Province, 30 July 2010
In the historical town of Nyanza over seventy thousand RPF supporters came to assure President Kagame of their support on August 9th. Men and women of all ages rushed to shake President Kagame’s hand and many took the opportunity to hug him and personally expressed their gratitude for the change he has brought to their lives. He assured the crowd “if you make the right choice on August 9th, we will build on all our accomplishments and continue to create a Rwanda that is respected by the world.” Among the crowd was one woman who exemplified President Kagame’s vision of a Rwanda where each citizen will believe in themselves and their ability to have a prosperous future.
Unable to stand in the crowd due to childhood polio, Tumusime Sharon appeared in front of the crowd and shared her extraordinary story of confidence, courage and determination to succeed. Tumusime Sharon was a refugee in Uganda until 1997 when she felt that she could finally come back to a place called home. Upon her arrival, Tumusime refused to let her wheelchair reduce her to begging for a living.
With the RPF policy of offering loans to socio-economically vulnerable Rwandans, Tumusime was able to open a small business where she typed documents for the local residents and taught them how to use a computer. In her words, “the RPF did not treat us any differently than other people…they believed in my ability to earn a living regardless of my handicap.” From a small loan from government, Tumusime regained trust in her ability and was able to save over half a million Rwandan Francs which she used to attend one of the best Ugandan university, Makerere University, She is now holding a Bachelors in Management and has been hired as head of human resources in health institution.
Her firm belief in the role of the RPF led her to run for a deputy seat for RPF party. ” We must win this election…when we see the accomplishments of the last seven years we now know that he is the candidate that will work for all Rwandans…impossible is not in his vocabulary.” In his message, President Kagame told the crowd that with RPF leadership, Rwandans will be able to “say goodbye to lack of education, poverty and injustice.” With the contribution and hard work of citizens such as Tumusime, this promise is far from idealistic.