I would like to thank Rwandans present here and the many others who are not here because this year has shown us that there is the will and commitment to work and build our future. The past is gone. There are many things that did not go well in the past. There isn’t much we can do about that except learn the lessons. But we can do something about the future and the time for that is now.


30 December 2010

Fellow Rwandans;
Friends of Rwanda;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps:

Good Afternoon. I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation to this occasion, and although the day has not arrived yet when we should be wishing each other a happy new year– there are a few hours left – it would not be wrong for me to wish you the best of the Christmas period and a happy new year.

We can all look back with gratitude as we end 2010. A lot happened during the year – a lot was accomplished. Overall, it was overwhelmingly positive.

As usually happens, every year presents opportunities and challenges that must be solved. I would say that 2010 gave us many good opportunities and means to answer the challenges facing our country. There were things that we resolved and others that resolved themselves. Those that resolved themselves can be said to be like dirty water which filters itself, so that impurities are left behind while the clean water flows. Sometimes it is not bad when that sort of filtration happens.

It is good that our policies and activities based on these policies continue to be appropriate for building our country. We want to build our country. This is no small matter. It is our actions and our commitment to do what to needs to be done that will build our country.

I would like to thank Rwandans present here and the many others who are not here because this year has shown us that there is the will and commitment to work and build our future. The past is gone. There are many things that did not go well in the past. There isn’t much we can do about that except learn the lessons. But we can do something about the future and the time for that is now.

How our future will be depends on visible, concrete actions, like what has been done this year, which was to answer current challenges as well as lay the groundwork for those that we will meet in future.

I thank Rwandans from all walks of life, from different religious organizations, from the diaspora, for the positive attitude and change of mindset that have become increasingly evident among Rwandans, and that are leading us towards a better future, different from the past we have experienced.

I wish also to thank friends of Rwanda. Rwanda has friends and partners with whom we work – individuals, countries and different organizations. Our friends have been and continue to be close to us.

The year we are about to start is a foundation on which to continue building on what we have achieved and striving for our goals. This requires the collective effort and commitment of all of us – including those in the private sector, as well as national and foreign investors, who continue to invest in Rwanda in a way that benefits both them and our country.

I thank Rwandans for their cooperation and understanding because this year has been important in changing attitudes. There are many who had gone astray or for whom it had taken a long while, but have now come around and are willing to work for their country on the basis of this new understanding.

We have some from the diaspora among us, and there are others I have met outside Rwanda who are not here. In the past, among those in the diaspora, there were many who wanted to work for the progress of their country. But there were many others who had refused or were unwilling to work with the rest of Rwandans. To change attitude and mindset and follow the path of truth is an act of bravery and courage.

I therefore thank those Rwandans who in the past could not participate in our progress but who have now changed. As the saying goes, better late than never. We welcome them as Rwandans who are prepared and willing to work with other Rwandans to put our country first and build a nation that is a model of development. We would like the number of Rwandans whose attitudes have changed to increase.

There is one thing on which I would like to be clearly understood. When we call on Rwandans to come together and to build our country, we do not for a moment overlook the fact that individual Rwandans may have differences but however different we may be in our ideas or other aspects, there are issues about which we should not differ. We cannot differ on the value, wellbeing, integrity and the development of our country.

When we say that Rwandans should work together for development, good governance, democracy or human rights – there is no contradiction with working for the common interest. Democracy and the unity of Rwandans in building our country do not contradict each other in any way.

I wish to tell our friends that they should understand us. I know that they do because some of the things we are doing are the same things that have got them to the level of development they have, to the point that we run after them begging for some of what they have achieved.

When we talk about the unity of Rwandans, there no is contradiction with democracy or human rights. We do not want democracy that destroys. I know they also do not want that kind of democracy in their countries – they only wish it for others.

I also want to say that whatever we say or do, we do it for the good of our country, not because someone reminds us, tells us or teaches us. We do it for our own good.

Who would think that we do not want peace? Who would think that we do not want democracy? Who would think that we do not want freedom for everyone? Who and why? No one needs to demand it from us because we do it for ourselves, and we should demand it from ourselves.

There is something else I know about our politics, the politics of the RPF. It is the politics of promoting our dignity, giving ourselves what is good, what the people desire and deserve. It is politics that is not based on external demands about the things we owe ourselves. It is politics of not having anyone stand over you and breathe down on you, demanding this or that. This is the politics of self-respect and dignity. We respect ourselves.

For anyone who chooses to support those who have no respect for themselves or those who undermine other people’s dignity – that is their problem.

The majority of Rwandans who want their dignity have a right to it.  We should continue on that path. The benefits are ours. If we support the negative outcome of bad politics the repercussions will be on us, not on the teachers who teach us wrong lessons.

I trust that this year clarified many issues, including those that some thought were overwhelming challenges. Sometimes, people who are not used to the politics of national dignity panic because they think things are out of control. But sometimes when things appear to be out of hand that is when they get solved. It depends on how you fight the battle.

Alarms were sounded everywhere that journalists had been killed or “famous” politicians had stumbled. But the instigators forget that Rwanda is not made up of two or three individuals, but close to 11 million Rwandans. They are people who have and value their dignity. If you want to know Rwanda, look at the 11 million people, where they have come from and where they are today, not just the three foul-mouthed people.

Let us therefore turn what we believe into reality. It shouldn’t remain wishful thinking or empty plans that will come undone tomorrow.

We can live with some of our problems – just as you see me swatting away the mosquitoes that flying around me, but cannot stop me from finishing my speech. We can brush away these minor disturbances.

I thank you for what we have achieved together and what we will surely accomplish in the New Year and in the future.

I wish you happiness, peace and prosperity as we continue to develop.

God Bless you.