Gatsibo, 2 March 2017
President Kagame has asked leaders to work hard and harness the resources available to elevate the country to the level where the people want it to be. Speaking during the closing of the 14th National Leadership Retreat at the Gabiro RDF School of Combat, President Kagame observed that if Rwandans have managed to fight poverty and achieve progress, they would not fail to manage the available resources.
“Our past has shown us that a lack of resources does not stop us from achieving. We have to continue with that mentality. We should be innovative, look at the resources we have and strive to use them to achieve three times more than they are now. How can we fail to fulfill our responsibilities to our citizens, to the transformation of our country? Using public resources to serve citizens without corruption is not an exploit. It is your duty. Fulfilling your duties should not be seen as extraordinary. Would you choose the challenge of managing resources or managing poverty?”
Challenging the leaders to work towards emancipation from dependence, President Kagame pointed out that leaders and the citizens of Rwanda needed to commit to what they are supposed to do:
“By not doing what we are supposed to do, we are accepting the dictates of those who tell us to limit our ambitions. They threaten you with standards like press freedom in exchange for your silence and gratitude for their left-overs. But how can we blame anyone else for our place in the world when we are the ones who accept it? They give you food and development aid while they take away 100 times more in resources that belong to you. When we say we want to produce goods and trade, they tell you your place is to receive development funding. We should not accept to be relegated to a people who do not deserve to pursue high ambitions and a better life.”
President Kagame said that Rwandans were not aiming for things that do not exist elsewhere, emphasizing that Rwandans deserve to lead a dignified life.
“Do you believe we should not have malnourished children, that high life expectancy should be the right of every citizen? Do we all believe and share the same ambition? We also have to be truthful that when you spend 14 years repeating the same mistakes, we need to do things differently.”
During the 5 days at the retreat, leaders shared ideas, carried out self evaluation exercises and identified the steps needed to move forward.