People of Nyamasheke, I greet you.

I am happy for this moment, and I also thank you for sparing time with us to meet and discuss how we can develop our country in general and take it to the level we desire.

I greet you all, as well as the different leaders amidst us, those in local government, the private sector, religious leaders, other development partners, representatives of international organization, and others who work with us in developing our country.

I thank you people of Nyamasheke for all you have achieved.

I appreciate all you have done, be it in how you embrace challenges, how you cooperate and work together with authorities, as mentioned earlier on security. Security forces were commended on how they fought and protected all residents but all this is not achievable without your cooperation, your contribution to the cause can not go unnoticed. Keep the spirit.

Always approach the authorities and share your queries when necessary as you did. You fought for the community and shared information around your area for a safer community despite the number of those who attacked, even though some lives were lost fighting the enemy. I commend your efforts to keep the area safe.

Cooperation is a necessity even in development. Development requires a culture of doing good things and coming together in various activities, it’s what we wish for all Rwandans. But today I am talking to residents of Nyamasheke.

Our country is structured in a way that every area is unique, but they have a lot in common countrywide. In Nyamasheke, you are near Lake Kivu, Nyungwe forest, and many other features we can use to achieve a lot. Tourism was mentioned, tea planting, especially in areas bordering Nyungwe forest, and more opportunities seem present.

We have to improvise means or ways to conserve our resources better. Investing in them means we can gain a lot from them. The government cannot achieve much alone, nor can the people. To achieve the set goals we need to cooperate.

For people living in high-risk zones, especially those who have at times been affected badly to the extent of losing their lives, the government has usually intervened, by relocating those people from the high-risk zones to better settlements. That has happened in other areas. There is no reason it cannot happen here in Nyamasheke.

It is to our benefit, saving people and secondly resettling them in better places, and offer them places to carry out their activities like tea planting which was mentioned in areas where people are not supposed to be settled. All that is achievable due to cooperation. We will invest more effort into how they can be achieved.

Even the issue of roads that has been mentioned, the roads are delayed by a shortage in resources. The roads are among what we wish to find means to have them built. All the roads that have been mentioned by the mayor, even those that should be used by tea growers and tea factory, will be made to make access possible. As things improve we all gain. And we are going to increase our efforts.

Other issues have been mentioned, I heard electricity is not sufficient, does not get to all residents.  But electricity access is dependent on where people are settled. You cannot install electricity in areas where people are scattered, where settlements are temporary.  So cooperation is needed for better electricity distribution.

Other issues regard health centers, where it was mentioned that accessing health services, that health centers that operate a whole week are only 25%. Twenty-five percent! This is low. There are also health centers that have no electricity or even water.

I especially say this so that we show that although we have made some achievements, there are still more challenges that could affect people and reduce the pace of our development.

On the issue of roads, we will follow it up with RTDA where they mentioned that it did not have enough funds to carry out its responsibilities. Is there anyone from RTDA? It’s a government agency, and the government will have to follow it up. So RTDA, REG in charge of electricity and all, the issues to do with infrastructure, construction activities, roads, and all, we shall find possible solutions to all.

Regarding tea growing, we wish to continue to develop it and all opportunities that will provide jobs to Rwandans. We shall do everything possible.

Of all that, as I mentioned earlier nothing can be achieved if we don’t collaborate with the concerned institutions. Leaders also should work closely with their people, so that when they will know the issues they are facing, work with them in finding solutions.

Among the issues I talked about, some need special funding which sometimes is hard to find, and that is where we put all our efforts until we get rid of the problems. But until now I can’t understand why we don’t even solve those we have funds for.

When we have funds, the only responsibility of leaders is to solve the issues as quickly as possible. Making people wait for a month, a year, and years results in losing people’s lives when we could have saved them. We must be alert and commit ourselves to that, and stop that bad behavior of requesting bribes for us to act on some issues.

But, how can you expect to get something from a person while you cannot allow them to work? Whenever you face such a case don’t comply, report it. Don’t get threatened by corrupt people. They are cowards. You can only discover this when they are arrested. Those who cannot receive you until you go back and return many times and finally are urged to think twice before you come to their office, while you even have nothing to give them.

We have to eradicate that vice, no matter the cost. We have to join efforts in fighting those people because they harm many things. They have to be held accountable. They sometimes look powerful and they enjoy seeing you intimidated when you see them but please don’t act that way. Know that when identified they get punished. They only intimidate ordinary people and they can’t do that publicly.

You should not tolerate them, report them so that we take appropriate actions. No bribing at work. Tell whoever asks you for something in exchange for the service they owe you, tell them to request that from us. We will be giving that to them.

People of Nyamasheke, I am happy to meet you after many years. I last visited you during the presidential campaigns, and you voted for us!

The elected person owes many things to those who voted for him, I owe you so many things, including those we were discussing. I have to ensure you are all well, you are making progress, and you are doing what you need to be doing without any interference or diversions that could interfere with public and national interests.

I think you understand the reason I am here today. I came to thank you all but also to request your continued collaboration so that we keep making progress.

Let us get to work. In the following session we will be receiving your questions, and also your ideas, and even solutions. We can’t keep discussing problems. It would be even better to discuss solutions, isn’t it?

Thank you very much, May God bless you.