SOUTHERN PROVINCE - President Paul Kagame ended his two-day tour of the Southern province with a message of hard work to the local population, together with their leaders if the country is to continue the path of development it has undertaken.
The President’s Southern tour was characterised by a series of site visits to development projects mainly in the sector of agriculture.
He held meetings with opinion leaders and also took time to listen to issues of the local masses through an open question and answer session in places where he addressed crowds.
Like his routine message has been, the President called upon local leaders to get close to the population and effectively solve day-to-day issues that affect their lives.
On his last day of tour, he cautioned residents of Nyanza District against criss-crossing Rwanda-Burundi borders as the practice poses a danger to the country’s security and undermines development.
He told a mammoth crowd at Ntyazo Sector headquarters that over the years, the practice has not only posed a security threat but had also confined the residents of the area into poverty, urging them to choose between the two countries and settle down to concentrate on development.
Kagame told the residents that both Rwanda and Burundi are ready to welcome people who want to settle down, but will not tolerate those who don’t seem to have a permanent place to belong.
He called upon district and provincial officials to end the common practice among border residents which has escalated land wrangles in the area and poses a great threat to security.
President Kagame, who had earlier visited two agriculture development projects aimed at increasing output, told residents of the districts that when everyone is actively involved in an economic activity, it does not only improve their lives but also contributes to the country’s economic development.
Before addressing the residents, President Kagame visited Nyarubogo marshland in Kibirizi and Muyira Sector where a dam for irrigation is being constructed to support rice farming in the area.
The Rwf600 million project when complete, will benefit 1,529 families growing rice on 260 hectares of land. The 9 metre high dam whose construction started in 2009 will supply 500,000 Cubic metres of water in the almost semi-arid region.
The President also visited Agasasa Marshland rice growing scheme run that started in 2008. Prior to engaging in crop intensification and land consolidation programme, the project used to harvest 51 tonnes of rice per season.
Today with irrigation in place, the project produces 459 tonnes per season and its members have improved their household incomes. 200 members have so far received exotic cows from the profits of the project.
President Kagame pointed out that projects such as the irrigation schemes are there to help people double their output and incomes. He challenged them to produce twice as much as they are producing from the same land by taking advantage of such projects.
President Kagame spent much time listening and attending to people’s problems, one-by-one.
Most of the problems were related to land and Kagame told the residents that such problems would be avoided if they settled down and stopped cross-border migrations.
He promised residents that the government will extend electricity to the area to support development projects.
President Kagame urged residents to always engage local leaders to address most of these concerns as they could all be solved at the local level.