Accelerating economic development now ranks number one on the list of government programs. Discussions about how to do it are what occupied top government officials for the biggest part of the four days they withdrew to Akagera Game Lodge for the 5th annual retreat. Just under fourteen years ago this country was gripped, over a period of 100 days, by the ugliest part of its history – Genocide, in which over a million Rwandans perished.
The current leadership which is credited for stopping the Genocide, has also been at the heart of efforts to ensure it does not happen again. It has also been busy dealing with other after-effects such as bridging divisions, bringing to justice those who were behind the Genocide and making sure survivors live a normal life.
That was not all, because ever since the genocidaires failed to achieve in perfection their objective of exterminating a people, they have been lurking in the jungles of eastern Congo and in foreign capitals. Over time though, the reality of their threat has been more on the wane than on the rise, thanks to the heroism of the men they have of late sought to fight with illegitimate indictments.
Government programs put in place to foster reconciliation have been bearing fruit. And there exists peace and security in every corner of the country in a manner that leaves you wondering what magic has been applied to turn the situation around, compared to what it was less than 10 years ago.
Basics in education, health, banking, communication, transport, agriculture, labour, political governance, etc, are well in place. Yet you hear citizens asking that ‘so what’, and they are right. They want to get out of living on basic facilities and they want that to happen quickly.
The government knew this was always going to come, the way night follows day. That in spite of the prevailing total peace and security – or is it because of the same – Rwandans were with time going to demand more.
The jobless need to be employed and those in employment want better jobs. Fresh graduates do not want to wait for long before they drive their first cars and young business entrepreneurs want to double their profits.
Generally people want more money in their pockets and government understands only too well its role here. It knows the policies have to be right and the infrastructure in place if the economic development goals are to be achieved sustainably. If that was the whole essence of the latest government retreat; reviewing, refining, reforming and initiation of policies to drive the nation faster towards the common goal of enabling the common Rwandan to have more Francs in their pockets, we can only applaud the action.