Instagram live with the President; my experience

I recently had the pleasure of being selected among different personalities for an Instagram live interaction with President Paul Kagame. A lot of things ran through my mind. What is it I have always wanted to hear the President say, what question would I ask if I had even one minute to interview him? At that instance, everything vanished. I realised the wishes and questions will always be there until the opportunity actually arises. Nervousness set in yet it wasn’t D-day. 

A day before the session there was a virtual meeting with the organiser to brief us on what was expected. Besides what we individually wanted to ask the President, we were advised to think or find out what our viewers, listeners and followers would be interested in having answered. The best way to do that was post about the interaction on our pages and pick questions randomly.  Since it was on Instagram it was bound not to be too heavy; that made sense. A lot of us have gone through the pandemic longing for a fun moment.  

 

Until the easing of the lockdown we were unable to make physical visits to friends and family.  We prayed for a time we could just sit back and enjoy an easy conversation, I silently imagined the President too needed a bit of that, he is only human. Finally there was a chance to ask him personal questions and not necessarily seek his opinion on ‘weapons of mass destruction.’

 

Even the questions that were picked by the host from social media were along those lines: @gwizagrace1 wanted to know what the President’s day is like and I remember the President saying he skips lunch on some days, he prefers to work out in the evening as opposed to doing that in the morning. There are times he has work at the office or makes visits to different locations. He also said unlike in the past, lately he makes time to catch up with family whenever they’re around. @umuhozaB wondered what the President would have done exactly the way he did the first time round if he were to do it all over again. In response, President Kagame said he preferred to learn from the wins and losses of the past and move forward without looking back. 

 

When my turn to speak came I wanted to know what lessons the President had learnt from the pandemic as an individual, and if as a President it had opened his eyes to anything specific that he had not paid much attention to or even thought of before. He said Rwandans have not wasted their time, the struggle has always continued, though the greatest lesson learnt is the need to do as much as possible to have every Rwandan at the centre of being able to address our problems, knowing it starts with us. As a President the pandemic might have not shown him anything specific he missed because he has never stopped thinking and planning ahead. Generally there have been lessons for everyone in this pandemic, we’ve each been reminded of our limitations and that we are equal, 

When all is said and done it was a great conversation and I hope we will see a few more because the questions online were endless.  The President reminded me of something important that particular Friday; one can be inspired by someone, anyone, but ultimately we will be judged for our actions not our predecessors’ or successors’ actions.  Till next time!     

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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