Kagame: Experiences have strengthened us

Kagame assured citizens of their safety and security, saying that past experiences have prepared Rwanda to defend itself.
President Paul Kagame addresses the media yesterday. The President discussed a wide range of issues, including security, regional integration, gender balance, among others. Village Urugwiro.

President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda’s history over the last 25 years in liberation, recovery and development of the country has served to strengthen the nation in several capabilities, including the ability to defend and protect itself.

The President made the remarks while addressing local and international media covering the 25th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Kagame assured citizens of their safety and security, saying that past experiences have prepared Rwanda to defend itself.

“We are also assuring everyone that this Rwanda, with its history of suffering, has grown in all bounds, including the strength, capacity to wage a war in defence of its stability and peace,” he said.

Local and international journalists engaged President Kagame at the news conference in Kigali yesterday. / Village Urugwiro.

He described the claims that some people made that armed groups had taken over parts of Nyungwe in southwestern Rwanda as purposeful misinformation.

“People are celebrating and talking about how they are now overrunning some parts of the country. This is just a passing story, those people don’t know what they are talking about,” the President warns.

He said that Rwanda was not spoiling for conflict or war with anyone and would never be involved in creating conflict outside its borders.

“We are not thinking of creating a war outside our borders. It is a warning to anyone who thinks about war, and on our territory. If somebody has ideas that they want to bring war to Rwanda, they should also be aware of the danger they face if they do that,” Kagame said.

For other countries facing difficult challenges and situations, Kagame said that Rwanda’s experience and history was proof that challenges can be overcome.

“There is no problem that is insurmountable, even if it looks so. Even with major problems Rwanda has had, we can really stand up to those problems and address them,” he said.

The President also commended women for their role in rebuilding the country over the last 25 years.

“Women, as a major part of our society, should never be left behind, why should you leave them behind? From the beginning, we realised that involving everyone and particularly women, as a big part of our society, is important and is going to contribute to the development of the nation,” the Head of State said.

“Including them is not a favour, it’s their right, and we understood that from the beginning. It’s the benefit of having more people involved. There is also what they bring as individuals and they have their own qualities.”

On the East African Community which he currently heads, Kagame said that the spirit of the community was healthy despite challenges that exist.

He noted that, like other organisations, there are challenges which can be addressed through dialogue and cooperation.

Responding to questions on the state of relations between Rwanda and France, the Head of State said that, under France’s current leadership of President Emmanuel Macron, there has been significant progress in regards to improving ties.

Last week, President Macron appointed a team of researchers and historians to look into the archives of France’s actions in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“President Macron term of office, even in a complicated environment of politics, there has been very significant progress, including the way the archives are being treated because they contain the truth that people can interpret,” he said.

“People have asked us if what we need from France is an apology, our answer is no. You can’t ask people to apologise or tell them how to apologise. That kills the meaning of an apology,” he said in regards to Rwanda’s viewpoint on the role of France in the Genocide.

Asked on the state of progress in improving ties between Rwanda and South Africa, he said that it’s work-in-progress that would eventually be fruitful if it involves multiple levels of intervention.

Rwanda on Sunday commenced the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The country was joined by world leaders and friends.