President Paul Kagame has urged all Rwandans to keep pulling their efforts together to fast-track the country’s development and improving their lives.
The Head of State delivered the message yesterday in Rongi, a remote mountainous area in Southern Province’s Muhanga District that is also historically known as part of Ndiza region.
He addressed residents in Rongi – about 50 kilometres from Muhanga District headquarters – shortly after he inaugurated Horezo and Kanyenyeri model villages which were built by the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF).
As Rwandans across the country and in the Diaspora yesterday celebrated the 24th anniversary of the Liberation Day, the president called for continued cooperation to achieve the country’s development targets.
“The liberation struggle on the battlefield succeeded because those who were fighting worked with citizens. It is this spirit of unity that we want to maintain to transform this country,” he said.
On Liberation Day, Rwandans reflect on the time when the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was stopped and citizens embarked on a long journey to positively transform their country and lives.
Using Ndiza as an example of an area among many in Rwanda that suffered from bad leadership as some leaders who hail from the region are among the masterminds of the genocide, the president urged Rwandans to move away from the country’s bad history but use lessons from it to build a bright future.
“The historical facts that took place in this place that led to the loss of our people are part of our bad history. It is our history and we cannot run away from it but we can learn from it and build a better future,” he said.
Horezo and Kanyenyeri model villages, which the president inaugurated yesterday, are located in Muhanga (Rongi Sector) and Ngororero districts respectively.
They are the ideal examples of the model villages the Government of Rwanda seeks to build across the country under a plan known as Integrated Development Programme (IDP).
The two model villages, which were built and completed this year at the tune of Rwf19.2billion, will benefit 68 families.
They consist of two eight-in-one units, 17 four-in-one units, a multipurpose hall, two health posts, three dumpsites, and six lightening protection systems.
The two model villages also have a total of 21 biogas plants and kitchen gardens, two early childhood development centres, a dining hall, a playground, an administration block, a school, and rain water harvesting drainage channel.
One of the residents who were settled in the new homes in Horezo, Antonia Musabyimana, a mother of four, thanked President Kagame for his government’s help.
“I was living in a very terrible high risk area. Floods would destroy my house during the rainy season and my children would struggle while trying to go to school during the rainy season,” she said.
Then she added as she rejoiced about the new home: “I was in the second category (of Ubudehe social stratification) but I am now going to move in the third category”.
The RDF also built 13.5km of roads within the model villages and one helipad, which is a landing and take-off area for helicopters in this extremely hilly area.
Over the last three years, the government has embarked on building affordable homes for vulnerable citizens in every district’s designated model village, with the completed homes often handed over to citizens in need.
Under the country’s Vision 2020, the government has planned that at least 70 per cent of Rwandans in rural areas will be living in planned settlements by the year 2020, up from the current rate of 55.8 per cent.
Kagame on unity and development
President Kagame pledged that the government will continue to serve citizens well and work together with them to improve their lives in a corruption-free country.
“Access to electricity, water and other services provided by government is your right; you should hold us accountable and demand that we deliver. Do not accept to pay anyone a bribe, delivering and serving you is our duty,” he said.
Rwanda’s achievements since the end of the genocide include attaining stable security for citizens as the rule of law was established and maintained in the country, economic development as poverty levels have been significantly dropping, unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, and exemplary policies in many areas from decentralisation of power to women empowerment.
The country is ranked globally as one of the safest places to live in, one of the best places for women to live, and one of the easiest places to do business on the continent.