President Paul Kagame has encouraged citizens of Nyamagabe District and surrounding areas to use the little available resources to solve their own problems, rather than wait for external support.
The President was addressing thousands of citizens on Tuesday in Nyamagabe District.
The rally was part of the President’s Citizen Outreach programme that he started in the region on Monday with a meeting with opinion leaders from Southern Province in Huye District.
“The key is hard work and doing it together. We cannot reach our goals without working for them. We cannot stop at wishful thinking. Work is the only thing that will get us there,” he said.
He added: “The poverty that affects so many of us cannot be resolved unless we work and use the little resources we have well. The most important resource we have is each other and working together. That is where it starts.”
While there are things that require a lot of resources, Kagame told the citizens that using the available resources could fast-track the pace at which the country is moving to achieve transformation.
“I always ask people whether it requires external support to clean your homestead. Does it require aid to prepare clean water for drinking?” he wondered.
Kagame also reflected on the meeting he held on Monday evening with over 600 opinion leaders from Southern Province.
“The discussion I had with leaders yesterday showed that we have made progress but there is still a very long way to go to address the challenges we face,” he said.
However, he assured the residents that there was optimism to achieve more with them based on the trust placed in his leadership during the presidential elections held in 2017.
He had last visited Nyamagabe during the campaigns in the same year.
“You gave us your trust during elections. Building on this trust means working towards transformation, security. They are the foundation of what we need to do for ourselves to move forward,” he noted.
The Head of State, however, took issue with leaders of the district for always trailing other districts in the implementation of the annual performance contracts, locally known as Imihigo.
Last year, Nyamagabe was the last of the 30 districts.
“What this means is that there is need to raise our ability to find real solutions to the problems we are confronted with,” he said.
He underscored the role that leaders must play in educating, raising awareness and steering the citizens they lead in the right direction.
“Leaders have to understand the vision of the country and implement it. This is demonstrated in how well leaders deliver services to citizens,” he said, emphasising that all that needs to change should start with the right mindset.
“There are many things that should change for the better. For some, you should hold your leaders accountable, and you should also hold me accountable,” he noted.
During his past visit to the district, the President pledged to build a road network (Huye-Kitabi).
This road, Bonavanture Uwamahoro, the Mayor of Nyamagabe District said, is already under construction.
Once complete, it will enable tea and coffee farmers in the area to easily transport their produce to markets, he said.
There are also about five road construction projects going on in the district, all of which will ease movement of people and goods, especially agricultural produce, and services.
On raising the quality of education, Kagame said there is a collective role that parents, teachers and the Government should play, highlighting that the Government continues to play its role, particularly through investing in teacher training.
He pointed to the recent decision by the Government to raise salaries for teachers, all of which he emphasised is meant to strengthen the education sector.
A look at Nyamagabe
For the past few years, Nyamagabe has developed in many aspects, including in agriculture, education, water and power coverage and healthcare, among others.
Currently the district has 85 per cent water extension, 76 per cent have access to primary healthcare, and power has been extended to about 14 of the 17 sectors that make up the district.
The district also has two tea processing factories (Kitabi and Mushubi) that produce on large scale, both of which employ a combined 7,000 employees.
Bernard Mutije, 33, is an example of what has been achieved in the district.
The young entrepreneur owns two coffee processing plants in Nyamagabe and a separate processing unit in another district.
“We don't just process coffee, we also export it. In the next few days, I'll be in China as part of the Government's partnership to promote coffee exports and other products. That is a result of equal opportunities that the leadership of country has offered us,” he said.