KENYA - President Kagame, yesterday, participated in an Eminent Persons discussion at the Pan-Africa Media Conference in Nairobi organised by the Nation Media Group to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Other panellists in the session moderated by John Sibi-Okumu were Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya, former President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa and Nobel Prize Laureate, Wangari Maathai.
On Pan Africanism, the President said that regional integration should be seen as part of the African-wide struggle to bring Africans together, to give the continent the relevance it deserves, and its people a stronger voice in the world.
However, he pointed out that that Pan Africanism will only work in so far as we can make it work, if we remain divided and unaccountable to each other, then the continent will remain weak.
President Kagame spoke of Rwanda’s efforts to unite her people and of the country’s commitment to successful integration of the East African Community. However he questioned why Africa was still looking back at pan-African heroes of 40 years ago rather than looking to the future.
Having a vision was important, President Kagame told the conference, adding that “if we don’t get on with what we should be doing, we will be left with just a vision forever”.
In a rallying call to the two thousand delegates, Kagame said there was no excuse for perpetuating the past divisions imposed on Africa.
“We need to work together to stop succumbing to negative outside influences, to hold ourselves to higher standards, to have ownership of our future, to hold on to our values and to be ourselves,” he said.
Asked why media was more responsible in Rwanda than in the rest of East Africa, President Kagame suggested it was because “we made so much noise in the past, we had to calm down. We have learned the lessons of our past and are now focused on serious business”.
He pointed out that Rwanda’s media, civil society and leaders were now “building institutions that will endure” and that are not centred on individuals, a system had caused many of Rwanda’s problems in the past.