President Paul Kagame yesterday called upon all Rwandans to keep leveraging the country’s good governance and work towards self-reliance.
The Head of State delivered the message yesterday in Vunga, a geographical corridor that connects the Western, Northern, and Southern provinces, where he joined thousands of residents in celebrating the 23rd Liberation anniversary.
He was accompanied by the First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
The President pointed out that Rwanda’s Liberation journey comprised two steps. The first was to get rid of bad leaders and the next was to eliminate the consequences of bad leadership.
While the first step was successfully completed, the next step is still ongoing, he said.
“Fighting bad leaders and bad leadership was accomplished. But the liberation process also requires getting rid of the results of bad leadership - hunger, poverty, and diseases,” he said.
Kagame specifically urged the youth, who constitute the majority of the population, to acquire the right kind of education and work ethic that will equip them with the necessary skills to ensure the country has good leaders for many years to come.
“We have seen what is possible and we have been increasing efforts to help us liberate ourselves from the remaining challenges in the next phase of the liberation struggle,” he said, highlighting poverty and hunger among the challenges that need to be eliminated completely.
He added: “Our liberation story – across the country – shows that things have changed and citizens live better lives. They have access to education and healthcare. They can also work and feed themselves and sell the excess to markets.
“That trend is growing every day and while we are not where we want to be, we believe we will get there.”
President Kagame called on Rwandans to keep working together to maintain security and stability across the country, which is crucial for continued development and prosperity.
Rwandans across the country and in the Diaspora yesterday celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the Liberation Day, remembering the time when the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was stopped by the Rwanda Patriotic Army [Now Rwanda Defence Forces] and citizens embarked on a long journey to positively transform their country.
In the lead up to the commemoration of yesterday’s Liberation Day, the Ministry of Defence organised an Army Week during which a number of social protection activities were carried out by the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) throughout the country for the benefits of residents, especially the vulnerable.
During the Army week 2017 that started on May 4, 2017, and organised in partnership with other government institutions, a number of activities were carried out to the benefit of thousands of people.
The activities included; provision of various free medical services, building feeder roads and bridges, preparing land for farming and fighting the notorious Army worms that destroyed crops in the country.
The RDF also helped build homes for vulnerable citizens and classrooms as well as toilets for students in different communities across the country among other activities.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the activities have enabled the government to save Rwf71.6 billion in addition to improving the wellbeing of the Rwandans who benefited.
During yesterday’s celebrations, President Kagame and the First Lady were joined by senior government officials as they inaugurated several infrastructure projects built for the residents of Shyira.
The projects include housing units built in two model villages for 108 families in Gakenke and Nyabihu districts that are worth about Rwf2.7 billion.
The President and First Lady also officiated at the opening of Shyira District Hospital built in Nyabihu District at the tune of Rwf5.9 billion.
The Hospital that was a pledge from the Head of State. The Hospital will serve more than 200,000 area residents.
‘No moving backwards’
The Mayor of Nyabihu District, Theoneste Uwanzwenuwe, thanked the President for his visionary and transformational leadership. He pointed out that residents of Nyabihu are forever grateful for the restoration of security.
“We will not move backwards from where we are today. The people here are eager to keep working hard to fight against poverty and build on the progress registered so far,” the mayor said.
Dancille Mukeshimana, a 65-year-old resident of Gakenke District who received newly-build modern home from the government, expressed her gratitude for the life-changing support.
“In the past people would build their homes in valleys and rains would destroy them without any leader coming to our rescue or help solve the problem. I would like to thank the president for providing shelter to people in Gakenke who faced catastrophic floods that destroyed our homes in high risk zones,” Mukeshimana said.
The President, however, cautioned the residents against complacency saying that whatever help they receive is not mere hand-outs but start-up support that should be utilised wisely to further improve their lives and make them self-sustaining.