RPF-Inkotanyi presidential candidate, Paul Kagame, yesterday rallied Rwandans in Bugesera District of Eastern Province around the cause of building a more inclusive society.
Urging Bugesera residents to vote for him come August 4, the RPF Chairman said the district epitomises the uniqueness of Rwanda, which he said is unified today despite a terrible history of genocide, divisive politics and persecution of citizens based on perceived ethnicity, political affiliation, birth, religion, among others.
He dismissed critics of RPF policies and his leadership style, saying their approach to governing the country was the cause of the division that defined Rwanda in the past.
“If they can’t listen to us because we want to build the country they destroyed, then it’s up to them. They don’t understand how a country they tried to maintain divided is now a united country with a strong foundation,” he said.
“We want to build a unified Rwanda, a country that leaves no one behind. We don’t ask Rwandans for their religion, family origins, or what part of the country they come from before we deliver development services to them. We want everyone in Bugesera and every Rwandan to benefit from what we are doing to develop the country.”
He urged the residents of Bugesera and all citizens to make the most of the opportunities at their disposal to develop their district and country, and to thrive.
The rally was held in Mayange Sector where thousands of voters gathered to welcome the RPF candidate.
Donatille Mukabalisa, the president of Liberal Party (PL), one of the eight opposition parties that are backing Kagame’s bid, lauded the President’s legacy, particularly in Bugesera where she grew up.
Mukabalisa, who is also the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, praised Kagame and the RPA forces that he commanded to liberate the country and stop the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi for changi9ng Rwanda for the better.
Bugesera saw some of the worst killings in the run-up to and during the Genocide, having also witnessed mass killings during what later came to be known as “pilot phase” of the Genocide before 1994.
Hundreds of thousands were killed across the district.
Mukabalisa said Kagame and his liberation force rescued the people of Bugesera from the jaws of death.
Mukabalisa, a Genocide survivor from Bugesera, said PL and other political parties’ decision to support Kagame demonstrates the resolve of Rwandans to stay the course of the country’s transformation.
She urged PL supporters and Bugesera residents to vote for Kagame in the forthcoming poll.
“Who wouldn’t vote for him? You already elected him the moment Rwandans wrote to Parliament asking us to change the Constitution. What remains now is to cast our vote on August 4,” she said.
Nearly four million Rwandans petitioned Parliament seeking amendment of the Constitution to allow Kagame to stand again at the end of his second term in office. This resulted in the December 2015 referendum that saw over 98 per cent of voters back the amendment.
Bugesera is a region historically known for prolonged drought spells and famine and the RPF-led government has invested in reversing the trend. Some 785 hectares of farmland are currently under irrigation, up from 124 hectares in 2010.
Poor households in the district benefitted from the government’s One-Cow-Per-Family programme (Girinka), with some 11,508 cows given out across the district over the last seven years. Another 1950 cows had been donated to vulnerable citizens in the area by 2010.
The RPF-Inkotanyi says social protection programmes, which include such schemes as Girinka, will continue to feature prominently on its transformation agenda should its candidate return to the top office next month.