I stand today honored and more proud than ever to serve a people that have shown extraordinary determination, courage and hard work. As we near the end of the campaign, I want to share with you moments of the astonishing ride that I have been on for the past few weeks. The number of supporters at each rally continues to give me the confidence that nothing will stand in the way of our development.
Where I had expected no more than sixty thousand, more than a hundred thousand turned up to show the RPF and myself that doubt has been replaced with trust and pride in our leadership.
For those who wonder why I have chosen to run again-you must not know that challenges have never stopped me. Throughout my lifetime, my unfailing commitment to the people of Rwanda and my desire to transform our country into the best it can be have been more powerful than the fear of any obstacle. I will continue to work as hard as I can till the day we can speak of a Rwanda that has achieved the kind of prosperity that leaves no one behind and everyone proud of who they are.
Many may call this overly ambitious or even idealistic but if there is one lesson that I have learnt in my time, as President-it is that with determination, organization and good leadership the impossible easily becomes possible. All we have to do is look back sixteen years- a time when we had no infrastructure, no justice system, no schools and no healthcare. Remember how we tackled and found a solution for these issues one at a time?
Today Rwanda is ranked among top countries in multiple global surveys from good institutions, to business to economic growth. While many other nations suffered an economic downturn, Rwanda’s economy grew at a rate of 11.2% in 2008 and is projected to grow at 7% in 2010.
Most importantly, the progress is not just in numbers- you can see it on the ground with universal primary education, health insurance for the most vulnerable, the incredible expansion of tourism and the agriculture sector and all of this in a free, safe and stable environment. If we started from scratch in 1994, what is to stop us from building on these accomplishments to reach even greater heights?
As I walk to greet the crowds at these rallies, my resolve is strengthened by the hundreds of hugs, hand shakes and back taps at a time-including the ones that threaten to knock me off my feet. Many have claimed me as their inspiration, but as I sit and listen to the determination of our people-the inspiration is all mine.
There is the handicapped woman who refused to believe she was worthless to society and went from total despair to a university degree. There are the stories of those who had long been forgotten in the rural areas and when given a single cow transformed it into a source of sustainable income for their family and their neighbors.
Then there are the refugees who were afraid to return but found instead a welcoming home and a helping hand on which they rebuilt their lives. Through consulting and involving Rwandans at all level, the RPF has created a leadership that is one and the same with all Rwandans at all level. With these testimonies, it is undeniable that the people of Rwanda have proven their ability to shape and own their road to prosperity.
The hundred of thousands that continue to attend the rallies give me the confidence that the RPF victory is indeed a few days away. If elected, my hope is that all of us Rwandans will continue to answer the call to work together with confidence and mutual trust in our ability to accomplish even more. Our history as Rwandans and as Africans means that we have no more time to waste.
Today, we are at an exciting time in our history, a time where we have the capability and the will to create a prosperous, safe, stable and united Rwanda. A Rwanda where people will look back and feel proud of the challenges they have surmounted and the progress they have achieved.
To all Rwandans in the Diaspora and Friends of Rwanda, Rwanda will always welcome you home. We hope that you will contribute to its continuous progress in a manner that benefits all Rwandans and promotes our dignity. Nowadays, borders are obsolete and you can all be part of the change.
To my family, thank you for being by my side and making me feel at home wherever we are. Thank you for being my unending source of strength and for always taking away all of the strain and stress. I am grateful that you are all able to be with me during this time.
To the people of Rwanda: muhorane ishema, ubutwari n’umugisha w’Imana!
President of the Republic of Rwanda