NYARUGURU - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, urged residents of Nyaruguru District in the Southern Province to work hard to redeem the district from its reputation as the most impoverished and food insecure district, and become the most developed district in the country.
Addressing thousands who turned up at Ndago grounds in Kibeho Sector, President Kagame who had returned to the district to thank the residents for overwhelmingly voting him back into office, said that the next 7 years should mark a period where the district will be known, not for the wrong reasons, but for success and development.
Kagame had earlier launched a tree-planting project in Coko Village, Cyahinda Sector, where he handed over 48 exotic cows and iron sheets as part of the programme to kick-start development initiatives in the district.
He told the residents that as someone they had chosen to lead the country, he had returned to share ideas with them on how to move forward, as he had promised.
The President said that poverty and food shortage that have historically afflicted the district should be eradicated and that both the government and the people are determined to see this effort succeed.
He urged the residents to embrace government programmes such as well-planned villages, so that they can easily access services and infrastructure such as roads and electricity, as well as land consolidation programmes for high productivity.
The Head of State added that it would not be easy for the government to provide such services if people were scattered, adding that what has been achieved in the past should serve as an example for the people with regard to the benefits of living in planned villages.
The President cited housing as one of the priority areas as the government intends to phase out grass-thatched houses. He launched a programme to distribute the first batch of over 11,000 iron sheets in the drive to do away with grass thatched houses, commonly known as Nyakatsi.
The first phase will see 3,000 iron sheets delivered to the most vulnerable households, and President Kagame told the residents that “it is just a start” and many more people will benefit from the programme, as government works to transform the district.
The President noted that there are still challenges to overcome to transform the district, and Rwanda in general, into the most food secure country, with surplus for export.
Commenting on the Friesian cows that had just been distributed, Kagame said that the cows are part of the ongoing programme to ensure that all families have a cow to provide milk, both for nutrition purposes and to generate household incomes.
He promised the residents that they will all get cows as more will continue to be distributed. Kagame reminded those who had received cows to pass the offsprings on to their neighbours, reminding them that selfish people don’t develop.
The President advised the residents not to criss-cross the borders, calling on them to instead settle and work hard to the level where the neighbours will instead be crossing over to buy their produce.
The Head of State pointed out that the movements do not only destabilise peace and security, but the development process as well. He commended the residents for working hard to bring back peace in the district.
The Governor of the Southern Province Fidele Ndayisaba affirmed the commitment of the government to transform the district from one of the remotest to the most accessible and developed.
He highlighted, among others, a plan to upgrade tea and coffee production and to reclaim the poor soils in the region to ensure higher yields.