MUHANGA - President Paul Kagame has advised Rwandans to have self esteem if they are to expect any respect from other people.
He said this yesterday at the country’s 14th Liberation Day anniversary celebration which was merged with Independence Day, at Muhanga, Southern Province.
Rwanda celebrates its independence from Belgium on July 1 while the liberation that put an end to the 1994 Tutsi Genocide and left over a million Rwandans dead, falls on July 4.
“You will first have to maintain the value you put in yourself. It is the only way for development, knowing that no one will choose what is better for us,” Kagame told thousands who had gathered for the event.
He said that many years were lost in the 32-year transition between independence and liberation of the country as the pioneers of independence did less to give value to all Rwandans.
“We did not utilise the independence we got because its pioneers chose not to let Rwandans choose what was best for them, and those we got independence from kept their influence on us,” he said.
“After liberation, we went back to where we were prior to independence, so we have to work hard to cover this deficit,” the President said. He added that Rwandans have received many ‘favours’, saying that it was time to return those favours.
“We have depended on aid for so long. The kind of Rwandans we want are those who will feed the world and not those who wait to be fed,” he stated, attracting a round of applause from the public.
Kagame said that the country will only listen to ideas that are constructive and compatible with what Rwandans need, but will never let outsiders choose what is better for the country.
He said that on a day like this, people should always look back to where they are coming from and plan for the future depending on the lessons learnt.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme: ‘Liberation by changing the mindset towards a prosperous future.”
The event was marked by a colourful ceremony from members of the Rwanda Defence Forces who demonstrated several – and sometimes humorous – warfare skills.