• Kagame demands more input from leaders
RUBAVU - President Paul Kagame has urged the country’s leadership to work with extra determination and commitment if they are to meet the country’s aspirations and development targets.
Kagame made the call to the country’s leaders while delivering a keynote address at the opening of the 6th National Leadership Retreat taking place at Kivu Serena Hotel in Rubavu.
The week-long retreat which started yesterday is being held under the theme: ‘Beyond Aid: Mindset for Delivery and Development.’
The President emphasised the urgent need to rise above the culture of mediocrity by breaking from the status quo to end Rwanda’s dependency on foreign aid, a culture which has kept the African continent at the back end.
While acknowledging the work that has been undertaken since last year’s retreat, President Kagame pointed out that the leadership cannot afford to be slow and become complacent in their actions.
He noted that complacent leadership in the past has had negative consequences on the lives of many Rwandans yet it was the responsibility and mandate of leaders to address these issues.
Addressing the retreat commonly referred to as ‘Umwiherero’ which has brought together over 200 top government officials – Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Rwanda’s Ambassadors abroad, and heads of government institutions – Kagame said that potential had been wasted in the failure to use the available means and resources to achieve some of the country’s targets.
He insisted on better performance based on the gap between Rwanda’s development aspirations and where the country is currently, adding that Rwanda’s situation cannot be seen in isolation from the plight of the continent.
He pointed out that Africans today need, more than ever, to “work harder and smarter” in order to earn the dignity they were denied instead of remaining dependant on the goodwill of foreigners, something he considered ‘demeaning’ to live by the favour of others.
He also emphasized the need for collective and individual responsibilities of leaders in improving lives, noting that in Africa problems arise out of leaders’ neglect of ordinary citizens and pointed out that in Rwanda, none of the country’s achievements and failures happened without the input of those gathered at the retreat.
Giving examples of recent high-level corruption cases involving government officials under arrest, President Kagame told participants that these were clear instances of leaders operating in contradiction of the national vision and collective agreements.
He called on participants to adopt the culture of accountability and transparency and also have the courage to expose known cases of corruption instead of propagating a culture of silence around misuse of public resources.
At the retreat, the President of the Private Sector Federation also made a presentation on the situation of customer service as a barrier to delivery in Rwanda, which is perceived as poor by both Rwandans and tourists alike.
This is the first time the 5-day retreat organised by the President’s Office in conjunction with the Office of the Prime Minister has been held in the Western Province.
The previous five retreats were held in Akagera, Eastern Province which is currently under renovation.