President Paul Kagame has called on residents of Nyabihu District in Western Province to play their role in preventing security threats.
The President was speaking to the residents during one of his citizen outreach tours to engage Rwandans on various issues pertaining to their wellbeing and that of the country.
The gathering held at Rambura Secondary School brought together thousands of residents for a two-hour interactive discussion with the President.
While thanking Nyabihu residents for their hard work toward achieving development, President Kagame warned against complaceny in the face of progress.
“There is a lot that has been achieved. But we can’t afford to slow down. We must examine the progress we have made and continually strive to increase the pace of our development. When we know what the solution is to better livelihood is, we have no reason to delay its implementation , the President said.
One of the issues raised was the expropriation procedures where some residents were yet to be compensated for having to move when paving way for the construction of Ngororero-Nyabihu road and other electricity generation projects.
The President told those concerned with the expropriation to speed up the compensation of the residents.
He also urged the local and central government leaders to fast-track the completion of a milk plant whose construction started in 2011, as well as ensure that pyrethrum farmers are fittingly paid for their work.
“We can’t sit by when there are unresolved problems. As leaders, our role is not simply to point to challenges. We are not the kind of people who sit back when faced with challenges; we are the kind of people who solve challenges,” he said as he urged leaders to fulfill their responsibilities.
President Kagame highlighted recent security threats as a challenge Rwanda must be ready to address.
“We cannot allow anyone to compromise our security and our development. It starts with each of you playing your role. Those who were unable to run the country and chose to run away are the same ones attempting to compromise our development. What do they gain from harming innocent Rwandan men, women and children?” he asked.
“Anyone who threatens the security of our nation will be held accountable,” Kagame added.
Launching energy project
During his tour, Kagame also unveiled a 4MW energy project. The Giciye Hydropower plant is a $14-million project initiated by Rwanda Mountain Tea Ltd created to power the tea factory as well as extend electricity to local residents.
Against the backdrop of energy shortage in the country where about 110 MW have to be distributed across Rwanda, the power plant in Giciye is currently producing 3.6MW, whose distribution will start next week.
“We hope that soon we will exceed 16 per cent electricity penetration in the district, thanks to development stakeholders at Rwanda Mountain Tea Ltd,” said Abdullatif Twahirwa, the Nyabihu mayor.
Kagame encouraged Nyabihu residents to keep increasing their agricultural production and other sources of income by working collectively.
According to the 2012 Census on Population and Housing, nearly 300,000 people live in Nyabihu and the area has some of the lowest poverty levels, with 71.4 per cent of the population identified as “non-poor.”
The cheering crowds thanked the President for reaching out to help them improve their living standards and giving the country dignity.
“Rwanda was below zero. Rwanda was dead but you resuscitated her,” one of the residents, Celestin Sebageni, told the President in a poem he dedicated to him.
Chantal Bambarisha used the opportunity to interact with the President. She highlighted her achievements and thanked him for empowering women, explaining that the fact she could talk to him was in itself an achievement.
The President later had an interactive session with the area opinion leaders.