KIGALI - President Paul Kagame on Friday evening officially dedicated the two awards, he recently received from the United States in recognition for his good leadership, to all Rwandans.
For forging a strong, unified and growing nation, Kagame was in September awarded by former US President Bill Clinton the ‘2009 Clinton Global Citizen’ award.
At the same time, Kagame was awarded the ‘International Medal of Peace’ given by Pastor Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church.
On Friday, while dedicating the awards to the Rwandan people, the President said that the awards are a reflection of the efforts and hard work of all Rwandans, not him alone.
“We have come a long way---have reached far and we are going far--it’s the same journey and still continues,” Kagame told Rwandans. He said that the awards are a recognition of the country’s tremendous journey and are meant to encourage Rwandans to work harder.
He said that while the medals are worth celebrating, the occasion provides an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s achievements and forge a future that will be good for all Rwandans.
Referring to the liberation struggle where sacrifice and resilience were key factors that ushered in success, Kagame said that the same principle should guide Rwandans to achieve more.
He said that in 1994 everything seemed impossible but the country managed to gather the pieces and embarked on socio-economic transformation that Rwandans are proud of today.
He called upon each Rwandan to own the nation’s development path and if the country is to achieve its growth vision.
Insisting on hard work, Kagame said that a country of 10 million cannot be ‘tiny’ unless its people choose so.
Alluding to Western countries, the size of Rwanda or even smaller, the President said that these nations are never described as ‘tiny’ precisely because of their economic and technological advancements. He said Rwanda is capable of doing the same.
Again, the President insisted that Rwanda’s most important resource is its own people and that a good economy grows out of good institutions which we must strive to build.
He once again underscored the need for a shift from a culture of mediocrity and the need for good customer care practices-as one way to bring about change and create prosperity.
Referring to foreign aid, Kagame said that much as his views on this subject have created controversy in certain circles, the idea of Africa gradually weaning itself off aid is of critical importance.
The President hailed the Clinton Global Initiative for the work they do in Rwanda and for recognising the strides this nation has made, pointing out that it’s only people who are genuine friends of Rwanda who even care to appreciate and give awards for the achievements recorded by the Rwandan people.
On his part, Prime Minister Bernard Makuza said that Rwandans are proud of President Kagame, as the principle architect of the changes the country has undergone during the last 15years.
“Mr. President, for those of us who work with you on a daily basis, we know that whatever you do is not because you want to be awarded.”
Premier Makuza said that the only way Rwandans can pay back President Kagame is through hard work that consolidates the current achievements. He hailed Kagame for making great friends for the country and putting a once ‘cast’ nation back to the world stage.