NAIROBI - President Paul Kagame has underscored the importance of putting in place homegrown initiatives in handling problems other than waiting for external interventions which don’t provide required solutions.
The President made the remarks yesterday while officiating as the chief guest during the 7th National Prayer Breakfast held at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya.
“Real solutions can never come from anywhere else other than within. It is only the leaders and citizens of such nations that can fully grasp the high stakes involved – and as such, only they possess the power and tools to arrest the disintegration of their nations,” Kagame told an audience that included Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and several senior government officials.
The function held annually, comes over a year after deadly riots rocked Kenya claiming over a thousand lives in a disputed presidential election which gave incumbent President Mwai Kibaki, a second five-year term.
The post-election riots also displaced thousands of Kenyans. During the event, Kagame gave an account of Rwanda’s tragic history and said that the country’s hard earned accomplishments over the years begun in circumstances that no other country should ever endure.
He pointed out denial of citizenship; a system that was used by the genocidal regime which he said made Rwanda famous for exiling its own people to different areas in the Great Lakes region, including Kenya.
“The fact that citizenship is no longer something the state and leadership can ever deny any Rwandan is part of the legacy of the last fifteen years – so are our modest accomplishments in building trust and social bonds among our people that were destroyed during the colonial and post-independence periods,” he said.
The President drew thunderous applause from the audience when he mentioned Rwanda’s constitutional requirement that women’s participation in national institutions should not fall below 30 percent.
“We learnt the hard way what other countries should never endure. When a country allows itself to fail, it has no friend,” he said, referring to Rwanda’s tragic loss of over a million people and many other millions of people displaced as a result of the past poor leadership of the country.
Kagame emphasized the need for meeting the challenge of creating stable nations, adding that today people stay in a global environment where what affects one region also affects the other.
Reading from the book of Second Chronicles where the biblical King Solomon asked for God’s knowledge to lead his people, Kagame prayed for God’s divine wisdom to enable the two countries, the region and the continent to be better places to live in.
In his remarks, Kibaki called upon Kenyans to seek for forgiveness from God in a whole true spirit of forgiveness. He said that there is still great need for reconciliation and healing among Kenyans and added that a law was passed last year that will lead to the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Kenya.
“Reconciliation is one of the key challenges we are facing today. There is need for all Kenyans to embrace the reconciliation and healing process,” Kibaki said.
The function which was characterized by prayers for national reconciliation was also attended by delegations from Uganda, Somalia, Ghana, Singapore, United States of America, Tanzania, Burundi, Israel, South Korea and the United Kingdom.