President Kagame chaired the National Dialogue that kicked off yesterday. Senate President, Vincent Biruta (L) and the Speaker of Parliament, Rose Mukantabana look on. (Photo Village Urugwiro)
PARLIAMENT - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, said that Rwanda will not allow anyone, whether inside or outside the country, to interfere with the progress that the Rwandan people have registered. He warned that anyone who attempts to distablise the country, will regret their actions.
The President made the remarks, yesterday, while officiating at the opening of the 8th National Dialogue (Umushyikirano), at the Parliamentary buildings.
Kagame said that Rwanda, through hardship and sacrifice, has registered a lot of progress over the last 16 years and will not allow anyone to destroy the achievements.
He told those who want to dictate Rwanda’s direction, that the Rwandan people alone can define their destiny and make their own choices.
In reference to the Rwandan fugitives who seek to portray themselves as politicians, including, Paul Rusesabagina, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Patrick Karegeya, Theogene Rudasingwa and Gerald Gahima, President Kagame said that the indicted criminals are like a few “useless cards” in a deck of “Aces” whose intentions are to mislead the over 11 million Rwandans who have chosen the right path of nation building.
Kagame said that as much as they are now trading falsehoods, they know where the country has come from and the challenges it has overcome, including ensuring food security, quality education and socio-economic development.
He assured the people that no one has the capacity to cause any sort of threat to the peace and stability of the country.
Kagame, pointed out that the government is focussed on protecting the people, and any attempts to cause instability will be dealt with decisively.
The President went on to caution countries that support the Rwandan fugitives, saying that any African country that supports such ill intentions would end up in a similar predicament.
“When you live in thatched house, you don’t play with fire, lest it will get burnt,” he said.
Kagame criticised foreign countries that apply double standards to Rwanda. He cautioned against supporting development efforts in the country while at the same time supporting groups and individuals bent on destroying the development of the country.
He said, it is like giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
Amidst applause, Kagame noted that some foreigners want to “live their lives” and the “lives of the Rwandan people” at the same time. He noted that it is impossible to live your own life and someone else’s at the same time.
Citing the National dialogue as one of the platforms where Rwandans, both inside and outside the country, deliberate issues related to their country, Kagame pointed out that critics don’t acknowledge such foras and they are quick to conclude that there is lack of political space.
“The only way to express it properly, is for us to continue doing what we must do and that is provide this political space---this dialogue is political space,”
The President noted that those who seek to portray that there is no political space are instead invading the political space of the Rwandan people.
“We owe you nothing. We owe ourselves and our people everything,” Kagame said.
Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, presented a report on the implementation of the resolutions of last year’s dialogue, noting that most of them had been implemented, citing the Girinka Programme, the 9 Year Basic Education and Doing Business in Rwanda.
The Minister of Local Government presented a report on good governance, disclosing that the local government will soon undergo major reforms that will bring leadership closer to the people.
He highlighted the achievements in eliminating thatched housing (Nyakatsi), as well as the implementation of the programme to settle people in planned villages (Imidugudu).
An insight into the progress in the unity and reconciliation programme, as well as the fight against the genocide and its ideology, dominated the afternoon session.
The education sector also took centre stage with Ministers, Dr. Charles Mulingande and Dr. Mathias Harebamungu taking turns to explain the progress.
In attendance were representatives of the central and local government, legislators, the private sector, civil society, religious leaders, development partners, the Rwandan Diaspora as well as Diplomatic corps.
The Dialogue was broadcast live on national radio and television with over 70,000 participants following the proceedings online.