Kagame pushes for faster transformation as Umushyikirano ends
President Paul Kagame yesterday urged Rwandans, especially leaders, to double efforts in their work towards transforming the country.
In his remarks to close the 16th National Umushyikirano Council, the Head of State said that Rwandans are able to get out of poverty if the right kinds of government policies are effectively implemented.
He urged leaders to fast-track government programmes intended to transform people’s lives, fight malnutrition among children and cater for their education, while ensuring security for every resident.
“We have seen that transformation is possible. We have to choose the pace at which we want it to happen and reflect this pace in everything that we do,” he said.
Thanking everyone who attended the meeting, which he described as “productive, the President urged every delegate to go back home with dedication to do more.
“Let us leave here with renewed determination and dedication to fulfil our responsibility to move this country forward,” he said.
He added: “We should not be resigned to living in poverty, whether poverty of spirit or financial poverty.”
On malnutrition, the President said that a solution needs to be found fast, calling for every ministry and institution in the country to play its role to end the problem.
“We have to find a solution in record time,” he said, adding that “anyone who stands in the way of addressing this issue should face consequences.”
Stunting among children below five years of age fell slightly from 38 per cent in 2015 to 35 per cent in 2018, according to a report released by the National Early Childhood Development Programme (NECDP) last month.
Government aims to reduce stunted growth among children under five years to 19 per cent by 2024.
Participants at the annual Umushyikirano, which is chaired by the Head of State, include Rwandans of all walks of life as well as other stakeholders in the country’s development such as civil society and members of the diplomatic community.
This year’s summit highlighted the need to strengthen the country’s development programmes in various areas including agriculture, trade promotion, reconciliation and security.
While addressing foreign and local journalists after the meeting, Kagame emphasised that Rwanda will continue to nurture good relations with neighbouring countries to strengthen regional integration and stability.
He warned against regional and global actors working with detractors of the Rwandan government, explaining that most of them are those linked to the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“There are those in the region and across the world who have been linked with our history, much as perpetrators were Rwandans. We have had invasions from neighbouring countries. Those challenges have been changing forms but they remained in substance as security threat,” he said.
The President singled out Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Rwanda National Congress (RNC), among the groups, working to destabilise Rwanda and getting support from some of the neighbours in the region and beyond.
“FDLR is working with RNC and some of our neighbours. There are many other groups with different names. We will take care of that,” he said, reassuring that Rwandans will always be ready to deal with any challenges to their security.
Among other topics, the meeting discussed how ‘connected communities’ in the country can partner to drive national growth as both officials and citizens pushed for greater community ownership of development programmes and mind-set change towards national development.
The discussions also focused on how to preserve the memory of Genocide through upholding Rwandan values, as well as building a Rwandan savings culture. A new national saving scheme, dubbed ‘Ejo Heza’, was launched at the meeting.