The New Times (Kigali)

28 June 2011

Rwanda: Today's Struggle is About Development - Kagame

Gicumbi — President Paul Kagame, yesterday, said that while 17 years after the Liberation war, the Rwandan people enjoy, peace, unity and reconciliation, the struggle continues. However, the President added that new frontline does not involve arms, but actions that lead to development.

The Head of State made the remarks in Rugerero Sector, Gicumbi district, in the Northern Province, while addressing over 20,000 residents during his tour of the district regarded as the cradle of the liberation struggle.

President Kagame, whose visit to the area coincided with the beginning of the Liberation Week, commended the residents of Gicumbi, saying that apart from playing a prominent role in the struggle, the district is one of the most outstanding with regard to development.

The Head of State, who prior to addressing the residents, visited an exemplary farmer and a model village, applauded the residents of Gicumbi for being at the forefront of promoting unity and reconciliation and maintaining peace and stability.

He told the excited crowd that the new frontline for the liberation struggle is one of hard work and development, observing that the current path of progress the country has embarked on is a sign that the battle will be won.

The President reminded the residents of the district that what the country has achieved in the last 17 years confirms the belief that when people come together and accord themselves dignity, even the hardest of the challenges can be overcome.

The Head of State noted that today every Rwandan has a story to tell, from where they are and where they have come from and their future prospects, adding that not even the 'few detractors' spreading propaganda against the country can distract the people's resolve.

The President added that only Rwandans have the right to tell their own story--from their daily lives, to the economy, democratic rights and the choices they make, because this is a story that cannot be told by anyone else.

The Head of State went on to advise the citizens to guard their achievements and not let anyone interfere with the process they have established.

President Kagame, particularly, called on the youth to champion this cause because they are the future of the country, noting that among other principles, the country's youth have to live responsibly, value education, accord themselves dignity and show respect to others.

The President said that there is a lot to celebrate from the last 17 years, mainly in the areas of the economy, education, agriculture, infrastructure and health, all delivered as promised during the liberation struggle.

He urged the residents to continue embracing modern agriculture as it is the only way to increase production, sustain food security and ensure surplus for export.

President Kagame pointed out Francois Mugiraneza, a model farmer and the model village of Kabeza which he had earlier commissioned, as examples of what Rwandans can do to improve their socio-economic position.

Mugiraneza, a father of six, started farming in 2004 with a capital of Rwf300,000, and now owns 10 hectares of wheat, a poultry farm with 2000 birds, 8 Frisian cows and 89 pigs. He employs about 80 people during the harvesting season.

The President visited village settlements commonly known as Imidugudu in Rubaya Sector where he launched a 43-house project for the needy residents who have been living in thatched houses.

The houses were built by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in collaboration with the district. They are model village settlements which use biogas with each beneficiary given a Frisian cow donated by REMA.

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