13 December 2012

Rwanda: Fight for Your Dignity, Kagame Urges Africans

Photo: Urugwiro Village
President Paul Kagame (file photo).

President Paul Kagame today opened the 10th annual National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura, with a call to Rwandans and Africans in general to fight for their dignity and to reject western injustices.

The two-day event held under the theme, "Agaciro: Aiming for self sufficiency", has attracted over 800 participants from in and outside of the country, including senior officials, local government leaders, members of the civil society, and ordinary Rwandans.

It is also attended by a host of foreign dignitaries, including the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Luc Adolphe Tiao, and diplomats.

President Kagame emphasised the need to consolidate the country's achievements over the years, and urged the nation not to accept to be defined and used as a tool by western players.

"The cost of accepting to be used as a tool is much higher than the cost of pushing back and refusing it," the Head of State said at the event, which is broadcast live on local TV and radio stations.

The event is also live streaming online, allowing thousands of youth attending their own convention at Petit Stade in Kigali, to contribute to the Dialogue.

But Kagame warned that self reliance and dignity will not come on a silver platter, saying it is a costly endeavour but worth every effort.

He noted that while the majority of people in the west had good intentions, a few with ulterior motives against Rwanda and other African countries, made the loudest noise, which he said in the end influence public opinion in the west.

In apparent reference to the allegations that Rwanda backs a rebellion in the neighbouring DRC, the President likened the accusations to a situation where someone kills a person and then dumps the body on the doorsteps of another person's home - to falsely link the latter to the killing.

However, Kagame also faulted some African leaders who abuse their power, further arming the continent's detractors to sustain their smear campaign.

Giving out a progress report with regard to resolutions from the previous the National Dialogue, the Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi said that resolutions had been implemented at more than 90 per cent.

Several listeners have already contributed to the Dialogue through live call-ins, SMS, Twitter, Facebook messages, with some questions revolving around agriculture, health and education.

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