Rwanda: 25 Years After Liberation, Kagame Speaks on Leadership, Foreign Aid and African Unity

President Paul Kagame holds #Kwibohora25 interactive discussion with young African Social Media influencers and journalists.
2 July 2019

Johannesburg — This year, Rwanda celebrates the 57th golden jubilee of independence and the 25th anniversary of liberation. Held under the theme "Together We Prosper," this year's celebration is an opportunity to recommit to Rwanda's vision for a peaceful, united, prosperous and self-reliant nation.

A group of local and international journalists have embarked on a #Kwibohora25 media tour taking them through a number of historical sites that led to the liberation of Rwanda 25 years ago. The first leg of the sites tour is Gabiro Combat Training Center. The second stop of the media tour was Musanze District, formerly Ruhengeri where the Rwandan Patriotic Front abandoned conventional war tactics and returned to guerrilla warfare. The third stop of the tour continued at National Liberation Museum Park, that tells the story of the Rwandan Liberation struggle that brought an end to the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

A series of activities leading up to #Kwibohora25 celebrations have been taking place across the country, including a number of socio-economic development projects led by the Rwanda Defence Force in partnership with local government institutions.

President Paul Kagame then joined media and government officials for a Conversation on Liberation on the rooftop of the Parliament building.

Here are some key points he made during the session:

- There was the war which started in 1990 originating from injustices where hundreds of Rwandans were being denied their rights, those living outside and those inside living under harsh conditions.

- After the war we started rebuilding. We had to call upon everybody's contribution. Rwandans from outside and those inside were able to move together and get us where we are now...

- In Rwanda we never saw ourselves as an island. We are part of a much bigger family, the African continent. We are part of the EAC and a much wider continent as it is

- The best way to reconnect and tap into this relevancy of coming together is through social, political and economic integration. Working together. Thus problems that affect all of us will be dealt with more easily. Making this continent what it should be...

- The rest of the world approaches Africa as Africa, but then divide it for ease of "management". That's why you find the narrative is one...

- You can imagine, you divide Africa and then later on, you divide Rwanda. Rwanda suffered this division among ourselves. They divided us and we accepted it, we reaped the consequences. We don't take the problem somewhere else...

- On Unity and reconciliation: When bad things happen to you, you either give up and lose hope, or you are hardened by it and find some sense of hope that helps you improve...

- Leadership matters because it addressed the problem at hand. The other part which relates to leadership is how do you introduce a new mindset that helps address the problem?

Asked about foreign aid, Kagame said: " Sometimes I ask leaders, "Do you imagine that this money is coming from other citizens? Do you want to keep happening forever? Is it something that connects with your dignity? We can't keep living on mercies of others."

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