In a speech to the 12 Congress of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, his ruling party, where he was re-elected the Chairman with 99.5% of the vote, President Paul Kagame cautioned RPF leaders against complacency, discouragement and living in deceit. He warned the leaders against shying away from the truth, because that ‘was not in the interest of the country’.
â€œOur citizens have trusted us with the responsibility to lead, which makes it our duty to serve them. What I ask of you as leaders, RPF members and Rwandans, is to never give up when you are on the side of the truth,” he said.
“If you give up, who will take over the responsibilities of nation building? We cannot give up on our goals, we are not doing it for anyone but ourselves, no one will do it for us. By the magnitude of the challenges we face, we cannot afford to work in shifts, we have to be on watch all the time for us to get where we want to be. Rwanda as a nation has ambitions of a better future for all and we cannot afford to give up,â€ remarked Kagame
He said a good leader must cultivate the value of courage to give credit where it is due, but also be able to tell each other the bitter truth when they think their peers were not doing things right for the sake of their country.
â€œLet us be defined by humility. Humility is not weakness; on the contrary, it is strength. Let us work hard and let our accomplishments speak for us. Leadership should not be about taking credit for the accomplishments that result from the hard work of others.â€
While opening the Congress which was also attended by leaders from other political parties operating in Rwanda, President Kagame said the meeting was a time to reflect on where the country and Rwandans have come from, where they are and where they are going and who they should be.
â€œIt is not about being Tutsi, Hutu or Twa. It is about being a Rwandan with dignity and self respect. It is not just about being Rwandan, it is about asking ourselves what kind of Rwandan you want to be.
The president appeared keen to warn against ethnicity, which drove the country to genocide in the 1990s.
“You may derive pride in feeling you are Tutsi, Hutu or Twa, but beyond that, what kind of person are you? What qualities do you have on top of being what you are?â€ Our goal is dignity for all and there is no other way,â€ he noted.
Thanking leaders of other political parties for understanding that working together for the common good of the country is the best way to go about the challenges facing Rwanda; President Kagame said that divergence in opinion should only contribute towards seeking various solutions to the problems facing the country.
President Kagame cautioned leaders that challenges are reminder that nothing will come easily and therefore they must fight hard to ensure Rwanda does not die a second time.
â€œThe security, development you want for yourself is what everyone deserves. Our accomplishments should not make us complacent, they must be the reason we strive to achieve more for the next generation. Congress is time we come together to evaluate our work and forge way forward that will benefit all Rwandans.â€
President Kagame took the opportunity to wish RPF members and all Rwandans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Updated from 24 Tanzania News.