By President Paul Kagame
Rwanda is a country building itself from the very bottom, where our already nonexistent country was destroyed.
Our path to transforming our country is clear. What we need to do is clear. What is left to do? It is us Rwandans. There is no one else we are waiting for. We are the ones we are waiting for
We have faced more than enough obstacles. Some we were able to overcome, some of them left us with scars, but we stayed standing. Even when we fell, we got back up.
In the last 25 years, the challenges decreased, it is not the same as it was in the last 25 years. This is proof that our transformation real.
The ones who were trying to hurt our country, it becomes more and more difficult for them as the years go by. They are still trying to do it to this day.
Kagame on those who wish harm to Rwanda: What they failed to do then, they will not be able to succeed today. I am not saying this to be boastful, or to dissuade those with plans to destroy our country. I am saying it because it is the truth.
When you look at every aspect of our economy and the transformation of the country, you will find that every year, Rwanda makes progress in every sector of our economy
When you are flying a plane, there are two types of winds: winds coming from the front pushing the plane backwards and winds that pushes a plane forward. In our case, we are often faced with the winds that push us backward
But like the plane pushing with its own strength, we also push through even when going against the current
But we also have winds that push us forward. That is each of you. You are the ones pushing Rwanda in the right direction
We need to keep increasing our efforts to not only reach our goals but to also move even faster
What we ask of you, what Rwanda Day aims to do is to ensure that those outside Rwanda and those in Rwanda work together to speed up Rwanda’s transformation and achieve our goals as fast as we can.
A country cannot move forward based on doing the wrong things. It is a contradiction. We are moving forward because we are doing the right things. What can we do, to do even better, to increase the number of people doing the right things
When we talk about progress in Rwanda, it does not mean that there is nothing left to do. There is still a lot to do. There is a lot we have to fix. But we cannot use this as the basis of saying that everything is going wrong
Rwanda is strong
Rwanda has made significant progress, Rwanda is strong. We are not speaking of military capacity. What I am talking about is the strength of a Rwanda that is built on unity.
This kind of strength means we cannot be destroyed
Democracy and freedom
When journalists ask me about democracy, freedom, my question to them is do you have it where you come from? If what you have is what you consider better, I do not want any of it. I want my own values and cultures
Rwandans have been around for centuries. Are we going to be taught who we should be and what we should do from countries that just began to exist? Some of these countries did not even exist when the nation of Rwanda existed
You have people coming to teach you how to be, how to walk. How to behave. Where do you get the right to teach me about rights, including my own?
How much do you have to love me to teach me about my own rights? How much do you have to love me to worry about your own right and then add on my rights?
The way people live together is about partnerships, there is something you have to say or offer and so do I. I cannot accept you telling me that you were created as a superior being, in charge of teaching me.
Dignity is about doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not because you are told by others. This would not be sustainable.
Poverty in Rwanda
Rwanda has challenges we want to solve, we have poverty, that we want to fight, Rwandans are dying from diseases others dont die from, some Rwandans were not getting enough to eat.
This is why when you look at Rwanda’s budget, the largest part of our budget is education, health, agriculture to allow people to feed themselves, infrastructure to be able to sustain the economy and allow people to get jobs and be self reliant.
How can we increase life expectancy from 40years to close to 70 years and then be told that we do not value the life of our people.
How do we provide ICT to the whole country and then be accused of silencing people? We value our people, we value our rights.
I am here to tell you all what we expect from you. I am also here for you to tell me what you need from me and where we as a government have fallen short
You have a right to be wherever you have chosen to be. In some places, this right is temporary and may be taken away. The one place you are guaranteed the right to belong and where it will never be taken away, is home.
When you got to the end of the earth, and have nowhere else to go, you always come back home. If you have something to do where you are & you are happy, thank God for that. But whenever you are ready to come home, we will receive you with open arms
We are on our way, moving fast towards our goals, nothing can stop us, we may be delayed a bit but we always overcome and move forward.
Editor’s note: Speech by President Paul Kagame at edition of Rwanda Day held under the theme “Rwanda25: Owning our Future”. Thousands of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda from across Europe and beyond convened in Bonn, Germany.