Using his own experience that tells you that he is a father before being a head of State President Paul Kagame has reminded all fathers, including businessmen, that however much responsibilities they have, finding time for their families is not an option, but a necessity.
The president is since yesterday in Cape Town for the Young Presidents’ Organization – YPO summit.
On Wednesday, Kagame had a fireside chat with former YPO International Chairman McKeel Hagerty before an audience of 700 people and revealed his attachment to his family and how he finds time for them no matter what.
“I have learned some of these lessons the hard way. Let me tell you a quick story. In 1995 my first born was 4 at the time. Everybody in the country was very busy. Meetings and trips that took hours,” the president said.
“I would arrive late at night, and leave very early in the morning. I had not seen that young man for a week. One time I was sleeping and at 4:30am someone knocked on my room, and I thought it was my security people bringing more times than not bad news.”
“But when I opened the door I found it was my son “Daddy where have you been?” I didn’t take much time explaining the details. I am used to situations where my tears flow inwards not outwards so I was trying to understand what was going on.”
“I promised my son, that whenever I would be around in the capital, whatever I would be doing — everyday at 8pm I would have to leave everything else and go to see him before he went to bed then I would get back to work.”
The president told the audience that having a balance between family and work is important.
“You have to maintain a balance as a leader, family or friends. It can’t be one or the other or one at the expense of the other. If you just become a workaholic, sometimes you will burn out which will cause other dangers that contribute to your health,” the president said.
The president took precious time to explain Rwanda’s philosophy in attracting investments.
“We had to put ourselves in the shoes of an outside investor who might say: Instead of going to Rwanda, why don’t I go to another country. We then put in place the things that an outside investor who has choices would want to see,” he said.
“We want you to come to Rwanda and feel safe and secure in your investment. We also want to keep seeing the outputs of our efforts minding what the inputs, efficiencies are.”
I don’t think much about my legacy – Kagame
The president answered a question about what he thinks he would love to leave behind.
In fact, he is interested in delivering, period.
“I don’t think much about my legacy. I am giving full effort to everything I am doing to try and do the best I can and try deliver what I have to. My mind is focused on saying I have to do the best I can with those I have to do it with and for,” he said.
“I know that with time, things that are happening will absolve me and my legacy. We try to measure the outcomes of what we are doing. When things are fine, I don’t get or need praise or credit. When things go wrong, I am the one to be blamed and I take responsibility.”
On how he stays fit, Kagame said; “I make sure I am low maintenance, I work out a lot – five times a week, I eat healthy, I find time to rest whenever I can – I don’t lack sleep I only lack time for sleep.”