President Paul Kagame has spoken out for the first time about 3 ministers who recently resigned from their positions, attributing their demise to misconduct and bad behaviors which should be unheard of from leaders.
Speaking at the opening of 17th National Leadership Retreat, Umwiherero, the Head of State blamed fellow leaders for condoning bad behaviors from other leaders which they are aware of but take no action whatsoever.
On the case of Evode Uwizeyimana, the former Minister of State for Justice in charge of legal and constitutional affairs, President Kagame said that it is unfortunate that fellow leaders were aware of his conduct but never acted.
“The reason we are not achieving some of our targets is because of the misconduct of the leaders. They have the skills, they are qualified but they have bad behaviors,” President Kagame said, adding that if Umwiherero had started on Tuesday, maybe two or three more Ministers were not going to attend after losing their jobs,” Kagame further said.
“Evode went to a public place and found people doing their job , first he parked in the wrong place and then he proceeds to the checkpoint. Everybody goes through the checkpoint for the security of the place but he decided to pass on the side. A female security guard followed him and explained to him that he was supposed to go through the checkpoint. He responded by beating up the young woman who was only doing her job,” Kagame noted
“It was not the first time. He was doing that all the time. Most of you knew it but condoned this behavior. Why did you allow this to happen to the extent that he beats someone?”
He said that it is unacceptable that a Minister could do that and get away with it, until he has to intervene himself and take action, asking the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice why they had to wait for him to do something.
On the case of Dr Isaac Munyakazi, President Kagame said that the former Minister of State for Education in charge of Primary and Secondary Education interfered in the school rankings after he was approached by a certain school which had performed badly in national exams and bribed him for a better rank.
“The school had performed badly, ranking above 100, among the last but they approached him and asked to be ranked better. He changed it and he was given Rwf500, 000. That’s little money anybody can reject for any reason,” President Kagame said.
He said there was no way he could have denied because he was caught in the act.
“Had I not acted, he would be here with us. For you that is normal. Life would go on,” President Kagame said.
On the case of Dr Diane Gashumba, President Kagame, who rarely gives explanations for changes in government, revealed that there is a number of mistakes and lies which could not be explained, that led to a decision to rid her of her duties.
He said that ahead of the retreat, in the wake of the new Coronavirus outbreak, he personally took an initiative to find out how ready the country is to deal with a possible outbreak.
“Even in her case, it was not the first time. The same mistakes had recurred over time, lying about things that have an impact on the country,”
“For some reason, one day I woke up and said let me see how ready we are for Coronavirus. I asked the PM and others, since we were about to go to the retreat, to avoid any risks. We had been publicly claiming to be ready. I suggested that we can possibly test the 400 people to be on a safe side. At first, I was told it’s not necessary, there is no problem, we can pray to God,” he said.
President Kagame said that when he pressed more for answers, he was told that Dr Gashumba said the country has kits to handle at least 3,500 cases and that if they take of 400 for participants of the retreat, it would affect the country’s readiness to deal with Coronavirus.
President Kagame said that Dr Gashumba was informed that the message was from the Head of State who had concerns of safety but little was done to address the issue.
President Kagame further said that he assigned people from different institutions including his Director of Cabinet to follow up on the matter, only to be told by someone at the Ministry of Health that the available equipment would only cater for 95 people, not 3,500 as the Minister had said -not even the required 400 for the retreat. The Ministry said that more equipment was being imported.
“When I got the report back, I reached out to the Minister and I confronted her with the information I had and she admitted it. She confirmed that we didn’t have enough equipment, but this was after we had lost a lot of time, going back and forth,”
“The problem here is lying. You don’t say the truth. How can we solve the problems we have when we can’t say the truth? You are custodians of the truth. Don’t invent things that are not true,” President Kagame said, reminding the leaders that they have a responsibility of conducting themselves in a manner Rwandans expect them to.
He also pointed to a hospital mismanagement case which also involves other Ministers.
President Kagame spoke strongly about mismanagement of public resources, telling officials that he is less concerned by their personal drama but when it comes to wasting public resources, he will fight with them.
“I have been good to you but this has to stop. I am going to change this. You can choose to resign and go in peace and do personal stuff but even then, you should not engage in things that destabilize the country”
He warned leaders against ‘personalizing’ institutions, reminding them that “these institutions are not yours”, warning them against embezzling public resources.
On relations with Uganda, President Kagame said Rwanda bounced back strong, registering a double digit growth of 10.9% , when many thought that the country would suffer more from the ongoing situation, revealing that most of the services that were being sourced from outside Rwanda are now obtained locally.
He said that in problems, Rwanda found a solution, explaining further that the best Rwanda could do was to tell citizens not to go to Uganda till the situation improved, after he personally took an initiative to raise the issues with Kampala to no avail.
The Head of State said that 2018 and 2019 were good years for Rwanda, registering impressive growth despite the challenges in the region, adding that 2020 should be even better.