Home Uncategorized RPF 35: “You Cannot Wish Us Away”- President Kagame To Rwanda’s Critics

RPF 35: “You Cannot Wish Us Away”- President Kagame To Rwanda’s Critics

by Edmund Kagire
3:14 pm

President Kagame addresses the 16th RPF Inkotanyi Congress. Photos/Moses Niyonzima.

President Paul Kagame says the ruling party Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) will continue to do what it has to do to move Rwanda to the next level, against the wishes of those who continue to criticise the choices the country makes, declarng that “we are here to stay”.

The Head of State, who is also the chairperson of RPF Inkotanyi made the observation on Sunday at the opening of the 16th congress of the party attended by more than 2, 000 delegates at Intare Arena in Rusororo.

President Kagame said that RPF Inkotanyi has transcended many obstacles and challenges, having started rebuilding the country from scratch and the party can only get stronger, building on the same values and principles that have driven it, regardless of what Rwanda’s critics say.

President Kagame said that though RPF Inkotanyi is marking 35 years, for many it feels like many years going by the challenges the party had to deal with to rebuild the country from the ruins of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“It feels like 100 years or more for some of us, mainly because of the reason RPF was created and the challenges we have had to deal with. Some of us feel like we have dealt with these heavy responsibilities for more than 100 years,”

He pointed out that RPF has been dealing with challenges, some of which date back to pre-colonial times, including the very reasons out of which the RPF was born -a journey he said has been long and tedious in many ways.

“It also means that in such a journey, there is no young or old. It doesn’t matter how old you are, when the call comes, you respond. This journey of 35 years for RPF was mainly carried by young people with the support of their parents who started the struggle. That is why 35 years feel like they are more than 100,” President Kagame said.

The RPF Chairman said that just as there is no young or old in a liberation struggle, it is the same way there is no small or big country, but it is rather more about the people of that country and what they aspire to be, not the size.

He pointed out that while Rwanda is indeed a small country, it is not defined by the square kilometres it occupies but rather the ambitions and expectations of her people and the will to achieve more as a country -something he said does not depend on the size of the country.

The Head of State said that for that to happen, one has to make the right choices and work towards achieving the set goals, regardless of the challenges ahead.

President Kagame highlighted the principles RPF follows.

“You must choose, you have a choice to make. You can’t just be like this, you can’t achieve, you can’t succeed, you can’t have ambition, you can’t have high expectations unless you are able to choose what you want to be, choose what you want to do. There are no half measures if you want to be that,”

“I am saying this very well-aware of the constraints of the difficulties, some of which look and feel insurmountable. I am aware of that, you are aware of that, but still, you have to make that choice, absolutely. There are no two ways about it,” President Kagame said.

Thinking big from the start, dealing with entitlement 

President Kagame said that from onset, RPF Inkotanyi made three choices which it still thrives on and continues to preserve even today, including thinking big and working together as a team.

“We must be together, the young, the old, the weak, the strong, the educated, the uneducated, so on and so forth. It doesn’t matter how different we are. We still have to be together,” he said, adding that the third aspect is being accountable.

“We have to be accountable to each other, even beyond our own selves as Rwanda, meaning to be accountable to others outside our borders because at the end of the day, there is a way we affect them and there a way they affect us. We have to think about that,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame also took time to speak about entitlement, pointing out that there is no such a thing as entitlement or people behaving like they deserve something or should be entitled to certain things -something he said even the RPF party has had to deal with internally.

President Kagame and the First Lady arrive for the RPF Congress.

Without mentioning names, he said there are people within the party who felt they were entitled to certain things and when they didn’t get what they wanted, they fell out with the party.

“We have had such problems even in our own RPF. We have had all kinds of problems that I know others have heard of. We have had our time, our people to feel entitled, which is wrong, but we have had our ways always to look up to each other and look each other in the eyes and find a solution to our problems,”

“We have had our moment. In some cases, we have succeeded, in others, we have not been so successful, but I think we have succeeded more than we have failed,”

“So, we stay the course, we have to stay the course, we have to keep trying. We have to keep making mistakes just out of trying, not for the sake of it, but because we have to keep finding a solution to every problem that has confronted us. Life keeps going on in the journey of RPF,” President Kagame said.

President Kagame paid tribute to all the people, young and old, men and women, who sacrificed themselves, many of whom died while others who are still living still carry the wounds and pain they sustained during the liberation struggle but were rewarded in the end by the progress the country has made.

“As we move forward every time, we have to remember all this, where we have come from and those that are no longer with us but who have enabled us to keep moving on. We have to move on with the heavy task of continuing to achieve more and continuing to build and continuing to be accountable as we thrive,”

“We must continue all the time, we started from scratch. We must carry on with what we started,” President Kagame told the party members and invited guests.

President Kagame thanked friends of Rwanda, countries or individuals, who have unwaveringly stood by the country, pointing out that there are others who are friends, but you can’t predict where they stand, particularly those who want to act superior and tell Rwanda what to do.

“But some of our friends, sometimes they are friends, other times you don’t know what to expect. We still have to deal with those. Because we are RPF, you can’t wish us away,”

“We are here, this is our place, this is our country. We shall stay and stay and stay. Here I am not talking just about RPF, I am talking about the country, through RPF. When I say this I mean Rwanda,” President Kagame said.

He cited those who use aid or other forms of support to say ‘you must do this so we can give you this’ or ‘if you don’t do that, we don’t give you this,’ adding that while he has managed to politely manoeuvre such challenges, sometimes it gets to a point where he looks them in the eye and say  “who do you think you are?”

He said that when he does that, he is indirectly telling them that he is RPF, something he said comes with the pride and responsibility to even foot the bill and take action whenever it is needed.

President Kagame said that is the only way to manage such relationships especially when people want to look down on you and use their assumed superiority to minimize you. Minus that, he said you won’t have the independence to redeem yourself or make your own choices.

The Head of State said that it is high time Africans stopped lamenting about the past, cry about the injustices the continent suffered in the colonial era and focus on working towards independence & self-worth.



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