President Paul Kagame has officiated the closing of the 13th camp of civic education, Itorero Indangamirwa, at Nkumba Center, Burera District.
The camp started on July 14, and was attended by 412 youth, including 177 girls and 235 boys, aged between 18 and 25 who underwent civic training and basic military training.
Indangamirwa 13 aims to promote the culture of patriotism, unity, integrity, and hard work among Rwandan youth.
Participants hail from the diaspora, graduates from secondary schools in Rwanda, as well as youth leaders, entrepreneurs, and the best performers from the latest camp (Inkomezabigwi).
In his closing remarks, President Kagame encouraged the Rwandan youth to have the willingness of joining the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) due to the fact that it is a pride and helpful profession to the country.
He said that those willing to serve the country through RDF, are welcome because it is a profession that does not interfere with personal goals.
“So some of you or all of you can be back regarding your wishes. Be back to the profession of building, protecting the country. According to how the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) is built and how it goes on to rebuild itself, If you have studied medicine, you serve as doctor in the RDF. If you have studied law, you serve in a legal related domain in the profession of national defense. There is no contradiction. You have nothing to lose,” Kagame said.
He continued, “It gives you time when you want it, but that desire is what matters. Don’t come to RDF without thinking or desire, it’s not forced, it’s just an addiction. Someone explains to you what you find in activities that are not different from what your life needs or wants.”
President Kagame said that courtesy and self-sacrifice are the most important things in RDF to be able to achieve what you want and what the country wants.
He said, “Commitment is that you have gone into a profession where you can be called to protect the country at any time. Someone can say that I don’t want to volunteer to defend the country. If you don’t want to, I wouldn’t advise you to join the RDF. Meanwhile, no one I want in the RDF more than you if you want.”
Young people who are allowed to join the national army must be aged between 18 to 25 with good health.
The Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement (MINUBUMWE), Dr. Jean Damascène Bizimana, said that this section is the first to be held in the Nkumba Center, asking for help to make it more accessible and more efficient.
He said, “Although the accommodation facilities (1076 beds) are enough, there is work needed to prepare this facility to meet all the needs of Itorero participants.”
Among the things that need to be done are the construction of trainers’ hostels, canteens, the construction of athletic roads for trainees, sports and recreation grounds as well as the construction of campus security fences.
Minister Bizimana said that from the year 2023/24 there will be more permanent Itorero held at the Nkumba Center.
He said, “We are asking all public and private institutions, religions and non-governmental organizations to cooperate in training their employees and members, always in a permanent program.”
Harerimana Pascal, who spoke on behalf of trainees, assured that the lessons they received will be used to improve Rwanda and strive to promote it wherever they are.
He said, “We are determined to put effort into publicizing the history of our country, and we are facing those who say otherwise. We will use social media or face to face.”
On Food Poisoning at YouthConnekt
President Kagame also reacted to the food poisoning which affected more than 2000 people who participated in the 10th anniversary of YouthConnekt in Kigali this week.
The president first asked the youth how they were treated, especially in terms of feeding.
He stated that the reason behind asking is because he knew that the participants had complications due to food poisoning.
“Food should be well prepared and clean. There are many people who feed children like this or others, but I usually follow them,” he said.
President Kagame then asked Minister of Youth, Dr. Jean Nepo Abdallah Utumatwishima, “How can people be fed things that hurt them?”
He answered that they have followed up the issue, and he agrees that there were mistakes of not checking the food before feeding the youth.
President Kagame said that people should get to the point where it becomes a habit to do things properly.
Based on this, he suggested the punishment to the people who fed the substandard food at YouthConnekt.
President Kagame said that it often happens but the officials and even the victims have normalized to tolerate it.
“It is not appropriate. I am telling the youth so that you will grow up understanding that things should be done properly, in the right way,” he said.
The Head of State said that being clean and improving people’s lives is something that should be a culture because it does not require people to have resources.
He said, “Doing the wrong thing is a poverty of mind and character, not just a poverty in terms of wealth.”