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Posts from — January 2013

Matt Forest calls Paul Kagame a big liar

Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame

I am reproducing here a comment that Mark Forest wrote after reading and watching CNN presenter Christine Amanpour’s interview of Paul Kagame. One of the focuses of the exchange between the journalist and the Rwandan president is when he intends to step down.

This first sentence that seems to guide Western countries policies toward Rwanda is already false:

“Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, has been a darling of the West ever since he led his country out of the terrible 1994 genocide that left up to one million people dead.”

At the scene of a CRIME, any crime, when looking for the criminal, there are always few questions:

(1) the beneficial of the crime;
(2) the modus operandi or how the criminal operates;
(3) who are the potential victims and so on…

First, Kagame and colleagues from Tutsi minority (10% of the population) [according to the last known official statistics they were 14% in the early 1990s] wanted absolute power over Hutu majority. Without a full controlled chaos, there was no power to them.

Second, if you look carefully on how criminals operated, you will find one single trend taking you to authors of the genocide. Through the UN “Mapping Report”, there is no doubt, Rwandan army under Tutsi minority committed a genocide in DRC. Then, if you look at how the massacres were done in DRC, you compare the killings to those done early in Uganda just before Museveni came to power in 1986, you will see a common actor.

Finally, if you see similarities in these killings, you compare them to those which happened in Rwanda, you will find that Kagame and his men are mostly responsible for crimes committed in the Great Lake Region of Africa from 1980ies to now.

But, some western leaders such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and the UN share the responsibility. The international system tends to cover these Big Fishes and the smaller benefit from the whole situation.

Yes, Kagame is a big liar, but the international system covers his actions.

To read the full interview of Paul Kagame and other comments please click here

Source: The Rising Continent

January 30, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda: Paul Kagame says NO to leaving power in 2017

Amanpour asked if that meant “yes,” he would step down.

He replied, “No. It is a broad answer to say you don’t need to worry about anything.”

Kagame, Criminal

Spanish protest against the presence of Paul Kagame in Spain back in 2010.

On the supposed 52nd anniversary of the Rwandan Democracy Day, the Rwandan President Paul Kagame hints to Amanpour, CNN presenter that he will not leave power in 2017.

Being a dictatorship which claims to be democratic, the RPF regime has removed from official celebrations the remembrance of the day when Rwandans back in the 1960s came together to acknowledge the benefit of choosing their rulers for the first time in their history.

On January 28th, 1961 Rwanda celebrated the outcome of a popular referendum which months before had seen the country ending the monarchy rule and elected its people’s local representatives.

Under the RPF rule, not only has the Rwandan President silenced any critical voice of its numerous damageable policies, but it does neither appear ready at all to give room to any democratic expression of citizens in the short or medium term.

Please watch and listen to Paul Kagame’s interview with CNN journalist Amanpour by clicking here. 

For those in the Rwandan political opposition, from now they need to know. He [President Paul Kagame] is not going anywhere. He is not willing to leave office when his current term ends.They should align their strategies accordingly. To remove RPF from power they must force out its president.

Source: The Rising Continent.

January 28, 2013   No Comments

NGOs Leaving Rwanda Due to Cut in International Aid?

January 16, 2013 – Sources within the Rwandan Government in Kigali, Rwanda tell AfroAmerica Network that several Non Government Organizations (NGOs) have started to shut down their offices and leaving Rwanda. The flight of the NGOs is consecutive to the drastic cuts in international aid by several Western Governments, including Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, the United States, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The measures were taken after the United Nations Security Council accused Rwandan Military and Government leaders of forming, arming, and supporting Congolese rebels, known as M23. M23 rebels have been accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their leader, General Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

According to the sources, some of the NGOs are leaving Rwanda, while others appear to have relocated to other countries in the region. A large number of NGOs have already closed shop as of December 2012 or have sent out layoff notices to their Rwandan employees. The expatriates are being relocated to other African countries. The sources add that the diverse effects from the aid cuts have started to show and the devastation is expected if the international aid is not reestablished very soon.Sources in Rwanda who follow the NGOs have observed that as of January 14, 2013, Care International Office in Rwanda has moved to Ziguinchor, Senegal, in Western Africa. Rwanda is located in Eastern Africa.

NGOs associated with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have given layoff notices to their employees that they will soon close, no later than March 31, 2013.
The Netherlands based SNV World has moved most of its activities especially Water, Sanitation and Renewable Energy to the neighboring Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC).
Sweden has been supporting the democratization process and Environment in Rwanda through Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). When Sweden cut aid, SIDA started phasing down its programs. In 2011, the aid amounted to US$ 40 million. In 2013, around US$4 billion are appropriated to SIDA for projects around the World. In Africa, the aid that was going to Rwanda will be directed to South Sudan.
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has reduced aid to Rwanda and completely severed the aid for 2012 and 2013, directing it instead to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rwanda is a very poor country. Most of its budget is funded through international aid. Western aid amounts to 40-50% of the Rwandan government budget and covers most of the healthcare costs. The aid to private and some parastatal institutions is funneled through international Non Government Organizations (NGOs). These sources bring in the much needed foreign currency reserves and in turn make the Rwandan currency stable. Without that aid, the Rwandan government has no other choice than massive layoffs of civil servants; the military and security forces and teachers may not be paid for long, and the Rwandan currency will most likely collapse in the near future, creating a spiral of inflation.
From sources in Rwanda, since November 2012, after the UN Security Council Report was published, the Rwandan franc has been losing its value against the US dollar and the inflation has been creeping up. The ripple effects from inflation and the lack of foreign currency are expected to create a vicious circle of collapses across the entire sectors of the Rwandan economy: imported goods, including raw materials, construction and transportation equipment, gas, etc. will be so expensive that trading businesses and manufacturing will cease to function and transportation will be paralyzed. Already, the balance of payment, that had been positive for several years, was negative in 2012.
With this nightmarish scenario, security has been deteriorating, with Rwandan rebel attacks in December 2012. If the unpaid military and security forces start engaging in organized crime, and the layoffs and corruption start to weaken state institutions, Rwanda may slide into more tyranny and chaos and the humanitarian situation deteriorate very quickly.

Source: AfroAmerica Network.

January 16, 2013   No Comments

Hotel Rwanda’s Rusesabagina Asks Tony Blair to Denounce Paul Kagame’s Activities in the Congo

Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina calls on Britain’s Tony Blair to denounce Rwanda’s Paul Kagame for his crimes in Rwanda, the Congo and the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Jan. 14, 2013 – Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation President Paul Rusesabagina today made public a letter that he sent to Tony Blair regarding Blair’s involvement with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. The text of the letter is below. The letter is also referenced in this article by Ian Birrell, Man Who Turned Amorality Into an Art Form .

Paul Rusesabagina

HRRF’s Paul Rusesabagina

Dear Mr. Blair,

For many years I have been thankful that you have been interested in my beloved Rwanda.  My name is Paul Rusesabagina. You might know my story from the movie Hotel Rwanda, or from my autobiography, An Ordinary Man.

During the 1994 Genocide I tried by every means to reach the outside world and to ask them to help rescue my countrymen from the Hell that we were living in. I could not get any one to listen then. I was very happy that you have been taking an interest in my country now.

However, I hope that you can see what is going on in Rwanda with a clear vision.  I am afraid that you, like many others outside of Africa, have been shown only one side of our country, a kind of African Potemkin Village.

I believe that you do care about Rwanda. But, I also think that you need to see more of the real Rwanda.  A few years ago, my foundation, the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, issued a paper about the Rwandan economy. The paper chronicled the growing gap between Rwandans living in the City and those living in the countryside. Since we authored this paper, things have gotten worse, not better.

We also investigated the healthcare system in Rwanda and issued a briefing paper this summer which I am attaching to this letter.  The report shows that the quality of healthcare services for the elite in Kigali is vastly superior to the level of healthcare that is available to people living in the rural areas. While I applaud the efforts of the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation to increase health care facilities in the countryside, the problem is systemic.

This summer the international community has finally opened its eyes about President Kagame’s activities in the Congo. The UN Group of Expert’s reports have shown that Rwanda is clearly behind the crimes of M23.

Conflict Minerals looted in the DRC and paid for with the lives of millions of innocent Congolese men, women and even children fuel President Kagame’s jets.  The price that has been paid to carry you and President Kagame around on these planes is too high. There is blood on the wings of those planes.

In 1994, I felt that you, and the rest of the international community, turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to our pleas for help.  As I sheltered the 1,268 people at the Hotel des Milles Collines, I vowed that if we made it out alive, I would never be silent when I saw people being slaughtered.  I cannot be silent today. I cannot stand by and do nothing, say nothing, when I know that President Kagame and his M23 thugs are murdering and looting in the Congo everyday.

Mr. Blair, I call upon you to show the moral leadership that I know you are capable of, and denounce President Kagame and his activities in the Congo.  Call him and ask him to stop these deadly activities. Ask him to stop killing, jailing and exiling the journalists and political leaders in Rwanda. You are one of the few people in the world that he still might listen to, please stop him before more innocent people are slaughtered.

Please do not let your personal friendship with President Kagame stand in the way of your conscience. I know that you did not hear our pleas for help in 1994.  Please listen to them today. You have a special relationship with President Kagame, please use it to save lives. Stop President Kagame.

Peace,

Paul Rusesabagina
Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation

January 16, 2013   1 Comment

No to UNHCR Cessation Clause as Rwandans still have reasons to flee

Scott Erlinder, an American cinematographer, in collaboration with several Rwandan refugees, American experts and UN staff members, has released a short film ‘Stateless’ as part of a campaign to stop the Cessation Clause of the UNHCR that is supposed to be implemented on June 30th 2013.

Rwandan Refugees in Zambia demonstrating

Rwandans in Zambia demonstrating against the Cessation Clause in January 2012

On the website of the film, it states that ‘the UN in agreement with host countries in Africa, will institute the Cessation Clause and with this remove the refugee status or make those who were refugees seeking asylum between 1959 and 1998 stateless people if they will not return to Rwanda after the invocation.’ The producer and those who participated in the 43 minutes film clearly disagree with the UNHCR’s plan and argue that ‘such action would put many at risk at a time when the fundamental, durable and positive changes required to invoke the Cessation Clause have not yet been achieved’, according to their website.

Criticism

Stateless features a range of interviews given by ordinary Rwandans in exile, refugees in African countries as well as residents in European countries and in America.
People such as Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda foundation and Theogene Rudasingwa, former Rwanda ambassador to the US are also interviewed. The interviewees comment on the current situation inside Rwanda and share some of their experiences with the UNHCR’s policies and/or with the Rwandan government.
UN’s staff members such as the former head of the UNHCR in Goma also participate and the film makes widely use of different international reports.
Quotes by individuals who play an important role are frequently added, such as those made by Rwandan president Paul Kagame.
The film is highly critical towards the repatriation policies of the UNHCR and the involvement of different African host countries. ‘The UNHCR has tried to institute the clause four times since 2009, but events on the ground have made them rethink their tactics. The latest date chosen for implementation is June 30th 2013’, states Hetty MacDowell in the voice of the narrator. She continues:

‘On July 23rd 2003, the UNCHR, the Ugandan and Rwandan governments signed an agreement to repatriate the 20 000 refugees living in Uganda. The repatriation agreement failed, considering there could only be repatriated 850 refugees. Between 2004 and 2006 there were continued attempts to send the refugees home but many escaped back to Uganda almost immediately, carrying graphic accounts of their painful experiences’.

Because of a slight contradiction in the Clause, states can misuse it and force refugees to return. ‘The guidelines of the Cessation Clause are vague, in the sense that one part states that no refugee can be forced to return to his or her country, whereas another section states that the cessation clause does not require the consent of or a voluntary act by the refugee [Article 7 of section A, General Considerations]’, according to Hetty MacDowell.
The narrator also questions the ways in which the UNHCR has assessed the different reasons of fleeing Rwanda and the image the UNHCR has portrayed regarding the progress of Rwanda and its current circumstances. Moreover, it is said that refugees repeatedly sent in petitions to appeal the cessation clause, but that each time these have been denied by the Rwandan government.
‘There is a certain profound mismatch between the reality perceived by the refugees, the UNHCR and what Rwandan government claims is true’, declares Hetty MacDowell .

Role of host countries

On their part, host countries such as Zambia and Uganda are said to have done little to integrate their Rwandan refugees but instead are waiting for an opportunity to send them back. In addition, it is suggested that the heavy burden placed on these host countries could be ‘the real reason’ behind the Cessation Clause.
David Kazunga, Ugandan Commissioner of Refugee Affairs argues:

‘The Cessation Clause applies to those who left Rwanda in 1959 because of the politics of the monarchy. Are people in Rwanda still being killed because of the monarchy? The cessation clause applies to the genocide of 1994, people who ran away because of the events of the genocide of 1994. The cessation clause applies to those who ran away because there was insecurity in Rwanda in 1997, 1998. Is it still there? (…) It is an obligation of the government of Uganda, the governments that hold Rwandan refugees together with the UNHCR, to encourage [them] to go back and be part of their national development.’

As for Europe, the film shows that it does not consider Rwanda a safe place to return to and is unlikely to co-operate with the invocation of the Clause. The difference between refugees in Europe and in Africa however, is that those in Africa often face ‘severe restrictions to livelihoods’, such as land or livestock, and many find themselves as illegal migrants, forced to take on precarious jobs. Furthermore, the film recounts several cases of forced and violent repatriations of Rwandan refugees in Africa.
Kazunga comments on the Ugandan incident in 2010: ‘(..) Some are here on their own..(..) A person might lesve to go to a settlement or go to see his brother and continue to stay there. The same [is] with the Rwandans (..) And I think as a government we have the right to say you are not a person fit or deserving to be on our territory and we encourage you to go home.’
Stateless also reports that the Rwandan government has been reluctant to provide refugees abroad with the needed legal documents that could support their demands for a status.

Situation in Rwanda

Rwandan Refugees in Zambia say no to 'cessation clause'

Rwandans in Zambia demonstrating against the Cessation Clause in January 2012

In addition, the situation inside Rwanda is not regarded as safe enough for people to return. The film points out the ongoing human rights violations, emphasizing the imprisonment of independent journalists and members of the opposition, and the suppressive regime of the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
The narrator comments in saying that the approach of the RPF regime towards reconciliation and genocide denial violates several human rights clauses and only gives Rwandans ‘the right to bow their head down and shut up.’
Further questions are raised on the equality issue between Hutu’s and Tutsi’s in Rwanda, challenging the government’s policy of ‘banning ethnicities’ in the country. In using Article 14 of the Rwandan’s Constitution which reads ‘the genocide committed against the Tutsi’, the narrator rightfully asks: ‘If there are no ethnicities anymore, why is this in the constitution? If only Tutsi families are getting help to resettle, what happens to the others?’
The video also shows the striking difference in wealth and modernity between Kigali and the rural areas of the country, and concludes that with the cessation of the Clause, the requirement of rural material security upon return will not be met in Rwanda.

After 1998

‘Invoking the cessation clause assumes that the reasons for a person becoming a refugee no longer exist and that fundamental, endurable changes have occurred in the country. However, the UNHCR admits that refugees who fled the country after 1998 still have a well-founded fear of prosecution, contradicting the idea of these changes’, the film’s narrator said.

Cessation Clause

The Clause deals with Rwandans who fled the country between 1959 and 1998 and is a result of ongoing negotiations between the Ugandan government, the Rwandan government and the UNHCR. Already in 2009 Uganda, Rwanda and the UNHCR stated the retention of Rwandan refugees is no longer justifiable and decided to implement the cessation clause. Thousands of refugees are still living outside Rwanda today, most of them in neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source: Jambonews.net

Link to the website: http://www.stoprwandacessation.org/Home.html

January 15, 2013   1 Comment

Kagame Blames DRC War For Rwanda’s Slow Economic Growth

Paul Kagame

President Paul Kagame has partly blamed the conflict in the DRC for slow economic growth of Rwanda.
“Our economy would have grown even faster had there not been two external mitigating factors. The first is the global economic downturn which had repurcussions on Rwanda’s economy. The second is the consequence of conflict in a neighbouring country that has been blamed on Rwanda when this is not true,” said Kagame while delivering his second annual State of The Nation address at Parliament on Monday.

“We are not the cause of or contributing factor to this conflict, even those who claim this know it. Those who accuse us are actually the cause of the conflict,” said Kagame, possibly referring to the international community.

A rebellion by M23 rebels has left thousands displaced to refugee camps in Rwanda and Uganda.

The M23, formely CNDP, accuse DRC President Joseph Kabila of reneging on his earlier commitment to implement all the clauses in the 2009 peace agreement.

The combatants cite discrimination, poor wages, failure to recognise their ranks, violation of human rights and failure to put in place modern infrastructure such as roads in Eastern Congo by the Kinshasha government as the causes of the rebellion.

However, the west have suspended aid to Rwanda, accusing Kigali of supporting the rebels. President Kagame’s government vehemently denies the charge.

“As you know there is a report based on falsehoods which some of our longtime partners have used as the basis to suspend development aid, in a manner that violates agreed principles of international development partnerships,” observed Kagame.

“I would say that these actions did not come as a surprise because we have known all along, from experiences we have had, that external support does not depend on us and can be stopped at anytime,” he added.

Kagame said the donors don’t even need to have a reason, let alone one based on the truth.

“Our goal must remain to work hard in order to reduce our dependence on aid. What is important is not get discouraged as we move forward towards this objective,” said the President, adding, “Suspension of development assistance may slow down the progress we are making but it should not stop us from doing our best to improve our wellbeing and to lift our citizens out of poverty as we have already done for one million Rwandans in the last five years.”

Kagame detailed his government’s successes in several sectors such as infrastructural development, creation of jobs, population growth control, combating child and maternal mortality rates, and increased Foreign DirectInvestments.

Kagame assured his countrymen that Rwanda is “on the right path; what we need to do now is stay focused on our vision, implement the plans we have made, and never get discouraged in the struggle to take our country and our people forward even in the face of adversity – and I can assure you that we will have challenges.”

He added: “But we have to commit to facing these challenges head on and overcoming them. These obstacles should not discourage but energize us and strengthen our determination.”

Below is Kagame’s State of The Nation address in full.

Distinguished leaders of our country’s high institutions

Members of the Diplomatic Corps and representatives of International Organisations

Distinguished Guests

Fellow Rwandans

Good afternoon to you all.

I am pleased to be here at Parliament for two important reasons: the first is to share with all Rwandans, friends of Rwanda and our partners, where Rwanda stands today. The second is to wish you all a Happy New Year, as is tradition during this period.

I want to begin by thanking every Rwandan who participated in the population census that took place this year. This survey enabled us to determine the number of Rwandans in the country as well as their socio-economic status.

The census will ensure that government planning and the services are more in line with Rwanda’s population. Importantly, the results showed that population growth has decreased from 2.9% in 2002 to 2.6%. This is a clear indication that efforts to slow down population growth have been effective and, if we continue along this path, will ensure that our economy and the wellbeing of Rwandans are not negatively affected.

There is no denying the progress and development our nation continues to make. Various data show that Rwanda’s economy continues to grow.

As we end the year, our economy is predicted to grow by 7.7% mainly as a result of good yields in the service and industry sectors, which increased by 13.5% and 6% respectively in the first three quarters of the year. This is encouraging.

Our economy would have grown even faster had there not been two external mitigating factors. The first is the global economic downturn which had repurcussions on Rwanda’s economy. The second is the consequence of conflict in a neighbouring country that has been blamed on Rwanda when this is not true. We are not the cause of or contributing factor to this conflict, even those who claim this know it. Those who accuse us are actually the cause of the conflict.

As you know there is a report based on falsehoods which some of our longtime partners have used as the basis to suspend development aid, in a manner that violates agreed principles of international development partnerships.

I would say that these actions did not come as a surprise because we have known all along, from experiences we have had, that external support does not depend on us and can be stopped at anytime. They don’t even need to have a reason, let alone one based on the truth. Our goal must remain to work hard in order to reduce our dependence on aid. What is important is not get discouraged as we move forward towards this objective. Suspension of development assistance may slow down the progress we are making but it should not stop us from doing our best to improve our wellbeing and to lift our citizens out of poverty as we have already done for one million Rwandans in the last five years.

There is no doubt that if we continue to work with full commitment, and with the right mindset, to take our country forward and grow our economy, the aid suspension may prove to be a valuable lesson for Rwanda.

The foundation has been laid. In addition to the hard work that has characterised Rwandans this year and in the years before, we have peace, security and good governance in our country. There is much more we have managed to achieve that I will talk about.

The number of banks and their branches continue to grow throughout the country. Cooperatives and SACCOs have also increased in number and proven to be of great value for their members and for the country’s economy in general. It is not just the numbers, the quality of services also continue to improve.

Rwandans accessing financial services increased from 48% in 2008 to 72% this year. In total, banks and other financial institutions have given a total of 440 billion Rwandan francs worth of loans, which marks a major increase from 339 billion of last year. If we maintain and further improve our savings culture and make use of financial services, there is no doubt our economy will grow even more.

In 2012, Rwandan exports grew at 74% while their value increased by 22%. Our imports grew by 29% while their value increased by close to 14%.

Although exports grew, there is still a big deficit, judging by how much we spend on imports. We must therefore increase the size and value of our exports in order to maximize benefits.

INVESTMENTS

Investment in Rwanda, both internal and foreign, has increased this year. In the first three quarters of 2012, investments reached a total of $570 million, compared to $483 million last year. It is encouraging to note that investments are being made in projects that have a direct and positive impact on our economy. These include investments in electricity distribution, international hotels, and Rwandair which connects Rwanda to the rest of the world.

The incentives we have put in place to motivate businesses have contributed in a major way to this growth in investment. This partly explains why Rwanda was ranked first in “Doing Business” in the East African Community and third in Africa.

This year we continued to construct new roads including Kigali-Musanze, Kigali-Gatuna, Rusizi-Rubavu, Ntendezi-Huye, and also rehabilitated others. Big and small towns and trading centers around the country continued to be transformed and renewed. Water and electricity are more widely distributed in the country, although additional efforts are needed to ensure that many more Rwandans are able to access these utilities.

The mining sector continues to play a big role in growing our economy. This year, revenue from mineral resources totaled close to $128 million and is expected to rise which will result in more benefits for Rwandans, including additional employment.

The tourism industry also continued to advance and is now the biggest foreign currency earner. Rwanda’s security and stability attracts visitors keen to see what is being done here and enjoy the country’s various attractions.

By October this year, tourism generated $232 million compared to $204 million last year. It is critical that we strive to provide excellent service and customer care so that visitors to Rwanda leave as good ambassadors who will return and also encourage others to visit.

We should also be encouraged by the progress we have made in advancing Information and Communication Technology. It is now easier than ever to access numerous services, including news and information, send and receive money, get market prices of food stuff both within Rwanda and beyond.

We encourage all Rwandans, especially the youth, to take advantage of available technology as this will add value to our work and lead to increased revenues.

Education

In the social sector, more Rwandans today are enrolled in formal education than in previous years, and more citizens are able to access appropriate health care.

This year, the number of schools at every level, as well as the number of students has increased. In primary school, the number of students increased by 2.3% from 2,341,146 last year to 2,394,674.

In secondary schools, the number of students increased by almost 10%, up from 486,437 last year to 534,712.

The number of students in universities increased by 4% from 73,674 in 2011 to 76,629 this year.

We also launched the 12-Year Basic Education to improve on the 9-Year Basic Education program we already had in place.

Furthermore, we are pleased with the increased number of technical vocational schools established, as well as the number of students, which has risen from 67,919 to 74,320.

These students are acquiring skills that will enable them to work in industries, agriculture and also create their own jobs. We must continue to invest in and build the capacity of these schools so that Rwanda can benefit even more from the skills and knowledge of well-trained and greater numbers of graduates.

We have a duty to encourage Rwandan youth to acquire vocational training because Rwanda’s economy will continue to depend on practical knowledge. But in order to motivate young people, leaders here today as well as parents everywhere must understand the value of vocational training.

We also note the number of international universities that have set up branches in Rwanda, such as Carnegie-Mellon University from the United States. This contributes to high quality education in general and allows Rwandans to access specialised knowledge previously only available abroad.

In the health sector, in 2012 we concentrated on increasing the number of hospitals and skilled medical professionals. You may know about a new program to bring doctors from abroad particularly from renowned American universities and hospitals to build capacity of Rwandan doctors and hospitals.

We reformed the community health insurance scheme so that every Rwandan is now able to access medical care anywhere in the country.

Diseases like malaria that had afflicted Rwandans for a long time, as well as child and maternal mortality continue to reduce significantly. Statistics show that deaths of children under the age of five has fallen from 152 of every 1000 in 2005 to 54. Maternal mortality has dropped from 750 of every 100,000 in 2005 to 134, while the number of deaths caused by malaria reduced greatly, from 54% in 2005 to 6%.

We will continue efforts to fight malnutrition that is often the result of bad mentality and illiteracy. It is not right that our country has attained self sufficiency in food and yet some parts of our country continue to experience malnutrition. We will continue to give our doctors advanced and specialised training as well as continue to manage and fight HIV/AIDS.

In the justice sector, laws continue to be reviewed where it is deemed necessary, based on international best practices. It is in recognition of this development that some international courts are sending back suspects living in their countries who may have committed crimes in Rwanda.

We have reduced the length of sentences and are working to transform prisons into correctional institutions. This initiative has resulted in a reduction in the number of detention facilities and detainees.

The Abunzi system of justice has taken root and citizens play a major role in this program that is based on Rwandan historical tradition. This system has been key in reducing cases that would have otherwise gone to courts of law. We have also established centres for access to justice in every District to provide legal advice to Rwandans.

Gacaca Courts that concluded this year did an outstanding job of delivering reconciliatory justice. These courts provided solutions for huge challenges faced by Rwandans as a result of the genocide. This also is evidence that Rwandans have the capacity to find solutions to challenges that we face, even in the future.

AGACIRO

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rwandans from all walks of life, both in the country and abroad as well as friends of Rwanda for contributing to the Agaciro Development Fund, which we created.

We will continue to work closely with other African nations and beyond in pursuit of long-term stability for our region, as well as work for development and improved wellbeing of all Africans.

We will also continue to offer our contribution to peace and stability in Africa and elsewhere in the world when needed and within our means.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that Rwanda is on the right path; what we need to do now is stay focused on our vision, implement the plans we have made, and never get discouraged in the struggle to take our country and our people forward even in the face of adversity – and I can assure you that we will have challenges. But we have to commit to facing these challenges head on and overcoming them. These obstacles should not discourage but energise us and strengthen our determination.

Let us show our resolve and commitment in this New Year, so that it may be even better than the year that just ended. May our economy grow and may we lift many more Rwandans out of poverty.

Starting with our own plentiful capacities in addition to our energy, let us continue to work for good results. On this, all leaders need to understand that they must be fully involved and committed. I wish to not only remind but also request this again of leaders.

As I said earlier, this is an opportunity to wish all Rwandans and friends of Rwanda a Happy New Year.

May it be a year of abundance and productivity for you all and your families, and may it also be a year of continued joint work to take our country forward to where we deserve to be.

Thank you, have a good evening and God bless you.

Source: Chimpreports.com.

January 1, 2013   No Comments