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Kagame Quizzes Gov’t Officials At ‘Umushyikirano’

Rwanda’s 10th National Dialogue, commonly known as ‘Umushyikirano,’ opened Thursday with President Paul Kagame calling for stepped up efforts to ensure the country’s economic self reliance.

Speaking to thousands of guests at the Parliament Building in Kigali, President Kagame said “pushing for self reliance and dignity is good but comes with a cost.”

“Some people want to push you down. But this is something you have to fight for,” said Kagame.

The President said dialogue should aim at uplifting the standards of living of Rwandans.

He further called for the extension of the national dialogue across borders to involve non-Rwandans for the development of Africa.

The National Dialogue brings together representatives of government institutions, private sector, civil society, diplomats and the Diaspora to discuss issues that affect Rwanda.

Observers say the dialogue does not only bridge the gap between government and locals but also mounts pressure on civil servants to deliver to the people’s expectations considering that they are publicly held accountable before the President.

During the function, Infrastructure Ministry officials were grilled by President Kagame after locals complained that the Germany construction company STRABAG had demolished their houses but was yet to compensate them.

Officials quickly accepted their mistake before promising to compensate the locals after verification of their particulars.

Kagame did not spare officials in the Education Ministry after it emerged that they had taken long to offer loans to a teachers’ SACCO.

“When did you receive money for teachers? What is the problem? Is it a problem of lack of money or management?” Kagame wondered.

It was later agreed that teachers get their loans as soon as possible.

 

The President further held to account the Energy Minister for charging a flat power connection rate, describing it as “cheating.”

“You can’t charge the same 500Rwf from the President and someone who can’t afford power. This is unfair. You must change this policy,” said Kagame, a statement that was greeted with applause from the audience.

Prime Minister Habumuremyi promised to study the matter with the view to “change the situation.”

All questions from Rwandans across the world sent through social media platforms Twitter and Facebook were read in Parliament and answered by concerned officials accordingly.

The audience was sent into rib-cracking laughter when some someone from the audience said all Rwandans must give ten percent of their monthly earnings as ‘tithe’ to the country’s embassies abroad to boost the self reliance fund.

Another excited man who claimed being a fashion designer hailed President Kagame for putting in place modern road infrastructure and maintaining the “cleanest city in the world.”

A one Rutayisire from France said his colleagues had donated two cows to ‘one cow for a family’ project.

A one Alphonse from Netherlands said he had constructed schools in Rwanda which he asked government to elevate to University status.

Hard work

On his part, Local Government Minister James Musoni urged Rwandans to work hard and optimally use their resources.

“No one else will do it for us,” said Musoni, adding, “To be self-reliant, we need hard work and a high level of transparency.”

 

While he said Rwanda would not allow “anyone to come here and dictate,” Musoni pointed out that in a bid to consolidate the country’s gains, there was urgent need for stronger ties with “foreign countries to boost investments, trade and security.”

Musoni called for honesty and stepped up fight against corruption.

“We should aim at excellence,” said Musoni.

He said Rwanda had achieved a lot from Umuganda and Agaciro projects.

“One million people have been lifted from poverty. We must strive to fight corruption. Since 2005, Rwanda has been moving closer to Singapore’s rank in fighting corruption.”

He further stated the recent Gallup poll showed 92 percent of Rwandans feel so secure in their country, rubbishing reports that his countrymen live in fear of their government.

He emphasized political independence and food security were pivotal in the struggle for self reliance.

The Minister observed that self reliance mechanisms that involve cooperation with others must be based on “mutual respect.”

“Self reliance is the ability to depend on oneself to solve local problem without external support. Rwandans must first be angry with themselves to fight for self reliance,” he added.

Prime Minister Habumuremyi said the last 9th National Dialogue resolutions were implemented up to 90 percent.

He cited Kigali City Council and District Council revising their land renting prices, the launch of Agaciro Development Fund which has seen donations of 25bn Rwf, improving milk production and recovering money from bankruptMicrofinance institutions among others.

Chimpreports.com-Uganda News|

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