Not So Much Noise In Rwanda, Says President Kagame
Nairobi: For Kenyan leaders politicking yet elections are three years away thereby wasting essential time that could be for development, President Paul Kagame says Rwanda is way past that stage, RNA reports.
Making a contribution to the discussion on politics and development at the Nation Media Group conference in Nairobi, Mr. Kagame said there was not “much noise” in Rwanda despite the nearing elections set for August “because we have made our noise so much in the past but had to cool down”.
After years of too much politicking that resulted in killings in Rwanda, he said, his country was now down to serious business.
“This means we have learnt our lessons from the tragedies of our history and have moved on to ensure the people of Rwanda, leaders, civil society and other members discuss and understand what went wrong,” he said.
Kenya is still recovering from devastating post election violence in 2008, but even with another election three years away, the power-sharing government is locked in bitter exchanges over who has authority.
For the Thursday afternoon session of the major conference, it was also dedicated to how Africa can be moved towards a united continent. President Kagame was joined by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
At the same forum, former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa revealed that during his time in office, he was known to prefer interviews with foreign rather than local journalists.
And Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai warned that lack of visionary leadership was Africa’s bane.
The four were speaking during a unique Eminent Persons Round Table on the opening day of the Pan Africa Media Conference.
President Kagame, who termed his own views as radical compared to other members of the panel, warned African governments to stop dreaming and move to practical implementation of their strategies for development.
“Leaders need to move away from drawing board rhetoric and do things that give us results. You can have a vision and remain on paper as a vision,” he said.
“It is illogical to always refer to the vision of the continent’s forefathers and talk about integration without implementing plans,” he told an audience that also included Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and The Aga Khan, Nation Media Group’s founder.
Though Rwanda is still putting the pieces together from the 1994 genocide, President Kagame said, is implementing a vision which hopes to transform it into a middle income country by 2020 with a per capita income of $1,000.
Already, President Kagame said, the country had achieved a per capita of $500, up from $190, adding that his government had invested a huge amount of resources in infrastructure, education, health, and agriculture despite its limitations.
On the discussion over how to solidify a country’s development, President Kagame said Rwanda had spent the past 16 years building institutions that would outlive individuals who caused serious problems in its history.
He called on African politicians, the civil society and media to make Pan Africanism and regional integration work.