Rwanda’s National Dialogue meeting which is entering its second and final day today has congregated residents of the country and visitors from across the world.
The 13th National Dialogue Council (Umushyikirano) which opened yesterday has brought together senior Government officials, local Government, members of the private sector, diplomats and civil society among other participants.
In his opening speech, President Paul Kagame highlighted the success achieved of Rwandans since the overwhelming 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which left thousands killed and many more wounded and homeless.
President Kagame acknowledged efforts made by Rwandans through making choices and taking charge of their destiny: “Our democracy is stronger because we have continued to define ourselves, and refused to be distracted.”
Speaking about last week’s referendum, the President underpinned the importance of people working together for a better Rwanda as highlighted by the constitution.
“What was at issue has been resolved. Our purpose here in this Umushyikirano is simple: Make sure our actions are guided by what Rwandans have expressed. These are serious matters, and Rwandans demand that we treat them as such. The Rwanda we have today is already more than we dared expect twenty-one short years ago. We know its value, and we the People, as it says in our Constitution, are prepared to safeguard the unique choices and actions that brought this country back to life,” Mr Kagame said.
The future of Rwanda is in staying united
President Kagame called upon Rwandans to stay together and be accountable first and foremost to themselves and endeavor to continue thinking big. He noted that Rwandans are optimistic about a better Rwanda that lies ahead adding that, “it is a privilege and a duty to serve Rwanda, not an entitlement. No individual is there forever, but there is no term limit on values, institutions, and progress.”
He said: “Rwandans are telling us that, as much as we have achieved, this is not as good as it gets. There is an even better Rwanda ahead, and the chance to definitively transform our country must not be squandered through inaction, indecisiveness, or mismanagement.”
Among the people who are attending the dialogue are students from Harvard University who the President met and interacted with. The students, who according to President Kagame’s web page are led by Andy Agaba came to Rwanda to learn practical lessons on how Rwanda has been able to re-build from scratch to a competitive economy after only two decades.
“As an African and East African myself, I was quite interested in learning how Rwanda has managed to achieve what has failed elsewhere. This meeting today with President Kagame provided a good insight into why Rwanda has been able to reach where it is today, “said Andy.
The annual Umushyikirano brings people of Rwanda and other stakeholders together to discuss matters relating to Rwanda’s development in the current year and strategize on the way forward.
According to a document issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the ongoing dialogue “will provide an opportunity for Rwandan’s to learn about the new global goals, integrate them into our own vision and commit to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”