This decade could be the worst for the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front party’s communication and branding strategists.
In December last year when the party was celebrating 30 years since its establishment, the party Chairman and head of state, President Paul Kagame surprised cadres when he blasted them for exhibiting and entrenching a useless braggart language and character.
Kagame who had at several other events warned against this behaviour, was this time determined to completely root out this among the Party leadership, cadres and members.
Days prior to the main event of this celebration, the party first held two sessions including one for the Youth wing and another for the Women’s wing. President Kagame would only attend the final event.
“Recently I was not here during the meetings you held. But I was following via television. I can tell you who said what, what was asked and those who talked too much including those that were stopped…,” Kagame said amidst loud applause.
However, Kagame seemed very furious with the cadres inside the multi-million dollar complex that closely listened to the party chairman who carefully chose his words and spoke while gesturing with his hands.
“Let me repeat one thing that I request. But …let me hope…it is the last time. I kept noticing a manner of talking among you. People would talk, talk and talk. In other words people were not saying anything but talking about themselves,” the irritated Kagame cautioned.
“The young talk, the old talk all saying that people, nations come to learn from us. When I hear such I feel something (..gestured with irritation). What kind of talk is that among party members and cadres?” an irritated Kagame wondered.
At this moment, the entire conference hall with more than 2500 cadres had grounded to total silence as cadres crossed their arms on their chests with minimal blinking. The party cadres had been ambushed.
The cadres seemed very terrified because the president’s words contradicted what they had been doing all along- singing praise to party achievements and most importantly teaching the young party members the praise talk.
“In English there is a word called ‘Bragging’. You are bragging about what? We have many challenges why don’t you let us first fix them?,” Kagame asked the cadres.
Kagame counseled that if people from other countries come to learn from us, “let them come. But why do you go talking about it? What sort of culture is that?,” he said adding that he kept listening to these sessions and at some point felt like switching off his TV.
“When you ask some cadres what other nations should come to learn from us, you realize they don’t know much about Rwanda and can’t even speak Kinyarwanda,” the party chairman said.
“There is no reason why you should talk like this. In fact such talk discredits you. Why waste your time and what is this language,” the seemingly irritated Kagame said and also emphasized this in Swahili “Ni luga gani?”
Kagame told the party leaders, cadres and members to remember very well this is the third time he was telling them this. “This is not the kind of language normal people should be using. It should stop.”
For Kagame this whole energy of bragging to others should be diverted and used to build the country and “solve challenges are facing. Let me hope this is the last time am requesting you to stop this because it’s of no value.”