Kagame’s Tough Speech To New MPs



Loosely translated from Kinyarwanda by Taarifa team.

“We have gathered here at the ceremony to receive the oaths of newly elected members of the parliament, chamber of deputies.

First of all, I would like thank all of them for their commitment and for the oaths they just took. I also thank you all for accepting to be our messengers and speakers.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all Rwandans for the good exercise we recently carried out which was done transparently, peacefully and freely.

So deputies, you are going to start assuming your responsibilities. Meeting here is not just a custom or ceremony. It is instead a determination that we are going to do the very job.

Rwandans hope that you will serve them, communicate their wishes and help them develop our country as we, Rwandans, wish it to be.

You have a big role to play together with all of us. This 4th chamber has something unique. Many of you are new, so use your energy, thoughts and action to raise this chamber to another level in terms of building our country.

You also have a starting point in that journey of actions that you are going to undertake. You are building on what others have done for the past 24 years.

You have been also in the same activities in other domains other than this one. Every mandate should show where we are as a country. As we have seen it in the oaths, elections outcome, there are new people on board. Those new ones may be from RPF, PL or PSD.

However, those names and the others I did not mention belong to the parties already in the parliament.

We have also seen new parties in the parliament. All those things are new and different and they show the level of our country and its reconstruction process.

We have Green Party, PS Imberakuri and others that are new in the parliament unlike the other parties that are already in the parliament.

They will still do what they did elsewhere in the parliament. That is another step we ought to continue building upon. The time that you took seeking votes in different parts of the country, you met with Rwandans. The same way you met, reached them seeking votes from everywhere even so keep approaching them and collaborate to solve their problems as the parliament.

During that time, you will have other responsibilities. You are not the only ones that should be close to them to listen to and collaborate with them. Instead, among other responsibilities, you have to follow up government’s actions.

Please reach out to them and follow up whether the government delivers on its responsibilities. That is the responsibility you have to fulfill that but it often does not happen.

Every phase has its scale. I want us to increase the momentum and a step further follow up on those whose mandate is to play a role in developing our country and Rwandans we serve in order to examine whether duties are fulfilled, doing it the way it should be done and then question those who can’t deliver. We shouldn’t walk-by, they should be held accountable.

I appeal to the new parliament the need to work together, follow up and deliver accordingly.

It has been done and it is being do, but I can categorically state here that it is not enough.

Often, we have the capacity to deliver on services with meager resources.

However, most things get messed up in between institutions and leaders from all levels; government, parliament.

I will request, not just requesting, but entirely out of a sheer culture to request, otherwise I follow up to see if your duties are fulfilled.

There is decentralisation and allocation of resources, thus those responsible should own them. We will put more effort, but there should be further follow up.

I say this with a long list of issues.

Resources are usually allocated but nothing gets done for the citizens as planned. It won’t just go unnoticed.

Let me give you an example to make it clear. This has been repeated over and over in this parliament where a certain institution is given whatever they wanted in order to deliver to the citizens. The auditor general who is always and fooled around here while showing you how things look like. He shows you figures. Inputs never match outputs.

The auditor even mentions institutions and names of people as well as the numbers indicating what they wasted.

I want to point out examples.

If you are leader in a given institution and you were given the responsibility as well as the capacity to fulfill it then the auditor general comes and shows us what was achieved and what should be achieved is like 25%, nobody knows where others went. I want us to make it clearer that we will hold you accountable and you will tell us where you put the rest.

First, we will show you the evidence, because we do not to make wrong allegations against anyone. You will also confess that you delivered by 25%.

Then, we will ask you to account for 75%. Telling us that you just do not know is not enough.  We have ways to find out even when you are not willing to tell us . We will keep on searching until we know what you possess in your own names or what you have written under other people’s names. We will recover them, but while doing so we will keep you somewhere.

In the world we live in, and in Rwanda particularly, those ones decide to flee the country after looting.

They have countries, our development partners, who host them. They welcome them even after looting rwandans. They go claiming they are fleeing from political persecution. Those countries have their system that is structured in the way I can’t change, but I will change what is here.

However, they have become suspicious these days. It is not enough that someone goes and says that they are just fleeing. Even when they host you, they do not have a lot to give you. They don’t even have a lot to dictate to us.

In our governance system, we should be cautious and choose what is important for us and do so, without harming others even those who are not Rwandans.

Our politics is to mind our own business not to mind other people’s business. We have become familiar with that kind of politics whereby those who have stolen or made other mistakes are out there talking about political issues in their countries.

Host countries should know that they cause problems to their hosts and to Rwandans. After they had taught you that they would host you in case of anything because they will do it in the name of someone who wants to see a change here in Rwanda. In Rwanda things will change according to they way we want them to, not according to how others wish.

Recently, as usual, because it is not the first time as a way to solve those problems, we have mercy, not mercy as such but as a way to solve problems. If we did not give clemency, how many people would still be in prison? We would still have hundreds of thousands in jail because that is where they should be. But to build our country, we made the decision to rehabilitate our citizens and enable them to contribute to our country.

The other day, we released people, including the political stars as from outside the country, that it is how we do it, it is not for the first time. But some people were saying that they did not and cannot ask for forgiveness but because of pressure. Which pressure, here? In Rwanda, it is not pressure we respond to, it is our own thoughts. If you continue going by that mentality,  you will find yourself back in jail or you find yourself languishing out there because you won’t find what to do there. Where this country has come from has taught us that we must refuse to be a submissive.
So, you should be humble and get along well with others and work well. This is what our country wishes. We want to cooperate with others well. We even need lessons from all over the world. Being wealthier and stronger and wanting to shovel things down our throat is no longer applicable, especially that we have swallowed enough that we feel numb. It is not possible. We are willing to live at peace with those who are so willing, benefit mutually and develop.

So, I would like to share with this parliament, the broader responsibility you have. Keep in mind that we work in the broader view of the country. We first examine ourselves and correct our mistakes in order to do what we should be doing. The rest, we can listen carefully for someone who has a different opinion. If we think that it is worthwhile, we will take it or tell them if it is not worth considering and the reasons why. If they become aggressive, we will also tell them that we can also be aggressive if it is necessary. This is not particular for Rwanda; it is how it should be done elsewhere.

Even Africa our continent that suffered for countless years longs for that; to get out of the mess. Even the weak have gradually found where to get strength. What strengthens us all is that cooperation, complementarity and mutual kindness.
The vision that our country envisions, 30 years from 2020 as you begin this parliament with that vision ahead of us; we must work towards that vision and our uniqueness as Rwandans because helps us. It has helped us for the past 20 years and it will continue so doing for 30 years from 2020. It is like those Christians who get filled with the Holy Spirit. That is the spirit we should begin with and leave others to mind their business. But let us start from there because if we don’t, we will not get any spirit.
So, dignitaries, deputies, those who are new, all institutions of our country, let me conclude by thanking you for the collaboration you have manifested. I also remind you that that cooperation should start from home as Rwanda. We must do everything possible that promotes, strengthens and makes us immune to anything that can shakes and knock us from our journey.

I wish everyone good health and good work.”