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President Kagame's remarks at the launch of Crucible of Ages - Essays in honour of Wole Soyinka at 80

Accra, 8 July 2014

Thank you for the invitation to join you today, which was as gratifying as it was unexpected. I have been associated with many things, but never to my knowledge with literary critics.

But I have very good reasons for wanting to pay tribute to Wole Soyinka.

What first comes to my mind is his moral clarity, in particular his firm solidarity with the people of Rwanda. At the height of the genocide in 1994, he wrote:

“All notions of sovereignty with respect to Rwanda should be completely forgotten and we should just go in and stop the killing.”

Truer words were never spoken. The only debate within the international community, was about how quickly the peacekeepers could be removed from Rwanda.

One force alone ignored the order to withdraw: the 456 Ghanaian soldiers under the command of Major-General Henry Kwami Anyidoho. They remained with us, technically illegally, through the darkest moments of our history, and helped save many thousands of lives.

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Women have always merited dignity; liberation polished and shined it

Kigali, 6 July 2014

 

President Kagame today said that Rwandan women have always merited dignity, what the liberation did was only to polish it and let it shine. While addressing hundreds of members of the National Women Council from all over the country who gathered to pay tribute to the Rwanda army for liberating the country and giving women back their dignity, President Kagame drew the analogy of a just extracted pearl covered in mud and dust, that only needs cleaning for it to reflect its true value.

Advising the women to jealously protect their status, President Kagame said no one should accept low expectations:

“We have accepted for the world to have low expectations of us. Deserving respect is a result of your actions, your behaviors. Those who gave their lives for liberation did not do it for the world to define us as inferior to others. It is not about giving dignity to anyone. It is about each of us believing in and giving ourselves our own dignity. Giving ourselves dignity does not mean we are better than others or higher than our institutions or nation.”

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President Kagame leads nation in commemorating 20 years of liberation

Kigali, 4 July 2014

 

President Kagame today led Rwandans around the country in commemorating 20 years of National liberation, during the national celebrations that took place at the Amahoro National Stadium, Remera. The celebrations were also attended by Presidents from the region including Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Salva Kiir of South Sudan and the first Vice President of Burundi, Prosper Bazombanza.

In his address, President Kagame reminisced that on the 4th of July in 1994, the darkest chapter in Rwanda’s history was brought to a close, and lives begun anew. He said that although too much was lost to commemorate that day as a triumph and the liberation struggle is far from over, Rwandans have come far enough in the past twenty years to deserve a moment of sober satisfaction, as they recommit to the journey ahead.

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President Kagame chairs 6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit

Kigali, 3 July 2014

Today President Kagame chaired the 6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit at the Kigali Serena Hotel, attended by Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan. The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn was represented by the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In his opening remarks, President Kagame said there was no better example of liberation in action than the ambitious targets set by East African nations and the work the countries are doing together.

“We all know what success would mean for the citizens of this region – less bureaucracy, better infrastructure, more trade, and ultimately higher incomes for Eastern African families. We have an opportunity to make regional integration concrete in a way never seen before. We need to add a greater dose of urgency and stamina. Each success along the way will generate new challenges to solve.”

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President Kagame, Prime Minister Erna Solberg chair MDG Meeting in Kigali

Kigali, 3 July 2014

President Kagame and Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway today chaired the MDG Advocacy Group Meeting in Kigali for the first time in Africa to discuss progress towards the MDGs with an emphasis on maternal and child health under the theme: “Celebrating success and accelerating action on the Millennium Development Goals for children.”

The meeting aimed at updating on Rwanda’s progress on MDGs, with a focus on maternal and child health. Rwanda has made considerable progress on heath related MDGs, owing to effective and innovative public health policies.

During a joint press conference, President Kagame said if solutions to big problems are found somewhere, they apply anywhere else in the world:

“Rwanda is a small country but despite having gone through the biggest problems, people of Rwanda are not small.”

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