Kagame made the revelation on Thursday 16th September 2021 as he virtually attended the ‘Stern Stewart Institute Summit’ where he spoke on transformation and leadership in Africa in a conversation moderated by John Defterios, CNN Business Emerging Markets Editor and Anchor.
Kagame said that leadership should be perceived as the relationship between leaders and citizens which is a crucial aspect leading to great achievements.
“First, leadership has to be understood in terms of the relationship between leaders and citizens. It is not just about the characteristics of the individual who happens to be a leader,” he noted.
Kagame explained that there are two specific things to be considered in leadership which include trust that people have that the leadership is working in the best interests of the country and a mechanism for being accountable for delivering the results that citizens expect and deserve.
The President further stated that people often judge leaders considering circumstances under which they took and quit power yet there are other key considerations to take stock of.
“Too often, the legitimacy of leaders is judged by the process through which they arrived in office or their manner of leaving office. What happens in between is given less attention. And yet, the good or bad results that leaders actually deliver on the ground are how citizens judge them. So you often find a mismatch between internal and external perceptions of the performance of various leaders,” he said.
Kagame also stressed the need for leaders to put citizens’ interests at the forefront if they are to deliver on expectations.
“A leadership that consistently delivers tangible results for the well-being of citizens is going to be resilient and successful,” he affirmed.
Kagame said that Rwanda attaches great relevance to citizens’ participation to promote inclusive leadership and development.
“The second and final thought I have is the importance of changing mindsets. Leaders cannot lead countries alone. They can only set the tempo and raise the level of ambition by involving the public directly. This is a key reason why, in Rwanda, we spend a great deal of time investing in, and engaging with young people. The goal is to make them more self-reliant, confident, and innovative than previous generations. Otherwise, there is no way to secure the gains that our country has made in the past 27 years,” he noted.