Kagame was speaking Thursday at the RPF Congress in Kigali ahead of 30th Anniversary celebrations slated on Saturday.
Congratulating RPF members on the 30th Anniversary, Kagame said that it is a milestone not only of years but of efforts that changed the course of history of Rwanda as well as the character.
He said RPF emerged as a response to Rwanda’s serious problems caused by bad politics. These problems, he said, include a divided country with no direction, where citizens’ rights were abused, deprived of dignity and security.
“To change the situation, commitment and great sacrifice were required. It also took ideological clarity corresponding with actions and behavior,” he said.
He said liberation meant facing new challenges including resistance to change, to learning and a sense of entitlement from those who thought the country owed them something.
Kagame said during the struggle, some people got astray, put personal interests above the core values of the RPF and accepted to be used by external forces who never wanted RPF to move forward and be who they must be.
“Knowing their weaknesses, external forces used praises, they told them they were better than the ones they fought with, better than their fellow Rwandans and they went from being leaders to being tools of external forces,” he explained.
For Africans with no pride and no dignity, Kagame said, the promise of citizenship in a foreign country was enough.
“When their plans failed, they were satisfied with being taken to a foreign country to become security guards at a bank or at a store,” he said.
“They failed to see that when you are a tool of external forces, no one will stand by you when you are no longer useful and that is what happened when they were faced with failure,” he said.
Kagame said they cannot let these challenges deter the party from the goals they have set.
“Our citizens expect us to succeed. To deliver on development, for their children to go to school, for citizens to earn a livelihood, we cannot afford to fail our citizens,” Kagame noted.
He said they have to ask themselves what example they are setting for the youth, adding that their legacy to youth should be about how they build the country and forge the identity as Rwandans.
“As cadres of RPF-Inkotanyi, we should not be bragging about what others can learn from us. That is not who we are or the values we stand for. Let us focus on the many challenges we still face and solve them,” he urged.
“You have to think of yourself as a leader who puts those you serve first, a leader who thinks about how to work with their peers. Not leaders who put themselves first. Those are not our values,” he added.
He said anything they accomplish is meaningless if they do not have the right values guiding them.
“What we are celebrating today are the achievements of a generation. But we cannot be short sighted. We must think of what we can do today to benefit the generations to come. All the challenges we have faced, and the milestones we have reached, they should all serve as lessons that we should use to move forward,” Kagame urged RPF Cadres.
Speaking about external threats, Kagame said “the power to protect what we have achieved, who we are and what we stand for is within us.”
Back to the liberation struggle, Kagame said when the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) commander tried to tell former Rwanda Patriotic Army not to fight because the French had superior weapons, he gave him two messages to deliver: ‘Tell them there is no greater death than accepting what is happening now. Tell them they are human beings who bleed like we do’.