President Paul Kagame’s full speech after the swearing in of newly elected MPs

On 19 September 2018 at 07:26

We have gathered here in 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 sacrificing themselves 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 activity 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, as 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 sectors 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. However, 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 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 time would have its scale. I want us to increase the momentum and step to follow up on those who are in charge of the actions related to developing our country and Rwandans in order to check out and know whether they are doing the way they should be done.

Then, those who do not fulfill their responsibilities should be held accountable. Those who do not fulfill their responsibilities in terms of developing our country and citizens should strictly be held accountable.

So, I request this new chamber of parliament to strive to collaborate, follow up on all those and make use of them to make the right step forward. Yes, it has been done but what I want to reiterate here is that it is not enough. Often, we have the capacity to deal with those that are not enough so that they are done or ought to have been done.

However, most things are messed up in between institutions or leaders. Those are leaders from all levels; government, parliament. I will therefore follow up on them and see whether they fulfill their responsibilities. Matters that have to do with outreach programs and capacity. In the meantime, those in charge of doing those things should make them their own. That is what I think should be done, but we will follow up on them much more.

Now that I am saying it, I have before me a long list of things that can be done, the capacity available, but are not done the right way. That will not just happen and go. Let me give you an example to make it clear. This has been repeated throughout this parliament and previous ones saying that a certain institution was given every capacity whether it is in terms of materials to do whatever they wanted to in order to benefit the citizens. There is an auditor general who is always here and you have made him mad because he always come and show you what things look like. He shows you figures in which what was inputted is not what comes out of it. The auditor even mentions institutions, and names of people as well as the number of what they wasted.

This is an example of the things that should be improved on and changed. 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 that 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 responsible and you will tell us where you put them.

First, we will show it to you as it is, because we do not to make wrong accusations against anyone. You will also confess that you delivered on them by 25 per cent. At that time, we will ask you the whereabouts of 75 per cent. Telling us that you just do not know is not enough. I myself think that we should search if you are not willing to tell us so. We will keep on searching and following up until we know what you possess in your own names or what you have written under other people’s names.

We will restore 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 so looting it. This is because they have people outside the country to host them. The countries that we partner with, which also help us with development have a political system that is structured in the way I can’t change, but I will change what is here.

They even host anyone whether it is those that have committed theft, causing problems to Rwandans by taking all the wealth. Then when they arrive there, it is said that they are being prosecuted for political grounds. So, they warmly welcome them. However, they have become suspicious these days. It is not enough that someone goes and says that they are just fleeing the political turmoil in their country and they just host them.

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 starting from that political system I told you. In the governance our country, we should be cautious and choose what is important for us and do so, without harming others even those who are not Rwandans. Our political system is to mind our own business not to mind other people’s business.

We have become familiar with that kind of political system whereby those who have stolen or made other mistakes are out there talking about political issues in their countries. So, they are hosted but they should know that they cause problems to their hosts and to Rwandans in general as well. 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.

Recently, when 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 said it was because of the pressure. Which pressure here? In Rwanda, it is not pressure we respond to, it is our own thoughts. Where this country comes from has taught us that we must refuse to be a submissive people. If you keep on saying so, you will find yourself back in jail.

If you want us to show you that it is not from pressure but critical thinking, you will find yourself back there or find yourself abroad wandering since you will do nothing else there. We took lessons from where Rwanda came from that makes us resistant to those who want to destabilize us.

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. Even the lessons all over the world show us that working in harmony and searching for the common interests is the only thing we can use.

Regarding differences in wealth and capacity where someone thinks that they can do anything to you because they have something more than you, it is no longer applicable. Especially, because we have had suffered so much that we no longer suffer from that. 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 width of the responsibility that they have. Keep in mind that we do according to the whole country. We first examine ourselves and correct our mistakes in order to do what we should be doing. The rest, we should 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 as well as the reason. 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. We need to hold ourselves back from there. 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 targets, 30 years from 2020 you start this parliament with that vision ahead of us. So, we must work towards that vision and our unity as Rwandans because that 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 start from and leave others to mind their business. But let us start from there because if we don’t we will not get any more 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 all that can shake us from our journey from wherever. I wish everyone good health and work.