During the closed event, participants were served a variety of traditional Rwandan dishes which, unfortunately, caused digestive issues for many. Numerous complaints of stomach discomfort and, in some cases, severe diarrhea were reported to Robert Rukikira, the Guild President of Mount Kigali University Rwanda (MKUR), by the students who were present.
One student, Abraham Famanou from MKUR, shared, "My stomach hurts. I didn’t sleep the whole night."
Rukikira reached out to participants from other youth organizations who had attended the event, and it became apparent that this issue was widespread.
He then contacted a representative from the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) to address the matter. President Kagame was also informed about the situation and acknowledged the problem on August 25th, while concluding the 13th Indangamirwa civic education training in Nkumba, Burera District.
Food poisoning is characterized by illnesses resulting from the consumption of contaminated food or beverages containing harmful microorganisms. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
In response to these developments, Kagame inquired about the quality of the food provided to the youth. He emphasized the importance of properly preparing food with utmost hygiene. He expressed his awareness of the foodborne illness cases among YouthConnekt participants and stressed the need for thorough follow-ups on food supplies.
Given the severity of the situation, Kagame demanded swift action to hold the hotel accountable for serving contaminated food to the participants.
Minister of Youth, Dr. Jean Nepo Abdallah Utumatwishima, admitted to mistakes in overseeing food quality and noted that corrective measures were not adequately pursued by relevant authorities.
Kagame emphasized the significance of executing tasks with precision and excellence. He advocated for a cultural shift towards perfectionism and high standards, regardless of resource constraints.
Kagame’s critique of subpar services within the hospitality industry, which could tarnish the nation’s reputation, is not unprecedented. His addressing of this issue provides reassurance to the event’s attendees that the food-related problems were unintentional. Instead, they call for action to prevent similar incidents in the future.