Kagame’s call to self-determination: A Reflection on values, democracy, and Rwanda’s unique path

By Esther Muhozi
On 24 January 2024 at 07:49

President Paul Kagame delivered a message to those interested in imparting democratic values to nations while grappling with their own challenges. This statement was made during the inauguration of the National Dialogue Council at Kigali Convention Center on January 23, 2024.

The President urged Rwandans to take initiative and actively pursue their aspirations instead of relying on external sources to grant them their desires, emphasizing that such gifts are short-lived.

Kagame asserted, "There’s no room for excuses; stand up and fight for your aspirations. Waiting for others to hand it to you is futile. Rwandans have learned the lesson that you must fight for what you want; it cannot be given to you by someone else."

Drawing an analogy, he likened depending on others to receiving anesthesia, a temporary relief that wears off, necessitating a return to the source.

Kagame explained, "Depending on others is like anesthesia. It numbs the pain temporarily, but once it wears off, you revert to your original state. Don’t let others dictate your values; instead, fight for them."

President Kagame highlighted that such dependence sets people back, questioning the true essence of imposed values. He challenged the audience, particularly the youth, to confront these notions if they wish to avoid regressing in history.

Asserting the fallibility of those intending to teach Rwandans values, Kagame emphasized that they lack divine power and face their own set of challenges. He questioned the legitimacy of individuals instructing others on values they have failed to uphold, criticizing the tendency to attribute problems to the beauty of democracy.

Furthermore, Kagame stressed that Rwandans should not conform to external expectations but rather define their path. He discouraged adopting a beggar mentality and emphasized that Rwanda’s potential lies within, emphasizing the need for determination and proactive behavior.