President Kagame’s remarks came days after some Rwandans living abroad were spreading rumors that the Rwandan president was ill and may be dead.
Though the news was not given much value in Rwanda, it has continued to confuse minds among anti-government activists living abroad.
In an interview with the RBA on Sunday, President Kagame was asked if he had seen these reports saying that his health was deteriorating, and how social media could be used to prevent such rumors.
President Kagame said he heard news of his death too but did not give them much value.
“I found out recently, not only did they say my life was in bad shape but that I was no more. It’s too much. There is a proverb that says, ‘urucira mukaso, rugatwara nyoko’ (you wish death to your step-mother and it takes your mother instead)
[He laughed] I hope we don’t miss a lot of mothers because of these people spreading such things but life is life, even those saying that, I don’t know how long they will live on Earth, but even if they live for a hundred years, that hundred years will come to an end.”
At the forefront of spreading these rumors is Father Nahimana Thomas, who has been widely renowned for his negative criticism of the Rwandan government.
President Kagame said people should know how to analyze the authenticity of information they get from social media. He also warned Nahimana that he might find himself arrested for what all the falsehoods he keeps on spreading.
“What I would say to young people and other people is to know how to analyze, they should use social media to learn, talk to people, give information as they want but include an analysis, find out what can be posted on social media […] whether that priest or someone else, people live their lives; we cannot prevent bad people from living badly in such a way but you can distinguish what is good from what is bad; it will be useful.”
In addition, President Kagame said social media is usually a good way to get people to know what’s going on elsewhere. However, he said, there were those that abuse those platforms, so there was a need to find ways to prevent this misuse and instead promote its benefits.