Kagame’s Speech To Diplomats Did Not Make Any Sense

By David Himbara

General Paul Kagame’s address to Rwanda-based diplomats delivered on January 29, 2020 did not make any sense. Hardly any part of it was coherent. Take a look at the sections of the speech:

On Vision 2020

“The start of this new decade is an important marker for Rwanda in many ways. We are concluding one chapter of our development, Vision 2020, having achieved many of our goals. Along the way, we have gained valuable capabilities and experience for our ambition to transform Rwanda into a high-income economy by 2050. 2050 sounds far away from today, but it’s only thirty years. Like those we have spent close to that, being here since 1994, somewhere in the middle. Now, we still have a long way to go, but there is a good pace.”

On East African Community

“Next month, Rwanda will hand over the chair of the East African Community. East African integration remains a priority. Apparently, leading the East African Community has become more difficult. Even with fewer countries, being the chair of the Community this past year, is more difficult than leading the whole continent, with so many countries. Well, I even find a lot of problems leading my own country, and it is just one country. So leading a community is assumed to be more difficult. Looking back the East African Community has really made good progress over the years. East Africans generally work together, and the East African Community Secretariat has served us well. Freedom of movement of goods and different things has gone well.”

On regional integration

“You know, people talk a lot about integration. Integration has something that relates to borders. So currently we have some difficulties along our border. But looking at it, you would assume it is just the border. No, there is what causes the difficulties at the border. And I think those ones need to be paid more attention to. How did we come to the point where we had difficulties at the border? It’s because of something else. We have to address something else, and by that we will be addressing the difficulties at the border. Even without borders – let’s suppose borders were removed in the East African Community. For Rwanda, we have Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, DRC to the west, Uganda to the north. Let’s assume we removed the borders. By the way, even without borders, you still have neighbours. You know why? Because even within borders, just talking about Rwanda, within, we still have neighbours. Where I live, an hour away by road, I have a neighbour. If you remove the border, the one on this side of the borders becomes a neighbour. Then another becomes a neighbour, and another, and another. Communities will always have neighbours.”

On Rwanda Uganda relations

“Recently the progress is that some of the people who have been held in prison for months or years were released, nine of them. Well, if you add to others released before, maybe you get to twenty, but unfortunately some of them have been dying as they arrive back home. If you do a post-mortem you find they have been tortured very badly. Of the nine just released, a number are in hospitals; the Minister of Health knows about that, they are being looked after. There are clear marks of torture. We get information that some of those who remain there have died. As that is happening, and I am calling it good progress – forget about the other stories of how they have been mistreated – the other side says, you see we have shown a good gesture. Now you must also do something. We say, what? Something that tells Rwandans to start traveling to Uganda. And I asked one of the officials who came to see me and told me that: I can easily say that, make a statement that you released nine people, everything is okay, you can start going to Uganda. I told this official, suppose I start doing that, and the next day and another day more Rwandans are arrested and those still in custody are not released. Are you suggesting I would go tell these Rwandans, you know what, I was deceived. Again stop going there.”

Somebody help – this is not a presidential speech. Kagame needs help.