President Kagame Advocates for Self-Determination at the 29th National Prayer Breakfast in Kigali

Kigali, January 14, 2024 – President Kagame joined hundreds of leaders at the Kigali Convention Centre for the 29th National Prayer Breakfast. This event, organized by the Rwanda Leaders Fellowship under the theme “Serving God’s People for Lasting Change,” gathered notables from the private sector, civil society, the faith sector, government officials, and international guests. Rev. Dr. Goodwill Shana, Founder and Senior Pastor of Word of Life International Ministries, delivered the day’s sermon.

Emphasizing self-reliance and rejecting global inequality, President Kagame highlighted the importance of making conscious choices for Rwanda’s development. He stressed the convergence of faith, religion, and politics in their common purpose: to serve people and build nations. Kagame urged leaders to unite, make informed choices for the country, and underscored the significance of peace, strength, collaboration, and mutual respect.

Addressing the challenges faced by countries in the Global South, President Kagame remarked, “It’s not a problem caused by God, but by us. God did His part; we squandered what was given to us.” He attributed the poverty in the Global South and the wealth in the Global North to their respective uses of divine gifts.

Reflecting on Rwanda’s journey, Kagame said, “No one, from anywhere in the world, can decide Rwanda’s path or destiny, except Rwandans themselves.” He emphasized the nation’s right to self-determination and autonomy in decision-making.

Kagame also spoke on faith, viewing it as a source of strength and guidance in making the best choices for oneself, while rejecting external imposition and dominance. He affirmed the equality of all people before God and the necessity of living by this principle.

Addressing perceived external judgments, Kagame stated, “When this nation was on fire, it was left alone. Now, we insist on making our own decisions about how to live our lives.” He welcomed differing opinions for constructive dialogue but rejected any form of external dominance or superiority.

Observers and experts on Rwanda and the Great Lakes region believe Kagame’s words are directed at the international community and human rights organizations that accuse him of human rights violations and political repression. These concerns include imprisoned journalists, alleged political assassinations, and Rwanda’s aggressive policies towards neighboring countries, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo, where, according to United Nations experts, Rwandan soldiers are extensively supporting M23 rebels.

The Rwandan opposition labels Kagame as a dictator who has monopolized power for 30 years. They criticize his rhetoric as hypocritical, citing human rights reports and the lack of democracy, evidenced by the imprisonment of presidential rivals and Kagame’s overwhelming electoral victories.