President Paul Kagame has been sworn in as President of the Republic during a ceremony attended by over 20 Heads of State and Government and spectators from all corners of the word and the country.
In his inaugural address, Kagame recognized friends of Rwanda from around the world who he said have been standing alongside Rwandans and kept Rwanda in their hearts and worked hard to advance it.
“I want to acknowledge the leaders and members of the eight other political parties who joined with the Rwandan Patriotic Front to nominate me as their candidate,” he said. “For twenty-three years, we have collaborated closely and with deep mutual respect to repair the social fabric of our devastated nation and bring us to where we are today. I also congratulate the two other candidates who brought their message directly to our citizens. Together we created a positive environment where no vote was cast against anyone, but rather all were cast for Rwanda. If we always succeed in rallying so strongly around the ideas and the leadership that work best for all of us, it would be a very good thing. This approach is not merely a stepping-stone away from our moment of tragedy. This is who we are. It is our ideal for this time, and all the time.”
The President particularly highlighted the enthusiasm and emotion expressed throughout the campaign, which he said are rooted in Rwanda’s realities.
“Every attempt that was made, whether from within and especially from outside, to denigrate the process and glorify the old politics of division, only made Rwandans more defiant and more determined to express ourselves through the vote,” he remarked. “All along, we have had to fight to protect our right to do what is best for us, and we will, without any doubt, continue to do so. In this regard, Rwanda is not an exception. Every African country has to contend with efforts to force us to live on someone else’s terms. They demand that we replace systems that are working well for us with dogmas in which their own people are rapidly losing faith.”
Kagame pointed out that there is no single model for nation-building and that at the root of any success are good choices, built on a mindset which he summarised in three words: Do It Yourself.
“That is what we have done in Rwanda, and it is all any country needs to do to bring everyone together to chart a path into the future. To that end, we in Rwanda will continue to be firm believers in real partnership and cooperation with friends around the world, which has benefited us a great deal and which we deeply appreciate,” he said.
He called on Africans to work together more closely because the governance and prosperity of Africa cannot be outsourced.
“Let’s build on the reform spirit that has taken root in the African Union, and indeed in every African country, to quickly deliver the results that our people expect and have been waiting for,” he said.