by Ivan R. MUGISHA,
Photo: President Kagame addresses participants at the Kenya Governors’ Summit organised by the Nation Media Group in Naivasha, Kenya, yesterday. Kagame urged African leaders to do more for the common citizens than to talk. ((Source: The New Times/ Village Urugwiro)
President Paul Kagame has said Africans and their leaders need to work hard to ensure the continent’s rightful place on the global stage.
He was speaking yesterday in Naivasha, Kenya at an event dubbed the ‘Governors’ Summit’ organised by the Nation Media Group-an occasion that gave the country’s governors an opportunity to take stock of the last eight months they have been in power under a devolved governance system.
The President said for Africans to claim their rightful place on matters that concern the continent and the world at large, they need to spend more time on actions than words.
“People speak of the African renaissance or Africa Rising – all these mean a lot and I want to believe them. But I ask myself hard questions, like why wasn’t the previous one Africa’s century? What stopped Africa from claiming its rightful place during past periods?” he posed.
The Rwandan leader added: “There are more meaningful things to be done than to be said. We need to do more; be honest with ourselves, and have the courage to face our challenges upfront.
“We have to make sure we fulfill the hope Africans have for our continent.”
Kagame hailed the East African Community (EAC), for placing the interests of its citizens right at the heart of the regional integration agenda.
But he urged regional leaders to do more.
“The overwhelming positive reaction from our citizens in this framework of cooperation is proof that we have common aspirations that transcend our individual countries. The people of East Africa want to trade together and to get opportunities that come with strengthening regional collaboration. It is up to the leaders to find ways to deliver on these expectations.”
Kagame said that leaders in the region had a duty to be accountable to individuals beyond their respective borders in order to enhance EAC integration process.
Kagame shared Rwanda’s governance and decentralisation experience following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and encouraged Kenya’s county government to place more emphasis on homegrown solutions that prioritise the wellbeing and aspirations of the people of Kenya.
He said interventions that respond to the unique situations of a country and the needs of its people deliver development visions faster.
Kagame also took questions in an interactive question-and-answer session which touched on his personal journey into top leadership positions and how Rwanda managed to forge ahead after suffering from the most brutal genocide in recorded history – the infamous 100 days of slaughter that claimed the lives of more than a million people.
“Together with the rest of East Africa, Rwanda stands with Kenya as you embark on the important work of implementing a governance framework that will deliver to your citizens,” Kagame told the governors and other participants.
Kagame added: “This new beginning should be a unique opportunity to use your own homegrown solutions to achieve and sustain the goals of your respective counties and ultimately to attain your national vision.”
The President said although each country is unique in its own way, African governments shared common aspirations and challenges, which provide an opportunity to learn from each other.
“We can adopt and adapt beneficial practices and sidestep pitfalls to guarantee the wellbeing of our people and build successful nations. To begin with, it is up to us to put in place a leadership and governance that is based on local needs and is people centered. This is the first step in fostering community prosperity, which in turn will create confident and self-reliant nations,” he explained.
Drawing from Rwanda’s home-based initiatives like Umuganda (monthly community service), the Rwandan leader urged Kenyan governors to devise cost effective schemes that involve citizens in nation building.
For example, he said, if you don’t need donors to keep a clean house then you don’t need any to keep a clean country. “In the business of government, there isn’t anything that doesn’t involve citizens. We continue to learn that sustained frank dialogue between leaders and citizens at all levels, is the only way national goals can be achieved, even with limited material resources.”
“Failure to respond to the needs of our people will inevitably result in stagnation, instability and, eventually, jeopardise sovereignty – but we have the ability to prevent such outcomes.”
Other speakers at the forum included Isaac Ruto, Governor of Bomet and Chair of the Kenya Governors’ Council, Philip Kinisu, Chairman Governance Board, PwC Africa, Linus Gitahi, Group CEO, Nation Media Group, and Prof. Olive Mugenda, Vice Chancellor, Kenyatta University.
Kenya swore in 47 elected county governors in a new government structure in March last year. The structure is provided for under the new 2010 constitution.
The county governments are expected to decentralise service provision and resource distribution and to involve citizens’ participation in government affairs.
Source: The New Times
Work With the People, Kagame Tells Leaders
by Francis MUREITHI, 21.1.2014, The Star
Rwanda President Paul Kagame has asked governors from the 47 counties to involve locals in deciding on new policies. Kagame told the governors to embrace consultations with the locals and involve them in any measure taken to address the challenges facing the counties… read more
RWANDA FOCUS (Kigali)
by Kenneth AGUTAMBA 01. July 2013
Photo: Presidents Kenyatta and Kagame shake hands, while President Yoweri Museveni looks on. (Source: The Monitor)
Call it an alliance within an alliance, but that’s probably exactly what East Africa needs if the integration process is to yield fast and tangible results.
So when the trinity of Kagame, Kenyatta and Kaguta met in Kampala last week, it was good news when Rwandans, Kenyans and Ugandans heard that their leaders had discussed not politics but projects that would ease trade and increase business opportunities for them.
The ever inquisitive journalists in Kampala couldn’t stop throwing about the question of the whereabouts of Tanzania’s Kikwete and Burundi’s Nkurunziza but all this was beside the main point.
In the end, what mattered for ordinary nationals of the three states is that the threesome agreed to invest in an oil pipe line and a railway line that would run from Kenya through Uganda to Rwanda.
Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, who read the Memorandum of Understanding after the meeting by the three presidents, revealed that two oil pipelines would be developed; one pipeline that currently exists and brings oil products from Mombasa to El-doret should be extended to Kampala and then Rwanda.
The MoU further reveals that that pipeline will be configured to have a reverse mechanism so that when Uganda starts harvesting her own Oil, it can pump those products backwards.
Another pipeline, it was revealed, would be constructed for the evacuation of crude oil when it starts flowing and this again will be done between Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya, ending up at the port of Lamu.
Uganda’s Kutesa further revealed that it was also agreed to revamp the existing railway network and also construct a standard gauge railway line in Kenya and Uganda and also extend it to Rwanda.
Projects to reduce transport costs
Uganda’s President told journalists even if they were three leaders, they could still talk about EAC affairs adding that the absence the two other leaders was irrelevant.
“Even if you are two or three, you still talk about EAC issues.”
But even in reality, the alliance of the trinity makes sense. Uganda and Rwanda are two landlocked countries whose main port of entry for their imports is through Mombasa. An alliance with Kenya would therefore make great a lot of sense.
And to make sure these projects don’t end up being white elephant wishes, assignments were shared among the three countries.
Rwanda was charged with coordinating efforts of fast tracking the implementation of one East African Identity Card as well as the Single tourism Visa.
A single tourist Visa would mean a tourist entering East Africa would need just a single Visa to tour in Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda a move which would boost tourism earnings for the three states.
The Single identity card would also mean citizens of the three countries would walk freely across all the borders increasing opportunities to do business.
Meanwhile, Uganda was charged with spearheading the construction of the railway and the oil pipeline refinery while Kenya will oversee the construction of the oil pipeline.
It’s not clear where all the resources of implementing these projects will come from but observers say that if there’s political will then the resources will be easy to mobilize.
During recent summits by heads of state, bilateral negotiations have been encouraged to expedite the implementation of certain decisions. For instance, EAC partner states have been encouraged to go bilateral when it comes to the removal of NTBs on major routes. Rwanda is also working with Burundi and Tanzania on energy and road projects.
Rwanda biggest winner
Of the three states, Rwanda could be the biggest winner considering its distance from the border with Kenya. A fully working railway line would mean Rwandan traders easily move goods from Kenya to Kigali a development that would reduce on the cost of goods in Rwanda.
On the tourism front, Rwanda would also benefit from Kenya’s much larger tourism sector which receives more visitors annually.
An oil pipeline pumping refined oil products through Uganda to Rwanda would also have far reaching benefits considering the time oil tankers spend on the road on a single route from Kenya to Kigali.
There’s also the Geopolitics issue at hand. With these joint investments in place after costing a lot of money, the three states would work towards maintaining stable relations among them so as not to endanger the investments.
And for Rwanda, there’s one more relief; with a smoother route from Mombasa through Uganda, traffic would be shifted from the troublesome Dar-es-laam route where the recurring NTBs are an endless head ache to traders.
While skeptics have been quick to dismiss the meeting of Kagame, Kenyatta and Kaguta as harboring other secret motives, what will be important to the businessman is whether the projects actually take off.
There were no time deadlines given but there will surely be more meetings in the near future by the three leaders and these will be interesting to watch.
Uganda-Kenya oil pipeline to be extended to Rwanda
During a meeting held yesterday in Kampala, the Presidents of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, it was agreed that an oil pipeline connecting the three countries.
“It was agreed that we develop two oil pipelines, one pipeline that currently exists and brings products from Mombsa to Eldoret should be extended to Kampala and Rwanda. That pipeline will be configured such that it has to have a reverse mechanism so that when we have our own finished products, it can pump those products backwards,” read a memorandum of understanding signed by Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta and Paul Kagame.[read more…]
Source: Rwanda Focus
The African premiere of ‘Sweet Poison’, an 89-minute documentary on the blessings and curse of foreign development aid took place at Kigali Serena Hotel on Tuesday.
Kenya’s Turkana Fishplant in ruins.
Written and directed by Peter Heller, the film had its first world premiere two weeks ago at the Hamburg Film Festival in Germany.
The movie’s subtitle ‘Aid as Business’ displays a clear view of foreign aid from various African perspectives. It is estimated that over 800,000 people worldwide survive on aid.
Production crew during a shooting session of the film.
Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.
Focusing on Mali, Kenya and Tanzania as case studies, from over a period of thirty years, ‘Sweet Poison’ demonstrates that development aid has had only limited and sometimes questionable effects.
First, the documentary reveals the initial impression Africans get as they receive aid in the form of food, infrastructure and machinery. But as a result, the aid creates a dependency syndrome among the people/countries who end up discarding activities that sustained them before.
The film also highlights the taboos of north to south relations and the African complex with provocative analytic statements, views and opinions from African journalists and experts. It then offers options for African countries to develop towards a self-determined future.
Once aid is then withdrawn, people become vulnerable and are compelled to cope up with the situation.
Heller, who is a veteran filmmaker, has made films for the last 40 years. “For forty years, I have been making films on Africa- our neighbouring continent, searching, observing and analysing its connections and relations,” Peter Heller, of ‘Sweet Poison’ told The New Times.
Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.
“I felt that as most African countries have had 50 years of independence, what the progress has been made so far-especially as most of them receive foreign aid?” he posed.
The film’s premiere comes in at a time when Rwanda is currently embroiled in a tussle with powerful Western nations over ‘Foreign Aid’.
“I was very satisfied with the strong reactions people expressed after its screening. I didn’t expect people to welcome and appreciate it that way,” he added.
The filmmaker is expected to begin the promotional tour of his film promotional tour throughout his native Germany in November, alongside Mohammed Gueye, one of the commentators in the film.
Official Trailer “Süsses Gift”, Peter Heller (german):
Source: ANDREW ISRAEL KAZIBWE, 27 OCTOBER 2012, The New Times, allAfrica.com
FINALLY (!), I FOUND THE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND GIVE YOU A LITTLE UPDATE ON WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS.
KABILA has won a new five-year term as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after a campaign marred by violence, in which at least 24 people died…
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UNICEF requires it needs US$31.8 Million for the next three months to provide humanitarian support to crisis affected children and women in four countries (Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti). As for Kenya, Unicef might have trouble finding internal support as medical practitioners, pharmacists and dentists union members are in the middle of strikes for better pay and working conditions. But for Somalia this could actually be manageable as Britain decided their new year’s resolution is to intervene in their former colony…
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WHILE OKELLO Oryem, minister of Foreign Affairs declared, that Uganda won’t tolerate acts of sexual abuse perpetrated on minors and other vulnerable people by homosexuals in the name of practicing their gay rights, the Zimbabwean legislator Mrs Lillian Kirenyi has been arrested for calling President Robert Mugabe a homosexual…
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Despite of all the protests and opposition, Joseph Kabila has been sworn in as President of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the next five years. Fears of another civil war are rising as Kabilas rival Mr. Tshisekedi is determinate to be sworn in as President this week.
On 9 December the Democratic Republic of Congo announced that President Joseph Kabila was sworn in for a second term. But this announcement was immediatly rejected by his rival Etienne Tshisekedi and his supporters, who said Tshisekedi is the real winner. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that there had been at least 24 deaths in the capital, Kinshasa, where Tshisekedi has strong support. The elections were the first to be organised locally since the end of a devastating civil war in 2003, which left some four million people dead. Mr Tshisekedi supporters said they had evidence that security forces had tried to cover up the deaths. Western observers think that the electoral process had been too flawed to be credible.
BBC News reports: DR Congo police ‘killed 24 civilians’ after elections (22.12.2011)
Unicef just published their “Unicef Humanitarian Action Update- Horn of Africa crisis”. It says that US$31.8 million are needed for urgent life-saving actions to prevent the deaths of an estimated 480,000 severely malnourished children in drought affected Kenya, Somalia Ethiopia, and Djibouti. A further 1,649,000 children are moderately malnourished. All crisis affected persons are at high risk of disease outbreaks including measles, acute watery diarrhoea and pneumonia.
The “Update” ends with five pages of “FUNDING REQUIREMENTS AND RECEIPTS”, where schemes can be found of the requirements per sector, such as health, nutrition, education, child protection etc. of all four countries. The point is to show the rate of unmet/unfunded requirements for each sector. For most countries the rate is at 30-80% in the main sectors. But what’s striking is the high rate of unfunded requirements in the “Cluster coordination sector”, which is at a 100% in almost all four countries.
Problem: First of all the report doesn’t explain how Unicef gets to compile the values in these statistics, nor how the reader could access more detailed values.
We come to the conclusion that Unicef’s most unfunded sector in the horn of africa is the “cluster cordination”, which means that from this US$ 31.8 Million a greater part will be needed to invest in people with the requisite functional competencies to coordinate large groups of agencies with divergent mandates and approaches.
Question: Is this ‘professionalisation’ of cluster coordination still serving the purpose of humanitarian aid, help for self help or is it more an end in itself rather than a means to an end?
Role of Clusters: Clusters assume a ‘coordinating’ function that oscillates between facilitation and cooperation. Its role is to complement, and, where government is dysfunctional or non-existent, to supplement government capacity to lead and manage sectoral aspects of crisis; to act independently as ‘honest broker’ in advising all stakeholders of appropriate technical and managerial (best-) practices; and to facilitate consensual decision-making (including through enhanced information management systems). Cluster partners should engage in programme implementation wherever clear comparative advantage can be demonstrated. What Clusters cannot do is coordinate in the hierarchical line-management sense. Firstly, it has no mandate with its peer non-governmental agencies to do so, which leaves them free to ‘cherry-pick’ what they want to do; and second, it is the government of the country concerned that must assume its responsibilities on behalf of its population.
Frustration has been mounting at the high cost of food and fuel in Kenya, which holds a general election next year, compounded by a collapse in the value of the local currency against the dollar. About 2,300 members of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union stopped working after the government said it could not meet their demands for a 300 percent pay rise. The doctors at state hospitals say their terms haven’t been looked at for more than a decade.
“We have called off the strike so that top union officials can negotiate with the government. I have made an appeal to the striking doctors to go back to their work after the government assured us there will be no victimisation,” Boniface Chitayi, the union’s secretary general, told Reuters by phone.
In2EastAfrica.net reports: Kenyan doctors call off strike- Union official (13.12.2011)
Sources: guardian.co.uk, independent.co.uk, bbc.co.uk, clustercoordination.org, In2EastAfrica.net, allAfrica.com, youtube.com, google.com
President Paul Kagame, last weekend in Brussels, met with more than 2500 members of the Rwandan diaspora living across Europe.
While addressing them, he advised that they should be good ambassadors, who speak the truth about their country and disregard the lies propagated by Rwanda’s detractors.
Rwandans know, more than anyone else, what the new Rwanda represents, having experienced, firsthand, the brutality and discriminatory practices of the previous regimes.
They understand that, prior to the liberation struggle, children had no equal access to quality education, a section of the population had been banished to life in exile, human rights violations were the norm, and that ordinary Rwandans, generally, had no right to demand leaders to deliver public goods – healthcare, roads, water, among others.
Rwandans anywhere, are now more welcome than ever, to return home and join their compatriots in building their motherland. The masses freely choose their leadership and are free to recall them when they fail to deliver.
Rwandans have foras in which they meaningfully engage in constructive debates. Women, at all levels, are now empowered and are actively involved in the country’s socio-economic and political processes.
This is the Rwanda which many people risked their lives for, and we should all jealously guard it against anyone, foreign or Rwandan, seeking to take the Rwandan people back to the dark days.
Indeed, the task to build and defend this country is every Rwandan’s responsibility, including the Diaspora community.
What do you think about the diaspora community, will they be able to make a change?
NAIROBI, 3 August 2010 (IRIN) –
In a nondescript room on the 14th floor of a Nairobi office block, the words “hate speech” appear on a computer screen next to the name of a prominent politician, with location, a telephone number and buttons marked “Not verified” and “Follow-up”.
Another message reads: “If you think peace is expensive, try violence!”
Yet another says: “Plz help us. A certain community is threatening other communities to vacate the area in case YES wins.”
Over the past three weeks, Kenyans have used their mobile phones to send more than 5,000 such messages to a dedicated number: 6397.
The free short message service is part of an initiative, the Uwiano Platform for Peace, set up with help from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to ensure the 4 August referendum on a new constitution is not marred by the kind of violence that claimed more than 1,000 lives and saw over half a million people take flight after a presidential election in 2007.