The 14th leadership retreat is about to conclude in Kigali, and the message from President Kagame is simple, and straightforward. He called on the leadership of Rwanda to rise up to their potential, reminding them that “we do not lack ¬†competence ” to complete that which we have started.

The President warned against carelessness; ” Let us examine our malaise and get rid of it as fast as we can.”

That this retreat is being held at the RDF Combat Training Centre in Gabiro shows the seriousness and purposefullness of the exercise. Had this been held at some fancy resort or hotel, Africans are known to not take the agenda seriously, often with a cavalier attitude and the result is mere talk and no action. But, I digress.

Boy, there must be some very thirsty folks in Gabiro. But these are times that test men’s souls.

This retreat is uniquely Rwandan, and a credit to good leadership that holds our leaders to account. Time and time again, our leaders and civil servants must come forward to tell the nation what they have accomplished in the previous year, and explain away their failures.

It is indeed a meeting of minds where leaders exchange ideas, share experiences and learn from one another. Gone are the days when leaders took their positions for granted because there were no consequences to lack of performance.

This retreat also serves to remind attendees that they are public servants, not some special group of Rwandans anointed to their positions.

This is truly a good opportunity to evaluate how far the government has gone in implementing Vision 2020, a blaring example if you will of democracy in action, Rwanda style.

Compared to the chaos and the drama that has gripped Washington, D.C. in the weeks Donald Trump has been in The White House, Rwandans have every reason to pat ourselves on the back. What we are seeing at play in Washington is a rude and messy truth of democracy: people spoke and Trump is what we are left to deal with. It is un-nerving to think that this the best America has to offer. How shall we survive these four years?

It is my hope that our leaders will leave the retreat more focused, resolved to do better as President Kagame implored them to do, and determined to stop making excuses why they have fallen short of their mandate.

In the words of President Kagame, “What we have set out to do is not for the half-hearted, let alone the heartless.”

Rwanda is on the move and there is no stopping us. But we must never succumb to the weight of our achievements.



About Willis Shalita

I am a writer who is very impassioned about Rwanda and its remarkable journey from the barbaric carnage of Genocide against Tutsi. I am an avid photographer. I believe the African story should be told through African lenses. Our time has come. If not now, when?
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