Rwanda President Paul Kagame has dismissed claims saying his government manipulates data about the progress of his country.
He was Wednesday addressing over 2,000 youth met at Intare Conference Arena.
“I wish I could make any data toe my line because my line, am convinced, is a good one. I will bet with anyone that there is actually nothing fake or fabricated or doctored about the progress we are making,” he said.
“If anyone is saying we still have problems to deal with, then they are right because there are still many challenges we have to deal with. We are dealing with them and we will deal with them.”
He said there is nothing new about Rwanda having problems, and all of them working together to make a difference for themselves.
He said the S&P agency rated Rwanda from B to B+, the same week Rwanda is said to fake data about poverty levels.
“There is such a thing as western propaganda. That is why I really want us to be together in this fight, because it is a fight for who we are and who we want to be. It is a fight about ourselves, about Rwandans, about Africans.”
Kagame said Rwandans have been downtrodden largely because of themselves.
“Because we have not addressed some of the things that people build on to look down upon us.”
“When you don’t solve your problems and these are the problems that are going to create ground for people to look down upon you, I think you are largely to blame. We should first take this blame.”
Kagame thinks some of these people have no right whatsoever to look down upon people.
“If we are to create a Rwanda that we want, that we feel is good for us, who is this little somebody who comes to say this is what you should be having, this is what is good for you or what isn’t.”
“I turn around and say do you want me to tell you what is good or not for you? One thing that I tell them that is not good for them, is to come and tell me what is not good for me.”
He said if Rwandans don’t develop the mindset that all these things they are trying to achieve are good for them, that they are not doing this because they want to impress anybody, then everything else discussed, impressive as it was, will be wasted.
“We can have a conversation where people will have different views, we can argue about it, at some point we narrow it down to something that is good for us and we move forward.”
“But to want to dictate to you what you should do for yourself that is something we should not accept.”
He said Rwanda is still far from where it wants to be but surely it doesn’t want to be where other people want it to be.
“If you go to America, Europe, Asia, you will find Rwandans, Africans, are among the best where they are. Why then when you come back home you find them in a place where they shouldn’t be. Whatever the answer is, that needs to change.”
He said Africans are good at tearing each other apart, quarreling, but not advancing like what other nations in this world are doing.
“Are we resigned to always lagging behind everyone, to be the ones to apologize when you are being stepped on and it is like you are even asking for more? There is something strange about it.”
He said there is no better place, there are no better people to have this conversation with, than here and with youth.
“It is your choice to refuse to be stepped on and say, I am my own self. Do things the right way, make them as good as you can. Competition has no tribe, no religion, no ethnicity, just people freely making their choice about what they want and being able to pay it forward.”
He added: “If you are capable of doing something, you are capable of making a good thing. This is how our young people should be brought up, this is the mentality you should grow up with. Let us not leave what we have learnt here. Let it inspire us to do better, every day, every month, every year.”