President Kagame and Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka (L) and Western Province governor Caritas Mukandasira listen to a testimony by one of the residents of Karongi District, yesterday, during the President's tour of the province. (Village Urugwiro)

President Kagame and Local Government minister Francis Kaboneka (L) and Western Province governor Caritas Mukandasira listen to a testimony by one of the residents of Karongi District, yesterday, during the President?s tour of the province. (Village Urugwiro)

The Head of State made the call, yesterday, while interacting with thousands of residents of Karongi District in the Western Province, who had gathered in Birambo trading centre to receive him.

Describing the need to use fertilisers to boost agricultural production in the district and using the region?s Lake Kivu to boost tourism and produce the much needed electricity, the Head of State encouraged Karongi residents and other Rwandans to always work smarter to turn the resources at their disposal into sustainable wealth.

?We want Rwandans to have good health, economic development, and put to good use what they have as resources. We need to safeguard and build on the resources we do have, starting with security,? Kagame said.

While Karongi is known for acidic soil and steep hills, the President said that would not be a problem if people worked smarter, by using fertilisers, making terraces to conserve soil, and live in settlements where social infrastructure can be easily accessed.

?No challenge is insurmountable with hard work. But this calls for participation from each of you,? Kagame said, urging residents to work together with leaders in their communities to develop themselves.

Having visited Rutsiro on Thursday on a two-day visit to the Western Province, President Kagame ended his trip in Karongi, a district which currently has a number of projects that are expected to create jobs and improve the people?s living standards in the district and the entire country once they are completed.

Pledging security

Pledging continued security and good governance, President Kagame told residents in the Western Province that leaders of the country are committed to transforming lives.

?From roads, electricity, and developed tourism to schools and hospitals, we have an obligation to ensure that you get them,? Kagame told Karongi residents.

During the evening on Thursday, President Kagame met with 1,500 opinion leaders in the Western Province and encouraged them to stand up against corruption as they work to achieve the development they need.

?We should not tolerate leaders who use resources that do not belong to them for their own benefit. Knowing our ambitions and the few resources we have, we cannot afford to tolerate corruption. We cannot survive it,? he said.

The President?s interactions with residents in the Western Province mainly featured people?s testimonies on how they have taken advantage of good governance and pulled themselves out of poverty.

Many of them asked the President to accept continuing to lead Rwandans beyond 2017 when his current presidential term expires.

Among the remarkable testimonies is that of Mariam Mukagakwerere, whose husband is in jail for Genocide crimes.

Mukagakwerere thanked President Kagame for creating an environment that allowed her to benefit from social policies without discrimination and asked him to accept staying in office so that many more Rwandans can benefit from development.

Many residents in Karongi and Rutsiro districts, as well as several opinion leaders from across the Western Province also urged Parliament to fast-track the process to pave way for the amendment of article 101 of the Constitution to scrap presidential term limits to ensure President Kagame stands again come 2017.

James Karuhanga, The New Times

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