Kagame: Home-grown Solutions are Rwanda’s Driving Force

The high level event was co-chaired by President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and attended by President Choummaly of Laos, President Sang of Vietnam, President Humala of Peru and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Dr Kizza Besigye and Hon Amama Mbabazi are expected to run for president in the 2016 elections.

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Seven out of nine entities may have supported Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi as the single opposition candidate to represent The Democratic Alliance [TDA] in the 2016 general elections, cost but this still wasn’t representative of the actual majority, FDC’s Col Kizza Besigye has said.

The opposition coalition formed a few months ago to front one candidate against incumbent President Museveni in next year’s elections, last week failed to reach the anticipated consensus and gave in for both Amama Mbabazi and Kizza Besigye to run on their respective tickets.

Mbabazi’s candidature was endorsed by seven parties namely; Democratic Party (DP), Go Forward Pro Change, People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) of Dr Olara Otunnu, Pressure for National Unity (PNU) and JEEMA. Dr Besigye on the other hand was only endorsed by his own party, FDC and Conservative Party (CP) of Ken Lukyamuzi.

While delivering the news to the country on Wednesday, DP’s vividly distraught Norbert Mao sparked controversy when he proceeded to announce Hon Amama Mbabazi as the TDA’s picked single candidate.

While speaking on a televised interview this morning, Col Kizza Besigye said the coalition consensus wasn’t meant to be and that Ugandans would have been shocked if the opposition leaders managed to unite under it. He also termed the failure of the coalition as a blessing in disguise.

While seven parties voted against his candidature, the FDC flag bearer stated that this wasn’t representative of the real majority since; basing from the previous presidential elections, all the parties’ votes combined would not add to a quarter of what he got.

“If you have a company, it’s not the number of shareholders in the room that vote. It’s the shares they hold that vote.  I could be one shareholder making decisions for the whole organization because I hold majority shares,” said Besigye.

“Those of us who have participated in the past elections we have a clue [about what we represent in terms of support]. Elections were rigged but I still managed to get 2million votes. This clue guides us to know that among the seven [in support of Mbabazi] who participated in the previous elections, all their votes put together don’t amount to a quarter of what we got.”

“Mbabazi and Bukenya on the other hand have only contested in the constituencies for parliamentary positions, so we didn’t know how many shares they came with on the table.”

Dr Besigye during the interview, said he was disappointed by the ‘disingenuous reasoning’ of some of the TDA members who upon its collapse, wanted to bring back the issue of majorities which was dismissed on the onset.

“If you are talking majorities, it should be about real majority, not just counting the faces of people.”

Get your own support

Dr Besigye also expressed displeasure that Mbabazi was inclined to fight for support from the opposition parties rather than concentrating on pulling voters from the NRM where he came from.

“The NRM people are having a field day. I am told that so far Mbabazi has nine members of parliament from the FDC who support him. He has not shown a single one he has brought from the NRM,” noted Besigye.

During last Wednesday’s press address Hon Amama Mbabazi said there would be about 5 million NRM supporters who would be voting for change in the coming elections.

These Dr Besigye said should be Mbabazi’s point of focus, rather than aiming at splitting the opposition support.

“If he can get those 5 million supporters, he would win the election without even having to go for a rerun. It will be absurd if Mbabazi is now fighting for opposition supporters. He should focus on the perceived constituency he is bringing on board,” added Besigye.
President Kagame has attributed Rwanda’s steady progress in the last decade to adoption of home-grown solutions.

While addressing a High Level Meeting at the United Nations Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda convened under the theme: “A New Rural Development Paradigm and the Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities Model inspired by the ‘Saemaul Undong”, sickness President Kagame said that home-grown initiatives drawn from Rwanda’s culture have to a large extent contributed to Rwanda’s progress.

“From Gacaca, buy more about our community courts, help which has brought restorative justice and reconciliation to a once divided nation; to Ubudehe which supports rural communities to collectively solve problems related to poverty; to Imihigo which enables citizens to keep their leaders accountable to Umuganda and many others,” he said during the function held over the weekend.

The event, co hosted by UNDP, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and OECD was an opportunity to discuss the central role of rural development in sustainable development goals.

Citing Korea’s ‘Saemaul Undong’ success in achieving development, President Kagame described Korea’s home-grown solution as testimony that local ownership of development programs, citizen involvement and national unity always yields results.

“These are the values that guided Rwanda’s post-genocide development agenda. We chose to take responsibility for our reconstruction, by building consensus on a national vision, and working together to ensure no one was left behind,” President Kagame said.

Emphasizing the importance of solutions informed by a local context, President Kagame called on a future of sustainable development goals centred on mutual learning and global cooperation:

“Changing mindsets, and doing things differently, is never easy, But doing the right things and getting results builds resilience and the capacity to do even more. Each country has its own unique circumstances and challenges, but also the resources to solve its problems, complemented by external partnerships.”

The high level event was co-chaired by President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and attended by President Choummaly of Laos, President Sang of Vietnam, President Humala of Peru and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

President Park Geun-hye described ‘Saemaul Undong’ as a development strategy that has not only helped lift Korea up but also transformed Korea’s national ethos.

“Half a century ago, Korea’s per capita GDP stood below one hundred dollars. We were among the poorest countries in the world. And yet, fired by a desire for a better life, the whole nation rallied together to climb out of poverty. And we did so in the spirit of diligence, self-help and cooperation that animated the ‘Saemaul Undong.’ As a result, Korea managed to industrialize, and within five decades, we rose to become one of the top 15 economies in the world,” he said.

‘Saemaul Undong’ or New Community Movement was South Korea’s home-grown initiative launched in 1970s by South Korean President Park Chung Her.

The initiative which centred on traditional values of communalism and self reliance played a key role in modernizing South Korea.


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