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Thousands to “reward Kagame next year”, phones for all

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Kigali: Amid thunderous cheering, singing, dancing and drumming, some 45,120 local health officials from across the country vowed Monday to “reward” President Kagame come next year, as he also committed to offer phones to all “those without one”, RNA reports.

The health officials from all the villages and health centres in the country converged in Amahoro stadium in Kigali – waiting for hours to be addressed by President Kagame as part of the ‘Itorero’ mass mobilisation program. This group which has been undergoing Itorero sensitisation for weeks in their respective provinces has been named ‘Imbangukigutabara’.

In a message delivered through long-serving politician Mr. Boniface Rucagu, the thousands said they were very grateful that President Kagame had come to attend their pass-out. Mr. Rucagu is now head of the National ‘Itorore’ Taskforce.  

“The language is mine, but the words are theirs”, Mr. Rucagu started amid wild cheering, clapping and drumming, and then said: “They have sent me to tell you that because you offered to be here, they will reward you next year.”

Mr. Rucagu did not elaborate or specify why the “reward” had been planned for “next year”. The confirmation of this election message came from the Northern Province delegation, where Mr. Rucagu was governor for years. In a poem by a female, coupled with their model vigorous dance-style and chanting, they said they will “vote” for President Kagame – prompting wild excitement from the entire stadium. The presidential poll is due September 2010.   

Each provincial delegation had a prepared list of targets their province has committed to attain. Almost all had similar targets ranging from 100% health insurance coverage, to ensuring that the common anti-social practice of spitting is ended.

As the country grapples with a population explosion, the groups also committed to tighten family planning. No mother will ever again give birth from home but at health centres, they affirmed. The also vowed to make sure all children get immunized as well as stop deaths among children under five years – which remains of the biggest challenge facing the country. All homes will apparently have a toilet.

The climax to the festivity came when Health Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera announced that President Kagame had conferred in him that he will offer a phone-set to each of those without one. There was about four minutes of thunderous celebrations. He did not specify when those phones will get go the recipients.

The cheapest phone-set on the market now is about Rwf 15,000 ($30). Supposing none reveals that they have a phone already, government could be in to spend about Rwf 680million.

In his address, President Kagame repeated what has become his theme that everybody works towards making the country less dependant on donations. He also urged all in attendance to follow-up slogans with actions.

Professional service from health officials is a “right”, he said. “Those who cannot do this should be required at whatever cost.”

“Bad service, malnutrition, poverty are not rights. Every Rwandan has right to be respected, feed sufficiently and not live in need all the time waiting for well-wishers”, he said.  

Mr. Kagame said the role of health officials does not end at just ensuring good health but the wellbeing of the entire nation. “If you found somebody destroying a road, will you just look on because you are in charge of health?” he asked, as the whole crowd answered back in their adapted slogan “kirazira”, loosely meaning ‘unacceptable’.  

Dressed in white T-shirts and caps, they sung and danced from morning up to 15:10hrs when the Head of State arrived. Schools across had been scheduled to begin Monday August 03, but has been moved to next week.

After his speech, Mr. Kagame walked around the stadium waving to the different provincial delegations, as they shouted and chanted. At the end of the program, which started months ago covering all sections of Rwanda society, a certificate is awarded to each. It was also announced at the end that President Kagame hard offered to share with them all evening, which culturally refers to drinking and eating for all. They attended the Itorero program in schools and were ferried to Kigali for teh day-long ocassion ending at 17Hrs.  


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