Rwandan President Paul Kagame says President Emmerson Mnangagwa should convince his people first that the country is changing before he seeks to convince the outside world.
He told this to Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa yesterday in a video that is now widely being circulated and has been retweeted by Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa.
Mnangagwa was in Rwanda to attend its Liberation Day and returned home this evening.
“Before you even convince anybody from outside so that they do not have wrong perceptions about you, convince your own people. Make sure they are with you,” Kagame said.
He said this was critical because in the case of Rwanda some outsiders still believed the situation in the country was the same as it was in 1994 when between 500 000 and one million people were killed in a State-sponsored genocide between 7 April and 15 July 1994.
“Concentrate on making sure that your people are involved,” Kagame said. “They are benefitting. They can themselves push back on this story of wrong perception. That means this has to be built on tangible things.
“If the country is hungry, people have nothing to eat, they will tell people that they have nothing to eat. So when the outsiders are saying it, don’t go against them and say no why are you saying that my country is starving when actually people are starving they are starving. But if the outsiders say the people of Rwanda are starving when the people are saying we are not starving. I won’t have any fight with you. I will just ignore you.”
Mnangagwa is a strong admirer of Kagame and how he has transformed his country over the past 25 years.
Kagame also said people must give Mnangagwa’s administration a chance to reform the country as well as the tools to do so.
He castigated the West for expecting Zimbabwe to change when the country was under sanctions.
“When you are under sanctions you are denied the tools to apply to actually change the situation. You can’t be the same person who applied the sanctions and demand to see change, it doesn’t make sense,” Kagame said.