President’s visit to Rwanda

Sunday night, 18 July 2010

After much preparation, that I don’t want to get into here, we have finally arrived at the starting position. The President has arrived in Rwanda, he has rested and had some time off over the weekend to meet up with some friends who live here, and tomorrow the tight programme will kick off with a field visit very early in the morning. Apart from last-minute preparations, today’s only programme was the visit to the genocide memorial, accompanied by the Minister of agriculture and our communication team made up of Géraldine, media expert, and Declan with his video camera. Having visited this site of profound sadness several times before, I dropped them off and retreated to the hotel to prepare tomorrow’s speech.

When the three returned, they were uneasily silent, the President having very well packaged the feeling into the phrase “beyond words”, written into the visitors’ book. We all agreed, the atrocities that have been committed in this country in 1994 are as hard to imagine as the motivations and social dynamics at the time are to understand. Do we all have the possibility of mass murder in ourselves? How can we make sure it will never happen again? We felt that checking the population growth and thus the pressure on resources is certainly part of the answer. After all, Rwanda is the most densely populated country on the continent, and growing fast.

In the little time left I indulge a little in the luxuries the best Hotel in Kigali has to offer. At dinner, we go through a few talking points for tomorrow, making sure that the key messages get delivered to government. One point makes me nervous: the meeting with the head of state, Paul Kagame, is set for Tuesday, shortly after the official opening ceremony of the presidential elections at which he will address the crowds at the national stadium. Will this work out? Government tells me not to worry, which I try to do. To be continued.

By Claus Reiner


Anonymous said…
Dear Claus,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts us. I really enjoy your chronicles. Your reflexions and thoughts about the country's situation make us feel part of the journey at the same time as they are informative and inspiring.

I think you have a future in writing…!!!

Keep it up!.

Best regards;