President of the Republic Paul Kagame has started a three-day citizen outreach programme in Ngoma and Nyagatare Districts in the Eastern part of the country as usual he addressed residents and gave them the floor to air their challenges and grievances.
At noon or so, the presidential motorcade arrived at Zaza playground in Ngoma District where thousands of ecstatic residents braved the early morning rain to receive the head of state with thunderous applause and ovations.
Ngoma as many districts of the Eastern Province is a treasure trove of food commodities such as bananas, haricot beans, maize, rice, among others. Though opportunities abound in the area, statistics released by the district authority speak volumes, 76,000 metric tons, 72,000 of haricot beans, 28,000 metric tons of pineapples produced annually, but they are untapped at full potential by all residents, as 19 percent of its citizens still live below poverty line.
President called upon residents to roll up their sleeves to tap into surrounding opportunities through modern farming which results into bumper crops to alleviate poverty.
“We want Rwandans to get rich and make a fortune because poverty prompts school dropout, inability to access medical services. A hungry child can’t study well; a child without shelter can’t learn well,” says President Paul Kagame.
Out of over 38,000 residents of Ngoma District, only 20 percent have access to electricity, others use kerosene-oil lamps at night. Apart from business and other income-generating activities which aren’t smooth-sailing due to black-out, students also have woes for self-studying after class.
President Paul Kagame emphatically promised them to iron out the problem. “We want to make kerosene-oil lamps (agatodowa) history and poverty as well, “said, however the head of the state didn’t elaborate how this will be achieved.
According to statistics released by the mayor of the District at this occasion, 407 metric tons of bananas is produced annually. This production is bulk-sold farther even in Huye District at Rwanda-Burundi border but the trade exchange between the Eastern Province and the South is the most expensive owing to a long journey.
The only route to reach there passes to Kigali, the capital city, a drive of over 200 km which is longer and money-consuming. The East-south bypass road of nearly 150 km length which must pass through Ngoma, Bugesera, Ruhango and Nyanza Districts is the ideal solution.