Convince your people first, Kagame tells Mnangagwa

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By Costa Nkomo

RWANDAN President Paul Kagame has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to engage his people in efforts to solve the troubled country’s myriad problems before he could consider convincing outsiders on many things affecting his country.

Kagame was speaking Wednesday on the eve of Rwanda’s 25th liberation commemorations in Kigali.

The Rwandan leader said social contract must be restored for Zimbabwe to get rid of negative perceptions that have followed it for years.

“The Zimbabweans are irreplaceable in dealing with their own country. It has to be practical,” Kagame said.

“I hope all of us understand. Even for us, we want to show we want results. We don’t want anybody to give us credit for nothing.

“We want to do something and convince our own people, later on convince these outsiders who, or sometimes who would never be convinced. The moment you are with your people, it’s a done deal.”

He added: “So, for us it is to say we can be with you, and work with you and share whatever we can from outside but it’s a responsibility of the Zimbabweans as has been of Rwandans. When it comes to Rwanda, there is no question about it.”

This comes after Mnangagwa recently hired United States public relations firms to help spruce up his country’s image and to lobby for the removal of US imposed sanctions.

Meanwhile, in his comments Wednesday, President Kagame urged Zimbabweans to be patient with their leaders as the country’s crisis could not be solved overnight.

“The problems they have, like any other country, cannot be resolved overnight,” he said.

“Certain things have got to be done by Zimbabweans themselves. They have to do things in a different way, they are going to change.”

He, however said it was unheard of for those who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to expect the country to progress when its wings were clipped by the economic and political embargo.

“When you are under sanctions, you are being denied the tools to apply, to actually change the situation.

“So, you can’t be the same person who has applied the sanctions and then you say ‘I want you to change in a very short time’ …”