In four days we will enter the new year. It behooves us then to look back and take stock of what we achieved in 2018, and where we fell short as a Nation, and as A People whose past has not always been easy.

Unless you know where you have been, you cannot chart a meaningful course ahead.

Our challenges have always been hard, but our suffering has provided priceless lessons, and our resilience a good foundation upon which to make decisive and meaningful decisions.

This could not have been achieved without good leadership, both at URUGWIRO, in our government institutions, and no less in the RDF — a force that makes us all proud, and our detractors think twice before they try childish, suicidal missions to destabilize us, but mostly to deflect attention from their incompetence and misrule.

No amount of noise, heckling or periodic hit and run ambushes on our borders can draw Rwanda into premature conflicts. This should however never be construed as a sign of weakness. All oportions are on the table, to defend and protect our sovereignty.

As we negotiate for friendly relations with our neighbors, we must plan for when those negotiations falter and lethal force is necessary and morally justified.

In a word, the State of our Republic is strong.

In 2018 we made amazing and impressive achievements;

African Heads of State unanimously selected President Kagame chairman of the AU: to streamline and improve the organization. This was a resounding vote of confidence in his leadership, and a recognition of Rwanda’s stature on the international scene.

Mr. President, I salute you.

As if that was not enough, Louise Mushikiwabo was elected to head Francophone countries — a sweet and strategic coup for Rwanda that will go far in normalizing relations with France.

That in 2009 Rwanda joined The British Commonwealth, with no prior ties to the UK speaks volumes about our strategy and philosophical genius. Those who underestimate us need to go slow.

In 2020 Rwanda will host The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. If Rwanda was unstable, badly governed, why would other Heads of State agree to come here? Such silly talk.

The Rwanda Convention Bureau reports that they hosted 201 events in 2018, bringing in $52 million in revenue, and well over 35,000 international delegates.

Akagera National Park saw 37,284 visitors, bringing in $1.6 million.

Rwanda Air, our jewel and pride, keeps bracing the blue skies.

Our economy struggles on , alas with un-realistic interest rates. I am sure the powers that be are paying attention. Meaningful economic development cannot happen under these conditions.

Housing prices are un-realistically high. Correct me if I am wrong. If foreigners with big money continue buying prized real estate, Rwandans will forever be barred from the market. We are a small country with not much land. We must not continue selling that which is in limited supply.

We must at all times be self-critical. We have not come this far blindfolded.

With foresightedness, good will and without arrogance of success, 2019 promises to be a good year.

As I prepare to return to Texas, after a thrilling two months in Kigali, I am tempted to use the cliche: I LEFT MY HEART IN RWANDA. I leave assured, more than ever before that we are on the right course and the days ahead are going to be brighter.

This much I know: we are better off today than ever before. Our leadership is better than it has ever been, and more responsive to the needs and aspirations of Rwandans.

And yes, I still believe God returns to spend the nights in Rwanda.

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I am a Researcher, Blogger and Photographer.

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