Rwanda marks Independence golden jubilee
All roads lead to Amahoro National Stadium today where celebrations to mark Rwanda’s 50 years of Independence and 18 years of liberations will be held.
Rwanda got Independence on July 1, 1962 under the leadership of Grégoire Kayibanda, who became the first President after toppling the monarchy with the help of the Belgians.
The national celebrations will take place at Amahoro stadium but there will also be celebrations at the village level throughout the country
Alongside the Independence Day celebrations, Rwandans will also celebrate 18 years after the liberation struggle which brought an end to the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Post-independence Rwanda was characterised by divisionism, prejudice and hatred among the citizens and the climax of it was the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, during which over a million people died in a period of 100 days.
Kayibanda and his political party, Parti du Mouvement de l’Emancipation du Peuple (Parmehutu) Hutu (the Party for Hutu Emancipation) used the political power to abuse Rwandans.
He served as a President from 1962 until July 5, 1973, when he was overthrown by his defence minister, Major General Juvénal Habyarimana.
In 1975, Habyrimana created the Mouvement Révolutionaire National pour le Développement (MRND) as the country’s only authorised party. He continued Kayibanda’s discriminatory policies, both ethnic and regional.
July 4, 1994 marked the beginning of a new chapter for the country after the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) rebels, now Rwanda Defence Forces, led by now-President Paul Kagame, over ran Kigali and formed a broad-based government of national unity.
Academicians argue that post Independence Rwanda witnessed periods of turbulence due to the rising tensions between the different groups that were created by the Belgians.
Speaking to The Sunday Times yesterday, Protais Mitali, the Minister of Sports and Culture, said that the national celebrations will take place at Amahoro stadium but there will also be celebrations at the village level throughout the country.
“The event will kick off at 11 am; the gates will be open as early as 7am. The celebrations will be live on National TV and Radio; people who will not make it to the stadium, will be able to follow it on the radio,” he stated.
The events will be held under one theme “A Journey of Resilience” and the country will reflect on post-independence history, its struggles, challenges and lessons learned and the way forward.
According to Pastor Mzee Ezra Mpyisi, the 1962 Independence was given in a wrong manner to wrong people who never advocated for it and after gaining the independence; they used it for selfish interests.
Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw