Residents of Nyagatare District, Eastern Province, have been urged to uphold unity and work hard to safeguard the country from any evil forces intent on destroying the achievements registered over the last two decades.
The call was made yesterday as hundreds of area residents gathered at Groupe Scolaire Nyagatare to welcome the Kwibuka (remembrance) Flame to the district.
Its arrival in Nyagatare, after five days in the northern district of Gicumbi, marked the torch’s 21st stop on its national tour.
Speaking at the event, the Minister for Finance, Amb. Claver Gatete, told residents that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi left Rwanda without any ground or foundation to rebuild from.
“The reconstruction efforts began from scratch,” he said.
The minister said the reconstruction efforts required high level of determination, courage, commitment and dedication from both leaders and the public.
Living for progress
Thanks to the efforts, Amb. Gatete said, Rwanda’s economy has consistently grown, resulting into the transformation of people’s lives.
“What we have achieved gives us confidence that we will continue to achieve more in the future,” he said.
Citing the efforts to fight poverty, Gatete said it was “impressive” that Rwanda lifted more than a million individuals out of poverty between 2006 and 2011.
“Many people were surprised with our success in such a short period of time,” he said. “We managed to reach that level [of poverty reduction] because of our unity and joint efforts to tackle poverty.”
Gatete told the residents that Rwanda’s ultimate objective ‘is not to reduce poverty but rather to totally eradicate it.”
He urged them to continue working hard but warned that without unity no development can be achieved.
“Unity is the foundation of all our achievements. If we manage to continue promoting what bonds us together then we will be laying ground for sustainable peace, development, growth and social welfare,” Amb. Gatete said.
“As we look to the future, let the Rwandan spirit continue to guide our actions.”
He also called up on them to embrace the Ndi Umunyarwanda programme, an initiative that aims at encouraging Rwandans to openly talk about their history, repent, forgive, and heal as they build a unified strong nation.
Residents speak out
Genocide survivor Vital Ndayambaje, who testiified about the killings in the district, said the last 20 years have been crucial in the transformation of people’s lives.
“This Flame is an indication that light has chased away the darkness of hatred, divisionism and genocide, and is a symbol of the good vision we have embraced as well as the achievements made,” he said.
“That came as a result of good development policies coupled with efforts to cement unity amongst Rwandans.”
Donatile Mukabakeka, 52, a resident of Gakirage cell, said that togetherness and unity should be maintained by every Rwandan. That way, she said, the country will register much more progress.
“What is important is that we continue to keep our unity, then nothing will stop us to keep growing,” Mukabakeka said.
“The youth should draw lessons from our past, look at where divisionism took us and explore where we are today thanks to the promotion of unity and reconciliation. They are inheriting a thriving country, so they have a responsibility to ensure that this country continues to prosper.”
What they said...
Revocat Maniraho, 18, student.
‘The Kwibuka Flame is a reminder of our history, particularly the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It teaches us that we should endeavour to live harmoniously with others and avoid anything that might divide us again. Only this way would we be contributing to building a better country.’
Alexis Nsabimana, 22, student.
‘The remembrance flame will guide us to better livelihoods and is a call for us to remain united. Personally, I think this is a direct message to all Rwandans that we should shun divisionism, discrimination and hatred and rather get actively involved with the struggle to develop our country on a united front.’
Dominique Savio Akimana, 18, student.
‘I was born some years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and this Flame reminds me that my country sunk into darkness at a certain period in its history. Most importantly, however, it reminds me of the love and unity that characterised Rwandans over the past two decades. Today, I have a chance to live in a better country and feel the responsibility to join others in our quest to keep developing.’