There is need to sustain efforts to rebuild the country if it is to maintain the current development path.
The remarks were made yesterday as hundreds of Kayonza District residents gathered in Mukarange Sector to welcome the Kwibuka Flame.
The torch symbolises remembrance as well as the resilience and courage of Rwandans over the past 20 years.
Oda Gasinzigwa, the minister for fender and family promotion, told the residents that although significant achievements have been made over the last two decades, it was vital that Rwandans continue to work harder and never relent.
She said the journey that has been covered in the last 20 years gives assurance that more success is yet to come.
“We should keep our efforts to ensure that over the next 20 years, we continue to register progress,” Gasinzigwa said.
She said the time has come for everyone to look back at the country’s history and explore lessons they might draw from it to ensure that the country never slips back to the dark past.
“With our efforts, we have shown those who thought that Rwanda would be a failed state that they were wrong. It has rather risen to prosperity,” the minister said, rallying the residents to their cardinal responsibility of championing a better nation.
She said truth and unity are the driving forces for success.
“We have chosen to eradicate the darkness of genocide and hatred and we are committed to keeping the light into our lives. We must then maintain unity and champion truth because it will give us a strong foundation to sustain our gains,” Gasinzigwa said.
Minister Gasinzigwa advised the youth to use their strengths and skills to contribute to building a successful nation rather than using them to destroy.
Scene of mass killing
More than 6,000 Tutsis were killed at Mukarange parish between April 11 and 13, 1994, according to officials.
Kayonza has seven genocide memorial sites, with remains of about 28,000 Genocide victims.
“These are Rwandans who were killed for no reason. We should have been with them today as we continue our efforts to build the country but at present we are honouring their souls with this Flame,” Mayor John Mugabo said.
He paid tribute to Fr Bosco Munyaneza, who he said accepted to be killed instead of abandoning the many Tutsis who had sought protection in the church he led.
“His memory lives forever among us. We believe God has granted him a special place in heaven,” he said.
Genocide survivor Didace Ndindabahizi, who was aged 22 at the time of the Genocide, narrated how killers launched several attacks on Tutsis who had taken refuge at Mukarange parish.
Initially, the killers were repulsed as Tutsis fought back. But on April 12, after the militiamen received reinforcement from the neighbouring Murambi, mass killings were carried out.
About 6,000 people were then killed in three days.
“What happened was unimaginable,” Ndindabahizi said. “The Genocide was a well-planned plot and had been prepared with utmost care in advance. The killers carried lists of people to be killed. You could see they were well organised and prepared.”
Twenty years down the road, Ndindabahizi says survivors have completed the difficult task of reconstruction, which many believed was impossible.
“Our lives are constantly improving. We even have more hope in the future,” Ndindabahizi said.
What they said...
Jean Baptiste Bakomeza, resident.
‘The Flame is a reminder of our history and the disastrous implications that bad leadership had on our country and its citizens. However, it also indicates that future generations will live in a thriving nation. It is, therefore, a collective duty of all Rwandans, and particularly the youth, to take measures that will ensure continued progress.’
Jean Bikorimana, 23, resident.
‘The youth have the duty to protect our country against forces of evil; we should continue striving for peace and security, champion unity and most importantly struggle to make a difference in the way we live, think and act to be differentiated from those who used their strengths to ruin our nation.’