Through the valley of dry bones, to beacons of hope

Kagame, Sirleaf share spiritual moment It was a rare spiritual moment when the two African leaders joined hands in prayer. The two, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, have in recent years been faced with the mammoth tasks of turning their post-conflict countries into havens of peace and prosperity.
Senator Inyumba
Senator Inyumba

Kagame, Sirleaf share spiritual moment

It was a rare spiritual moment when the two African leaders joined hands in prayer. The two, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, have in recent years been faced with the mammoth tasks of turning their post-conflict countries into havens of peace and prosperity.

No easy feat, given the extent of the damage inflicted on the countries they inherited, albeit, at different historical junctures, but there are similarities in the brutal atrocities committed and the pain suffered by the citizens.

They both inherited nothing. Empty coffers, gross poverty, traumatized communities, limbless citizens, dead bodies are some of the litany of ills, they shouldered.

Rwanda suffered a terrible Genocide against the Tutsi in which over a million people perished, while Liberia suffered decades of civil strife, claiming many lives.

Given this background it was imperative that the post conflict agenda be shaped by key priority areas to do with healing and reconstruction.

Rwanda has in recent years experienced a new birth of hope, encouragement and prosperity. Its hallmark in the whole reconstruction effort being women’s empowerment, and the visible leadership role they play in nation building.

The reason for Liberians to emulate and celebrate, President Kagame, Africa’s iconic figure, in the advancement of the status of women.

‘Thank you for making the bones of Rwanda stand up and move again,” the Liberians honoured Kagame.

This was during a special prayer session held for him after  President  Johnson-Sirleaf  had conferred him with Liberia’s highest honour; “The Distinction of the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of Pioneers,” in recognition of his continuous advocacy for the rights’ of women.

Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament, in the world, at 56.25 percent; with many more women holding influential positions of leadership, such as heading the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Information, Trade and Commerce.

Other key posts include those of the President of the Supreme Court and the Rwanda Revenue Authority headed by women, including electing to parliament a female speaker.

Senator Aloysia Inyumba was in President Kagame’s delegation to Liberia, for the ‘International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security,’ hosted by President Johnson Sirleaf.

She describes the moment of prayer for President Kagame.
‘I cried, let me tell you. There is a special prayer that they give, those who have been honoured. They appreciate what we have gone through,’ said Senator Inyumba.

She describes a deeply emotional moment, as they prayed for President Kagame, one particular chapter in the bible summed up, how deeply Liberian’s felt for what their Rwandan counterparts have been through. They invoked Ezekiel 37.

Prophet Ezekiel’s prophecy, ‘through the valley of dry bones’ became more relevant, striking a chord between the two leaders, more so for Rwanda’s Kagame.

‘The Valley of Dry Bones’, in which Ezekiel prophesied to the exiled Jews that one day they shall return home. In theological interpretations, dry bones meant the despair and agony that came with exile life. 

In present day Rwanda, it can also translate to the human debris, the bones that filled, the streets, valleys, the rivers, after the brutal slaughter of over a million people. Exiled at the age of two, this message was not so far from what Kagame himself had endured in life.

A life of struggle summed up by President Sirleaf in her citation as she conferred the honour to him; “Your life has been one of exemplary dedication to duty and sacrificial service to the people of Rwanda and Africa. Born in October 1957 in Ruhango, Rwanda’s Southern Province and taken away as a little child in 1960 beginning a 30-year refugee life in Uganda to escape persecution and the ethnic pogroms that characterized your country, you grew to love your people to the point of being ready to lay down your life for their dignity, freedom, peace and unity.”

It was about reflecting on a sordid past, in as much as it was about celebrating current achievements, and mapping out a bright future.

For Liberians, the Colloquium was also an opportunity for them to launch and showcase the first national action plan on women, peace and security as part of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

“It was a highly consultative process; civil society gave in their input and government departments. It is a national commitment on how gender will be mainstreamed at every level,” explained Inyumba, on how the Liberia action plan came into being.

Inyumba herself made a presentation during the week long conference on; ‘non-judiciary and non-formal processes for war crimes, i.e Truth Commissions, Gacaca Informal Justice processes and justice reforms.’

The Senator who was last in Liberia some years ago, has an impression of much progress.

“The country was down. I was delivering a message from President Kagame, inviting her (Johnson- Sirleaf) to Rwanda. We stayed at a Chinese restaurant, but today we see many new hotels.”

In all this, Zimbabwean women were not forgotten, there was a moment of prayer for them too. “All delegates wore white, including white head scarf’s and prayed for Zimbabwean women and what they are going through,” says Inyumba. 

Invited to the Coloquium was USA Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton who could not make it, but sent in a video message. The African Union (AU) Chairperson, Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi,  could also not make it, his message was read by his daughter Dr. Aisha Moamar Ghadafi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through the valley of dry bones, to beacons of hope

Kagame, Sirleaf share spiritual moment

BY GRACE KWINJEH

It was a rare spiritual moment when the two African leaders joined hands in prayer. The two, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, have in recent years been faced with the mammoth tasks of turning their post-conflict countries into havens of peace and prosperity.
No easy feat, given the extent of the damage inflicted on the countries they inherited, albeit, at different historical junctures, but there are similarities in the brutal atrocities committed and the pain suffered by the citizens.
They both inherited nothing. Empty coffers, gross poverty, traumatized communities, limbless citizens, dead bodies are some of the litany of ills, they shouldered. Rwanda suffered a terrible Genocide against the Tutsi in which over a million people perished, while Liberia suffered decades of civil strife, claiming many lives.
Given this background it was imperative that the post conflict agenda be shaped by key priority areas to do with healing and reconstruction.
Rwanda has in recent years experienced a new birth of hope, encouragement and prosperity. Its hallmark in the whole reconstruction effort being women’s empowerment, and the visible leadership role they play in nation building.
The reason for Liberians to emulate and celebrate, President Kagame, Africa’s iconic figure, in the advancement of the status of women.
‘Thank you for making the bones of Rwanda stand up and move again,” the Liberians honoured Kagame.
This was during a special prayer session held for him after  President  Johnson-Sirleaf  had conferred him with Liberia’s highest honour; “The Distinction of the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of Pioneers,” in recognition of his continuous advocacy for the rights’ of women.
Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament, in the world, at 56.25 percent; with many more women holding influential positions of leadership, such as heading the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Information, Trade and Commerce. Other key posts include those of the President of the Supreme Court and the Rwanda Revenue Authority headed by women, including electing to parliament a female speaker.
Senator Aloysia Inyumba was in President Kagame’s delegation to Liberia, for the ‘International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security,’ hosted by President Johnson Sirleaf.
She describes the moment of prayer for President Kagame.
‘I cried, let me tell you. There is a special prayer that they give, those who have been honoured. They appreciate what we have gone through,’ said Senator Inyumba. She describes a deeply emotional moment, as they prayed for President Kagame, one particular chapter in the bible summed up, how deeply Liberian’s felt for what their Rwandan counterparts have been through. They invoked Ezekiel 37.
Prophet Ezekiel’s prophecy, ‘through the valley of dry bones’ became more relevant, striking a chord between the two leaders, more so for Rwanda’s Kagame.
‘The Valley of Dry Bones’, in which Ezekiel prophesied to the exiled Jews that one day they shall return home. In theological interpretations, dry bones meant the despair and agony that came with exile life.  In present day Rwanda, it can also translate to the human debris, the bones that filled, the streets, valleys, the rivers, after the brutal slaughter of over a million people.
Exiled at the age of two, this message was not so far from what Kagame himself had endured in life.
A life of struggle summed up by President Sirleaf in her citation as she conferred the honour to him; “Your life has been one of exemplary dedication to duty and sacrificial service to the people of Rwanda and Africa. Born in October 1957 in Ruhango, Rwanda’s Southern Province and taken away as a little child in 1960 beginning a 30-year refugee life in Uganda to escape persecution and the ethnic pogroms that characterized your country, you grew to love your people to the point of being ready to lay down your life for their dignity, freedom, peace and unity.”
It was about reflecting on a sordid past, in as much as it was about celebrating current achievements, and mapping out a bright future.
For Liberians, the Colloquium was also an opportunity for them to launch and showcase the first national action plan on women, peace and security as part of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
“It was a highly consultative process; civil society gave in their input and government departments. It is a national commitment on how gender will be mainstreamed at every level,” explained Inyumba, on how the Liberia action plan came into being.
Inyumba herself made a presentation during the week long conference on; ‘non-judiciary and non-formal processes for war crimes, i.e Truth Commissions, Gacaca Informal Justice processes and justice reforms.’
The Senator who was last in Liberia some years ago, has an impression of much progress. “The country was down. I was delivering a message from President Kagame, inviting her (Johnson- Sirleaf) to Rwanda. We stayed at a Chinese restaurant, but today we see many new hotels.”
In all this, Zimbabwean women were not forgotten, there was a moment of prayer for them too. “All delegates wore white, including white head scarf’s and prayed for Zimbabwean women and what they are going through,” says Inyumba. 
Invited to the Coloquium was USA Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton who could not make it, but sent in a video message. The African Union (AU) Chairperson, Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi,  could also not make it, his message was read by his daughter Dr. Aisha Moamar Ghadafi.
Those who made it include; African and European leaders, among them; Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, Mozambique’s Prime Minister, Luisa Dias Diogo, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, among many leaders representing the global community. Canada was represented by Governor General, Michaelle Jean.

Ends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

who made it include; African and European leaders, among them; Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, Mozambique’s Prime Minister, Luisa Dias Diogo, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, among many leaders representing the global community. Canada was represented by Governor General, Michaelle Jean.

Through the valley of dry bones, to beacons of hope

Kagame, Sirleaf share spiritual moment

BY GRACE KWINJEH

It was a rare spiritual moment when the two African leaders joined hands in prayer. The two, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, have in recent years been faced with the mammoth tasks of turning their post-conflict countries into havens of peace and prosperity.
No easy feat, given the extent of the damage inflicted on the countries they inherited, albeit, at different historical junctures, but there are similarities in the brutal atrocities committed and the pain suffered by the citizens.
They both inherited nothing. Empty coffers, gross poverty, traumatized communities, limbless citizens, dead bodies are some of the litany of ills, they shouldered. Rwanda suffered a terrible Genocide against the Tutsi in which over a million people perished, while Liberia suffered decades of civil strife, claiming many lives.
Given this background it was imperative that the post conflict agenda be shaped by key priority areas to do with healing and reconstruction.
Rwanda has in recent years experienced a new birth of hope, encouragement and prosperity. Its hallmark in the whole reconstruction effort being women’s empowerment, and the visible leadership role they play in nation building.
The reason for Liberians to emulate and celebrate, President Kagame, Africa’s iconic figure, in the advancement of the status of women.
‘Thank you for making the bones of Rwanda stand up and move again,” the Liberians honoured Kagame.
This was during a special prayer session held for him after  President  Johnson-Sirleaf  had conferred him with Liberia’s highest honour; “The Distinction of the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of Pioneers,” in recognition of his continuous advocacy for the rights’ of women.
Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament, in the world, at 56.25 percent; with many more women holding influential positions of leadership, such as heading the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Information, Trade and Commerce. Other key posts include those of the President of the Supreme Court and the Rwanda Revenue Authority headed by women, including electing to parliament a female speaker.
Senator Aloysia Inyumba was in President Kagame’s delegation to Liberia, for the ‘International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security,’ hosted by President Johnson Sirleaf.
She describes the moment of prayer for President Kagame.
‘I cried, let me tell you. There is a special prayer that they give, those who have been honoured. They appreciate what we have gone through,’ said Senator Inyumba. She describes a deeply emotional moment, as they prayed for President Kagame, one particular chapter in the bible summed up, how deeply Liberian’s felt for what their Rwandan counterparts have been through. They invoked Ezekiel 37.
Prophet Ezekiel’s prophecy, ‘through the valley of dry bones’ became more relevant, striking a chord between the two leaders, more so for Rwanda’s Kagame.
‘The Valley of Dry Bones’, in which Ezekiel prophesied to the exiled Jews that one day they shall return home. In theological interpretations, dry bones meant the despair and agony that came with exile life.  In present day Rwanda, it can also translate to the human debris, the bones that filled, the streets, valleys, the rivers, after the brutal slaughter of over a million people.
Exiled at the age of two, this message was not so far from what Kagame himself had endured in life.
A life of struggle summed up by President Sirleaf in her citation as she conferred the honour to him; “Your life has been one of exemplary dedication to duty and sacrificial service to the people of Rwanda and Africa. Born in October 1957 in Ruhango, Rwanda’s Southern Province and taken away as a little child in 1960 beginning a 30-year refugee life in Uganda to escape persecution and the ethnic pogroms that characterized your country, you grew to love your people to the point of being ready to lay down your life for their dignity, freedom, peace and unity.”
It was about reflecting on a sordid past, in as much as it was about celebrating current achievements, and mapping out a bright future.
For Liberians, the Colloquium was also an opportunity for them to launch and showcase the first national action plan on women, peace and security as part of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
“It was a highly consultative process; civil society gave in their input and government departments. It is a national commitment on how gender will be mainstreamed at every level,” explained Inyumba, on how the Liberia action plan came into being.
Inyumba herself made a presentation during the week long conference on; ‘non-judiciary and non-formal processes for war crimes, i.e Truth Commissions, Gacaca Informal Justice processes and justice reforms.’
The Senator who was last in Liberia some years ago, has an impression of much progress. “The country was down. I was delivering a message from President Kagame, inviting her (Johnson- Sirleaf) to Rwanda. We stayed at a Chinese restaurant, but today we see many new hotels.”
In all this, Zimbabwean women were not forgotten, there was a moment of prayer for them too. “All delegates wore white, including white head scarf’s and prayed for Zimbabwean women and what they are going through,” says Inyumba. 
Invited to the Coloquium was USA Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton who could not make it, but sent in a video message. The African Union (AU) Chairperson, Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi,  could also not make it, his message was read by his daughter Dr. Aisha Moamar Ghadafi.
Those who made it include; African and European leaders, among them; Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, Mozambique’s Prime Minister, Luisa Dias Diogo, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, among many leaders representing the global community. Canada was represented by Governor General, Michaelle Jean.

Ends

 

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