President Paul Kagame has attributed Rwanda’s phenomenal recovery from the devastating effects of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi to a never say die attitude.
The Head of State was on Friday responding to a question about what drives post-Genocide Rwanda’s progress at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in California, US, held under the theme ‘Healing, Collaboration and the Role of Technology’.
“Main secret is to never stop trying. We created space for everyone to contribute and bring their ideas and enable us to leave our tragic history behind and shape the better future we deserve,” he said.
This was during the last leg of Kagame’s three-day tour of California.
Speaking about Rwanda’s post Genocide experience, he said: “At the end of the day, no one had gained from the genocide. We lost people but even those who killed them lost. But from the beginning Rwandans refused to be trapped. We had a future to look up to.”
He pointed to the combination of reconciliation and justice as one of Rwanda’s key challenges following the Genocide Against the Tutsi.
“We could not find an answer in traditional justice and we looked to traditional means. We chose restorative justice, combining reconciliation with justice and enforcing a sense of responsibility.
“The result was millions of cases processed and allowed back to go to their villages to live together,” Kagame said in reference to the Gacaca courts which tried about two million Genocide cases between 2002 and 2012.
The President also spoke of Africa’s ability to overcome its challenges. “We must embrace the attitude that we can get ourselves out of poverty, conflict and disease. There are things we can do to give ourselves dignity.”
The Executive Director of Shoah Foundation, Stephen Smith, credited Rwanda’s leadership for the “stability, change and hope” that now characterise the country.
Earlier in the day, President Kagame held a roundtable discussion at the University of California Berkeley Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.
The faculty present shared development that has provided solutions to the provision and access to quality health care.
Kagame emphasised the role of technology in bettering lives. “Technology used to serve people as tools for finding solution is a great thing. It gives technology a real meaning.”