February 1 was Heroes’ Day. It’s a day we celebrate the men and women, young and old, who have done this society proud. But the constellation of recognised heroes is by no means exhaustive. We have heroes galore and have only recognised some but we continue to recognise more. Only, we forget to recognise the government and institutions that have brought them to the fore. In her many years of existence, Rwanda has not only had heroes with this leadership’s entrance into government. She has always had heroes but the depraved regimes that preceded it, for their expectedly lopsided values, were partial to, and promoted, only villains. You may exclaim that nowhere has it happened that a government and institutions are pronounced hero. Please bear with my mindlessness but, for the life of me, I see no reason why not! If heroism is for humans because only they are animate and have the capacity to reason, so is it for governments and institutions. Because they are the personification of the human leaders who form them. And so are they equally animate and capable of choice in the values they espouse. To reason in dismissal of the above-mentioned as animate is to me, with your absolution, nonsense on stilts. Or else how would they be sensitive or not to, and grow or not with, their people? So, for having gone through thick and thin in defence of the dignity of this society, ready to be pummelled into oblivion by the powers that be that wanted you as slave to their dictates, hail to thee, our government and institutions! For riding the rough and tumble of their push and pull in efforts to change your vision of a united and harmonious community and coming out tops, plaudits! It was a roller coaster ride of our 32-year journey and a luta continua but, boy, what a joyride! We recognise the pain that went into your planned birth. The dangerously hated-by-hosts clandestine lessons. The practice in life-costly wars of others, et al, all in search of ways of placing yourself in the womb that was your country. And the near-death once conception was ‘launched’. For in your ‘conception pangs’ you were nor government nor institutions. You were a struggle. The RPF/A liberation struggle with commissions, not exactly inside the womb, but at the edge. ‘Edge foetus’, so to say! And the long, hard and harrowing push to the womb-centre, when it was almost done, how the said powers rose and cajoled you back towards the edge. And, always ready to accede to others’ wishes in the name of peaceful resolutions, how you bent. The catcalls by similar strugglers like the down-south Savimbi one, you bore in silence and worked on your growth. But the shock of shocks hit. To rise in ‘foetus form’ and single-handedly stop the Genocide against the Tutsi as you were, that was the stuff that heroes are made of. It was going to mark your life. You inherited a shambles but took it in your stride, for negativity had never been in your character even as foetus. The single-minded pursuit of the mission and the vision were paramount and erased all pain. This marks you today, as the young-adult RPF government, with your accompanying young-adult RDF and other institutions, and shall always mark you. At whatever cost, your vision shall be steadfast. This society has to be liberated and lead a united, sociable, dignified, healthy, knowledgeable, technology-savvy, prosperous, et al, life, at peace with all humans on this earth, near and far. And readily helping out any other society in distress. The little home-made solutions that the ‘civilised world’ mocked sans mercy, who would have expected them to produce such arguably first-rate results? Gacaca, seen as primitive, and the way it in no time resolved cases that’d have taken classic courts centuries. The Reconciliation Commission it helped that swiftly re-bonded this society. Girinka and Ndi-Umunyarwanda that have cemented the cohesion and Umuganda before that that’d played and still plays more roles than rendering the country and her people clean (in more sense than one) and green – “green for people” in the sense of climate-protection conscious, not greenhorn! Mutuelles-de-Santé, free universal education, model villages and many more such programmes that’ve stood this country in good stead, placing her in the world-class league on many indices. Yes, let’s say it all, especially for that day of our heroes, for, no, it’s not an empty boast. And we can go on till cows come home, much as Girinka has brought them to all homes that need them! Now, how do we take government and institutions, in their constantly fluid form, and name them hero? Granted, they may have always performed to their worth and showed their mettle, but they are like a body whose elements change all the time. They do not always constitute the same people. Whatever the case, we have always had government and institutions, whatever their constitution, that have generally performed to our expectations. Those who agree, let’s put our hands together and proclaim our government hero as representing all institutions. Those who don’t, may you forever hold your peace! The views expressed in this article are of the writer.