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First Lady Jeannette Kagame warns against selfish interests

The First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs Jeannette Kagame has cautioned Rwandans against advancing personal gains that destroy unity.

She was delivering her opening remarks on Saturday, October 31, 2020 – through a pre-recorded video message – during the 13th forum of Unity Club, themed "Ndi Umunyarwanda:  Igitekerezo-ngenga cy’ukubaho kwacu”  (loosely translated as the basis for our existence).


The event took place from the Chamber of Deputies’ plenary sitting hall in Kigali.


“It has been a habit that when we are united, achieving our targets, the voices of haters of Rwanda rise with intent to distort our history and destroy Rwandans. That might sometimes be caused by one’s participation in that history, or failure to detach from it. It might also result from individual interests or those he/she calls public [interests],” she said.


The First Lady is the Chairperson of Unity Club – a network of current and former Rwandan leaders and their spouses that collaborate to address community issues.

The Club is credited to have made a great contribution to unity and reconciliation so far, including championing the “Ndi Umunyarwanda Programme”, according to Fidele Ndayisaba, Executive Secretary of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC).

Ndi Umunyarwanda is a programme initiated to build national identity based on trust and dignity in order to strengthen unity and reconciliation.

Mrs Kagame said that some of the factors that empower a country include leadership and operating systems that put public interests first, having well-structured institutions which are proved by the availability of people who properly understand, admire and strive for the dignity of their country and unity.

“We have such institutions in our country. We strive to ensure that a Rwandan gets basic needs fulfilled towards [their] welfare.  We are taught the dignity of the country, and the values that govern us. Why do we continue to see people who are dissatisfied, making some to have pretexts of places of birth, or their individual interests and disappoint Rwandans,” she wondered.

She said that there are people who continue to create a lot of confusion among the youth on the basis of genocide ideology, promising recommitment to fighting the Genocide and its ideology, as provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.

“This gives us a duty to look for ways to further support the youth who did not have part in this history, but who are still struggling to understand that our real source of belonging is ‘Rwandanness’ and we will uphold it and hand it down to our descendants,” she said.

Involving family in the fight against genocide ideology

The First Lady said that the study conducted by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission indicated that family has a role in disseminating divisive ideology, and that the youth has inadequate knowledge about Rwanda’s history, especially the Genocide against Tutsi.

“Dare shunning the wrong, even if it is said by a senior, or your relative. Stick on unity, always think about Rwanda when you analyse the problems it suffered from; and we hope to get a lasting solution to them,” she told the youth.

She said that the family should be the centre for Ubunyarwanda – Rwandanness – which underscores the firm relation of Rwandans.

“The Rwandanness we want to uphold should be taught in family. Ndi Umunyarwanda should help us to mend the family so that it becomes the source of peace and sustainable development,” she said.

Referring the significance of unity, she said that during this period when Rwandans continue to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been realised that when they put their unity first, it helps them to deal with difficult or unusual circumstances.

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