As Rwanda prepares to mark the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi and the country’s liberation, President Paul Kagame has called for concerted efforts in the fight against genocide denial.
Kagame made the call while addressing foreign envoys during the annual diplomats’ luncheon, which was attended by over 100 Heads of Mission accredited to Rwanda.
The President said that marking the 25th commemoration of the Genocide and the Liberation is an important milestone, hence inviting the diplomatic community to be involved in sharing the real story of the occurrence.
“We ask those of you who live in Rwanda, and nearby, to continue to join us in sharing the real story of what happened here, as well as the present reality,” Kagame said.
The call comes in the wake of the rising trend of genocide denial. The President said there was a common duty and responsibility to fight the vice.
“I am also inviting you to be with us on that day of commemoration. In the context of rising genocide denial, in our case and others -there is a rising of so many things in the world, but I am concerned about this one first- it is our common duty to fight that,” the Head of State said.
The President also noted that going forward, Rwanda intends to continue making its own choices, which fit its context and match what happens elsewhere in the world.
“As I said a few days ago, we want to continue to be a country that can make our own choices, which fit us and which match what happens elsewhere in the world. It has more to do with the choices we make than with the rulebook, which in many cases we have not written or contributed to,” he said.
With that, he said, the country intends to follow the rule of law but will not be compelled to follow rules set elsewhere.
“The only rule we follow is that of law. There are some other rules, many times written for us, which say: This is what we must follow. I am sure you will bear with us, those who become uncomfortable with this kind of position,” he said.
“This is who we are, this is what we want, and this is also dictated in many ways by where we have come from,” he added.
Highlighting some of the strides the country made in 2018, the head of state said that the country made progress in developing conducive business environment as was observed on the annual World Bank Doing Business report.
Rwanda moved up twelve places from the previous year, and now ranks 29th in the world, and number two in Africa.
“We want to attract more investment, innovation, and joint ventures, both at home and with our partners – the countries you represent – from the region and beyond,” he said.
The September parliamentary elections, he said, were a major step in Rwanda’s democratic dispensation and reflect the country’s inclusive approach. The new legislature features two new political parties, young lawmakers as well as a majority of women.
He also noted that Rwanda was able to make meaning contributions during its tenure as African Union Chair adding that the country is keen to actualise integration ambitions.
Going forward, he committed Rwanda’s readiness to work with other countries to advance towards global priorities.
“Rwanda will continue to work with all of you to advance together our shared interests as a global community, from development, to security, trade, and climate change. We will make faster progress, all of us, by working together,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of foreign envoys, John Mwangemi, Kenya’s ambassador to Rwanda congratulated President Kagame and Rwanda for a successful term at the leadership of the African Union.
He expressed readiness of the missions to cooperate with Rwanda in areas of mutual benefit.