Unity,common identity and purpose will go a long way in ensuring Rwanda’s sustainable socio-economic transformation, Her Excellency, First Lady Jeannette Kagame has said.
In 2013, the ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ concept was initiated with the ultimate goal of promoting a national identity and building a Rwandan community that is based on trust and unity.
It is the above initiative that local young and elderly leaders believe would be a defining legacy for posterity, and the First Lady is in agreement.
“I urge every Rwandan to be a true human; one that loves and promotes peace, harmony and unity in their community,” the First Lady told hundreds of former and current national leaders yesterday, during the 11th General Assembly of Unity Club, that took place at the Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo.
Edouard Bamporiki, the Chairperson of National Itorero Commission (2nd R) responds to a question from the audience. Alongside him were young professionals in different fields of work.
“Ndi Umunyarwanda is the common identity that should bind us, and we should let it be the oasis of peace in our families, country and Africa in general,” said the First Lady and Unity Club Chairperson.
During the General Assembly, there was one particular panel discussion which brought a youthful generation with different life experiences of Rwanda’s history on the same platform.
The panelists included Charles Habonimana a survivor of the Genocide against the Tutsi, Edouard Bamporiki whose family members took part in the Genocide, and Tristan Murenzi who was born after the Genocide.
Other panelists were Solange Tetero, whose family took a stand against the Genocide and Irene Mizero, whose parents are in prison for Genocide crimes.
Each panelist shared their unique struggles to fit into post Genocide Rwanda, with the majority revealing that, to be where they are today was mainly due to their personal choice to move forward, other than giving up.
“There is a time I almost committed suicide. I was tired of living alone,” said Habonimana, now a father of three, who watched his siblings and parents being killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Habonimana miraculously survived the Genocide, after his murder was postponed because the Interahamwe militia, who had caught him, suddenly felt hungry and so spared him for later.
“We survived under difficult circumstances. We refused to die. Now it is upon us to find the best possible ways to live as one,” Habonimana added.
Mizero, whose father is serving a life sentence and mother is on a 30-years prison sentence for their involvement in Genocide, revealed how he struggled with trauma caused by the shame of his parents’ actions and status in society.
“I became a victim of circumstances I was never part of. Thanks to continued unity and reconciliation programmes and inclusiveness, I have learnt to put a distinction between my parents’ past and the future I want for myself and my country,” Mizero explained.
Mrs Kagame observed that Rwanda endured a difficult past and it is upon the current generation and leaders to build a strong foundation for a united Rwanda, going forward.
“We went through tough times, but it is the responsibility of every leader to build the future we want. It is true that we must overcome our past in order for us to be able to show the young generation the right path to take,” she said.
To the youth, Her Excellency the First Lady said, “you are the custodians of current gains and architects of your future. Be of courage, we pledge to walk with you as far as we can.”
Former Sports and Culture Minister, Julienne Uwacu, said that making ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ a culture among Rwandan households, is the most effective way to build lasting unity and reconciliation.