President Paul Kagame has urged top leaders to keep up Ndi Umunyarwanda campaigns to ensure that all citizens, especially the youth, embrace the values of unity and work together to build their country.
The Head of State made the call last night while speaking at a Unity Club Dinner in Kigali where four protectors of friendship pact (Abarinzi b’Igihango) were awarded for their outstanding acts of courage and humanity displayed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Let us continue to remember that Ndi Umunyarwanda is the foundation of who we are and what we stand for,” he said, urging members of the club to keep upholding the campaign.
Unity Club is an association of current and former cabinet ministers and their spouses while “Ndi Umunyarwanda” (I am Rwandan), is a programme initiated by the Government of Rwanda as a campaign that promotes national identity and building a Rwandan community that is based on trust and unity.
President Kagame reminded leaders in the club that between individuals and their families and country, there is always a way they have to live together and complement each other.
He said that Rwandans have their way of life that entails values that they stand for and urged everyone to build on those values and complement each other to achieve the desired wellbeing.
“No one has the ability to choose who they are born as. But it is up to us to define our values, to treat each other as equals, and to use our individual strengths to work together for our mutual benefit,” he said.
The president said that Ndi Umunyarwanda campaign, which was launched five years ago, has the potential to solve all problems that Rwandans have based on their artificial divisions that they can do away with.
“How can refugees that returned home to Rwanda from different neighbouring countries create divisions based on the countries from which they returned? Ndi Umunyarwanda is about putting an end to all these artificial divides,” he said, giving an example of some of the trivial divisions among Rwandans.
One of the awards’ recipients at yesterday’s dinner, Catholic Bishop at Gikongoro Diocese Célestin Hakizimana, said that it’s thanks to God that he is today called a protector of friendship pact.
“We have accepted the awards we got even if we don’t deserve them. Given the extent of the genocide, no one was able to do anything but it was only God that helped us. It’s only God who can be praised for whatever was done,” he said.
Hakizimana played a big role in saving 2,000 people during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi when he was a priest at St Paul Catholic Chapel in Kigali.
They were Tutsi refugees from different parts of Kigali who had sought refuge at St Paul Catholic Chapel located just a few metres from Downtown Kigali.
Earlier in the day yesterday, hundreds of members of Unity Club had met in Rusororo, Kigali City’s Gasabo District, at the club’s 11th annual General Assembly which, among other issues, reflected on the journey of Ndi Umunyarwanda unity and reconciliation Programme and how it can be further enhanced in the society especially among the youth.
After discussing about the progress of Ndi Umunyarwanda programme, the club’s members resolved to enhance it by undertaking different actions.
They include, among others, working with other institutions to prepare another phase of Ndi Umunyarwanda campaigns, educating the youth about the country’s history, helping the youth in preparing the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and continuing to promote everyone’s role in giving Rwandan children a good education.
The club’s General Assembly was organised in partnership with the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) under the theme: “Ndi Umunyarwanda: The pillar towards Building Peace in the Society”.
It brought together top government officials and former top government officials along with their spouses because they are the main members of the club, district officials and members of the civil society, Protectors of friendship pact (Abarinzi b’Igihango) as well as youth representatives.
Officials said that the theme for yesterday’s assembly reflected on the deliberations of the previous assembly of the club, whose work has mainly focused on promoting unity and reconciliation in the country and supporting genocide survivors.
Formed in 1996, Unity Club has been instrumental in promoting social cohesion and contributing to the country’s sustainable socio-economic development, with some of its achievements including the construction of six hostels for childless Genocide widows (Incike) across the country.
It has also built 20 houses in Rubavu district which were given to orphans who formerly lived at Orphelinat Noel de Nyundo orphanage.
Under the same programme of supporting vulnerable genocide survivors, the club has announced that it will in December provide another hostel to fifty Genocide widows in Western Province’s Rusizi District.