It has been quite a rollercoaster journey, a treacherous path; from the savannah of Umutara, the steep hills and valleys of Byumba to the volcanoes.
Hunger was an extra enemy to conquer, a constant companion, and there was no time to grieve fallen comrades; the young men and women had a greater task of saving Rwanda from itself. The signs were visible clearly; the liberation struggle was inevitable since successive regimes had adamantly refused to welcome back Rwandan refugees peacefully.
Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)-Inkotanyi had no option but to force the government’s hand towards the negotiation table. The government sat down albeit reluctantly; it was purely buying time to plan and execute the crime of the century; the extermination of an entire ethnic group.
Yes, a few survivors managed to escape, but the macabre plan worked out efficiently. The genocidal forces managed to deal the Tutsi a devastating blow that many survivors have never managed to fully recover from.
The RPF had a daunting task ahead of it; it was fighting a war on one side and saving lives and stopping the Genocide on the other. But the Unknown Soldier’s determination, resilience and bravery won the day.
The blood that quenched the battlefields between 1990 and 1994 was not shed for nothing; it has been lubricating this country’s recovery engines.
25 years later, the country has been transformed; spiritually, psychologically and economically. Mechanisms have been put in place to pave way for the next generation to continue building on a firm foundation.
This country refused to be pulled down and it is everyone’s hope that the youth are watching and learning. But whatever the case, the Unknown Soldier is looking over them jealously.