July 4, 1994 marks the day Rwanda was liberated from the claws of repression and divisive politics that culminated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
While the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) brought the Genocide to an end, post-July 1994 was a beginning of another battle.
Rebuilding the country was an insurmountable task placed on the shoulders of young men and women. With all odds against them, the young Rwandans stayed determined and focused on the next phase of the liberation struggle – fight against poverty.
Twenty-four years later, there is a lot worth celebrating.
Poverty has gone down to less than 40 percent from over 80 percent in the mid-90’s. And life expectancy has almost tripled from 23 years to 65 years over the same period.
The post Genocide leadership put the welfare of the people at the forefront and it is such policies that have made the transformational journey of the country a success.
The liberators had a clear vision and a strong spirit that enabled them to withstand and overcome all sorts of challenges. The sheer determination and resilience of the RPA did not only win the war but has since motivated and guided the reconstruction journey.
Rwandans today are more hopeful - than ever before - about their own future and that that of the country. There is little or no doubt that such spirited optimism is the result of the hard work of the country’s leadership.
As we celebrate Liberation Day, let us take a moment and honoring those who sacrificed to make Rwanda what it is today. We must not take what we have for granted. By carrying on with the spirit of the Liberators, there is no doubt that the best is yet to come.
Happy Liberation Day.