BY Théogène Nsengimana
As Rwanda celebrates Liberation 22, Rwandans have been urged to uphold heroism values and cherish National Heroes that showed commitment to a people and the country for which they sacrificed to liberate.
Liberation day is celebrated every year on July 4 to commemorate the defeat of the genocide regime by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1994.
Déo Nkusi, the Executive Secretary of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honours (CHENO) said people should uphold heroism values that resulted into liberation of Rwanda to ensure that heroism culture does not wane but rather nurtured and passed on to new generations.
He said; “Liberation could not be possible if people who pioneered in the liberation war, like late Fred Rwigyema and his successors, did not have heroism values that compelled them to strive for the liberation of our country without sparing their lives. It is then understandable that liberation could not be achieved without heroism values.
“Heroism is not something new among Rwandans. It was a culture of our ancestors; the reason why they used to have heroism medals including Umudende, Impotore and Gucana Uruti depending on the number of enemies one would have killed at the battle field. This is why we should keep memories of our heroes to nurture this culture of heroism among younger generations,” he considered.
The Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour (CHENO) was established by Rwanda Constitution of 2003 in its article 139. It comprises two organs; the Council of the Chancellery, which is the supreme organ responsible for administration and taking decisions related to management of the property of the Chancellery and to identify persons deserving to be called National Heroes and those to be awarded with National Orders and Decorations of Honour. The second, the executive Secretariat of the Chancellery, monitors daily activities.
CHENO’s mission is to identify, thank, honour and celebrate the memory of Rwandan citizens or foreigners who distinguished themselves by acts of heroism and other acts of bravery serving as good examples.
Who is a hero?
As stated by the law nº 13 bis /2009 of 16/06/2009 determining the responsibilities, structure and functioning of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honor, a Hero is any person who pursues objectives he / she undertakes to obtain a special achievement for the public interest and with high proven integrity, sacrifice and noble courage in his / her acts and who avoids being a coward in his / her actions in very trying situations.
To be classified as a Hero in Rwandan context, one has to prove courage, bravery, sacrifice, proven integrity, truthfulness, magnanimity, humanity, be visionary and serve as a good example.
Even though the liberation from the genocide regime ended by the defeat of the genocide regime by Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), CHENo urges Rwandans to uphold values that cherished brave persons who took the lead in liberating the country and still at the forefront of the good leadership in the country leading to the current developments.
Among the challenges facing the chancellery in scrutinizing nominees, according to Deo Nkusi, is lack of tangible proof for people who cherished heroism values in the past as there is no enough information about their achievements for lack of quality means to document and archive them.