KIGALI - Two top defence and security officials Monday called on the Rwandan Diaspora community to be proactive and play a vital role in contributing to the country’s security and development.
Rwanda Defence Forces director of research and development, Col. Charles Karamba, and Joseph Nzabamwita of the National Security Service (NSS), made the call while addressing the second day of the ongoing fourth Diaspora convention at Kigali Serena Hotel yesterday.
“You who are outside also have a role to play in advancing Rwanda’s national interests – and when we talk about the Diaspora, we should also be able to put the message into perspective – globally, the Diaspora plays a big role,” Nzabamwita said.
The official also stressed the importance of the Diaspora’s role in promoting the Rwandan culture and values.
“Why don’t you take pride in your culture? How many cultural events have you held? – If you don’t teach your children Kinyarwanda, you are simply destroying your heritage”.
Apart from transferring financial capital back home, Nzabamwita noted that the Diaspora can also contribute towards the country’s economic development through the transfer of knowledge and professional skills that are generally lacking in the country.
He noted that the Rwandan community abroad should also serve as a liaison between Rwanda and their host countries or in regional or International Organizations.
“You should be law abiding in the countries where you live. But irrespective of where you are, your nation comes first. We are not begging you for this, it is your obligation.
“You are the fifth province, I must admit that we also need to put our house in order so as to tap the potential of the Diaspora, but don’t just sit there and blame your country,” he noted while also warning about what he called petty and pointless divisions in the Diaspora community.
“Our missions should be able to be above that petty bickering which does not contribute to national security and development, bring everyone on board, you have a big role to play,” he said
Nzabamwita also stressed that the Diaspora should contribute in preserving Rwanda’s stability, play an advocacy role, counter the activities of the Negative Diaspora, their sympathizers and enemies of Rwanda and confront the propaganda of subversive groups.
Referring to 2008 world bank figures to illustrate how the Diaspora is a major contributor to Africa’s economic development, it was noted that last year, remittances by the Kenyan Diaspora were at US$ 1.3 Bn, Sudan at US$ 1.2 Bn, Ethiopia US$ 1Bn, Senegal US$ 874m, Uganda US$ 700m, and Rwanda at US$ 200m.