A group of Rwanda’s honorary consuls to different countries over the weekend conducted a familiarisation tour of the north eastern part of the country.
According to officials, this was the first time all the 34 consuls were meeting.
The tour was preceded by a retreat where the consuls shared with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs how best they can contribute toward the country’s development.
The diplomats visited the Mutobo Demobilisation and Reintegration Centre in Musanze District, where they interacted with former members of the genocidal militia group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
During the two-hour session, the diplomats asked the ex-militiamen what had kept them in the DR Congo jungles for over two decades.
The former rebels claimed they had been brainwashed by their commanders, who threatened them that they would be killed the moment they set foot in Rwanda.
Prof. Dr Walter Homolka, Rwanda’s consul to Germany, commended the government for reintegrating the former fighters into the community.
“As a person who loves this country, this has made me proud and I can only hope that this government continues with the good work,” said the German academic.
They also toured the Rwanda-DR Congo border in Rubavu District and Pfunda Tea Company on Saturday, where they were taken on a guided tour of the Rubavu-based plant.
Veteran tea expert, Joseph Cally Alles, who acts as Rwanda’s consul to his native country, Sri Lanka, said Rwanda’s determination to develop against all odds, makes him a proud partner.
Alles, who stayed in Rwanda for over three decades where he managed Sorwathe, one of the country’s leading tea companies, until 2012, said when he returns home, he would agitate for enhanced cooperation between the two countries, by ensuring more Rwandans benefit from training in areas of modern agriculture and energy development.
Speaking to The New Times after the tour, Rwandan ambassador to Germany, Christine Nkurukiyinka, who accompanied the diplomats, said it was important for them to know more about the country they represent.
The consuls’ work is offered on voluntary basis.