Thousands of people from across the country will be recognised for their exemplary work in promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans.
Under the auspices of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) and the Unity Club, an organisation that brings together current and former senior government leaders and their spouses, selected Rwandans in communities right from the cell level will be recognised for their respective roles.
Those with outstanding deeds at the cell level will be nominated to the sector, then district up to national level where the eventual winners will receive certificates of merit and “unity medals” from the Unity Club.
The inaugural ceremony to recognise citizens for their outstanding acts of unity will be held on Friday next week with NURC and Unity Club recognising seventeen people with a national “Unity Award”.
The initiative was announced in a joint parliamentary session yesterday that was also attended by officials from NURC, Unity Club and different cabinet ministers.
Officials said the recognition is in the spirit of the ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ campaign through which Rwandans in their communities openly talk about their history in order to heal through telling the truth, repenting and forgiving.
Those who will be recognised for their outstanding work in promoting unity and reconciliation of Rwandans have been dubbed ‘Abarinzi b’Igihango’, the Kinyarwanda words that literally mean ‘protectors of a friendship pact.’
Officials say recognising ‘Abarinzi b’Igihango’ will inspire other Rwandans, especially the youth, to also strive to live in unity and respect of others.
“This awarding initiative will help to educate Rwandans about their dignity and the obligation of every citizen to protect everyone’s dignity,” said retired Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana, who is the president of NURC.
Venantie Tugireyezu, the minister in the Office of the President, made the presentation about the initiative before Parliament and asked the legislators to promote the programme during their meetings with citizens.
“The initiative will help inculcate the Rwandan values in the society,” she said.
‘Abarinzi b’Igihango’ will be selected by looking at their behaviour and actions during major periods of the recent Rwandan history starting with the Liberation struggle of 1990-1994, the proliferation of political parties in 1993, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the war against infiltrators after the Genocide, the time of Gacaca courts which tried thousands of Genocide perpetrators, as well as the entire reconciliation process that generally started at the end of the Genocide and continues up to now.
President Paul Kagame was the first recipient of Unity Club’s inaugural “Unity Award” in 2010 for his contribution in promoting unity among Rwandans.
The recognition for ‘Abarinzi b’Igihango’ will be held annually.