Rwanda has risen from “a wasteland” left behind by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to become “a model state and a land of infinite promise in Africa,” Amb. Williams Nkurunziza has said.
The country’s envoy to Turkey was on Tuesday speaking to over 250 students at Gazi University in Ankara during the Ambassadors’ International Summit organised by Gazi University to give its students international perspectives on global economic and political issues.
“The 1994 Genocide briefly turned Rwanda into a wasteland. Yet today, the country, under the exemplary leadership by President Paul Kagame, has become a model state and a land of infinite promise in Africa,” he said.
The ambassador presented a paper titled, “Historical and Current Developments in Rwanda during which he explained that Rwanda's journey went through four historical periods: pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial and post-genocide.”
“Pre-colonial Rwanda existed as a homogeneous mono-cultural and linguistic society, it started tearing at the centre on the poison of ethnicity forced onto Rwandans by colonial powers, especially from 1930 to 1962,” he said.
“Matters did not change after independence. In 1962, independence came, but there was no freedom as the two successive governments thrived on the politics of ethnicity and ethnic hatred based on the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa ethnic creations by colonial powers,” added.
Amb. Nkurunziza said the common thread between the two governments was their obsession with Tutsi persecution which finally exploded into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed over a million lives and left a nation in tatters.
The ambassador, however, noted that post-Genocide Rwanda has benefited from “exemplary leadership” that has led the country on “a phenomenal journey of self-liberation” through vigilant efforts at building peace and restoring the rule of law; national healing and reconciliation; rebuilding institutions as well as reconstructing and growing the economy.
“Rwanda Patriotic Army did more than stop the Genocide against the Tutsi. They gave our nation a new lease of life and Rwandan fathers, security for their families to grow in. They gave Rwandan mothers the right to hope for a better future for their children and Rwandan children the right to dream that they can work hard and conquer the world,” he said.
Nkurunziza also outlined how the Government has championed inclusive politics and good governance citing “democracy, equity and equality of opportunity, decentralisation of governance; gender empowerment, prudent economic management and pro-business reforms that have combined to unleash a national spirit that negates ethnic persuasions and allows Rwandans to pull together in rebuilding their country.”
The Ankara-based Gazi University was established in 1926 and has a student population of 80,530.
The university event was also addressed by ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from Singapore, Pakistan, Sudan, Palestine and Turkmenistan.