KIGALI - Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara, has revealed that while many would think that the Liberation struggle ended on July 4, 1994 when the forces of Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) brought an end to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the revolution is now in its 6th and, most probably, final phase.
While speaking at one of the many press conferences organised ahead of the upcoming national celebrations on Sunday, Rutaremara, who is also one of the senior players in the struggle, said that the country has undergone the first five and most difficult phases of liberation and has embarked on the most important phase; social and economic liberation.
“We are almost there. The country is on the right track. We have passed the phases of planning and executing the struggle and rebuilding the country from the damage caused by the struggle,”
“We have reached a phase where we are building on the foundation which we laid between 2000 and 2006. It’s a phase where now the focus has shifted to liberating people economically and socially and also empower them to do so themselves,” Rutaremara said.
Referring to the revolution as “a long journey” and “a scientific plan”, Rutaremara said that the idea of the revolution started as far back as 1978 when a clique of people sat and developed the idea of the struggle and the principles to guide it, imparted it in the masses up to 1990 when the real armed struggle began.
“The idea was to liberate Rwandans from the bad leadership at the time and all the ills that went with it such as ethnic divisions, poverty, ignorance and concentration of power into the hands of a group of people,”
“The principle was to establish a unity and reconciliation government, give Rwandans equal opportunities in decision making as well as get rid of poverty, spur economic development and establish the rule of law and democratic institutions---that’s why I call it a scientific plan,” Rutaremara said
Rutaremara who was flanked by the Ministers of Local Government, Internal Security and Justice said that the struggle against the bad regime of the time came at a cost, and the post-struggle period; from July 1994 to 2000, was mainly rebuilding what had been destroyed and also deal with security threats.
From 2000 on, the Unity and Reconciliation Government embarked on establishing institutions, putting in place policies as well as laws aimed, all of which form a foundation on which to build on to achieve socio-economic independence.
Rutaremara said that the 6th phase which began in 2006 is mainly for Rwandans to build on the foundation to achieve economic independence and developing the country.
“After rebuilding the country and putting in place democratic institutions, structures, laws and policies, decentralisation, privatisation, institutions such as ministries, the Ombudsman’s ffice, Prosecution etc---this is the foundation we are talking about,”
“Like we say, Liberation is a long and difficult journey. There are people you start with and along the way, they blow or abandon the journey... the likes of Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa. Others push to the limit, but one person falling behind does not stop the journey,” Rutaremara said.
He added that when one person falls behind, 1,000 others who want to get to the destination join the journey, Others who become frustrated or fail to honour the principles of the struggle, such as accountability, continue jumping off the wagon.
Local Government Minister James Musoni highlighted the achievements in the last 16 years which include stability, good governance, accountability, democracy, establishing the rule of law and observing human rights.
“We have done away with most of these ills. People no longer fall under one party, and ethnic ideology has no room in our country. Rwandans are united as one, corruption is no more, but most of all, injustice to all Rwandans has been done away with and our economy is on track,” Musoni said.
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama also highlighted the achievement in the judiciary and its institutions including Gacaca Courts, advocating for unity and reconciliation and human rights as well as building a country that abides by the law.
“The most important of all these is the universal access to justice by all Rwandans,” Karugama said.