Rwandans in Ankara, Tokyo and Republic of Congo on Tuesday marked the 23rd Liberation Day with messages of encouragement and hope.
In Turkey, the celebrations took place in Ankara, where Turkey’s Minister of Science, Industry and Technology, Faruk Özlü, commended the excellent relationship between Rwanda and Turkey.
The event was attended by over 400 people, including envoys, Turkish business leaders, academicians, friends of Rwanda and Rwandan nationals living in Turkey.
“Rwanda is one of the rising actors in Africa, and its partnership is increasingly being sought by the Turkish government and private sector,” Minister Faruk said in a statement.
“Turkey considers Rwanda as an important partner in East Africa and we follow, with interest, Rwanda’s impressive progress in the social and economic sectors under the leadership of President Paul Kagame. Turkish investments accounted for 10% of all FDIs into Rwanda over the last five years and we are keen to see more Turkish investments in Rwanda as well as increased levels of trade between our two countries.”
Rwanda’s envoy to Turkey, Amb. Williams Nkurunziza, thanked the Minister and all in attendance for their solidarity. The presence of the minister and a large number of Turkish friends was a reflection of the deepening bilateral relationship between Rwanda and Turkey, he said.
Nkurunziza then shared with guests the meaning of Liberation Day to all Rwandans and why this day, and not Independence Day, is celebrated in Rwanda.
He recalled that for 32 years after independence, Rwandans were prisoners of political mediocrity, dictatorships and economic stagnation.
This mess ended with the Liberation Day on 4th July 1994 when Paul Kagame and his men halted our nation’s descent into hell and stopped the Genocide against the Tutsi, he said.
Performances by Izogeye, a cultural group composed of Rwandan students in Turkey, thrilled the guests as many of them got a taste of live Rwandan cultural dances and music for the first time.
The guests were also treated to videosabout the Liberation Struggle as well as a promotional film on Rwanda compiled by the Embassy in Ankara.
Meanwhile in Tokyo the celebrations, organised by Rwanda Embassy, were attended by various officials from government, lawmakers, members of the business community and members of the Rwandan community living around Tokyo.
Speaking as chief guest, the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shunsuke Takei commended Rwanda on the recovery process following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He commended the country’s leadership for the recent achievements.
He wished Rwandans successful elections come August which he said will consolidate the unity of Rwandans for continued commitment to supporting their socio-economic development.
Rwanda’s Ambassador to Japan, Venetia Sebudandi, hailed the Liberation Day as the turning point that propelled Rwanda on a new path, putting Rwandans for the first time at the centre of planning processes.
She said the celebration of the Liberation Day was an occasion to reflect on how Rwanda has risen up from the ashes of the tragedy of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the numerous challenges that characterised its aftermath.
At a similar event in the Republic of Congo, Rwanda’s ambassador there, Dr Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, urged Rwandans to cooperate, work together and be united if they are to play a significant role in building their home country.
The envoy took participants through the history of the Liberation Struggle.
“Rwandans understand that being truly liberated is to protect and give value to what has been achieved in these 23 years after 1994 Genocide against Tutsi,’’ Habyarimana said.
Habyarimana also talked about Rwandan values saying ‘’a truly liberated Rwandan is the one who sustains what has been gained and is willing to do whatever they can improve to his or her standards of living and do what is useful for the country.’’
At the occasion, some Rwandans, who formerly lived as refugees, gave testimonies on how they were able to start their own businesses and develop themselves.