Unity Club: A champion for social cohesion in Rwanda

This week Unity Club will be celebrating its 21st anniversary. Among the activities lined up is a general assembly that will see the association renew its commitment to the Rwanda people. The club comprises 246 members – all current or former cabinet ministers and their spouses.

This week Unity Club will be celebrating its 21st anniversary. Among the activities lined up is a general assembly that will see the association renew its commitment to the Rwanda people.

The club comprises 246 members – all current or former cabinet ministers and their spouses.  

It is true that the quality of political leaders influences the future of the communities they represent.

Rwanda knows all too well the effects of divisions and injustices.

In Rwanda, these divisions culminated into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, one of the worst atrocities in modern day history.

However, today, Rwanda is globally recognised for its tremendous achievements in social cohesion, stability and socio-economic and political transformation.  

This is the result of the determination and resilience of the leadership to build an inclusive nation.

At the top of this leadership are President Paul Kagame and the First Lady Jeannette Kagame. Rwanda is fortunate to have top leaders who share a common philosophy, who put the interest and well-being of all the people of Rwanda at the centre of decision-making.  

President Kagame has been the mainstay of the liberation and transformation of Rwanda for over two decades. He was the overall commander of Rwanda’s liberation struggle from 1990 through 1994 and is the architect of the policies and actions that made Rwanda a reconciled, stable, socio-economically viable and respected country.

As, a result, Rwandans are now confident of the country’s bright future.

During the 20th anniversary celebration of Unity Club last year, one of the members said; “President Kagame made a mark on the history of Rwanda. You set goals for Rwandans; you are an icon of unity, of peace and social cohesion. Your commitment to excellence has proven that the country can only be prouder “.

Unity Club is a brainchild of the Mrs. Kagame. The association  is dedicated to help foster sustainable development for Rwanda.

Formed in 1996, the Club tasks its members to use their resources and leadership skills for enhancing social cohesion and to contribute to sustainable socio-economic development of the country.

In the immediate aftermath of the 1994 Genocide, there was a climate of fear and suspicion among Rwandans, including some political leaders of the time. Unity Club played an important role in ending this suspicion and served as reference for social cohesion among the country’s leaders. This inspired citizens to take the same step.

In all the interventions of the First Lady, the value of national unity and social cohesion remains a priority and she has repeatedly challenged Club members to work together toward the common goal of uniting Rwandans.

“Rwandans can only achieve sustainable development if all stakeholders, including government, individuals and development partners, invest in programmes that bring about social cohesion.” the First Lady said last year shortly after inaugurating homes constructed by the Club for elderly Genocide widows.

As we approach the general assembly of Unity Club (set for Thursday and Frdiay), it is important that we reflect on the association’s mandate and milestones thus far.

The Club helped members and the community to instill the process of contributing toward restoration of national identity;

It introduced a Unity Award in recognition of the exemplary achievements registered by ”Abarinzi b’Igihango” (protectors of social pact);

I provided financial and moral support to vulnerable children, especially those in orphanages in partnership with responsible government institutions;

In keeping with the spirit of dealing with the consequences of Genocide while combating its ideology, Unity Club advocated for widows and widowers. It constructed housing units for vulnerable survivors of the Genocide.

Unity Club implemented projects/programmes that enhanced unity and reconciliation among Rwandans.

One of the most inspiring quotes from our Club chairperson reminds us of how our society will be judged. “As a woman and a mother, I believe that a healthy society is judged by the way it treats all its citizens, including the most vulnerable,” said Mrs. Jeannette Kagame.  

Happy 21st Anniversary, Unity Club!

The writer is  a former Prime Minister; and member of Unity Club.
 
The views expressed in this article are of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Times.

ADVERTISEMENT