HUYE/GICUMBI - As part of events to mark the national Patriotism Day, several government officials on Thursday conducted debates in different institutions of higher learning, urging students to partake of collective responsibility in building the country.
Addressing students and staff at the National University of Rwanda (NUR), the Minister of Defence, Gen. James Kabarebe, said personal interests should not suppress the love of ones’ country.
Patriotism Day is marked every year on October 1, the day the Liberation War was launched 20 years ago.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Commerce, Monique Nsanzabaganwa and MP Francis Kaboneka.
Kabarebe told the University community that the road to building Rwanda is still quite long. He challenged them to be committed towards achieving uniform development in the country.
“The armed struggle has ended. Today, we are looking forward to developing our country. This requires us to be patriotic, and overcome personal interests in favour of what benefits the larger public,” he said.
He hailed Rwandans who have shown commitment to developing the country despite the many challenges they encountered. This, he said, is a sign of nationalism.
Minister Nsanzabaganwa condemned self-exiled Rwandans who tarnish the image of the country.
“Tarnishing the country’s image is akin to destroying it; unfortunately sometimes people get to appreciate the value of something when they no longer have it,” she said.
In Gicumbi district, the Minister of state for Primary and Secondary Education, Mathias Harebamungu, told students of Byumba Polytechnic and those of Byumba School of Nursing and Midwifery, to exhibit the qualities of patriotism at all times.
“Patriotism requires all of you to work tirelessly for your country by participating in development projects, and being at the forefront of promoting unity, reconciliation and the fight against corruption and all forms of social evils in the Rwandan society,” said Harebamungu.
He further called on the students to give a deaf ear to unpatriotic Rwandans bent on tarnishing Rwanda’s image in foreign media, saying such people are “enemies of all Rwandans.”
On his part, Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) 408 Brigade Commander Brig. General Eric Murokore, said, “What is required of a patriotic Rwandan is to defend the country’s interests for the good of all Rwandans.”
Meanwhile in Muhanga district, the deputy speaker of Parliament, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo urged students at the Catholic Institute of Kabgayi (ICK) to play a leading role in the development of the country by using the knowledge and skills they are acquiring.
“Patriotism means working for your country and this cannot happen without being responsible in everything that you do,” he said.
“You have to be committed and become an engine for change within the society.” Other speakers included Senator Henriette Mulisa, and Southern sector army commander, Brig. Gen Mubarak Muganga.
The speakers encouraged students to be zealous in promoting development and using the education to lead by example, despite the numerous challenges.
Muganga outlined, “Rwanda is a superior country and has become a country of reference for many world leaders, in matters of peace, security and development. This credit can be upheld if every Rwandan is willing to work even harder.”
Mulisa encouraged students to promote patriotic undertakings in their respective communities and use the education to educate other citizens.
The students also affirmed their commitment to nation building and the need to fight negative external forces.
By Jean-Claude Gakwaya
Ambrose Gahene & Daniel Sabiiti