It is vital to recognize women who successfully get involved in activities that were formerly believed to be done by men.
Both men and women were combatants during the struggle started by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) against the Genocidal regime that had meted out violence on innocent Rwandans.
Among the women who were important in RPF, was Aloysia Inyumba. During the war, Inyumba was involved in the mobilization of Rwandan refugees to fight against the injustices that had engulfed the entire country.
She later (after the war) became a Prefect for Kigali rural (Kigali Ngali), Minister of Gender, and RPF Commissioner of finance in National Executive Committee (NEC).
Inyumba who is now a Senator says her inspiration was premised on the urgency to liberate Rwandan people from the tyranical regime.
“I served in various capacities during the liberation struggle, but the main ones were in Civic Education programmes and Resource mobilization (Finance),” she said.
Inyumba says patriotism, love, and commitment to salvage fellow countrymen is inevitable. This contributes to the socio-economic transformation of the country. She adds, collective and individual efforts were paramount for RPF victory.
“Today we have a secure, peaceful country and the many reforms you see today are in line with the RPF political program in the areas of governance and economic transformation”, she said.
She encouraged young women to have self esteem and confidence in their efforts to contribute towards the reconstruction of their country.
They should take advantage of the favourable political climate created by the current government – that has empowered women.
Annet Komuranga, a cashier at EcoBank says she played a role in the building the Army in 1990 and when she retired in 1998, she had climbed to the rank of a Sergeant.
She recalls that she worked tirelessly during the liberation struggle to ensure that Rwandans returned home. She added that the role she was playing in the struggle was not different from those of the male combatants.
She was more involved in stores and supplies, which helped the rest, concentrate on combat activities. The fighters knew that everything was being managed properly which motivated the group.
Komuranga says she happy for having achieved her dreams of seeing a stable and peaceful country. She was not working for pay, but was interested in liberating her mother country.
“I am happy I did not get any disability,” she says.
“After seeing that peace had returned to my country, I decided to retire from the army to take on my family responsibilities,” Komuranga said.
Komuranga worked with Zigama before she joined her current job. She told this writer that patriotism is in-born and urges fellow Rwandans to bear the same spirit.
It is the responsibility of all Rwandans to remember those who lost their lives for the noble cause,” Komuranga says. She added that the soldiers should desist from the tendency of feeling that when they demobilized life ceases to have meaning.
She urged Rwandans to always toil to accomplish their initiatives and avoid anything that is likely to derail them from their focus.
Komuranga said that people should understand gender equality and get rid of the stereotype mentalities that women are low achievers.
Betty Kabana, a cashier at Zigama and an X-combatant says that her inspiration to join the Army is traced to her love for country and longing to return home. Kabana joined RPF in 1990 and she was among the first group and retired as a Corporal in 1997.
“We were among the first people to join the army,” Kabana recalls.
She says that in spite of a horde of challenges they faced as women, they had to push on. She cited hunger, sleeping out (in bush), walking bare footed and financial constraints.
“We never expected to get back to normal life, but it did happen,” she says.
In her message to Rwandans, she calls upon them to support the casualties as a way of appreciating their role in creating a new Rwanda.