The President of the Senate, Dr. Vincent Biruta, said that the liberation celebration is an opportunity for leaders and the led alike to renew their commitment to steam ahead in the liberation process.
Biruta was speaking, yesterday, at the opening of an international conference on liberation ahead of today’s 17th national liberation anniversary.
Biruta said that the liberation celebration was a moment to make choices that uphold the underlying causes for liberation.
“We are today called upon to focus on an essential aspect of liberation which is a paradigm shift not only as a nation but also as individuals. Total national liberation could never be reached if individual minds were not liberated,” explained the Senate president.
Biruta added that the leadership’s role is to create a conducive environment where people can fully play a part in he country’s governance and development processes.
He criticised the past regimes for promoting divisionism and keeping citizens in ignorance.
“When we talk about liberation, what comes to mind is people previously oppressed by a regime that could not respect their basic rights, and one that always wanted to keep them poor, devided and ignorant,” said Biruta.
He explained that, in the Rwandan context, citizens had not only been oppressed, but also a big number of them were denied a right to live.
“Exclusion was a key pillar of the previous regimes. But this situation could not last endlessly, thus the struggle to liberate the country,” explained Biruta. “The liberation process was a long and difficult journey, but once the armed struggle was over, the hardest part was yet to come and that was re-building a war-torn country from scratch.”
He elaborated that, among the enormous challenges that the new leadership inherited, was the repatriation and settlement of the refugees and the internally displaced people, reconstruction of infrastructure and establishment of institutions.
“Most critical was delivering justice and reconciliation in a context where survivors, Genocide suspects, returnees and others, had to live together and forge a future for their nation.”
Biruta, however, said that the current leadership has managed to give the country a direction.
In his remarks, the Minister of Local Government, James Musoni said that patriotism culminated into the struggle to liberate the country whose past leaders were characterised by divisionism, human rights violations, among other ills.
He said that the struggle was the genesis for the country’s political and socio-economic transformation.
“As part of our liberation process, we continued to rebuild and develop the nation for the past seventeen years with the guiding principles being restoration of people’s dignity, upholding thir rights and securing their future,” he said.
In his presentation on ‘Liberation for Nation Building’, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council, said that the government has put cultural values at the centre of all the national processes which has helped come up with solutions that are relevant to the country’s situation.
This year’s Liberation Day, whose celebrations at the national level are taking place today at the Amahoro National Stadium in Remera, Kigai, is marked under the theme ‘Shaping our Destiny’.