Seventeen years down the road, Rwanda’s liberation struggle is still on, with the focus now on accelerated development.
The remarks were made by several experts, yesterday, during the first-ever international conference on the liberation of Rwanda ahead of today’s Liberation Day celebrations.
Key speakers at the conference praised Rwanda’s progress in socio-economic development with majority saying that, ‘a once failed nation has turned into a lead world model.’
Dr Gerald Caplan, a leading Canadian authority on genocide and genocide prevention, gave an African perspective of integration with the West which, he said, does affect Rwanda’s liberation struggle.
“Rwanda’s progress and the progress of Africa in general, will be and is limited by external imperatives – the global happenings especially with powerful countries,” said Caplan.
He further pointed out the faults of bad governments that continue to haunt today’s legitimate government, with the malpractices of the previous regimes affecting the current Rwandan government.
Caplan, however, said that, it is up to Africans to stand up and reclaim their liberty. He gave details of how the West has plundered African resources. “To every one dollar brought to Africa by westerners, they go back with US$10…meaning the West is stealing, ten times, from Africa.”
In his presentation on ‘Liberation: Foundation for Rwanda’s Destiny, Sovereignty and Development’, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, said that celebrating the Liberation Day is mainly aimed at reviewing the past, revisiting the cause of the liberation struggle, it’s conduct, the current situation, and drawing lessons for better strategies to attain the ultimate goal of liberation – a free society.”
“We want a country that is more democratic and at peace with itself and its neighbours. This is the future we want; this is the destiny we want.”
He added: “It is also true that, as we discuss the liberation experience, how we reached where we are, we strengthen our resolve to struggle on as well as influence the next generation of leaders to carry on with the struggle.”
Gen. Kayonga defined liberation as a protracted effort or struggle to overcome impediments or obstacles to national security.
“The liberation of Rwanda constitutes many things; it includes more than defeating armed enemies and taking over political power; it consists of addressing human concerns, tt includes the government’s ongoing efforts to liberate people from ignorance and sectarianism, from poverty and disease and even repatriating refugees. These human concerns, when not addressed, are actually the ones that constitute legitimate causes for conflict,” he said.
The UNAMID Force Commander in Darfur, Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, gave a detailed report on the responsibilities of the army in protecting civilians, underlining the case of Rwanda in the peacekeeping mission.
The event was attended by the Joint AU-UN Special Representative in Darfur, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the only African to have contested the UN Security Council’s decision to withdraw its forces in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Rwanda is a clear example of the failure of the international community,” he said
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, recognised the importance of Rwanda’s partners in the liberation struggle saying that, as Rwandans talk about their liberation, it is in the back of their minds that they have done well, all things considered, because of the contribution of the partners.
Rwanda’s liberation is celebrated every July 4.
According to analysts, the country’s home-grown solutions have led Rwandans to achieve significant results in the areas of justice, unity and reconciliation, social development, economic growth, good governance, and partnerships with the global community.