President Paul Kagame has said the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) will not give up on the mission of building a dignified Rwanda.
Kagame, speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of RPF, was addressing thousands of party supporters at the Amahoro stadium in Kigali today during the RPF Silver Jubilee celebrations.
“RPF was formed to restore the sanctity of life, our dignity, and to reunite the country,” Kagame said at a ceremony attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Mama Maria Nyerere, the widow of former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere.
Kagame said the RPF remained as committed as ever, adding that, “we are capable of going back to the trenches to fight for the truth and for our nation.”
He challenged the youth to prepare to assume the responsibility of taking Rwanda to the next level, saying they have the opportunity to build on the solid foundation that has been laid over the last two decades.
“RPF learned how to run before we learned how to walk because of the circumstances of the time,” he said, reminding the Rwandan youth that they have what it takes to play their rightful role.
The President also called on Africans in general to step up to the plate and take the continent to its rightful place in global affairs. “We cannot remain on the margins; we have the resources and people to be a key player. But Africans must recognise that no one will hand that role to us, we are the ones to strive for that, to ensure that our voice is heard.”
Kagame paid glowing tribute to his fallen comrades, including his childhood friend and first RPF chairman Maj. Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema, Alexis Kanyarengwe, Maj. Peter Bayingana, Modeste Rutabayiru and Aloisea Inyumba.
“We owe our eternal gratitude to those who have been part of the RPF struggle,” Kagame said, adding “This list is by no means exhaustive.”
He also recognised the role played by several RPF cadres, including Tito Rutaremara, Bosco Mugengana, Protais Musoni, Innocent Rugogwe, Michael Rugema, Eulade Bwitare, Joseph Karemera, Zeno Mutimura, Theoneste Karenzi and Connie Akayezu.
Kagame said the liberation struggle, launched on October 1, 1990, was the last resort by the RPF after then Rwandan government frustrated all efforts to address the challenges the country faced – through peaceful means.
Among the objectives of the liberation struggle were to end injustices within the country and to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees, who had been condemned to a life in exile by the Habyarimana regime, which claimed the country was too small to accommodate all its nationals.
Kagame praised all the party members who played a part in the country’s rebirth, following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which ended when RPF took power on July 4, 1994, and urged them to stay the course.
“We will continue to defend our unity and build on the solid foundation laid by the RPF to move ahead and develop,” he said, stressing that the political movement will continue to take the lead in empowering special interest groups, particularly women, the youth and people living with disabilities.
“We have come a long way but much more remains to be done. We have to work even harder and remain focused.”
RPF was created in December 1987 from Kampala, Uganda, mainly by Rwandan refugees.