GASABO - President Paul Kagame yesterday called upon Rwandans to liberate themselves and work hard if they are to emulate the country’s heroes who sacrificed their lives to make Rwanda a better country.
Kagame made the call yesterday during the national celebrations to mark the 15th Heroes Day celebrations at Amahoro National Stadium in Remera.
In his speech, the President who was the chief guest at the annual ceremony challenged Rwandans to look at February 1 as a day to remember the names of the Heroes, but also how each one of them can be a hero through advocating for those same principles they died for.
“Today we remember our heroes but as we celebrate, there is more than just remembering our known heroes. It is important to bear in mind where we are going and where we have come from as a country,” said the President. Adding; “we should be able to know what is good and what is bad for the country.”
He urged nationals to sacrifice themselves today for a better tomorrow like the ‘Unknown Soldier’, one of the Heroes celebrated on the day.
The President said that each individual can be a hero just like that Unknown Soldier who strived and died in the struggle to liberate the country from bad leadership.
Kagame explained that the celebrated heroes had different achievements and lived at different times but what they had in common is the patriotism and love they had for their country.
The President and the First Lady had earlier laid a wreath on the Heroes Memorial Ground next to the Stadium where some of the national heroes including Maj. Gen Fred Rwigema were laid to rest.
Other heroes remembered on the day include King Charles Mutara Rudahigwa III, the Former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Michel Rwagasana, Felicite Niyitegeka and the Nyange students.
The students in Nyange were named national Heroes following an attack on their school in 1997 by militias who wanted them to divide themselves according to their ethnic affiliations but they refused, which led to their deaths.
The President also said that it is worthless to celebrate heroes amidst poverty and when people are not fully liberated. He called upon citizens to attach value and a sense of pride to what they are by disassociating from those with intentions of derailing the progress of the country.
He underlined the need to breakaway from the dependency syndrome that has for many years affected the country and the continent at large, adding that it can only be dealt with if only Africans began to have self reliance and respect, rather than depending on handouts from the donors.
In a rather resilient tone, Kagame who of late has embarked on a plan to lead the country away from heavy reliance on donor aid said that as long as the economy remains dependant on handouts, it will remain difficult for it to progress and will even get worse if those ‘offering’ help decide to close the tap.
Kagame said that its high time Rwandans moved out of the concept of living ‘cheaply’ just for the sake of living, calling upon them to shift to higher standards by adopting a culture of accepting only the best and ignoring what is bad for the country and themselves.
The president cited lack of commitment on the part of the people especially regarding service delivery as the major undoing of the country’s progress, urging the public and private sector to improve on the way they work, or else risk being left behind by the rest of the World.
He underscored the importance of giving fast and efficient services as well as good customer care as the key in doing business especially in public places such as hotels, restaurants or banks.
He pointed out that government offices are the worst at giving services, to even simple questions that require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, urging them to change their attitude in order to go with modern day standards.
“Heroism is about improving and changing lives of the people. Its about the progress of the nation and what we are celebrating today are not just names but the actions of these people and what they symbolize for the Nation,” said Kagame