It will no longer be hard for ex-combatants and other residents of Rusheshe village in Masaka, Kicukiro District to access basic commodities, thanks to a Rwf4m donation from the Rwanda Patriotic Force (RPF) party taskforce at the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD).
Alex Kanyankole, the BRD chief executive officer, said the money would be used to replenish the village’s only shop that serves the former combatants and civilian residents. “We will continue to support those that may not afford to smoothly transition into civilian life on their own,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Kanyankole said the money was raised through contributions from the over 40 members of the RPF task force at BRD, Business Development Fund, Kinazi Cassava Plant, and BRD Insurance Brokerage.
He was speaking during a visit to the village that is home to demobilised soldiers on Friday.
“The shop will be managed with support from BRD for six months and we will also train a competent shopkeeper to run it under the supervision of village elders,” Kanyankole added.
The choice of starting a shop for the ex-combatants originated from the need to support them become self-sustaining.
Sgt. Evariste Sengiyumva, one of the 30 demobilised soldiers settled in Rusheshe, welcomed the support, urging the beneficiaries to fully utilise it and make the most of it.
“We will use this money to kick-start other economic activities in the village so we can continue to contribute to our country’s economic liberation,” said Sgt. Sengiyumva.
He said the visit reminded him of when they joined the RPA as fresh recruits.
“This is like a seed. You should water and nurture it such that it produces even more,” Jean Sayinzoga, the Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) president, who also is a senior cadre in the RPF, said. The visitors toured the village and expressed gratitude to the veterans for the sacrifices they made during the liberation war which set Rwanda on the development path it is on today.
Those that benefited from the support are former fighters in the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) credited with ending the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and liberating the country.
“We wanted to come and deliver a personal message to our heroes in this village; that we appreciate the sacrifices they made to liberate our country and that we will always have them in our hearts,” said Peter Rwambala, the vice chairman of the RPF taskforce at BRD.
The event was attended by officials from RDRC, the commissioner in charge of demobilised soldiers in Kigali, including Brig Gen. John Peter Bagabo, Rusheshe residents and local leaders.
Many of the ex-soldiers in the village carry physical and mental impairments inflicted upon them during the liberation struggle.
The government, through the RDRC, constructed houses for the ex-soldiers in Rusheshe village and other places to help them reintegrate into the community smoothly.