In the last two weeks Rwanda has received two high profile visitors; the French foreign minister, Dr. Bernard Kouchner and the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. Later this month Rwanda will also host United States President George W. Bush.
Kouchner and Ban Ki-moon are prominent and influential members of the international community. Their visits indicate the high regard the international community has for Rwanda.
The visit of President Bush’s to Rwanda later this month is yet another indication of the strategic importance of Rwanda.
Kouchner’s visit to Rwanda signifies a new era for Franco-Rwanda relations. It shows that the French administration under President Nicholas Sarkozy is interested in normalising relations between the two countries that have suffered a strained relationship in the recent past.
The personality and experience of Kouchner also gives a lot of credibility to France’s interest in engaging with Rwanda and its leadership. As a veteran humanitarian Kouchner has had an impressive record of favouring international humanitarian intervention.
As a co-founder of Medicine San Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Kouchner is huegly respected throughout the world. Thus good things can be expected to come of his recent efforts in engaging with countries like Rwanda
The UN Secretary General represents the will and collective voice of the international community. His visit to Rwanda can therefore be seen as a sign of support from the international community in rebuilding its social fabric in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide.
During his visit to the Kigali Genocide memorial centre at Gisozi, Kigali, Ki-moon stressed his commitment to ensuring that the people who participated in the 1994 Genocide are brought to justice. This is something that all countries should support given the fact that it will need the participation of many countries since the Genocide fugitives are hiding in different countries, and travel under different disguises. His call for a global campaign against genocide resonates at a time when reports are indicating that there are high levels of a genocide ideology in schools in Rwanda.
At the same time, a number of countries seem to be sitting on a time bomb as the ongoing post-election violence in Kenya has indicated.
These efforts by prominent leaders in the international community to create better channels through which issues of national and international concern can be solved, ought to be welcomed by everyone and in particular Rwandans.
By visiting and seeking to engage with the people of Rwanda and their leaders, they have spoken loudly. By implication these leaders are expressing their confidence in the Rwandan people’s commitment to forge a better future. More still the imminent visit by the president of the most powerful country in the world shows the importance of Rwanda in the region and beyond.
By continuing to participate in different government sponsored programs in areas like unity and reconciliation, the Rwandan people will have demonstrated their support for national and the international community’s commitment to a united and prosperous country.
More still they will have in clear terms demonstrated their continued support for the leadership of the country, which has won support and the confidence of these prominent leaders in the international community.