Preparations to celebrate National Liberation Day for the 15th time are in high gear, July 4 being just a week away. Yesterday two ministers, James Musoni of Finance and Economic Planning and Solina Nyirahabimana from Office of the President held a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office.
They updated the media on what has been going on so far, and also shed light on the progress Rwanda has made in the last 15 years. This year’s slogan is “Dignity is our Strength”.
July 4, 1994 is the day late president Juvenal Habyarimana’s dictatorship fell, the regime which also plunged the Rwandan society into genocide.
Nyirahabineza gave an overview of what Liberation 15 involves, saying celebrations are going to be quite different from each of the last fourteen events.
“Liberation 15 is going to be extraordinary. We want to celebrate in style the many battles we have won, even as we recognize there are many more challenges ahead to overcome.”
She said the various economic activities taking place at the village administrative levels of government are intended to emphasize work (Umurimo) as the national symbol and flagship tool for economic development.
On his part, minister Musoni said prior to July 4, 1994, Rwanda lacked direction and purpose.
“Successive leaderships before we came in lacked vision for the Rwandan people. That is why all economic indicators were tilted. The Gross Domestic Product had never grown by more than 2%, yet the population grew by not less than 3% annually. That meant economic development was by -1%.”
The minister explained that this kind of incompetence and bad leadership of the time necessitated liberation, an effort which gradually in 2000 gave birth to Vision 2020.
Among the national activities that have been planned are discussion forums organized by the Ministry of Information. These will take place at different venues around the country.
Starting today, a televised conference will be held at Serena Hotel at 5 pm to discuss the meaning of liberation. ‘Liberation from What’ is the topic.
National figures like Local Government minister Protais Musoni, Colonel Charles Karamba of RDF and Antoine Rutayisire are among the panelists. Dr. Alfred Ndahiro, Presidential Advisor on Media and Communication will be the moderator.
That will be followed by another conference on Monday, June 29 at INES in Musanze (Ruhengeri), at 3 pm, to discuss ‘Opening Up’ of minds, schools, borders and more.
Tuesday, will see UNATEK in Ngoma (Kibungo), host the third conference on ‘Rethinking Agriculture; The Green Revolution’ at 5.30 pm.
And lastly, the National University in Huye (Butare) will be venue on Wednesday, July 1, for a discussion; ‘Independence, or a Missed Opportunity’, to take place at 3 pm. Radio Rwanda and other FM stations will be airing the discussions live.