MUHANGA — Fifteen years after the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) 157th Battalion arrived to liberate many residents, who had sought refuge at the Catholic Church compound during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, the Minister of Sports and Culture, Joseph Habineza has called upon Rwandans to emulate the liberators.
Habineza made the remarks during the 15th Kabgayi Liberation commemoration held at Muhanga Stadium on May 2.
Testimonies from the survivors indicate that thousands of residents were brutally murdered in Kabgayi during the Genocide before RPA forces of the 157th Battalion arrived to liberate the area.
The Minister urged residents to break the bad history of the former Gitarama Province in order to uphold the spirit of liberation and create a new image for the country.
Habineza acknowledged that the liberation struggle was a challenge involving sacrifice in which lives were lost.
He said, “We should be thankful for the good leadership today and emulate the RPF efforts to liberate the country. With this leadership we can be in a better position to spearhead change in the world by building a new and fast growing country with hope for a better future.”
Other leaders speaking at the occasion, urged Gitarama residents to educate the young generation to fight Genocide ideology and desist from ethnic divisionism.
Théodore Simburubudari, the president of the Umbrella Association of Survivors (IBUKA), said that the history of Kabgayi should be preserved because it brings hope to all survivors.
Bishop Smargde Mbonyintege of Kabgayi Diocese led a memorial mass, in which he prayed for peace to prevail in the community.
During the ceremony, residents also commended the RPF liberation efforts through poems, songs and dance.
The occasion was also attended by François Ngarambe, the RPF Secretary General, Senators, Members of Parliament, provincial -----and church leaders.