Karega presents credentials in S. Africa Rwanda’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Vincent Karega, on Wednesday, presented his letter of credence to South African President Jacob Zuma at an event held at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.
The Family of Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigema lays wreaths on his grave during the Heroes Day commemoration on Wednesday. The Sunday / John Mbanda.
The Family of Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigema lays wreaths on his grave during the Heroes Day commemoration on Wednesday. The Sunday / John Mbanda.

Karega presents credentials in S. Africa

Rwanda’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Vincent Karega, on Wednesday, presented his letter of credence to South African President Jacob Zuma at an event held at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

Karega who was appointed ambassador in May 2011, was among 27 ambassadors, accredited to South Africa, who presented their credentials.

Prior to his appointment, Karega was the Minister of Infrastructure. During his first days in South Africa, Karega mainly focused on intensifying unity among Rwandan Diaspora.

In his recent meeting with over 250 members of the Diaspora, he called on Rwandans to put aside any differences among them and unite for the good of the nation.

He urged the Diaspora to live in solidarity and work together to improve their wellbeing and above all, maintain their dignity. He reiterated the High Commission’s support to such endeavours.

The envoy noted that, since 1994, South Africa has had close relations with Rwanda, particularly in the areas of peace and reconciliation, the African agenda, Great Lakes initiatives, health, education, telecommunication, civil service reform and aviation in the Diaspora. He called on Rwandans to put aside any differences among them and unite for the good of the nation.

Inyumba scoops award

The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Aloisea Inyumba, has won the ‘Women have Wings Courage Award’ for her courageous strides to improve the rights of all people in the country. Inyumba won the award alongside two other female activists, Virisila Buadromo and Chi Yvonne Leina from Fiji and Cameroon, respectively.

The inaugural award is bestowed to outstanding women from around the world living the courageous spirit of Amelia Earhart, the first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and to receive the US Distinguished Flying Cross.  Earhart was also author of many aviation books and inspired many women to take an interest in the aviation industry.

“The Women have Wings team was impressed by Inyumba’s courage and determination to promote peace in her country. Her political work shines a light on the importance of women in government positions. The US has much to learn from Rwanda in this regard’ the Women have Wings statement reads. Last month has been noteworthy for Rwanda. President Kagame received the Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa from Uganda whereas the Rwanda Government was awarded the ALMA Award for Excellence in recognition of its successful initiatives to fight against malaria.

Rwandans mark Heroes Day

It was a day full of gratitude and reflection on the sacrifices of the country’s fallen heroes. Yet it was also a day of pride and celebration for the role of Rwandan heroes and heroines, who paid the ultimate price for patriotic values that are so cherished by the post-Genocide generation. Across the country, citizens gathered in their respective villages, and shared ideas on how best they can strive for and sustain the very principles and selflessness that characterized the heroes they were fondly remembering. Local FM stations and the state television aired talk-shows, documentaries and other programmes that reflected on the heroic lives and sacrifices of the country’s fallen heroes, including former RPA commander, Maj. Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema, the Unknown Soldier, King Charles Léon Mutara II Rudahigwa, former prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Michael Rwagasana, Felicite Niyitegeka, Chantal Mujawamariya and the Nyange  students.

In Kigali, President Paul Kagame, members of the diplomatic corps and senior government and military officials joined the families of the heroes in laying wreaths on the deceased’s tombs at the Heroes Cemetery in Remera, Gasabo District.

Kamanzi slams mineral sector critics

The Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, termed as a “shame” a United Nation’s report that suggested that Rwanda’s increase in mineral profitability results from smuggling minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).The report published by the United Nations Group of Experts on DRC late last year, stated that: “The level of recorded domestic production of tin, tungsten and tantalum ores continues to be higher than industry analysts consider the real level of production to be… suggesting that material from the DRC is being smuggled into Rwanda, and then tagged as of Rwandan origin. However Kamanzi refuted the report as baseless misinformation which Rwanda has been accustomed to for more than a decade. “My view is that it is a shame that UN mandated officials can consistently and deliberately entertain misinformation of the international community,” Kamanzi told The New Times. Kamanzi however believes that criminals conduct smuggling activities along the Rwanda-Congo border, but that the government undertook appropriate measures to keep them as minimal as possible. He added that whereas Rwanda had already started implementing mineral traceability, DRC has not yet, and there is no collaboration in place between the two countries in this connection.

Kagame, Nike, DfID discuss girls empowerment

President Paul Kagame mid this week received officials from Nike Foundation and UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) to discuss ways to enrol the ‘Girl-Effect’ programme that aims at building confidence among young girls below the age of 12. Nike Foundation, which has over the years been investing in adolescent girls as powerful agents of change in the developing world, discussed with the President the role the government has played in the enhancement of gender equality and investing in girls and women. Speaking to the press after meeting with President Kagame, Charlie Denson, a Nike Foundation Board Member, said that a programme dubbed 12+ was created in Rwanda eight months ago as a pilot phase with a target to enrol it countrywide. Information from the Nike Foundation website indicates that 12+ combines safe spaces, mentorship, health and financial literacy training, and fun health “adventures” to delay girls’ sexual activity and increase contraceptive use once it is needed.  Nike Foundation’s involvement in Rwanda is creating a big impact in building confidence among girls.

EALA passes Transboundary Ecosystems Bill

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Tuesday debated and passed the East African Community Trans-boundary Ecosystems Bill 2010.The objective of the bill, originally moved by Dr. George Francis Nangale, EALA member from Tanzania, is to provide a legal framework to effectively streamline the management of trans-boundary eco-systems with a view to enhancing the quality of the environment and also ensure sustainable utilisation of shared natural resources in the EAC. 

It will also establish a commission to manage ecosystems in the region and other related matters. Speaking to The New Times, Dr. James Ndahiro, Rwandan EALA member, the passing of the bill reflects the region’s efforts in protecting the ecosystem among the EAC partner states. Gervase Akhaabi, a Kenyan member, noted that the bill’s passage will protect people’s livelihoods and manages the resources while Christopher Nakuleu, also from Kenya, called the bill timely.

Mugesera given two months to find lawyers

The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court, this Thursday, gave Léon Mugesera two months to get lawyers of his choice before his trial gets underway. Mugesera made his first court appearance following his deportation last week and is charged with three counts. Dressed in a grey suit, sky-blue shirt and brown shoes, Mugesera arrived at the Nyamirambo-based court in a heavily guarded convoy of three police cars at 8:44a.m. Police first cleared the courtroom before allowing in members of the public and journalists, before the session started at 9:01a.m. It lasted for just 30 minutes. Appearing before Judge Saudah Murererehe, a charge sheet was read out to the accused, with three counts: Planning the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, inciting the public to commit genocide and distribution of weapons. Mugesera, however, hastened to say he was not ready for substantive trial, saying he was yet to get lawyers. Prosecutor Ndibwami Rugambwa said: “We facilitated him to call his family and lawyers back in Canada, after which he
asked for two months, and we have no objection,” he said. The court was adjourned to April 02, 2012.

Kagame optimistic about AU, EAC

President Paul Kagame this Thursday said the African Union (AU) and the East African Community (EAC), served as ideal platforms for Africans to address their own challenges.

The Head of State was reacting to questions about the recently concluded AU Heads of States Summit, which was characterised by open differences, resulting in a stalemate in the election of the AU Commission chairman. Admitting that the continental body has had a fair share of its own challenges, Kagame said: “If we talk about AU, you would think Africa is the only one with problems, but I am seeing everyday in the news problems of different nature in different continents – there will always be problems,” he noted. “The most important thing is that we should be able to build our own capacity in order to be able to resolve our own problems.”

Kagame said the donation from China in the form of the new AU conference centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was ‘fine’ just like other donations African countries, including Rwanda, continue to receive from donor countries to be able to develop.

“China donated the building for the good of the continent,” he said. The President, however, said that the donation signifies a bigger problem -  despite huge resources Africa still depends heavily on donations, calling on Africans to “work harder and be smarter” to get out of the dependency situation. President Kagame said that Rwanda and other African countries can get themselves out of the dependency trap, given the available resources on the continent.

 Nyange heroes remembered

As Rwanda celebrated National Heroes’ Day on Wednesday, thousands of mourners turned up at Nyange Secondary School, Ngororero District, to pay respect to the six students regarded as heroes.

Sylvestre Bizimana, Chantal Mujawamahoro, Beatrice Mukambaraga, Seraphine Mukarutwaza, Helene Benimana, and Valens Ndemeye, were killed alongside a night guard on March 18th 1997 after they disobeyed orders to separate themselves along ethnic lines. Residents, along with local leaders, endured the scorching sun, to remember their bravery and courage they exhibited by choosing to remain united as Rwandans and not Hutus or Tutsis.

Speaking in honour of the deceased heroes, Innocent Mbanjimbere, the Executive Secretary of Nyange Sector, urged the public to learn from the patriotism exhibited by the students.