University students from across the country have been urged to stick to patriotism and denounce negative tendencies being spread by people who want to return the country to the dark past.
Officials from the Ministry of Education, the National Itorero Commission and the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission made the call yesterday while addressing hundreds of students’ representatives from universities during a Ndi Umunyarwanda session in Kigali.
“Our values include patriotism, and this should go beyond rhetoric. We should shun people who want to divide us and return us to the darkness started during the colonial era and led the country to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” said education minister Vincent Biruta.
He said past bad leadership promised the youth instant wealth as a way of corrupting them to kill one another and destroy their own country.
Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Bayingana, vice-chairperson of the National Itorero Commission in charge of national service, said that when he was still at university in the late 1980s, some people used to visit their school to recruit them to serve their selfish military interests.
He said some of his classmates joined and ended up as international terrorists now on the run because they are wanted by international security organs.
Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, the youth and ICT minister spoke about recent incidents in which some youth, whose names he did not mention, were used to tarnish the image of young Rwandans.
“They are alleged to have accepted to tarnish the image of Rwandan youth when they accepted to collaborate with dangerous militia groups whose intentions were to harm Rwandans,” he said, adding that courts would determine their case and warned the youth to shun such elements.
“It hurts when you see people the country has trusted and supported with its resources deviating. The youth should stand and maintain what the county has achieved such that none can tarnish your image. We still believe you can be trusted,” he said.
Early this week, four youths in Kigali were arrested by Rwanda National Police allegedly for having links with FDLR, a DR Congo-based militia responsible for the Genocide as well as the Rwanda National Congress (RNC). The RNC is alleged to be behind a spate of grenade attacks in the city that claimed the lives of innocent civilians. They include popular artiste Kizito Mihigo.
The students were challenged to state what their motherland should do to have them denounce negative thoughts if even after 20 years, since the country was liberated, some of them still want to follow negative forces.
“The government should maintain these sessions to bring the youth together so that we can share ideas on patriotism and explore opportunities we have in a peaceful country,” Gaudence Ishimwe, a student from College of Arts and Humanities suggested.
“We can introduce Ndi Umunyarwanda and Itorero programmes in our curriculum,” suggested Florence Teta from University of Kigali.