Rwandans across the world Friday gathered in their respective countries of residence to celebrate the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed more than a million lives.
In The Netherlands, an event was hosted by the Ambassador, Jean Pierre Karabaranga, at Carlton Hotel in The Hague which served to enlighten foreigners in attendance on the story and circumstances behind the Genocide. The envoy gave a brief history from colonialisation in 1916, through the genocidal era to liberation in 1994.
The Ambassador described the liberators as patriots who believed that freedom was possible and willing and ready to pay the ultimate price for it.
He continued to recount the circumstances and situation following the liberation as Rwandans tried to ‘resurrect’ their country in desperate times.
Karabaranga said that part of the secret behind their success story was the decision to stay together, to be accountable and to think big.
In South Sudan about 500 people gathered at Rwanda Battalion HQ to celebrate the day at an event attended by UNMISS staff as well as other UN agencies, International NGOs and the business community.
Speaking at the event, Lt Gen. Yohannes Gebremeskel Tesfamariam, UNMISS Force Commander, congratulated the country for the remarkable journey of liberation and rebuilding the nation and commended Rwandans in the mission for their exemplary discipline and commitment
He noted that the world is learning from Rwanda and that its leadership had opened doors for the international community to learn from their experience. He pledged support and cooperation.
In Kenya, First Counsellor Ephraim Murenzi gave a chronology of bad leadership that characterised the country after independence in an event that drew hundreds of Rwandans living in Kenya and friends of Rwanda.
Murenzi said that the mismanagement of politics in the post-colonial period continued for decades until the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) begun an armed liberation struggle in 1990.
He noted that, the liberation war took about four years and by the time RPF captured Kigali, over one million people had been massacred in a Genocide against the Tutsi.
“This was done by the government of the day together with allied militias and government soldiers. RPF was able to liberate Rwanda due to its unifying political approach, sheer determination to fight and fighting for a cause,” he said.
He added that, to avoid mistakes of previous regime, a government of national unity was put in place involving all political parties with the exception of the extremist groups that had openly participated in the Genocide.
“This was done because politics of exclusion was identified as one of the reasons that created discontent and disharmony among the people,” he said.