President Paul Kagame has said that to rebuild Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, unconventional measures and strategies are needed. He was speaking at the eight Unity Club Forum dinner to honour Rwandans who have dedicated their lives to promoting unity and reconciliation.
President Kagame said that although Rwanda is proud of the progress achieved so far, Rwandans should not stop drawing lessons from the country’s unpleasant past:
“We were robbed of our humanity and identify and transformed into subjects whose lives must be decided by others. They put us on a lifeline through which they administer drops of humanity. But we plugged ourselves to that lifeline.”
Dubbed “Abarinzi b’Igihango” or “protectors of friendship pact”, Unity Club awardees include clerics, genocide survivors and others who were recognised for championing unity, justice and reconciliation in their respective communities.
The President reiterated that to give oneself dignity means fighting for it because there is no better alternative. He reminded Unity Club members – current and former government officials and their spouses – that the government’s role is to protect all citizens equally regardless of their faith. “Leaders should not believe they are superior whether to God or those they serve.”
Unity Club awarded 17 people for their exemplary dedication in promoting justice, unity and reconciliation through their acts of bravery.
President Kagame congratulated the awardees and on behalf of the government, expressed his gratitude for their strength and courage.
“People may call us heroes but your sacrifice is greater than any of ours. You watched your families being slaughtered yet you had the strength to live on and care for those around you. Your courage is incomparable. This country was destroyed by the unimaginable and it will be rebuilt by the unconventional.”
Kagame stressed that the drive to transform Rwanda is fuelled by anger and the determination to never be victims again. He called on leaders to always be driven by the desire to improve the wellbeing of Rwandans nationwide. He emphasised that transformation is only possible when it is inclusive.