THIS year’s theme for this important day in our country’s history is Kwibohora24 – Together we prosper. Indeed, we as Rwandans know pretty well what togetherness and unity or lack of it mean.
Divided by the colonialists and escalated by the pre-1994 Rwandan leaders, Rwanda dropped to the worst abyss that many believed would bedevil it for very many decades.
Fittingly on this day, we as Rwandans pay special tribute to the Rwandan men and women who in different ways contributed to our country’s liberation and progress thus far. Like many liberation struggles that Africa is awash with, the case of Rwanda took enormous sacrifice including lives of many courageous men and women some of whom paid the ultimate price.
Armed with unbreakable determination to change the unbearable and desolate situation that Rwandans were in, these ordinary men and women carried out extraordinary acts of courage to save both lives and the country from complete oblivion. Indeed it is important to note that this liberation marked the successful stopping of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi that had run for one hundred days from April 7, 1994.
Rwandans both home and abroad will for many decades remain indebted and eternally grateful for this extraordinary heroism and selfless acts of valour.
This feat by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and the enormous progress registered under its stewardship since the genocide has emboldened Rwandans with.
The political dispensation occasioned by this liberation of July 4, 1994 is reason for the transformation we see in Rwanda today.
This new lease of life was a result of the heroic sacrifices of these liberators and leaders of today.
Leaders and politics that have cultivated reconciliation, unity of purpose, accountability as well as an urge and vision for total transformation of the country. The liberation we celebrate today marked the launch of a new vision for the country that has set a sure trajectory of transforming the economy and achieving middle income status for Rwanda. A vision that stands for women emancipation and equality of all Rwandans.
A vision that has worked tirelessly to unite and reconcile Rwandans after the devastating genocide. A vision that stands for zero tolerance of corruption and that demands for leader’s accountability to the people.
A vision and leadership that is characterised by an unwavering determination and zeal to build a diversified economy with empowered Rwandans. A leadership that is highly motivated to sustainably contribute towards building a strong, united, integrated and respected African continent.
The liberation struggle launched in October 1990 was necessitated by decades of divisive politics commenced by the colonial administration and subsequently escalated by the post-independence regimes.
By Monique Mukaruliza, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Zambia.