Monday, 19 March 2012

Rwanda | Rwanda mourns Donald Payne

The government of Rwanda has mourned the death of US Republican Congressman, Donald Payne, who passed away in New Jersey after a month-long battle with colon cancer.
The Long time politician died on March 6. He was 77, at the time of his death. Payne was New Jersey’s first and only black congressman, and he headed one of Newark’s most powerful political dynasties.
In 2010, The government of Rwanda recognized Donald Payne with a precious hero’s medal -“Umurinzi”(literally meaning ‘the Keeper/The Guard’) – for his role in the campaign against Genocide, through his advocacy actions.
The Umurinzi medal is Rwanda’s Campaign against Genocide Medal. “Umurinzi” is also a name of a tree that is known in Rwandan folk tales for its protective powers.
On behalf of the Kigali government, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Government Spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo, said the death of Donald Payne, is a loss of a great friend and advocate for Africa.
“Payne was a true champion of human rights. He took the time to understand what was happening around the world, particularly in Africa, and advocated on these issues with passion and conviction” Mushikiwabo stated.
She noted that “Rwanda appreciates his efforts in trying to tell his country and the world the truth about the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
“On behalf of people of Rwanda, we join his family and his government in mourning the death of this extraordinary man” Mushikiwabo said.
The US House of Representatives will remember Payne for tireless advocacy for his constituents, as champion of education, a true ambassador to Africa, and for helping secure $100 million to help prevent and treat Malaria and HIV/AIDS, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.


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