Sunday, 10 November 2013

Past lessons must form base for our future, says Kagame


President Kagame with Prime Minister Habumuremyi during the retreat yesterday. Sunday Times/Village Urugwiro

Cabinet Ministers resolved at the end of their two-day retreat yesterday that ‘Ndi Umunyarwanda’ initiative will be initiated in all corners of the country to help Rwandans have a forum to openly face the challenges that have resulted from Rwanda’s history.

The retreat which took place at Prime Holdings on Friday and Saturday brought together officials for a discussion on the role of leaders in addressing the root causes of the ethnic division that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which left one million people dead and destroyed the country.

Opening the second day of the retreat, President Kagame challenged leaders present to make a choice and face Rwanda’s tragic past:

“We had a tragedy and there is nothing we can do to change the past. We can choose to be broken by our challenges and be held back by our past.

But we also have a choice to stand up to the challenges we face and do things differently in a way people do not expect. That is the only way to survive. The lessons of the past must be the foundation of our future. Our challenges should be seen as opportunities to look for strength within that we may have never known we have. We must fight for our humanity, no matter the cost.”

During the retreat, the officials resolved to expand Ndi Umunyarwanda initiative nationally to encourage healing through truth telling including taking responsibility for past mistakes and renewing Rwandans commitment to a united future.

Reading the resolutions from the retreat on behalf of the cabinet, the Labour Minister Anastase Murekezi explained that the officials have understood the importance of the initiative as being at the heart of moving Rwanda forward.

“There is no other way of building our country. This program is at the heart of a new Rwanda that is set to prosper,” Murekezi said.

In an interview with The New Times after the retreat, Amb Valentine Rugwabiza Sendanyoye, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) who became a member  of Cabinet last month, emphasized the importance of living by the truth:

“It’s clear that we can’t move forward in building our Rwandan identity without telling the truth. We have to tell the truth and we have to face it even if it may be the ugly, hard truth. Living in denial cannot help us move forward.” she said.

Through Ndi Umunyarwanda initiative, every Rwandan is invited to share what they know about the dark history of the country and make a bold step to take responsibility in cases where they may have contributed to mistakes whether through purposeful action or convenient inaction.

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said at the conclusion of the retreat that Ndi Umunyarwanda has become the biggest national theme with which Rwandans and top leaders can currently identify.

The cabinet has committed to ensure that the central government reaches out to districts across Rwanda before the end of this month in order to explore ways of expanding Ndi Umunyarwanda throughout the country.

The Minister for Sports and Culture, Protais Mitali, said in an interview at the end of the retreat that this initiative will provide a platform for Rwandans to speak openly about their history and move forward together to ensure that the mistakes of the past do not become Rwanda’s future.

Past lessons must form base for our future, says Kagame


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