Rwanda Prepares For 50th Independence Anniversary Amidst Congo Tension


remedy geneva;”>Speaking to the press Friday in Kampala, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda Maj. Gen. Frank Mugambage said the July 1 festivity will be held under the theme “a journey of resilience.”

He said before the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) seized power in 1994, the past 32 years of independence were totally wasted.

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“It was total misrule and bad governance that resulted in various tragedies and subsequent loss of many lives of Rwandans,” said Mugambage.

“The last 18 years saw the gallant forces of RPF manage to stop genocide thus starting a road for self-emancipation. It also rekindled hope for rebuilding Rwanda and fostering unity,” he added.

Another achievement of the RPF, he said, was the restoration of the dignity of Rwandans and ending segregation by her own leaders.

“Rwandans are now proud of who they are,” he emphasized.

He further stated that for the last 18 years under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, government has managed to establish durable and sustainable peace thus building unity and a new Rwanda.

“For 32 years (before 1994), leaders failed to build and mobilize Rwandans to work for their common good. However, RPF has built a foundation for reconciliation, working towards unity and social and economic transformation,” said Mugambage.

He said government now looks at working towards a middle-income country and moving steadily to improve the lives of Rwandans.

“The anniversary celebrations will be a time for Rwandans to reflect on challenges ahead and pick lessons from the past to attain prosperity,” said the High Commissioner.

Mugambage said Rwandans have decided to use home-grown solutions through putting in place ordinary mechanisms to deal with contemporary issues

He cited the recently-concluded Gacaca Courts closure ceremony where academics and researchers praised the traditional judicial system of delivering justice to heal wounds inflicted by the 1994 genocide.

Gacaca Courts managed to dispense over one million genocide cases in just ten years.

“The government has as well been able to bring about reconciliation and fighting impunity which was partly responsible for genocide. Rwandans are now strengthened to deal with challenges of infrastructure, accountability, public dialogue, good governance and self resilience.”

Mugambage said the economy has continued to grow – which he attributed to emphasizing physical discipline and effective macro-economic management thus leading to economic transformation and alleviation of poverty among many Rwandans.

“We have also created a conducive environment for businesses to operate and thrive. The recent World Bank statistics show Rwanda was among the best performing countries in the world. This is because of well functioning institutions, resilience, rule of law and commitment to public service delivery to the people of Rwanda,” said Mugambage.

Regarding the political and security crisis in Congo, Mugambage said Rwanda’s top army chiefs Gen. James Kabareebe and Gen. Kayonza on Thursday travelled to Goma to meet their DRC counterparts and other stakeholders to iron out the two countries’ differences.

Mugambage could not hide his disappointment when asked to respond to the recent Human Rights Watch report which indicated that Rwanda was supporting a rebellion in DRC by supplying military logistics to warlord Bosco Ntaganda and reinforcing his ranks with new recruits.

He castigated MONUSCO and Human Rights Watch (HRW) for peddling lies and fabricating reports on the security situation in DRC to cover up their failure to deliver on their mandate.

“It’s ridiculous to assume that Rwanda can sponsor insecurity in Congo. We emphasise security in our country and the region. Rwanda is committed to peace in the region and beyond, a reason we have participated in several missions in S. Sudan, Haiti and Sierra Leone,” he clarified.

“Anybody who has been following and watching MONUSCO can see there is total failure on delivering on its mandate. There is a lot to be desired in terms of implementation. The internal political disagreements of Congo are not Rwanda’s issue,” cautioned Mugambage.

He also said the issue of FDLR rebels operating in Congo still needs to be addressed.

Mugambage blamed exiled Rwanda generals especially Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa of forging alliances with the FDLR which is committed to extending its genocide acts.

“These are people who have completely gone astray. Their mind has lost creativity. They have refused to see Rwanda’s great achievements. Let’s read and pay attention to scientifically investigated reports not these lonely voices,” said Mugambage.

He said the “Habyarimana airplane crash theory” is propagated by those who want to deny genocide.
On respect of human rights in Rwanda, Mugambage said government was making steady progress in preserving its citizens’ integrity.

He said opposition leader Victorie Ingabire’s case, where she is accused of terrorism, will be determined by court. “There is overwhelming evidence that shows Ingabire had links with FDLR,” said Mugambage.

In fact court today postponed its verdict on this case to September 7.

The High Commissioner, however, said Rwanda’s journey to social, political and economic transformation has not been an easy ride.
Mugambage said government is now dealing with the challenge of uplifting the living conditions of its citizens.
“Our biggest challenge is: How do we transform Rwanda socially and economically to give our people meaning and dignity?” he said.


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