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25 years after the genocide, Rwanda still mourns her dead

08.04.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Rwanda has a reunion with her history this month of April, as the country is commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Genocide from April 7, 2019, a dark episode that has marked the history of this country for life. According to the figures put forward by the United Nations, about 800,000 souls were lost during the carnage that lasted from April 7 to July 4, 1994. A quarter of a century after this painful chapter, the country of Paul Kagame seems resolutely turned towards the future. The economic indicators show a country in full swing, a recovery mostly attributed to the leadership of her leader, Paul Kagame, whose relations with the outside seem more peaceful.

ONE WEEK DEDICATED TO COMMEMORATION

For a week, many activities related to the commemoration of this quarter century after the genocide will be organized across the country. On Sunday morning, while laying a wreath and lighting the flame of remembrance at the Gisosi Memorial in Kigali, Rwandan President Paul Kagame launched the celebrations dedicated to the memory of the Tutsi genocide and the mourning of a hundred days. In this memorial built in 1999 are buried the remains of more than 250 000 victims of barbarism.

Later, the Rwandan president read a speech at the convention center in the capital. One of the most anticipated moments of the day was the march of remembrance that led Paul Kagame and his guests to the Amahoro stadium, which means “peace,” in the Kinyarwanda language. It was in this emblematic place that thousand of Tutsti fleeing tormentors had found refuge in 1994 with the protection of the UN. It remains despite years, a place with memories that often cause psychological disorders among survivors who relive the horrors they were victims to.

Among the guests who honored their invitation include Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Niger Presidents Issoufou Mahamadou, Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso and Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Moussa Faki, the chairman of the African Union Commission, were also sent to Kigali. Emmanuel Macron personally invited by Paul Kagame and Antonio Guterres the SG of the UN were absent at these ceremonies. Another notable absence is that of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni accused by Kigali of hosting Rwandan rebels in his country. Rwandans are forced to live in cohesion after the massacres that bereaved their country 25 years ago. The genocide of the Tutsi community that began on April 7, 1994, the day after the explosion of the plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, is still in the memory of survivors and wounds difficult to heal. The carnage of 70% of the Tutsis ended with the arrival in Kigali on July 4th of the Tutsi rebellion of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame. This dark episode in the history of Rwanda according to the current leader of the country, which has established a social consensus must now be a thing of the past. But for the families of the victims, the road to reconciliation remains full of pitfalls as long as the remains of their loved ones are not found and buried in dignity and the perpetrators will not be transmitted to the legal authorities.

PAUL KAGAME: MAN AT THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY RECOVERY

About 60% of the Rwandan population was born after the genocide. Many have not lived the throes of this barbarism, we know this painful past through stories told by relatives or even history books and media. President Paul Kagame who decided to make good use of this asset is considered today as one of the African leaders closest to his youth. Thanks to the organization of programs dedicated to his young compatriots such as “Meet The President”, Paul Kagame as a wise mentor encourages Rwandan youth to develop their professional qualifications by instilling a spirit of entrepreneurship necessary for innovation and creation of employment.

Post-genocide Rwanda, with its only leader, President Paul Kagame, has experienced in 25 years an economic boom that makes him today according to many reports including that of Doing Business, one of the models on the continent in term economy and a favorable framework for investment and business. The country with thousand hills in 2018 according to Rwanda Development Board recorded a total of 173 investment projects of which 49% are domestic investments.

Although her president is accused of a certain authoritarianism in his method of governance, there is no doubt that this anniversary unlike the others is celebrated in a peaceful diplomatic climate.

COMMEMORATION IN A PACIFIED CLIMATE WITH THE WEST

President Paul Kagame is highly respected in Africa, where many leaders see him as a model. His time as president of the African Union, which was attributed to him by his pairs on the continents in 2018, enabled him to perfect his relations with the outside world. Many Western countries who have often accused him of violating freedom of expression and oppressing opposition in his country have gradually begun to change their language. For the development of Rwanda, the former leader of the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), has decided to keep a low profile by favoring the path of reconciliation than to continue to maintain old grudges that can contribute to the isolation of his country, which more than never need to open up to the world to boost its economic growth.

One of the proofs of this wind of reconciliation with the West is the invitation given to Emmanuel Macron, whose country has long been accused by Kigali of having played a major role in the massacre of Tutsi by complicity with the Hutu regime. The hatchet seems buried despite the absence of the head of the Elysee to commemorate the genocide. Because the latter has recently decided to bring to the door of a college of historians, all French archives related to the Rwandan genocide and to prosecute the alleged guilty of this barbarism present on French soil. With Belgium, Rwanda has also decided to put water in the wine as evidenced by the presence in Kigali of Charles Michel the Belgian Prime Minister, one of the predecessors, Guy Verhofstadt had asked Rwanda in 2000 to forgive the mistakes made by Belgium during the genocide.

This Sunday, April 07, 2019, Rwanda opened the doors of remembrance. For 100 days, which corresponds to the time during which the massacres took place, the country will mourn her dead while trying to heal the wounds left by the trauma in which remains a part of her population. This country that has achieved extraordinary economic feats in the last 25 years, after 100 days spent in hell, knows that it is by keeping her eyes fixed on the future that she can definitely turn this dark and painful page of his history.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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