Rwanda will on Monday free doves into the sky as a symbol of peace as the capital Kigali hosts the International peace day celebrations under the theme; ‘Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for all.’
In 1994, Rwanda was brought onto its knees following a genocide against ethnic Tutsi that claimed a million lives in just a hundred days; but the world looked on as such mayhem took place.
For the past 21 years after the genocide, the country has reunited, built peace and contributed to peacekeeping missions around the world.
“This country will never be the same again,” President Paul Kagame said during the 21st commemoration of the genocide.
Bishop Rucyahana President of the National Reconciliation Commission told KT Press; “It’s a day for peace, but again a day of recognizing those exceptional individuals who sacrificed themselves to put Rwandan where it is today.”
The national unity and reconciliation commission says Rwanda was selected to host the day because of its unmatched level in restoring peace and security, 21 years after a devastating genocide.
Rwanda maintains over 4500 uniformed men and women in different peacekeeping missions around the world.
Ban Ki Moon the United Nations Secretary General, in honour of this day, calls for ceasefire and peace across conflict-stricken countries.
“I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace,” Moon said.
Bishop Rucyahana noted; “We are celebrating International peace day with a lot of excitement. In Rwanda, we have peace because we worked for it.”
A couple of activities have been organised, including a parliamentary session of 300 youth discussing their role in peace building.
Later in the day, a ‘Peace One Day Youth Celebration’ will bring together 2,500 participants at Petit Stade Amahoro in Kigali, as well as a Peace Village that will feature exhibitions by partners in peace-building, according to Johnson Mugaga, executive secretary of the national reconciliation commission.
Also, international artistes are expected to grace the celebrations including; Nigeria’s Ice Prince, Maurice Kirya and Lillian Mbabazi from Uganda, Mafikizolo from South Africa; Alikiba and Wangechi from Tanzania and Kenya, among others.