Rwanda’s stability and social cohesion is a result of three clear choices: “Staying together; being accountable; and thinking big.
This was a statement made by Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame on the eve of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC, yesterday February 4, 2016, during the Florida Reception, hosted by Senator Bill Nelso, and his wife Grace Nelson.
As she shared Rwanda’s experience after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi that claimed a million lives leaving behind thousands of orphans and widows, the First Lady said that reconciliation was the only solution to rebuild a broken society and create a common identity, Umunyarwanda.
With meager resources, community jurisdictions Gacaca made of people integrity among the community tried about two million cases in ten years, against 93 cases by the UN sponsored International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). It has left pending cases, twenty years after heavy expenses.
Gacaca was not just about punishing, according to the First Lady, but it was also a way that allowed offenders to confess their crimes and seek forgiveness from survivors.
Efforts of addressing poverty and developing the country become among the core priorities, but under a consensual political system involving all political parties.
“Our system of governance is consensual not confrontational,” said Mrs Jeannette Kagame.
Rwanda’s First Lady is a champion of Unity and Reconciliation in Rwanda. Every year, through Unity Club, an organization of spouses of country leaders, she rewards authors of activities of togetherness in line with reconciliation.
In November 2015, 17 people from the religious community, common people, foreign and Rwandans were rewarded for having saved a number of Tutsi that were being killed during the Genocide.
The National Prayer Breakfast in U.S. is an annual event that is held in Washington DC since 1953 and most of US Presidents have attended it since then.
Over 3500 people from 100 countries including; political, social and business elite attend the event.
In his speech at the event, President Barack Obama said faith is a “great cure” for the fear that sometimes leads people to do “funny things.”