From Rwanda’s experience, the First Lady of Rwanda Jeannette Kagame has told participants of the 68th US National Prayer Breakfast, that it is common knowledge, that nothing grows where there is divisionism and hatred.
The 68th US National Prayer Breakfast, spans from 4 February 2020 to 6 February 2020 in Washington D.C.
The Prayer Breakfast always happens around this time of the year, and Mrs Kagame recalled a speech that was shared to the same occasion 26 years ago to make her point very clear.
“On February 3, 1994, in this very city, the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta addressed the National Prayer Breakfast,” Mrs Kagame said.
“In her address, she called upon the audience to recite the prayer of St. Francis – that, in sum, called on Christians and the people of God, to be instruments of peace. Mother Teresa, invoked the audience to pray for peace, joy and love.”
According to the First Lady of Rwanda, while the late Mother Teresa was calling on the audience to pray for peace, on the other side of the world, Rwanda was experiencing the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Tragically, in that same year, far across the ocean, in my home country Rwanda, peace, love and joy, seemed to be alien concepts. As turmoil, fear and anguish set in leading to the Genocide against the Tutsi, only a few months later,” Jeannette Kagame said.
The Genocide against Tutsi cost the country more than a million Tutsi from April to early July.
The First Lady said that Rwanda recovered thanks to a visionary leadership thanks to a visionary leadership that decided to take the high road.
“In retrospect, the prayer recited then, 26 years ago, strongly resonates across the ocean and inspired the leadership of the nation to take by divine commission the high road, that eventually led us to the reconciliation and unity, which is the hallmark of our country today,” she said.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, We know all too well, that nothing grows, where there is divisionism and hatred.”
The First Lady said that Rwanda understood that to bring sustainable peace, “we needed to allow room for repentance and forgiveness and forever close the window to vengeance.”
She said that Rwandans learnt from history in all aspects of governance. She said the thought critically around issues of security and dignity for all “helped us to deeply analyse, the options set before us, and carve out a clearly defined path, to a unified, peaceful and prosperous nation.”
Mrs Kagame further said; “We adopted, inclusive policies and structures, and created platforms – many of which were home-grown solutions, at all levels, to encourage community involvement, in nation building efforts.”
According to the First Lady, Rwanda promoted inclusive and intentional leadership, defined by three key pillars, which are Unity, Accountability and Thinking Big .
These pillars, she said, have instilled in each of us the sense of responsibility towards sustaining our collective gains as well as the discipline needed to work towards our shared goal of realising the Rwanda we want.
The First Lady said that “it is through, the genuine pursuit of peace, that we can truly experience, the Glory, the Grace and the Love of God, both at national and personal levels.”
At this prayer breakfast, The First Lady introduced Nelly Mukazayire, Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Convention Bureau, to give her testimony in regards to what Rwanda went through and how the Genocide affected her personally.
Her mother participated in the genocide committed against Tutsi, but this did not stop Mukazayire from striving and becoming a successful woman who is useful to the society after the Genocide.