At a time when the country is going through a lockdown to stop the spread of the New Coronavirus, President Paul Kagame said that regardless of the unusual circumstances, Rwanda will continue to commemorate their own as part of their obligation.
In a televised address to the nation at the occasion of commemorating 26 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, President Kagame said that the country is at that familiar time of year when expressing what is in people’s hearts and minds is very difficult.
“We come together to remember for the 26th time, as we always have and will continue to do. Let me begin by thanking Rwandans around the country, as well as our friends, who are following today’s commemoration from their homes,”
“I also thank you for participating in these unusual measures that are necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic in Rwanda and around the world,” the Head of State said in reference to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
“This year’s commemoration is therefore especially challenging for survivors and families and for the country because we cannot be together physically to comfort one another. It is not an easy thing to do,”
“Rwandans are used to coming together with solidarity and collective strength. We do this through our national ceremonies, and activities such as Walk to Remember, Night Vigil, and group discussions in our communities,” he said.
President Kagame, however, said that the current unusual circumstances will not prevent people from fulfilling their obligation to commemorate the solemn anniversary, honor those the country lost, and console survivors.
“Today, we pause to reflect on the tragedy we experienced and what we lost, both individually and as a nation. We will continue to educate new generations of Rwandans about what happened to our country, and what we learned from it,”
“We are putting those lessons into practice for the benefit of those who come after us. The lessons of our history have united us. They teach us the value of good leadership that cares for the well-being of all citizens,” he said.
The Head of State said that Rwandans have learned the importance of working together to build a better future for their country, pointing out that resilience and collective compassion of Rwandans will continue to serve the nation and people well, as they navigate new challenges, including those the country is experiencing today.
“Everyone who lives on this globe is interconnected. So we will continue to contribute to making our world a better place by sharing our story and our ideas for innovation, whenever it can be helpful,”
“Doing so is an investment in hope which makes us better people, and reminds us that no one person is self-sufficient. Thank you and God bless you,” he concluded.
Later, President Kagame and the First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame participated in the wreath laying ceremony at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi which also saw the Head of Diplomatic Corp, Guy Nestor Itoua, the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo to Rwanda and the President of the Umbrella Association of Genocide Survivors Ibuka participate in the wreath laying ceremony.
President Kagame and the First Lady concluded the ceremony by lighting the flame of hope which will be on for 100 days. The event lasted not more than 15 minutes unlike past editions.