President Paul Kagame has spoken out on Rwanda’s relations with her neighbours, pointing out that the country is on good terms with her neighbours, except one whose problem he doesn’t understand well.
The Head of State who was speaking at the closing of the two-day Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) Extended National Executive Committee meeting on Saturday said that Rwanda’s interest is to co-exist peacefully with her neighbours for the country’s own benefit.
President Kagame, who is also the chairman of the ruling party, said that ties between Rwanda and her four neighbours are looking good, except for one neighbour to the north -Uganda, whose problem with Rwanda he has failed to understand.
“With Burundi, we are on the right track. Together we are looking to address the issues between us and get our relations back on track. Burundi has shown interest to do so and we are also doing the same,” President Kagame told the over 650 party members and invited guests.
On the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), President Kagame said the issues that affected relations between the two countries were addressed and the two countries are co-existing in a mutual and cordial manner.
“For Tanzania, we never had any problem with the country. We work together on many things. Our northern neighbours have an issue with us. It is a country I grew up in, lived in and worked for, but today if you ask me the issue they have with us, I cannot explain it,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame however emphasized that Rwanda is focussed on ensuring its own stability and security as well as pursuing her development ambitions, rather than dwelling on others or what they are doing.
“What Rwanda wants is peace, and the freedom to carry forward the business of transforming our country. We do not want to stand in anyone’s way nor do we want anyone to stand in our way,”
“For things to move forward, you have to look inward. If you want to live in a house without being rained on, without fearing that anyone will come to steal from you, you must build a strong house,” President Kagame said.
He pointed out that rather than spending sleepless nights standing guard, build a strong house, on a solid foundation, surrounded by a solid fence to protect you and a strong roof to prevent leakage.
“Build a house with a foundation strong enough that the wind cannot blow it away,” he said, every Rwandan, young or old, needs to know that’s how the country works.
“Our focus is to keep doing the right thing and that protects us from those who wish us harm. Those who have been insulting us or accusing us of different things cannot deny our achievements,”
“We have our own identity, and context. We have to accomplish more with less. If you start to do things because that is how it is done elsewhere, that will not be fulfilling the values of the RPF. Our uniqueness lies in the fact that the solutions to our challenges have been unique,” President Kagame said.
Muse, Duclert Reports
Discussions on Day 2 centred on Justice and the Genocide against the Tutsi, including a presentation on Muse Report about the role of France in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, while reflecting on the findings of the Duclert Commission report as well.
the State Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Solina Nyirahabimana, gave a brief presentation on the Muse Report and its importance in bringing truth to light and what it means for the future and for the generations to come.
The panel had the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnton Busingye, State Minister Nyirahabimana, the Minister of Local Government, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide, Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, Sandrine Maziyateke from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Monique Huss, a Genocide survivor.
Minister Busingye said that the two reports, more than anything, will bring history clarity, 27 years later and pave way for a better understanding of issues much as it took long, rather than looking at it as launchpad for investigations and court cases.
He said that for decades theories and narratives have been advanced to misconstrue the truth but Rwanda consistently stayed the course, maintaining the facts as it did in the Mucyo report, pointing out that the Duclert Commission report only confirmed what was already known.
“The most important takeaway from the two reports (Muse and Duclert reports) is that Genocide fugitives whom we are looking for to account for the Genocide crimes have lost the support of France. It will make the work to apprehend them easy,”
Dr. Bizimana said that while the Duclert Report stated that the French government blindly supported the Genocide against the Tutsi, the Muse Report puts the facts the way they are; a deliberate support of the Genocide.
“The war against double Genocide that we are fighting today started sometime in 1994 towards the end of the Genocide, when then French President Mitterrand and his close advisors started propagating lies that RPF had killed civilians during the liberation struggle,”
Minister Gatabazi said that as a 22-year-old who lived in Byumba in the early 1990s saw French soldiers on the frontline and what they were doing to safeguard President Juvenal Habyarimana’s government.
“We talked to them and they would proudly tell us that they were there to fight alongside Hutus against what they called Tutsi aggression. They described RPF as a group of Tutsis who were foreigners. We saw them bringing guns and arming the Habyarimana army,” Gatabazi said.
Monique Huss narrated her painful story of survival and losing her father and siblings killed by Interahamwe at Kabuye, Jabana Sector in Gasabo district while she miraculously survived with her mother, who had been hacked, and her little sister after they were rescued by the advancing RPF fighters.
“As a Genocide survivor, documents like Muse Report help us with the difficult task of explaining what we went through, especially to our children,”
“This report will therefore supplement others before it to explain this difficult chapter of our history which some people want to negate, deny or trivialize,” Huss said, thanking the Government and the First Lady Mrs. Jeannette Kagame for the support she was afforded and other genocide survivors to remain resilient.
Uwimbabazi Maziyateke, who is the Director of the Rwanda Community Abroad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that as a child of an Ex-FAR, she faced an identity crisis, having grown up in the Belgium and studied in the U.S but could not identify herself as a Rwandan because of her past.
“Growing up I was told all sorts of bad things about Rwanda as I became curious to know my country. I was told I would be killed, like many youths in my category, who are normally made to believe that Rwanda is a dangerous place to live in,”
“I was curious to know my country. Luckily, there was a Rwanda Day in Brussels and I decided to go against all odds and attend it. What I found was the opposite of what I had been told. I saw happy people waving flags, listening to their leader and they had a vision,” she recalled.
From then on, she developed curiosity to come to Rwanda and when she did, she was warmly welcomed. She has never looked back.