Home NewsNational Heroes Day: Understanding the Decorations of Honour and National Orders

Heroes Day: Understanding the Decorations of Honour and National Orders

by Daniel Sabiiti
2:30 am

L-R: Indashyikirwa, Indangamirwa and Indengabaganizi

Today,  February 1, Rwanda celebrates the National Heroes Day, which honors the lives of men and women whose legacy was sacrifice above self in different aspects.

A National Hero in Rwandan perspective is defined as any person who pursues objectives he / she undertakes to obtain special achievement for the public interest and with high proven integrity, sacrifice and noble courage in his/her acts and who avoids being a coward in his / her actions in very trying situations.

The task to select heroes was assigned to the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour (CHENO).

The strategic objectives of the latter are to preserve heroism heritages and to promote the culture of heroism, to conduct research on outstanding acts and potential candidates for decorations of honor and set up mechanism of rewarding and honoring identified outstanding achievers.

President Paul Kagame decorates Ghanian Gen. Henry Kwami Anyidoho

The decoration of honor is a symbol which is rewarded by national authorities to defense forces,national police and to those who demonstrated important and outstanding acts in matters related to national security.

A national order is a symbol awarded by national authorities to persons who demonstrated useful and supreme acts- these are rewarded to persons who dedicated themselves to important acts based on Unity, Culture, Labor, Friendship and Bravery.

These are in seven types of medals- National Liberation Medal: ‘URUTI’, Campaign against Genocide Medal: ‘UMURINZI’, National order of Valor ‘AGACIRO’, National Order of Friendship: ‘IGIHANGO’, National Order of Labour: ‘INDASHYIKIRWA’, National Order of Culture: ‘INDAGAMIRWA’ and National Order of Bravery: ‘UBWITANGE / INDENGABAGANIZI’

‘URUTI’

Uruti is awarded to Rwandans and foreigners who contributed in Liberation Struggle of 1990-1994.

Former and current Heads of State are among the recipients of Uruti medal. These include the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, Late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi , and senior Rwandan soldiers.

‘UMURINZI’
This medal is awarded to Rwandans and foreigners who contributed to stopping the 1994 Genocide
Against the Tutsi.

This medal has been awarded to thousands of people including Heads of State, military officers and civilians such as Twine Joy, Bahumura Joy, Kalimba Raphael, Gahongayire Odette, Mamashenge Consolé and Mukayuhi Jeannine.

Other recipients are: Gisimba Damas, Celestin Hakizimana, Zura Karuhimbi, Jean Marie Vianney Igisagara, John Mutambuka among others.

AGACIRO

It is a medal that is given to a Head of State and Government or International Organization or a leader at the highest level characterized by activities that promote the interests of Rwanda in politics, economy and social welfare, both in Rwanda or internationally.

This medal of Valor has been awarded to only two people, namely the President of Congo Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso, and the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union ITU, China’s Houlin Zhao.

IGIHANGO

This medal of appreciation (to friends of Rwanda) is given to a person or a group that has promoted positive and outstanding work in promoting relations and cooperation between Rwanda and other countries, or Africa at the international scene.

Nicolas Rwaka, Director of Research at CHENO says that this medal was first awarded in 2017 to friends of Rwanda such as: Late Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners in Health and Butaro cancer hospital, Howard G. Buffet, the Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and funder of Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) and other agricultural activities in Kirehe and Bugesera.

Decoration of Dr. Paul Farmer

Other recipients include: John Dick, former director of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Hezi Bezalel, Gilbert Chagoury, Alain and Dafroza Mukarumongi Gauthier, Linda Melvern and Joseph Ritchie.

‘INDASHYIKIRWA’

This is a medal given to a person or a group of people who have demonstrated exemplary work, of innovation in promoting the development of Rwanda. No one has been awarded this medal yet.

‘INDAGAMIRWA’

It is given to a person or a group of people who have shown useful and exemplary actions that promote the Rwandan culture, but it has not been awarded yet.

‘UBWITANGE’

This medal is given to a person or a group of people who have performed exemplary actions, including supreme self-sacrifice to save others. It has been awarded to two former Ghanian  soldiers from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR).

Gen. Henry Kwami Anyidoho and Gen. and Ikra, who led the Ghanaian forces as part of UNAMIR (United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda), were crowned by the President of the Republic, Paul Kagame, Volunteer for Independence Day 2022.

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