Home NewsNational It Wasn’t Obvious We Could Win The Battle – Kagame Shares Story Of Liberation Struggle

It Wasn’t Obvious We Could Win The Battle – Kagame Shares Story Of Liberation Struggle

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
9:57 pm

President Kagame urged young people with platforms to be alert to naysayers who would want to use them

President Paul Kagame and RPF flagbearer in the July Presidential elections has shared the story of liberation struggle from the start to the end, where he noted, that it was not obvious for his side to win the difficult battle.

Kagane was the commander of the army wing of RPF Inkotanyi, the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), but at the start, he was not supposed to be at the battlefield.

Earlier during the planning of the battle, his commanders in the Ugandan army where he was serving, decided to send him to a military school, in Kansas – USA for the Command and Staff College.

But when the Commander of RPA Fred Rwigema died prematurely on the battlefield, October 2, 1990, Kagame was obliged to join.

“When the struggle started, we never underestimated it; we understood its magnitude and the weight of the work we had, but it turned to be much harder than we thought it would,” Kagame said.

Answering a question of a journalist who asked him what his feelings at that time were, Kagame said that they first of all avoided to go ahead of themselves.

He said that they avoided to think that they would fail because that would indeed discourage them and make them fail. On the other hand, they avoided to think that they would win the battle, because this would cause them to relax and then still make them loose.

The President explained how the battle continued until they managed to catch a good part of Byumba, which allowed them to set their headquarters in Mulindi in 1992.

Mulindi, the game changer 

Before 1992, RPF had several offices including in Brussels-Belgium and Uganda where commissioners and other political leaders were operating from. However, they needed a place to stay together.

When Mulindi fell into their hands, things changed.

“At first we were only surviving along the border between Rwanda and Uganda where some of us were coming from,” he said adding that when they set the headquarters in Mulindi, they managed to bring both the political and the military wing to operate together, from the same location.

From then on, RPA made serious operations, catching more places.

“Gicumbi allowed us to connect to the world, to get food and medical supplies because it was only 30 kilometers to the border with Uganda,” he said.

From there, RPA was able to connect to the North and the East before spreading across the country.

The advance continued until April 1993 when the government army made a mistake and killed the Bagogwe in the Northern-Western Province, thus trashing the gains of Arusha accords.

“We told them that we were going to resume the fight because we could not allow to see the government killing people,” he said.

“That’s when we took an even much bigger territory than we had even taken before, because after the ceasefire that was agreed in Arusha accord, we trained our soldiers, and we were more successful.”

Kagame recalls that their advance scared the world and they stood against RPF.

“There was a global outcry with people fearing that we could take Kigali. Indeed we could take Kigali that early, but I thought that politically, it was a mistake to do it,” Kagame said.

“Our force was overstretched, and we could not take something big that we could not be able to manage.”

At this level, RPA was requested to go back to the earlier position in the context of a ceasefire, because the governement wanted to negotiate badly.

“We compromised to make things simple. We accepted that if we go back, the United Nations’ Peacekeepers could occupy the area which would be demilitarized, instead of the government forces taking them back,” he said.

The evil plans from the then Rwandan regime leaked 

Accordin to President Kagame, after Mulindi, RPA connected much more with rwandans and other people who shared a lot about the plans of Habyarimana’s regime.

“We knew about militia training, and other information that leaked. We could tell them to the UN peacekeeping leaders, who in their turn would tell us that they already know,” Kagame said.

“General Romeo Dallaire used to come here either by Helicopter or by road and we would share that information.”

“So, it is hard to tell what I was feeling, because things were going so fast to the extent that I even forgot some of the things. I was always trying to find a balance so that I don’t collapse because it was stressful.”

There was No Science that would predict our success

Kagame was asked a question by a journalist who wanted to know if ever he thought that RPA would win the battle.

“There was no indication we could win the battle, except that we were fighting for the truth. We knew that whether we win or loose, we had to fight for the truth,” he said.

“We had two choices; to run away like some others actually did, or to keep fighting for the truth whatever the cost, nothing in between.”

Kagame said, that they were fortunate that the spirit of keeping fighting for the truth was shared by many in RPF.

“There was no guarantee we could win the battle; even the enemy themselves never thought they could lose. Let none lie to you that they saw the victory coming,” he said.

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