Kwibuka22: President Kagame and First Lady join thousands of Rwandan youth in a Walk To Remember and Night Vigil

April 9, 2016; President Paul Kagame, First Lady Jeannette Kagame and other top government officials joined thousands of Rwandan youth in a Walk To Remember and Night Vigil as part of the series of events to mark the 22nd commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi (Kwibuka22). The event was also attended by friends of Rwanda including members of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM).

The walk started at the parliamentary building and ended at the Amahoro National Stadium where thousands of Rwandans had gathered for a night vigil.

In his remarks, the president of genocide survivors umbrella Ibuka, Prof DUSINGIZEMUNGU Jean Pierre started by comforting the survivors of genocide and acknowledging the zeal with which they faced the post genocide challenges.

He thanked the government for its efforts to support genocide survivors ranging from medical care, education, shelter, etc. All these efforts have enabled them to integrate into the society where they have slowly moved from being beneficiaries of government support but have also managed to contribute to the development of their country. However, more still needs to be done so that the still existing challenges can be tackled.

He denounced the deniers of genocide and their supporters where he specifically mentioned some French authorities who supported the genocidal regime and who continue to play down their involvement in the genocide against the Tutsi. Regarding the comments recently made Alain Juppé, the French Foreign Minister during the genocide period denying charges against his government for its alleged role in the genocide, Prof Dusingizemungu deplored the comments emphasizing the role the French government played in the genocide. “Alain Juppe and your colleagues, in one way or another, carry the blood of Rwandans in your hands”; he said. He further thanked friends of Rwanda, notably Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli, for their show of solidarity with Rwandans during these difficult moments.

Genocide survivor Charles Habonimana gave a testimony of his tragic journey during the genocide. In a family of 8 children and both parents, only him and his elder sister managed to survive.

In his testimony, he thanked president Kagame and the former RPA soldiers who stood firm and halted the genocide and went on to build a country that now everyone feels proud to call home. “Where we were hiding, in the debris of houses, in bushes, in swamps, etc, we had no hope of surviving. Everyone was only wondering when his /her turn shall come, to be slaughtered. It’s during that dilemma that we received a message of hope; we saw the light and breathed again. In the past 22 years, we have seen a country that was full of tears and agony coming back to its normalcy. In one word, we saw the country resurrecting;” He testified.

He thanked everyone who has played a role in the restoration of the country and the survivors of genocide in particular.

President Paul Kagame commended Rwandans and especially the youth who had participated in the event for acknowledging their role in shaping the future of the country.

“The youth of Rwanda have shown that they take ownership and responsibility for the well being of our country and our people;” he said.

He further said that in spite of the fact that there are no adequate words to explain the pain in the hearts of Rwandans, it’s not where the story about Rwanda ends. On the foundation of tragedy, a new life has begun. In the past 22 years Rwandans have managed to come together and matched towards a common goal: building the dignified nation that people deserve.

He further warned some elements in the country, the region and beyond, who may be intending to destabilize the country or to destroy it, stating that Rwandans are ready to secure it and protect what has been achieved. “We may not have many resources but we have the will, power & determination to rebuild and protect our nation;” he said.

The event ended with songs to comfort the souls of those who are grieving.