President Kagame calls Rwandans to stand up, fight genocide deniers

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

President Paul Kagame speaking in Commemoration event in Kigali on Wednesday. Village Urugwiro

The president of the Republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame has called all Rwandans especially the youth to stand up and fight genocide denial and those who negate the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi saying that there are would be no shame for that.

The president was speaking during the first day as Rwanda and the World started the week-long commemoration week on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Kigali Arena in the capital city of Kigali.

The event to start the mark the 27th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was held at Kigali Genocide Memorial where President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame laid a wreath on a mass grave in honour of Genocide victims buried there and lit the flame of remembrance.

Latter, the event continued at the Kigali arena where President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame joined over 500 Rwandans and friends of Rwanda.

The event brought together with top government officials, heads of diplomatic corps as well as groups representatives in in a bid to observe COVID-19 measures.

 Rwandans and friends of Rwanda from across the world started a week-long commemoration period on April 7, 2021, a day marking the start of 100 days of manslaughter where over one million innocent lives were lost.

Rwanda’s commemoration period lasts for 100 days signaling the period the genocide also lasted.

Speaking during the gathering, President Kagame called on all Rwandans and the youth, in particular, to always stand firm and fight the genocide ideology wherever they are saying they are facts without any fear.

“Those are facts, facts of our history, facts about what happened and responsibilities thereof, for those deniers if they have no shame, why should we have fear to fight them,” President Kagame said.

The president went on to say that while it was the 27th commemoration, Rwandans do not take the event for granted.

“It reminds us what has happened, up to now we are still finding bodies of remains of genocide victims, those who committed genocide are still free but that can’t be a reason for us to be held back in sorrow,” he added.

He also urged Rwandans especially genocide survivors to be strong even as the country marks the commemoration period amid the COVID-19 pandemic hailing survivors resilience to build themselves and the nation as a whole.

“The chance to live a better life was welcomed and this is a strong pillar of what makes us stronger. Rwandans are more united, forward-looking today than ever. The youth which constitutes the bigger part of Rwandans are united and strong. Those who want to divide Rwandans have failed and will keep failing,” he added.

“Rwanda may not yet be wealthy or fully healthy and we have vulnerabilities and limitations like any country, but we also know how to deal with our problems, Rwandans are resilient and we are full of purpose and hope,” the president noted.

He said that the gains Rwanda has registered over the past 27 years were tangible and there were signs such as roads, hospitals, water and services among others.

“The intangible transformations are even more important, they allow progress to be sustained from generation to generation, our unity and trust we have in our people and our leadership will continue to grow,” he said.

the head of the state thanked Rwandans for remaining dedicated to the task of unity and reconciliation.

He also thanked friends of Rwandans who have been with Rwanda in the unity and reconciliation journey over the years including countries African countries like Nigeria, Check Republic and others like New Zeeland who stood firm with Rwanda and stick to the truth even when other countries doubted or denied genocide.

“We will always be thankful for those countries around the world,” he said also condemning countries who still refuse to call ‘Genocide against the Tutsi’ the tragedy that befell the country but give it other names such as just genocide, the act of genocide, or killing among others.

“It is surprising that we still have the same discussion 27 years later, it is amazing. Meanwhile specialists and human rights activists remains silent of what could be the danger,” he said calling it Sinicism and hypocrisy that is breathtaking.

Dealing with terror acts

The president said that Rwanda, just like other countries had legitimacy to defend their country and deal with terror acts as well as other issues that may pose a threat.

“Whenever possible we bring those who threaten our security to justice, there are several trials underway in our court involving various armed and violent groups, it is funny because among those there are those living outside protected one way or the other and it is all connected with a story of denial, of distortion and falsification,” he said.

“We cannot afford to allow such acts {of terrorism} of killing innocent people and threaten our economy to be done on our territory ever,” he added.

President hails France’s report on the genocide

President Kagame hailed a detailed report by a team of historians and other experts on the role of France in supporting the planning and execution of the genocide.

He said that France’s government has allowed access  to official archives that had remained a secret.  

Kagame said that the then France government under President Francois Mitterrand knew genocide was being planned by their allies in Rwanda.

“Despite that knowledge, the president {Mitterrand} decided to continue supporting them because he believed it was necessary for France’s geopolitical reasons,” he said.

“We welcome this report because it marks an important step to the common sense of what happened, it also shows the desire from the leaders in France to move forward with a good understanding of what happened,” he said.

 “It is a good thing, Rwanda will have something to say in the near future, maybe in the third week of this {Commemoration} period,” he added.

President also talked about countries that still remain havens of wanted people who committed genocide and are not willing either to try them transfer them to Rwanda to be tried there.

He said that when these genocide suspects are given safe haven and deportation is denied it has the direct consequence of the increased denial and revisionism which will take longer to reverse.

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