Rwanda thanks Africa for support post-genocide President Kagame said Africa had the sole responsibility to give full value to the lives of its people as well as preserve its memory and history.

Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter

RWANDA President Paul Kagame has expressed gratitude to fellow African nations for extending their support after the genocide against the Tutsi in which over one million people were massacred between April 7 and July 15 1994.

In his address to commemorate the 3oth anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi (Kwibuka 30), held in Kigali, President Kagame said without support, Rwanda would not have been where it is today.

A few years ago, Zimbabwe fully backed the United Nations’ hunt for fugitives wanted for trial for the genocide against the Tutsi and co-operated bilaterally with the country in processing its extradition requests.

Zimbabwe also fully participated in investigations after DNA tests on a body buried in the country in 2006 showed that it was that of wanted Rwandan fugitive Protais Mpiranya.

Mpiranya’s remains were found in Zimbabwe where he was hiding for four years before his death and burial under the alias Ndume Sambao.

During the genocide against the Tutsi which went on for about 100 days, members of the Tutsi minority group were killed by soldiers from the extremist government and armed militias.

“Today, we also feel a particular gratitude to all the friends and representatives here with us from around the world. We are deeply honoured by your presence alongside us on this very heavy day.

“The contributions you have made to Rwanda’s rebirth are enormous, and have helped us to stand where we are now,” he said.

President Kagame said Africa had the sole responsibility to give full value to the lives of its people as well as preserve its memory and history.

He thus said African nations’ politics should never be based on ethnicity or religion as in the past.

This was a phenomenon Africa had since moved from.

“First, only we as Rwandans and Africans can give full value to our lives. After all, we cannot ask others to value African lives more highly than we ourselves do. That is the root of our duty to preserve memory and tell our history as we lived it.

“Second, never wait for rescue, or ask for permission to do what is right to protect people. That is why some people must be joking when they threaten us with all kinds of things, they don’t know what they are talking about. In any case, that is why Rwanda participates proudly in peacekeeping operations today, and also extends assistance to African brothers and sisters bilaterally when asked.

“Third, stand firm against the politics of ethnic populism in any form. Genocide is populism in its purified form. Because the causes are political, the remedies must be as well.

“For that reason, our politics is not organised on the basis of ethnicity or religion, and it never will be again,” he said.

Soon after the liberation of the country, all Rwandan identity cards were replaced and the new cards did not record the ethnic status that the colonial administration had locked into place. These days there are just Rwandans.

President Kagame said it was incumbent upon African countries to ensure the protection of their peoples.

“Throughout history, survivors of mass atrocities are always expected to be quiet, to censor themselves, or else be erased and even blamed for their own misfortune.

“Their testimony is living evidence of complicity, and it unsettles the fictions which comfort the enablers and the bystanders. The more Rwanda takes full responsibility for its own safety and dignity, the more intensely the established truth about the genocide is questioned and revised.

“Over time, in the media controlled by the powerful in this world, victims are rebranded as villains, and even this very moment of commemoration is derided as a mere political tactic. It is not. It never has been. Our reaction to such hypocrisy is pure disgust,” he said.

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