On 5th July 2021, RWW in collaboration with Patriotism Organization Rwanda hosted a virtual conference on the role of the youth in cementing liberation values: 27 years into the journey of liberation.
July 4th is an emblematic date for Rwanda as it marked the end of the long and courageous battle to liberate the country. It is on July 04th 1994 that the Rwandan Patriotic Army, the armed wing of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) during the liberation struggle, ended the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed over 1 million lives.
Dr. Richard Sezibera who took part in the 4 years liberation struggle and later served in different capacity over the past 27 years including in the cabinet was the keynote speaker of the event alongside, Fiona Kamikazi Rutagengwa, a young social media enthusiast and Gretta Rugema, the moderator of the day and recounted the reasons for the genesis of the struggle.
“The reasons of Liberation began long ago when colonialists with the help of some Rwandans destroyed every aspect of Rwandan lives and promoted a genocidal ideology which led to the Genocide against the Tutsi,” he said before adding that it was in that regard that some young people who didn’t accept such wrong ideology began the Liberation struggle to restore the country’s dignity, unity and Peace.
Dr. Richard Sezibera who was the keynote speaker in the event told the youth that after the liberation struggle they had to build everything from scratch and that to overcome challenges they were facing, it required a strong leadership with a strong and clear vision like today’s Rwanda’s leadership.
Though with large ambitions, the RPA that was made up of a large portion of youth. They fought selflessly, many sacrificing their lives so that at last they could return to the country of their ancestors, the country they called home, and at last they achieved their objective. On July 04th of every year, the country celebrates that achievement.
However, Dr. Sezibera told the youth that for the RPA to get to victory, they did everything while observing certain values.
“We had to understand numerous values but I will only name 4.
We had to understand that Rwanda is a country that had to be led by Rwandans for Rwandans and the leaders were chosen by Rwandans and we also had to understand that Rwanda should expand (deriving from the verb “Kwanda”). While our ancestors expanded it geographically, we had to expand it in terms of knowledge, economically and socially as well as other sectors.”
As young RPA, Dr. Sezibera continued, we also had to understand that Rwandans always put forward what unites them not what divide them and most importantly we had to understand the role of women in the expansion of the country; in the ancient times the King always led the country together with the queen mother. “That’s why today, a woman has an equal and important role as his brother in the country’s development.”
Fiona Kamikazi one of the panelists urged his fellow youth to learn from some of the values inspired by the Liberation struggle while always be thinking about their role in the country’s development.
“We should be accountable towards our country and ask ourselves what we’re doing for our country, for our parents liberated this country but its future belongs in our hands and understand that The gun struggle ended 27 years ago, and as today’s youth we should take part in the rebuilding struggle that’s ongoing because we have the numbers, strength and have had a good education in a peaceful country,” she noted.
AS this country’s next generation, Kamikazi added, we should know that the #Rwandawewant we’re striving for is for all Rwandans and that united efforts achieve more than individual efforts.
She then called on the youth to join the fight against Genocide denial and ideology instead of leaving it to the government, organizations or the Genocide survivors and also urged them to take the lead in telling the reality on the ground of their country’s progress instead of sitting back and watch as their country’s image gets tarnished.
The executive chairperson of Patriotism Organization Rwanda, Fontaine Kayumba reminded the youth to draw inspiration from liberation struggle values in order to help the country in continuing the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. His counterpart, The Chairperson of Rwanda We Want Organization, Tristan Murenzi urged the youth to keep investing their abundant energy in the never ending journey of rebuilding the country.
“Because we not only make up the majority of the Rwandan population, but we also have the capacity and ability to bring innovation in this battle against poverty towards sustainable development,” said Murenzi.
The Guest of Honor, the Director General at Ministry of Youth and Culture, urged the youth to learn from Rwanda’s history and draw from it the inspiration of working hard, and that as people who now have a place they can proudly call home, they owe it to #Inkotanyi to build a prosperous Rwanda.
She also urged the youth to feel inspired by the liberation struggle to fight against COVID-19.
Special recognition to Rwanda National Union of the Deaf for availing a sign language interpreter for people with hearing impairment to follow the event as well as the youth who virtually participated in the conference.