Rwandans in Diaspora mark independence, liberation
As the country marked the 50th Independence and 18th Liberation anniversaries, Rwandans in other parts of the world came together to observe the joint events.
Rwandan peacekeepers in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) were some of those that marked the day from their base in the South Sudanese capital Juba.
There are 850 Rwandan troops in UNMISS.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Defence, the event was organised by peacekeepers stationed in Juba and members of the Rwandan community living in South Sudan.
Speakers on the day included Col. Charles Karamba, Deputy Chief of Staff in Charge of Operation UNMISS, who spoke about “Rwanda before and after Independence.”
Contingent Commander, Brig. Gen. Andrew Kagame, stressed the importance of reflecting on Rwanda’s past to build a better future, reminding Rwandans in the new African state that they have a significant role to play in building their country and consolidating what has been achieved.
The Chairman of Rwandan community in South Sudan, David Gatare, urged the audience to take the moment to reflect on the past and the future and to enjoy what has so far been achieved back home.
UNMISS officials, including Fred Yiga, the UNMISS Commissioner of Police, and Lt. Col. Nobutaka Matsuki, the Japanese Engineer Company Commander, attended the event.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Rwandans gathered at the residence of the Rwandan ambassador, James Kimonyo in Washington, to mark the day.
A statement from the Rwandan embassy in Washington says that the reflection during the celebrations “stretched way back on how Rwanda achieved independence and how it looked like on the eve of independence and all through the post independence period.”
Ambassador Kimonyo reminded participants that Rwanda belongs to all Rwandans, challenging them to consolidate the unity and reconciliation process as a way of achieving sustainable peace and security.
Kimonyo urged Rwandans to work hard and to contribute to the social, economic and political development of their country
The envoy also told Rwandans to tell the true story of Rwanda contrary to the reports that have been disseminated by “an alliance of Human Rights groups that work tireless trying to tarnish the image of Rwanda.”
In Kenya, officials at the High Commission used the platform to draw the attention of participants to Rwanda’s bid for a UN Security Council non-permanent seat later this year.
“The bid comes at a symbolic moment, as Rwanda also marks 50 years as a member of the United Nations and prepares to commemorate, in April 2014, the 20th anniversary of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi,” Yamina Karitanyi, the charge d’affairs at the Rwandan High Commission in Nairobi, said at the event.
She reminded the gathering that Rwanda is a leading contributor to UN peace keeping operations and has “successfully chaired the peace building commission and shared its post conflict recovery story with other countries emerging from conflict.”
Contact email: james.karuhanga[at]newtimes.co.rw