Rwandan President Paul Kagame has threatened to return to the bush if the rights and dignity of the Rwandan people continue to be disrespected.
“We are still the same people who went to the trenches and can still go back to protect our people.”
President Kagame said this while presiding over the national celebrations for the Silver Jubilee anniversary of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front party, a liberation movement that was formed in in Uganda in 1987.
President Kagame, a military general who fought in the liberation wars of Uganda and Rwanda and known for his scathing attacks on especially undue western influence on his country, added Rwandans were fully prepared to defend their gains.
“We will defend our unity and build on the solid foundations laid by the RPF to move forward,” he added in a brief speech delivered in Kinyarwanda but printed out in English for the 30,000 celebrants.
The celebrations which took place at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali were attended by high profile dignitaries who included President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the wife of the late Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
“Today is an important day in our history as we celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Rwandese Patriotic Front, and I am pleased to share it with you. I extend a special welcome to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, as well as friends and delegations from fraternal political organisations from across the world that are here with us to mark this historic occasion,” Kagame said to Museveni whose country was known to have strongly backed his rebel movement that took the reigns of power in Kigali in 1994.
Kagame, who grew up in Uganda, further lifted what is probably the last lid on his struggle’s connection with the Ugandan revolution, thanking in particular the Ugandan president for standing by Rwandans.
“Some individuals understood our problem and supported us. A person like President Museveni played a major role,” Kagame said in the official silver jubilee magazine ‘RPF Inkotanyi 1987-2012’ that was freely distributed out during his speech.
While acknowledging that the RPF has come this far because of the dedication and sacrifice of many of its leaders and cadres, the president paid particular tribute to the many patriots who laid down their lives so that today Rwandans can enjoy liberty and lead dignified lives.
“In particular I wish to single out the founding chairman of the RPF, Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema, Colonel Alexis Kanyarengwe, Major Peter Bayingana, Aloysia Inyumba and Rutabayiru Modeste. I also wish to acknowledge others still with us today whose dedication to their nation and to the ideals and goals of the RPF have contributed immensely to our ongoing struggle, ” he said listing those as being: Tito Rutaremara, Mugengana Bosco, Protais Musoni, Rugogwe Innocent, Michael Rugema, Bwitare Eulade, Joseph Karemera, Rumongi, Zeno Mutimura, Karenzi Theoneste, and Connie Akayezu.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and we owe our eternal gratitude to all those who have been an indispensable part of the RPF from the start.
Kagame went through a brief history of The formation of RPF revealing is precursors as Rwandese Alliance for National Unity (RANU) and the Rwandese Refugees Welfare Foundation (RRWF)
“But these were largely fragmented. In December1987, Rwandans living in this region and some from farther afield, imbued with a vision for a free, just and democratic country, convened a meeting to consolidate and breathe new life into these earlier efforts.”
He said In its very first congress, the Rwandese Patriotic Front was formed to correct the effects of several decades of misrule and restore respect for the sanctity of life as well as reinstate full citizenship to all Rwandans, including those exiled in neighbouring countries adding that The RPF was always driven by the desire to reunite a fractured country and build a nation in which all Rwandans could live in dignity and freedom.
He revealed that Under the leadership of the RPF, Rwandans have built a unified nation and, through citizen participation, have succeeded in laying a strong foundation for the country, so that it gains its rightful place.
“The RPF has, and will always, follow that ideological line which places country, institutions and systems above any individual or other interests. This ideology fosters open debate and continuous dialogue, embracing divergent ideas from all members and sections of the society towards consensus and a shared vision,” he said.
He added that at 25, the RPF is as old as a generation and that people born around the time it was formed are now adults who who must be prepared to take the country forward.
“This generation, the youth of RPF and Rwanda, must now be prepared to assume their responsibility and take our country to the next level. The foundation for true transformation has been laid and the opportunity to build on it must be seized.
The highlight of the event was when a delegation from the National Resistance Movement of Uganda was introduced twice as being a friendly political organization of the RPF but at same time being the real RPF-Uganda chapter.