The New Times (Kigali)

16 November 2012

Rwanda: Country's Strength Is Its Unity - Kagame

PRESIDENT Paul Kagame has expressed support for political education among Rwandans to enhance unity which he described as the foundation for citizens to realise their dreams.

The President made the remarks as he pledged support towards the idea to establish a political education Institute. The idea was first mooted by Odette Nyiramirimo, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly. The institute is expected to further empower political leaders at all levels.

Kagame made the remarks at a consultative forum, organised by Unity Club and the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission at Parliament yesterday.

The President underscored the need for Rwandans to have shared values to protect, adding that if an institute can be established to emphasise those values it should be supported.

History has proved that countries with common values to safeguard tend overcome the complex challenges they face, Kagame noted.

He added that unity among Rwandans does not imply that they don't have divergent views and approaches towards matters that affect their lives, but unity helps in complementing each other rather than clash.

Unity Club, which was launched in 1996, is a non-profit organisation which brings together current and former senior government officials and their spouses. It targets empowerment of vulnerable Rwandans as well as promoting unity and reconciliation.

The day-long conference was marked with participation of members in thematic sessions on unity and reconciliation, the impact of genocide and the legacy of Gacaca courts. The meeting coincided with the conclusion of the National Unity and Reconciliation week.

Some speakers during the conference called for the compensation of genocide victims as recommended by the Gacaca courts. Former senator Augustin Iyamuremye cautioned that if Gacaca verdicts on compensation of genocide victims are not executed, it will undermine the efforts made by the traditional courts to unify Rwandans.

Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Club vice president argued that there is need for a 'two way traffic and continuous' awareness campaign in the dissemination of unity and reconciliation information packages.

During the event, Inyenyeri Association of Rubavu was rewarded for its exceptional performance in upholding values of unity after it reconciled victims of Genocide and families of the perpetrators.

Last year the Award went to Ubutwari bwo Kubaho, an association of widows of Genocide victims and wives of Genocide perpetrators while in 2010 the club awarded President Kagame for his role in unifying Rwandans.

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