"Inyumba was a leader in every sense of the word and anywhere you needed her. She was unique and selfless. Her work and her legacy remain alive within us." - President Kagame
"She was a true compatriot, a friend of the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless." - husband Richard Masozera.
"She was defined by her fight against injustice, for dignity for all Rwandans, for gender equality and for children to have a loving home. We have lost an exemplary leader, mother, and friend." - Protais Musoni, Minister for cabinet affairs
On Monday, the country bade farewell to the late Aloisea Inyumba, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion who passed away last Thursday at the age of 48. She had been suffering from throat cancer.
During the funeral ceremonies, all speakers lauded Inyumba for the special person she was: humble, hard-working, friendly and welcoming. "Inyumba gave us what will build the Rwanda we want: dignity," President Kagame said.
He also remembered how he got to know Inyumba during the liberation struggle, two years before RPF was founded.
Kagame also explained how selfless she was during the last months of her life, when she refused to rest in order to accomplish her task as the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion. "In February, Inyumba went on a state mission with the First Lady in the U.S. When they came back, Jeannette told me that she thought Inyumba was not in good health and she was worried because Inyumba was ignoring it. Jeannette had told her that but Inyumba wanted to do her job," Kagame testified, adding that he subsequently called Inyumba to discuss the issue, "I told her to rest for some time, but she didn't want to take a leave. She told me that she had issues of national interest to solve first."
Despite repeated requests from numerous persons, Inyumba refused to abandon her work, until, while on an official mission in Canada in June, the President ordered her to stay there and seek medical attention. "All that shows us how dedicated, hard working and patriotic Inyumba was. She worked tirelessly for others, for her country and often put herself last," Kagame observed.
The President emphasized the kind of a leader Inyumba was in all functions she has occupied - in the cabinet, senate, or National Unity and Reconciliation Commission. "Being a minister, senator, or occupying any other position, everyone can do that. These are titles that come and go. Inyumba was a true RPF cadre and a leader."
Kagame stressed that she was a leader who was ideologically clear, respected others, and had the ability to learn fast and teach others. "She lived a very unusual life and had the ability to unite those around her," he said.
Yet at the same time, he added, Inyumba had the humility and courage to admit when she was wrong and work to rectify her mistakes. "Most of us attribute our mistakes to others. That was not Inyumba. She owned up to hers, apologized and work to rectify them," Kagame said.
The head of state expressed regret the Inyumba would not be present at the RPF's silver jubilee. "As an RPF cadre, Inyumba was fearless, often at the battlefront though not as a soldier. She was never afraid of bullets, never afraid to be on the front line," Kagame said. "Working with her made all our work easier, she was approachable by all and could work with everyone. She would give up food; spend sleepless nights to ensure all the funds she had raised would be used for the RPF."
The President concluded that no mission was impossible to accomplish with Inyumba. "We say goodbye to her body, but her work and her legacy remain alive within us. What she stood for and her heritage is what Rwanda needs to surpass any challenge. Inyumba showed us that we must have a country defined by dignity, respect for ourselves, self reliance and know what we stand for. Today is a painful day but it should also be one that reminds us of the strength within us."
According to Inyumba's husband Richard Masozera, the late Minister's life was an enormous gift, not only for their family but also for the country. "She was a true compatriot, a friend of the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless."
Masozera talked about his wife as a modest and humble mother, who always put herself second. "In the six months of her illness, when we were not together, every morning I would send her an SMS to ask about her health, and she would always answer 'All is well.' No self-pity, yet she had no doubts of what was coming. She left us with dignity. She suffered but didn't complain. She will always be with us."
Aloisea Inyumba died at her home in Kigali last Thursday from throat cancer. She was 48 years old and is survived by a husband and two children. Inyumba is renowned to have fought tirelessly for the women and children's voices to be heard. "She was defined by her fight against injustice, for dignity for all Rwandans, for gender equality and for children to have a loving home. We have lost an exemplary leader, mother, and friend," said Protais Musoni, Minister for cabinet affairs.
The President and the First Lady pay their respects to the late Aloisea Inyumba. (photos Faroukh Kaweesi) President Kagame: "Inyumba gave us what will build the Rwanda we want: dignity." The President and the First Lady pay their respects to the late Aloisea Inyumba.
The late Minister received a state funeral. The First Lady is overcome by emotions during the funeral. Inyumba's husband Richard Masozera and their children pay their respects.
Military and police dignitaries salute the late Inyumba. The First Lady lays a wreath on the coffin. The Prime Minister and his wife lay a wreath on the coffin of Aloisea Inyumba.
"She worked tirelessly for others, for her country and often put herself last."