The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: RPF Changed Rwanda's Story, Says Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that the ideological disorientation that almost destroyed Rwanda is what still affects some African countries like Somalia and DRC and "has made it impossible to form functioning states in those countries."

President Museveni said this on Wednesday evening, during the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) 25th Anniversary Dinner, celebrated yesterday, at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.

Museveni recalled how Rwandan politicians prior to the Genocide claimed that the country was full to capacity and could not accommodate any more Rwandans, a situation that left Rwandan refugees in a state of statelessness.

"I remember talking with former President Habyarimana, who urged that the country was full and that Rwandans out of the country should look for other countries to host them. This ideology was changed by the RPF, which turned a hopeless situation into hope," Museveni said.

This situation of unfairness and inequality, as observed by Museveni, was changed by the RPF-Inkotanyi, which liberated the country in 1994 and returned hope to all Rwandans.

The Ugandan leader was in the country along with other dignitaries, including the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to celebrate RPF Silver Jubilee.

It is the RPF's military wing, the Rwanda Patriotic Army that eventually overthrew the genocidal regime that had orchestrated the murder of over one million innocent Rwandans.

Meanwhile, President Museveni said that although the West perceives Africans as very different, African people are the same because there are many unifying factors, calling for solidarity for the continent's development.

"I am a Munyankore but I can hear Kinyarwanda without needing translation. If you can hear another person's language without translation, that means you are connected," Museveni said.

"Even the small differences we have should not divide us but rather make us depend on each other economically."

Museveni and Kagame worked together during and after Uganda's liberation struggle that ended in 1986, and the former was in 2009 decorated for having supported RPF's liberation struggle while the latter was earlier this year decorated for his role in the liberation of Uganda.

In his speech, President Kagame recognised Museveni's role in the struggle to liberate Rwanda, saying that after the liberation victory, Rwandans have their eyes set on prosperity.

"We owe it to our people to create socio-economic development and cannot afford to fail," Kagame said.

President Kagame said the experience gained by the RPF members during Uganda's liberation struggle was instrumental in the success of the RPF's own liberation campaign.

He praised President Museveni for his friendship and support and told him; 'you should be a very senior Honorary Member of the RPF."

The RPF was formed, by mainly Rwandan refugees, in December 1987, in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

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