Africans have been encouraged to the take the lead and responsibility of finding solutions affecting their countries. The call was made by President Paul Kagame on July 4 while addressing thousands of Rwandans and friends of Rwanda during the celebration of the 20th Liberation anniversary at Amahoro National stadium.
President Kagame noted that although Africans have achieved in the past, there is still a long ways to go to achieve sustainable development. "Rwandans today stand together as united people, liberated and focused than ever before towards attaining the future we want," he said.
The Head of the State noted that liberation required great sacrifices from those who joined the struggle - those who died during the battle, those who educated others to join the struggle right from the grassroots and those who contributed the their resources however small they were.
"Our liberation struggle as Rwandans is far from over but we are here to commit ourselves to the journey ahead" Kagame said.
He noted that the losses endured by every Rwandan family strengthen the country's resolve to safeguard the gains the country has so far made, adding that the country did not work to spare Rwanda's children from war so that they take peace for granted.
"Every Rwandan who contributed to the struggle to liberate the country will always be remembered, and the government is ready to always safeguard what has been owned and achieved by Rwandans", Kagame remarked. "As our struggle taught us, the people's trust is the true foundation of nation-building. I thank them for their patriotic service."
Africans to blame for Africa's problems:
President Kagame noted that although many African tend to seek validation elsewhere instead of looking for solutions to their problems by themselves, it's high time for every African to play a critical towards the development of the continent.
"The foundation of African liberation is within our minds. We tend to avoid responsibility and seek validation elsewhere instead of looking for solutions to our problem, and I therefore urge every African to change this mindset because it's us who pay the price," the Head of State said.
Kagame noted that there is nothing about the past can be an excuse for the failures on the continent saying that it's imperative for Africans to join their efforts towards finding solutions to the problems still prevailing which he said will make the continent a better place and that Africans have the required resources to overcome their problems.
Kagame warned against the pitfall of blaming the legacy of European colonization and past wrongs for today's failures. "Nothing about the past is an excuse for failure, even where real wrongs were done. The countless young Rwandans and Africans I have met lack nothing. They can deliver the future we want, if we hold each other accountable for it."
He noted that Rwandans still have a long way to go in achieving sustainable development but that Rwandans have been able to overcome many problems in the past which indicates that Rwandans have the capacity to overcome the challenges they are still facing.
The 20th Liberation celebration was attended by several heads of state who included President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Salva Kirr Mayardit of South Sudan and the First vice-President of Burundi Prosper Bazombanza.
Also in attendance was Mama Maria Nyerere, the widow of the late Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere.
Campaign Against Genocide Monument:
In Kigali, the celebrations began with the unveiling of the Campaign Against Genocide Monument at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura, where the 3rd battalion of the Rwanda Patriotic Army stayed for months just as the Juvenal Habyarimana regime prepared the Genocide.
These 600 soldiers would later play a key role in rescuing people around Kigali when the killings were set in motion on the night of April 6, 1994, moments after Habyarimana was assassinated by his own ruling MRND party to create the excuse for genocide.
It was this RPA battalion which went on to secure the Amahoro stadium - the venue for yesterday's national Liberation event -where refugees from around Kigali were hosted as then government soldiers and Interahamwe militia continued to move around the capital while killing their innocent civilians mainly Tutsis.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the current chairman of the East African Community, pledged his country and the EAC's continued support to the people of Rwanda as they continue to rebuild their nation which had been totally destroyed in terms of human capital and resources during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.
"Our delay and inaction in your hour of need are a standing reproach. We could have done more, sooner," he said in reference to the failure by the region and the international community to stop the Genocide, which would claim the lives of more than a million people in 100 days.
"We work together to strengthen regional security in the knowledge that peace is the fundamental demand of our citizens, in whose absence all our works turn to ash," Kenyatta said.
As part of a raft of integration deals, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda and Kenya this year signed two key pacts to strengthen mutual cooperation in the areas of defense and security as a way of protecting socio-economic gains made.
In a message of solidarity read out by Rwanda's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit extended well wishes from the people of the world's newest nation, where Rwanda maintains more than 1,600 peacekeepers.
Thousands of people who attended the event at the Amahoro stadium received such memorable performances and parade from the Rwanda Armed Forces.
The parade and performances which attracted able-bodied servicemen and women as well as war casualties in wheelchairs were made up of 10 groups from Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), 4 groups from the Rwanda National Police (RNP), 2 groups from Rwanda Correctional Services and 1 group made up of war causalities in wheelchairs.
The 20th Liberation event was celebrated under the theme: "Together we prosper,"