In a showcase of progress and resilience in terms of unity and reconciliation, Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana, Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement, highlights Rwanda’s achievements over the past decade. He highlights a commendable 12.4% increase in unity and reconciliation, with the rate rising from 82.3% in 2015 to an impressive 94.7% in 2020.
The minister who took center stage on the second day of the 19th National Dialogue Council, Umushyikirano, which took place at the Kigali Convention Centre attributed this positive progress to various government measures, including the removal of ethnic-based identity cards, strengthened national security, alternative dispute settlement programs, and decentralization of power to involve citizens in development.
Dr. Bizimana hailed the effectiveness of governance and the unwavering commitment of Rwandan citizens in fostering national unity.
Citing a 2023 research by the Rwanda Governance Board, Dr. Bizimana revealed that an overwhelming 99% of Rwandans now prioritize their identity as Rwandans, and 94.6% feel well-informed about their cultural values. An impressive 97.1% believe they live in peace with their neighbors, actively engaging in mutual support in their daily activities.
Challenges standing out
On the international front, Dr. Bizimana acknowledged the significant steps taken by global organizations, including the United Nations, in understanding and commemorating the genocide.
However, he pointed out the ongoing challenge that no African country has fully recognized April 4th as an international day to remember the genocide.
Despite the progress, Minister Bizimana highlighted the persistent issue of genocide ideology in neighboring countries, emphasizing the long road ahead in combating this challenge. He issued a call to the youth to be the key to maintaining unity and reconciliation, urging them to reject divisive influences and contribute to the continued development of the country.
“Fighting those who divide us and the good governance of our country, does not require history expert. It requires acknowledging how far Rwanda has come and refusing its destruction. Rwanda’s youth, the baton is handed to you, be at the forefront in building on the progress achieved”, Minister Bizimana declared.
In an impassioned address on the first day of this Umushyikirano, President Paul Kagame reflected on the past 30 years since the Genocide, emphasizing the nation’s resilience.
“Over the last 30 years, Rwandans have demonstrated that a country and its people can rise from the ashes of genocide”, he said.
His Excellence President Paul Kagame called for continuous efforts, declaring, “We need to do the right things to reach our shared vision for a brighter future.”
As Rwanda approaches the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Umushyikirano serves as a poignant reminder of the nation’s resilience, unity, and commitment to reconciliation.
Despite facing ongoing challenges, with insightful leadership, government initiatives, and a call to action for the youth, Rwanda stands poised for a future built on strength, unity, and progress.