President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Sunday led Rwandans in different corners of the country and across the world in marking the 25th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi.
In the morning, the President and First Lady together with attending Heads of State and Government as well as other guests laid wreaths at the Kigali Genocide Memorial to honour the more than one million victims of the Genocide.
Attending Heads of State and Government include; President Idriss Déby of Chad, Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium, Governor General Julie Payette of Canada, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, as well African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, and European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
In his Kwibuka25 address, President Kagame thanked Rwandans who joined hands in the last 25 years to recreate the country and give it new life.
He highlighted that Rwanda has become a family, once again.
“Our bodies and minds bear amputations and scars, but none of us is alone. Together, we have woven the tattered threads of our unity into a new tapestry. Sisters became mothers. Neighbours became uncles. Strangers became friends. Our culture naturally creates new bonds of solidarity, which both console and renew. Rwanda is a family. That is why we still exist, despite all we have gone through,” President Kagame said.
The Head of State also reiterated that in the last two decades, Rwandans have carried an immense weight with little or no complaint- a fact, the President said, that has made Rwandans better and more united than ever before.
“At a memorial event some years ago, a girl brought us to tears with a poem. She said, “There is a saying that God spends the day elsewhere, but returns to sleep in Rwanda.” “Where was God on those dark nights of genocide?”, she asked. Looking at Rwanda today, it is clear that God has come back home to stay,” President Kagame recounted.
He further thanked survivors for their resilience and bravery which represent the triumph of the Rwandan character in its purest form and warned those who might want to mess up with Rwanda.
“For those who think our country has not seen enough of a mess, and in defence of those children you saw, and others in this country, our nation — and by the way, we claim no special place, but we have a space to claim. Those who think we have not seen enough of a mess, and want to mess with us, whether from here or from outside, I want to say: We will mess up with them big time,” the President said.
He went on: “”No adversary should underestimate what a formidable force Rwandans have become as a result of our circumstances. Nothing has the power to turn Rwandans against each other, ever again.”
“In the end, the only conclusion to draw from Rwanda’s story is profound hope for our world. No community is beyond repair, and the dignity of a people is never fully extinguished. Twenty-five years later, here we are. All of us. Wounded and heartbroken, yes. But unvanquished,” President Kagame concluded.
In the evening, President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame together with Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium, Governor General Julie Payette of Canada, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, and other distinguished guests joined over two thousands youth for a Walk to Remember and Night Vigil to pay tribute to the innocent lives cut short in the Genocide.