Kagame praises army as Rwanda marks Liberation Day

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Rwanda's Paul Kagame

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame inspects a guard of honour during a function to mark Liberation Day at Amahoro Stadium, Kigali, on July 4, 2019. He said that if necessary, he would fight again to protect Rwanda. PHOTO | URUGWIRO 

IVAN R. MUGISHA

By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame Thursday praised the military for helping to liberate the country by stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Speaking during a function to remember the end of the mass killing President Kagame said that he was ready fight to protect the country and the progress it has made over the past 25 years.

“For the last 25 years, we have done our best to govern according to the liberation ideals that we fought for. The conduct of our forces is one example. This fight was necessary and indeed unavoidable. If there will ever be a necessity for more fighting, we will be there,” said President Kagame.

The event, which also marks the day which Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) came to power, was held at the Amahoro National Stadium in the capital Kigali.

President Kagame’s government prides itself in stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, ensuring peace and security, and improving the country’s economy.

He said that for the three months of the genocide, Rwanda’s “survival was in doubt”.

“By July 4th [1994], our forces had brought the killing to an end. Twenty-five seasons of mourning have passed since then. It is important to note that the campaign against genocide was not a military operation, in the conventional sense. It was a rescue mission,” he said.

“There was a battalion of our soldiers stationed at Parliament Building. They came under very heavy attack, completely cut off from the rest of our forces. Yet those troops managed to secure this very stadium where we are and the thousands of people sheltering here.”

Liberation Day is marked in Rwanda every July 4 to remember the end of the 100-day genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed more than one million lives and forced many more people to flee the country.

Several African heads of state attended the celebrations. They were Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Hage Gottfried Geingob of Namibia, Faustin-Archange Touadéra of the Central African Republic and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia. Others were Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana; Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, and Faure Gnassingbé of Togo.

East African heads of state sent high-ranking government officials, with Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa representing President John Magufuli, Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa and his East African Affairs counterpart Kirunda Kivejinja representing President Yoweri Museveni, and Kenya’s Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa representing President Uhuru Kenyatta.





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