Kapchorwa, 26 January 2012

President Kagame was today recognised for his achievements in leadership and contribution to the Ugandan liberation struggle at the NRM Victory Day celebrations held in Kapchorwa in Eastern Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni bestowed on President Kagame the Order of the Pearl of Africa; the Kagera Medal and the Luwero Triangle Medal.

The citation read by General Elly Tumwine described President Kagame as distinguished Statesman, Freedom Fighter and dedicated Son of Africa who has dedicated his life to the liberation of oppressed people everywhere, and outlined his achievements as a liberator, military commander, political leader and statesman.

In his acceptance speech, President Kagame dedicated the medals to all Rwandans and Ugandans who dedicated their lives to fighting for freedom and paid tribute to Uganda for valuing the contribution of Rwandans in the fight for freedom:

“We were availed the opportunity to participate in the liberation of Uganda, and what we gave can never equal what we gained from this country.”

President Kagame pointed out that the recognition were testimony to the enduring links, forged by a shared history and common struggle, between Rwandans and Ugandans, as well as other Africans on the continent and said it illustrated what could be achieved when people stand together in solidarity.

“Rwandans and Ugandans may live in two countries, but, in fact, their lives have always been closely intertwined.  And these strong ties are demonstrated by how the people of Uganda, led by you, Mr President, stood by us when the time came for our own struggle.”

President Kagame said that the successful liberation struggles were proof that more could be achieved in the current struggle for socio-economic transformation

“We have it within our means to establish peace, and democratic and good governance for much better lives of our people. If we were ever to fail, we would only have ourselves to blame, for these public goods will never come from outside.”

President Kagame noted President Museveni’s advocacy for regional integration, larger markets, greater intra-African trade and adding value to Africa’s natural resources and noted that solidarity was an important factor in achieving common goals.

“We share this commitment to a process that will give us a bigger and more relevant voice in global affairs. We also share the vision of our continent that should use its enormous assets to improve the living standards of our people.”

President Kagame hoped that significance of medals awarded at the ceremony would inspire young Africans to participate in lifting their communities;

“Let the medals that have been awarded, badges of courage and honour that they are, spur a new generation to work together even more for the wellbeing and dignity that our people deserve.”

President Kagame and Mrs Kagame continue a three-day State Visit to Uganda and will tomorrow visit a pharmaceutical manufacturing site, meet with the Rwandan community in Uganda and participate in departure ceremonies at State House which will mark the end of the visit.