Kigali, 7 April 2012

President Kagame today commended the resilience of genocide survivors and said that Rwanda has made good progress because of the courage and the strength of its people:

“Today we are stronger, with greater ability and capacity than ever before. We have achieved stability; Rwandans feel good about their lives; their participation in the social and economic transformation of our country gives us hope that we can seize the many opportunities to rebuild our country even further.”

President Kagame paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the genocide and said that they will always be remembered and that even those who did not experience it may learn of the genocide and its causes, in order not for it never to happen again. He also thanked friends of Rwanda who had stood by the country for the last eighteen years and supported not only development programmes, but also helped make the genocide understood contributed to the fight against genocide denial.

President Kagame pointed out that while Rwanda mourned genocide perpetrators we living freely in capitals of some Western countries with little effort towards arresting them.  He contrasted this with the great efforts invested in mobilising countries of the world in chasing after those who carry out terrorism in those countries and urged Africans to reject the injustice and double standards displayed by this attitude.

“It would appear that Rwandan lives or similarly lives of Africans are less valued than the lives of their citizens. Worse still, those who committed genocide in this country and those who wish to deny us peace and security are said to be exercising their political freedoms. We understand better these freedoms being talked about, and the value of life than those who utter this nonsense. Those who back them accuse us of all manner of things: lack of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression – even when what we do is in the best interests of all our people.”

President Kagame noted that Rwandans had learned from their past were building unity and reconciliation using home-grown solutions and drew optimism from the youth who have grown up in a dignified country where every child has equal rights and opportunities.

President Kagame also stressed the importance of owning one’s history and condemned attempts to deny Rwanda the right to be the primary custodians of what has come out of its past;

“We should be the primary custodians of all these things because they are the core part of our history and are of great value to us. There is no sound reason why all records regarding the genocide should be in our custody in our country, here in Rwanda. There is no sound reason whatsoever.”

President Kagame thanked Rwandans for participating in Gacaca which is winding down this year, saying that they had understood the value and role of the community courts;

“What these courts achieved went beyond anyone’s expectations. They administered justice and united Rwandans at the same time. These courts were evidence of our ability to find solutions to challenges that seemed insurmountable.”

President Kagame warned that Rwanda was prepared to fight any attempt to take the country back to the tragedy of the past;

“Those who still harbour negative or genocidal ideologies, will not be allowed to take us back into our tragic history. They will no, they cannot, and have already failed. There is not a chance in many millions for them to succeed. We stand ever more than ready to be tested on this. We are more than ready – it doesn’t matter who they are and who backs them. It will not happen, not a chance in millions.”