Kigali, 30 June 2013

Good afternoon to you. Let me hope you did not have a long day and you are not tired. While I talk to you, I will also consider the time you spent here so that you can go home to rest.

First of all I want to thank you because you have dedicated your time to thinking and resolving a certain challenge that matters to our development and future. This is very good. That’s why I want to thank the organisers and participants.

Second, I would like to thank those who gave testimonies and the presenters who advised us on how best we can undertake our duties so as to take our country to another level of development.

Let me start with the youth who are here. I did not go through the routine protocol of observing dignitaries but decided to greet the youth straight away. This means that I went straight to the dignitaries of the future. I think our time is almost over…so we have to pass it on.

The youth are Rwanda’s future, its Agaciro [self-worth] in all ways, in terms of strength and leadership, and they are the value and foundation of what every country wants to achieve. This is what youth means.

But saying this is not enough; calling you youth in name only is not sufficient. There’s something more you have to have – self worth. Those who are raising you need to instill youth with Agaciro so that you can be that youth with that strength, that self worth….It is not enough to just say youth.

Let me use an example that is common to all Rwandans. You all know baskets (Agaseke). What do you think of when someone talks about a basket? A basket is a common thing but when you see it, the first thing you always want to see is what is inside. When the basket is empty then it has no value; there must be something inside the basket. Not just anything but things of value, that have Agaciro.

What are we putting in the hearts and minds of our young people so that they can be what we want them to be in the future? A youth that is malnourished, or people who don’t eat as they should suffer from malnutrition. You know malnutrition, right?

If you plant a seed (imbuto), and I also mean the Imbuto [Foundation] we started, when it has no access to sunshine, do you what happens? It also suffers from malnutrition. Instead of being green it turns out yellow, if it is yellowish then it’s a useless seed. If you don’t feed the youth well, they also become like that seed.

And the way it appears on the outside is the same way it is on the inside. When you are mentally hungry, the malnutrition is reflected in your actions. You look at someone who is malnourished and you realise that he’s also not mentally okay. It’s easy to see. This is easily reflected in our actions and what we say. When someone is driven by hatred, laziness, telling lies and greed, then you realise that he is mentally malnourished. You can understand that he was not well fed.

This is where I want to bring in the youth. Youth of our country, you who are listening to these discussions and working hard so that Rwanda never suffers again or goes through the tragic past we went through, the first thing you need to do is feed your mind. What have you put in it? When a child grows up without a proper education, without proper political orientation, you can’t predict what will come out of them. They may end up like what we’ve seen, what happened here in our past. But now we are talking about the country, we are talking about the youth, we are talking about you. We are talking about you because we see in you the life of our country in the future. We are not considering you individually as Freddy, John, James… you are Rwanda. When Freddy, John or James don’t understand that they are the country and everyone keeps working individually, it becomes a problem.

You are in school, you study, some go farther than others, but this is not enough. At the end you have to ask yourself, after all what will I do with this knowledge? It is not only something that you use to earn a living, just to get a salary. It is not for you and for your family. When you send your kids to good schools abroad, they get good qualifications and earn respect in their circles. In the end, I could ask you, what happened with all the knowledge that you have acquired? What did you do with it?

The reason why I am asking this is because among those who killed people in 1994, there were well educated people. They were not stupid at all. Some of them were doctors, but instead of taking care of their patients, they used to go to roadblocks and kill people. Is this the first time you hear about this? But please tell me, what kind of doctor goes to a roadblock to kill people? Yes, they studied medicine but I don’t see the application of what they studied at a roadblock. The same applies for a PhD in mathematics who goes to a roadblock. What kind of mathematics is at a roadblock?

That is why I focus on the youth. As I said before, to be called youth is not enough. The youth are the strength of the country, but this strength can be used in a potentially bad way or in a good way, both yielding positive or negative results. To avoid negative results, the youth needs culture and education; we need to feed our mind good things. This is not related to belonging to a church, an ethnic group or whatever else. It’s about being a human being. Even those ethnic groups you were talking about, Hutu, Tutsi and Twa… each group has people with good minds and others with bad minds.

There is no ethnic group that was created with bad minds only. There is someone who talked to us recently when I was outside about people’s relationship and used genetic information to explain…by the way it’s all a misunderstanding; even those who are different from us because of skin color, who think they are our superiors and want to be our guides…do you know that they are originally from Africa?

What happened is that they went far and continue to go around the world but they finally come back here, to their origins. Do you know their origin? It’s here, they belong here. When they come back here to give us lessons, in reality they are back to their roots, at least according to the science. And it’s recent I tell you… only ninety thousand years ago. It’s really recent. [laughter]

It took only that little time for skin color to change…So the person was explaining to us that all of us human beings are basically alike at 99.5%. The difference is only 0.5%. Get it well, the difference is less than 1%. Interestingly, and he made a very good point, he told us that though we are basically the same at 99.5% yet people are always interested in looking at what differentiates us, and the 0.5% of the difference dominates what happens in our daily life, instead of the 99.5% we have in common.

People keep focusing on what differentiates to the point that they end up inventing some differences. If I am related to a European, a Chinese and a Latin American though the color of our skin is different but they originated here, how come we, here, look for differences among us so much so that we are ready to be related to those far away rather than those who we live with? Is that science, is that what people study? What have educated people been studying that can’t even help us understand this? What are people learning? That’s the first thing.

About Rwanda and its particular problems, and there are many, there is a way to look for solutions. To start, let me ask you to close your eyes and take deep breaths…I know there are people who do this, do it often and I’m not yet familiar with that, but take time to do it and after, before you open your eyes again, ask yourself, ‘ who am I, where am I and with who am I?’

After that, stretch your arms out, feel the person who is on your left or right or behind you, while the person next to you is doing the same thing. In case there is no one around you: right, left, in front of you and behind you, you feel you’re completely lost, right?

You need someone just as much as he/she needs you; otherwise, you are nothing; we are interdependent. You are only valuable because of the other person and vice versa. We need to accept it. First, know who you are and accept it and then accept what you are not. The same happens with the next person. As a nation, if others have problems, you will be affected and if you face a problem, it will impact others.

There is always a starting point… I first asked who am I, and then the next step is, who are we? You didn’t choose that; we are Rwandans with our particularities as Rwandans. Being a Rwandan has both value and price- we should give it its value and inculcate this in our children so that they grow up with that feeling of being valued, having Agaciro. I’m raising this because it also goes with something else. We as Rwandans being here in Rwanda, as do other people in their countries, should be the ones to determine our destiny.

There is no reason why others should have the right to turn me into what they want. I don’t know if you understand… Nobody else will make a Rwandan into a Rwandan, it’s up to a Rwandan to do that for himself, by himself. Same way a Rwandan will not make something else out of others, it’s not even possible. As it is none of my business what others are, it shouldn’t be anyone’s business what Rwandans are, it shouldn’t concern them.

I always try to know the cause of each and everything so I start by asking why. Why? Why is this person and not me? That one wants to come and change me, what right does anyone have?. Where is that coming from, where does he get that power from? Does he have more rights than I on what I should be? When he decides to do so, I will be living a double life; his and mine. No! I want to live my own life.

Rwanda as a country has ways been operating. Nobody else can do that for Rwanda. I’m not sure if you understand that. This is when you realise that people tell you what you have to do and what you cannot do, and I wonder why Rwandans agree to be treated like this? How do they feel?

I’m talking about Rwanda as a person. Is that how it should be? Or should an individual be this way? A person who knows his worth knows how to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong.

When it comes to Rwanda’s history, it is important to have a youth that says the genocide will never happen again, taking lessons from what you have seen and heard. It is a brave thing that you have done. You should continue on that path as it is the way to truly build a brighter future even though it is not easy and I will show you this.

And if you look for the easy way you might never be able to rebuild the country. If anyone tells you that there is an easy way to development he will be lying; I will not lie to you. This will not be easy and it is not easy for leaders either.

I heard the discussions earlier. Leaders talked about the shameful side of their past, of being associated to the dark side of our history. It takes courage to say what they said. It’s a good start. But I also want to tell you that once you have been courageous, you should go all the way. Don’t do it half way. Say it to relieve your conscience. Do not do things half way. Put it all out. The most courageous ones repent genuinely and help others do so as well. This includes taking responsibility for the sins of others because you have seen the consequences of those sins.

Someone told me, the reason the genocide in Rwanda is so hard…you see the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis was not like what happened in Rwanda. Citizens were not involved to the extent we see in Rwanda. I was told that Hitler had elite killers – the SS – but not all Germans were involved in killing Jews. In Rwanda, it seems that it went all the way down to ordinary citizens. It was anchored in families. There was some sort of movement. Neighbours killed neighbours, although a few hid Tutsis.

The reason why leaders would do such a thing was because they had thought it through. They thought, let’s include everybody. If we include everybody it will be hard to be held accountable, to suffer any consequences. They thought all the people cannot be punished. Some even thought that God could not judge all the people. Will He punish all?

This is how it happened here in Rwanda. It is therefore very difficult, very difficult. That’s why correcting it requires going the same hard process. It is the same inclusive movement that goes into rectifying the wrong of the past. But all that is based on being daring, being brave. It can start with one person or two people. It starts with a few people who dare then others follow and admit, ‘we did evil’. People should understand this. People were betrayed.

The stories you told here are seldom heard. If you hear what people say, when people tell you how they were treated by people who were their friends and neighbors, with whom they had intermarried…And they just [cut their throat]. When they sought refuge from some, those “friends” kept their distance. They were told, ‘go and die there’ or they called people to show them where they were hiding, saying, ‘those people are here.’

They tell you this every day. There are many people, there are many stories that show how our Rwanda became really evil. It is possible to change it through you, through what you are doing, but it is not easy. We have to do it and it looks like it is the right path to take.

But it takes courage. So, take the initiative as you are young and you are not carrying the burdens that people talk about every day. We, your elders or parents, look to you. There are some things that it seems we couldn’t do but you youth can do. But I want it to go beyond words to action. I want to be able to say it with assurance and conviction that it will be so. Right? But the responsibility that we have, that some Rwandans have more than others which becomes attributable to all Rwandans is too much.

Every day when I hear some stories I say to myself, wait a second I didn’t know this. Then something else comes in. I think there are even some things people fear to say or to share with others.

Recently there are things I learnt about my family. Then I asked why you didn’t tell me this before. I asked someone from my family why didn’t you tell me? We are six children in my family. I am the last born, the second born as I learnt recently was living in Rwanda in 1972 or 1973 where she attended a Belgian school in Huye, Butare. They used to have some time every week to parade her, to exhibit her and they would ask the school who the Tutsi were and who the Hutu were. Even those who were white would choose what side they were on.

So they took my sister and they would make her stand up in front of the class and they would ask if they knew how a Tutsi looks like. They would all come and line up and check her nose as the rumor was that the Tutsi nose had no bone inside. Then my sister would stand and they would touch her nose, and they would do that over and over again. They would come the next day and would ask if anyone has touched a Tutsi nose, and the next day, and the next day. They would parade her. Everyone would have their turn, some returning several times. That was happening in the country, here. They hid it from me. I learnt it recently but they helped me…

During the struggle, like what James was talking about, we would occasionally come across a mass grave of thousands, one thousand, 500, 3000…we would find people not completely dead that would come to life when we removed them from the grave.

It reached an extent when I could not take it anymore and told them to stop showing or telling me about things like this because the work ahead required I not continue to see such things. Because seeing them could influence the way you work. I told them that I no longer want to see that, hide it from me; don’t tell me about it. We would eventually rescue children and women and there are those who are still alive today. One of them, we found him around 2004 when we went to Murambi for commemoration. One man stood up and said that we had taken him from a mass grave when he was seven years old. And I asked him how he was, not in everyday life but in his head after he told us his family was massacred and how they tried to have him killed too.

He went on to say “but you let those guys go.” In other words, he was telling me that given the people I set free, I was responsible. I told him I accept the fault, I asked him for forgiveness but I also told him that what I did was about doing the impossible. I continued to ask him about how he lived and he answered me, “we live because you tell us to live. Every day you tell us to live, and so we live.” If this young man can choose to live, if he can choose to move past death, because that’s what it is, and even live with the people who killed his family…he told me, “we have accepted to live with them.” If it is possible to forgive those who killed you…who can fear standing up in this Rwanda to ask for forgiveness for what was done.

If we told young men who had guns not to take revenge and they agreed. If they had not agreed, today we would be telling another story. There are those who would kill in revenge and then take their own lives after because they were aware of the consequences of taking matters into their own hands. There were others who would do it, and we would catch them and put them in prison. Those are like 1%.

Do you all understand how serious our history is? Let’s not take it light heartedly. Let outsiders take it for granted but we can never take it for granted. They are mocking you.

These are very heavy burdens – telling young people not to kill, even punishing them when they do, and they getting to a point of accepting it. Why don’t others follow the example we have seen here and ask for forgiveness? What can be more difficult than survivors not taking revenge?

The only problem is that people politicise everything, and for this case, this matter was politicised too. People say I can’t ask forgiveness for people who killed in my name. If I say something, how will it reflect on my political career, they ask. People should not play politics at the expense of the country and history. It is also done in the name of political space. Let me tell you, there is no country that has greater political space than Rwanda. Rwanda is the only country that accommodates and tolerates those who murdered one million people. This tolerance can never be seen anywhere else in the world. What political space is bigger than one that accommodates genocidaires?

Speaking of human rights, democracy and freedom, the standards they apply only to African countries should not be applied. The methods and standards they use cannot apply here in Rwanda. We have passed the highest level. What political space is bigger than genocidaires having a place in Rwanda?

Then they say, we are going to measure political space. The other day I was speaking to the ministers and I told them I was hearing people say that political parties weren’t being allowed to be registered and I asked them why they won’t let all those political parties I read about in papers register. You give them more credit than they actually have. Why don’t you let these fellows run around and do as they want? But the minute they try to harm anyone, they won’t know what hit them.

Yes, if you want the freedom of running around doing nothing, that’s your business, you can run around and do nothing. It’s true, claim anything you want, in fact I really don’t understand why they don’t allow them to register their parties. They end up saying: “We haven’t been allowed to register” if it’s being registered or registering themselves I don’t know.

By the way, how many political parties are registered in Rwanda? 10? Well, 10 are not enough by their standards. But you can have 10 or 20, my question is, what do we do for Rwanda? What do we do for this horribly tragic past? But if you think you can just come and harm people…

You know? You, young people who are present here, I hope you keep both your feet on the ground, embrace being Rwandan – be Rwandan- embrace being who you really are. Yes, with confidence, with responsibility, understand that it’s you. But if there is ever anyone who comes and says: “You should not be here, we are going to take away your life”. Please, that is not freedom, you shouldn’t even… And what you have been saying about anger, about what makes us angry… Is there anything that could make you angrier? There needs to be somewhere where you draw the line. There is a point where you can’t go past. What it means is, in other matters, do what you want, but there is a line you aren’t allowed to cross.

No longer is anyone allowed to strip others of their rights, to harm others because they look different. It’s like those you hear who claim that we should negotiate with interahamwe and FDLR. Negotiate with them! I won’t even discuss it, because I will just wait for you at the right place and I will hit you… I really didn’t even respond to those claims. No, I didn’t even try. But that’s just common sense; everybody knows that there is a line you can’t cross, not ever.

Even those Interahamwe and their partners, they must have been excited someone spoke for them. They must have thought that now their crimes have become political tools… They will never know what has hit them. It’s impossible, there is a line you can’t cross, and it’s non-negotiable. You young people should know that so that you don’t get fooled by anyone claiming otherwise. Don’t let anyone lie to you. It’s simply not possible. Not by politics, not by land, not by sea, not by air. It will not happen.

Young people, please don’t let yourselves be misguided. Listen to your elders so that you can become respectable men and women, good citizens. That’s what we expect of you, good Rwandans. You have in you the same potential and capacity as anyone else. You are full of life, you have the skills, the brains and you can work hard. You can do whatever you want for your country so that it can develop and progress like other countries. You have it in you, don’t waste it; don’t waste yourself. When you waste all of your potential, you are depriving your country of something very valuable.

We need you and you have to know that Rwanda is your motherland and Rwanda has suffered. It’s like that name: Bamporiki [why are they after me]? Yes, you have to ask why they are constantly after you. When you have people who want to blame you for nothing, you have to stand for yourself, build yourself so that no one can hurt you. You can’t allow them to. Edouard, that name of yours has a meaning; you have to stand by it. Refuse to be blamed for no reason. Yes. Why should you be blamed for things that are not true? And that applies to all of us as well, why should we be blamed for nothing? You have to do the right thing so that when the time comes you are found irreproachable. Don’t give them the pleasure. Let us continue to be who we are.

I want to thank you all once again, and remind you that we expect a lot from you; don’t let our faith in you go to waste. We will get everything else from cooperating and working together. I urge everyone to be bolder; don’t be afraid to distance yourself from evil. Please keep your distance from evil.

Why should someone kill in your name and you keep quiet? Why? Even if you did not kill I would have an issue with you for using my name. Yes, I would not let you. For the people who are ashamed because of what other people might say, even if you did not kill, ask forgiveness for those who killed in your name and acknowledge that it should never happen again.

Even when I go abroad among other people who are not Rwandan I apologise for Rwandans and tell them we have committed atrocities, I include myself because I am Rwandan. We let things happen in Rwanda, things which shouldn’t have happened, even we who fought it, at some point we take it upon ourselves. It is in our responsibilities to change that image. Rwandans, do you think that when they talk about Rwandan genocide perpetrators, people in Japan or South America know the difference? Do you think they can tell that James or Kagame did not kill? They don’t, and they just say Rwandans are killers!

We are not killers. Those of us who did not kill cannot agree with that. Even if you say you killed on my behalf and say you fought in Kagame’s interest and that’s why I killed, no I disagree with that. You can’t commit crimes on my behalf and expect me to let you get away with that. No, it is absurd. People need to stop being afraid and say no, this will never happen again. Those who killed need to say we committed terrible crimes, forgive us. Those for whom crimes were committed on their behalf, those who killed in people’s name need to say forgive us, we will never let that happen again. I don’t understand why evil can win over good.

How can evil win over good? You tell me what shame one would have to say I am standing against evil openly though it was perpetrated in my name; as I do not want it.  When you fear, when you don’t reflect this in your actions and intentions, the perpetrators benefit from it. There is no reason for that to happen. Young people, what we are talking about is not easy, but it is necessary. If it was not tough, it would not probably solve the issues we are facing. It is as tough as the important benefits it will provide. I wish you the best. Does anybody have anything to say?

Man from Cyangugu: I think there is no problem in me being Hutu. I tried to find out why Tutsis were being killed. I was told they killed Habyarimana and that they [Tutsis] wanted to kill all Hutus, therefore Hutus had to defend themselves. So I thought Tutsis were going to die for a reason.

The point is our ethnic group did terrible things. We killed people. I was 18 years old so I talk about things I have seen not what I was told. One could kill someone because you are fighting but I can’t understand killing mentally ill people from the streets or homeless people and infants. That is why as a person with this background I feel like I have to ask for forgiveness.

Killing your own children? We are from Cyangugu and the RPA never came so residents could not justify killing Tutsis because they were attacked by the RPA. It was sad to see people killing the mentally ill or infants, it is sad and we do not agree nor support it. Children are now orphans and women were raped. I sincerely apologise for what my people have done and ask for forgiveness. I’m willing to do whatever it takes and I’m giving my all in the church. Do you know that we used to pray in churches with only Hutus? We had doctors for Hutus, markets for Hutus only. Now as Hutus what should we say? Should we keep quiet about it, should we say we had nothing to do with it?

How could one say he played no role in this when his taxes were used to buy machetes? Honestly, and from the bottom of my heart, I ask anyone who was affected by what my ethnic group did to forgive us. I know that there are people like me who feel like I do but never get the chance to say it. Please forgive us.

In 1990, I asked if the RPA would go to heaven. I really thought they could not go to heaven because they were attacking the country. We were kids, we did not know what was going on but in 1991 after the RPA had attacked, that’s when multipartism started, then there was more space for expression and we had the opportunity to go to school. We could not go to school before. RPA attacks brought opportunities.

I know there are people who do not agree and never will, people who died in massacres might never be acknowledged, because their killers might never ask for forgiveness or are already dead but please understand that we condemn those acts and ask for forgiveness. Thank you.

President Kagame: Thanks a lot. What do you do?

Man from Cyangugu: I teach unity and reconciliation. It is the only work I believe in, there is nothing else I would rather do.

PK: Thank you. There is a girl over there.

Girl: Rwanda, our beautiful and incomparable home, you are the symbol of your beautiful people and a role model to all Africans. With my feet on the ground, I’m ready to give everything that will take you even higher because I have one who inspires me, the one who leads by example. We will always walk in his footsteps, taking our country to another level of development.

PK: Thank you very much. If there is nobody else, …Ok, you, please go ahead…please let us not go on with poems because it’s difficult to give sufficient time …but thank you so much, we got your message….Ok someone else…

Christine Kanyangye: Thank you so much your Excellency, my name is Cristine Kanyangye. I come from Kabaya Sector, Kabaya cell, Ngororero District where [Antoine] Mugesera, who made the infamous statement about sending Tutsi through the Nyabarongo River as a shortcut to Abyssinia, originates from. I am standing here today to say I am so happy to be here today to participate in this dialogue and discuss the future of our country.

PK: Thank you so much… ah, Rucagu, I think you are encroaching on the time of the young people….but you can probably proceed because I can see you look young these days…(applause and laughter)

Boniface Rucagu : Your Excellency, people tell me these days that I look young…(Laughter)….I will be brief because I know I will get another opportunity to say much…Your Excellency, I am one of those who were part of the leadership that committed genocide. I want to ask for forgiveness to all Rwandans and I pledge that I will help other leaders who were part of that leadership to also take a step towards opening up…I thank you very much.

PK: Thank you so much…someone else?

Jean Damascene Dusingizimana: Your Excellency, my name is Jean Damascene Dusingizimana and I am from Nyamagabe District, Mbazi sector. We have been here since morning discussing various issues concerning our future. But I was touched by two things. The Priest gave us an example of how we cannot be in peace when we still have not forgiven others. Also, the Minister of Defence talked about how people fail to know who and what exactly people should be angry at. I was 6 years old during the genocide, I recall that when genocide took place my father had already fled…and we also fled to my aunt’s place…I do not know when exactly my father died because we had gone to my mother’s relatives. During Gacaca, I used to go there after school but some issues did not become clear…but then I am ready to ask for forgiveness to a family that I have feared to talk to. I request our Mayor who is the coordinator of the youth to help me meet with them and ask for forgiveness so that I get that burden off my shoulders and be at peace.

PK: Thank you, the Mayor should indeed help on this issue. If it’s to him to ask for forgiveness…but since he has accepted to ask for forgiveness. Anyone else, in a few words…

Jean Colombe Ayabahizi: Thank you Your Excellency, my name is Jean Colombe Ayabahizi…I have been here since morning…I would like to say I am very grateful to you because all my hopes are now in the good leadership of this country. I come from parents who have different ethnic backgrounds…my mother was killed during the genocide while my father is serving for crimes of genocide…but in spite of all this, I have hope. I have been able to study. I am now doing my Masters degree and I am sure that my life is bright and I thank the good leadership of this country and sir, you are a good leader.

PK: Thank you. [To protocol] Pick someone from this side …and stay there in case someone else wants to say something…

Mujawamariya: Thank you your Excellency, my name is Mujawamariya from Huye District. I am so grateful to RDF forces for whom you are the Commander-in-Chief. I fled to the Congo in 1994 and although I was a young kid, I remember the soldier who took my hand and showed me the way back to my country. I came back home loving my county, I studied all the way to university and given what the armed forces had done for me, I wanted to become a soldier.

PK: You have every right…

Mujawamariya: In 2012, after completing my studies I unsuccessfully tried to join the RDF cadet course, then I tried the Police cadet course but that didn’t work either… (Laughter)

PK: What is the issue? We will find a way for this problem to be resolved…. (Loud applause)

Claver Kubwimana: Your Excellency, my name is Claver Kubwimana and I stand here to thank you. You have taught us a lot and we are here to thank you. I would like also to thank the army that rescued us in Nyanza during the genocide. I am like that young boy you found in the mass grave, that example you gave us. I am a grown up now, I have graduated and I am now married with kids. Your courage and determination is an inspiration to all of us. We will never let you down. Thank you.

PK: Thank you very much.

Sarah Akayesu: Your Excellency, my name is Sarah Akayesu and I would like to talk about two things. First of all, good governance is all about serving the interest of the grassroots population. I think that we should teach our younger brothers and sisters what happened in this country.

PK: You are right, we should do that…

Sarah Akayesu: My last point, is to tell my fellow young Rwandans that there is hope. For our brothers and sisters living outside Rwanda, for example I have a friend who lives in India, at times they have difficulties in connecting with Rwanda. For example, when they have some events where they have to sing the national anthem, they use a CD instead because they cannot sing the anthem. We should help them. To conclude, if someone takes water and puts it in a bottle and puts the closed bottle in the ground, when they reopen the bottle, the water is still clean. As a country, we have faced serious challenges but we are recovering and the future is bright.

PK: The problem is that for Rwanda, even the water in the bottle has been soiled…

Irené Mizero: Your Excellency, my name is Irené Mizero. I cannot leave without also thanking you. Both my parents are in prison for genocide. Nonetheless, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to school like everyone else. I have graduated from SFB and now have a job. Even though my parents did what they did, I have chosen the right path. On behalf of my parents, I am asking for forgiveness for what they did. I am asking for forgiveness for all the atrocities committed in during the 1994 genocide. Thank you.

PK: Thank you very much.

Timothée Hakuzimana: Your Excellency, my name is Timothée Hakuzimana. I am here representing all the youth at Iwawa Vocational Centre. I would like to thank you for all your caring support. We were malnourished before we got to Iwawa, the Girinka Program helped us a lot by providing milk to all of us. We now have strength to build the country. We thank you very much.
PK: Thank you very much.

Thadée Hadimana: Mr. President, my name is Thadée Hadimana, I am the youth coordinator in my District of Nyaruguru. I just wanted to let you know that as soon as the team led by Edouard Bamporiki visited us, youth with parents in prison for genocide started to build a house for a widow of the genocide. We will continue doing those kinds of community works. Thank you Mr. President.

PK: Thank you very much.
Athanase Munyakazi: Your Excellency, my name is Athanase Munyakazi from Karongi District. I have been talking to my fellow young men and women in Karongi and they all want you to come and visit us. They said that it has been a while since you visited us…
PK: Don’t worry about that, it is going to happen very soon…

Athanase Munyakazi: The last thing is that the youth are working very closely with Karongi District in the path of rebuilding our communities. We will continue to always strive in that direction.

PK: Thank you very much. Let us end here. I would like to thank all the participants and all the organisers for these great discussions. Thank you everyone.