It is now 25 years since the genocide that claimed over a million lives in Rwanda ended and the celebration to ark this big milestone are in high gear in the capital Kigali and across the country.
The major celebrations have been organized in Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali and all roads are heading there. The Liberation Anniversary is running under the theme, “Together, We Prosper”.
About seven foreign Heads of State across the continent and other high profile international diplomats are expected to attend the celebrations.
President Paul Kagame who was one of the key figures in the Liberation struggle will address the audience at the event and performances from several other groups including the army will follow thereafter.
This week has been marked off as a liberation week with two liberation concerts to take place in Kigali in the later hours while the movie “The 600”, that depicts the heroes of the struggle will be premiered on Friday.
The movie depicts the bravery and heroism of the 600 soldiers of the liberation army the RPA who provided cover for the RPF politicians during the negotiations for a unity government from the Arusha Accords.
The same group was then faced with rescuing people from the emerging genocide that was being organized after the peace deal had collapsed.
They are celebration points that have been organized across the country where citizens are expected to gather to reflect on the liberation struggle, the recovery and discuss views of how they can consolidate the achievements and handle how to handle the challenges.
Globally, the Liberation Day will be marked with events in different parts of the world especially in areas with a good number of Rwandans.
The Rwanda Liberation Day marks the day when the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) under the leadership of current president Paul Kagame successfully defeated the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide hence bringing it to and end on July 4 1994.
There were 100 days of gruesome bloodshed across the country before it was finally stopped by the RPF forces and the country every year marks these days between April and July with the Liberation Day marking the end.
The genocide that was perpetrated and backed by the then government under former President Juvenile Habyarimana claimed over a million people. The government used its militia group FAR and Interahamwe to mobilize and inspire the genocide against the Tutsi, the minority tribe who were massacred by the majority Hutu whose government was in power.
It is reported that some of the remnants of the Interahamwe who perpetrated the genocide against the Tutsi are still living in hideouts in the neighboring DR Congo and they are under various small militia groups including FDLR as the main one.
However, apart from those still at large, most of the perpetrators have been brought to justice and tried through Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda set by the United Nations. Others were also tried locally through the country’s semi-traditional justice system known as Gacaca.
Despite this dark history of Rwanda, the country has taken significant strides of development and today the country is ranked high among the fastest growing economies in Africa.
Rwanda has made tremendous progress in the areas of security, peace, unity, reconciliation and reconstruction in these 25 years thanks to the great effort from president Kagame who launched the “Never again”, campaign calling upon citizens never to allow genocide to happen in Rwanda again.
Tourism is one of the key sectors that Rwanda has really developed making it the highest foreign exchange earner for the country currently and in the previous few years.
The political stability in Rwanda has encouraged thousands of tourists to visit Rwanda for her thrilling wildlife safaris like gorilla trekking, game viewing, birding, mountain hiking, cultural and historical tours, among others.
Recently the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) signed a deal with English football club Arsenal to market Rwanda’s tourism potentials under the “Visit Rwanda” campaign. This and more explains how determined the country is to ensure they reach the very top in terms of development and put all the dark history of the genocide aside.
For more information about Rwanda or booking a safari to Rwanda click here.
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