During the event, participants emphasized the importance of breaking away from influences seeking to revive the dark history Rwanda endured, particularly the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The discussions centered on reflecting on the efforts invested in rebuilding the Rwandan community that suffered devastation during the genocide.
The event was graced by notable figures, including André Bucyana, chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Rwanda in Belgium, Gilbert Dushimimana, President of the Rwandan Diaspora - DRB - Rugali, Reginald Kayitana, and Dr. Eric Ndushabandi, a lecturer at the University of Rwanda.
Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Bucyana expressed gratitude to those who engaged in the talks, urging active participation in dismantling obstacles hindering the unity of Rwandans abroad. He emphasized the need for collaborative efforts to identify and implement solutions.
In his address, Bucyana highlighted the historical context, stating that unity among Rwandans was disrupted by colonial influences using the "divide and rule" strategy. Post-independence, the country faced challenges of division, exile, and the devastating Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
He acknowledged the significant progress made in rebuilding unity, citing achievements such as the Government of the Unity of Rwandans, refugee repatriation, army integration, dialogues, security measures, good governance, and economic development.
Bucyana outlined the fundamental principles of good governance, as outlined in the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, emphasizing the importance of preventing genocide crimes, eradicating ethnic discrimination, and prioritizing the unity of Rwandans through power-sharing without compromise.
The discussions highlighted October as the designated month for Unity and Resilience, initiated by the RPF Inkotanyi party in 1990. This month signifies the commencement of efforts to rebuild Rwandan unity, culminating in the halting of the Genocide against the Tutsi on July 4, 1994.
Dr. Eric Ndushabandi, an expert in governance and politics, emphasized obstacles to unity, including a lack of knowledge about Rwanda’s true history and insufficient information about the country. He pointed out that some Rwandans living abroad still identify with ethnic divisions and ideologies that fueled the Genocide against the Tutsi.
He elucidated the distinctiveness of the nation in devising solutions for the formidable challenges that confronted Rwanda post the Genocide against the Tutsis in 1994. He emphasized that this resilience showcased the determination of Rwandans to tackle complex issues through unity.
Dr. Eric Ndushabandi also highlighted various initiatives, such as civic education training, community mediation, the National Dialogue Council, advisory councils at grassroots leadership levels, community-based health insurance, community work, and performance contracts. These programs played a pivotal role in addressing the pressing issues that loomed over the country during those critical times.
The discussions concluded with social interactions and representatives from Rwandan associations in Belgium and Luxembourg sharing their plans.
Urgent events include International Women’s Day in March 2024, the 30th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi, the 30th Liberation Day, and the upcoming Presidential Elections in July 2024.
Photos: Jessica Rutayisire