Rebuilding Rwanda from scratch: Rutaremara on vision and resilience post-Genocide against the Tutsi

By Esther Muhozi
On 29 March 2024 at 04:46

The Chairperson of the National Advisory Council of Elders, Tito Rutaremara, has highlighted that after stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, there was hope for rebuilding the country despite its severe devastation.

He discussed this in a conversation on X, noting that after the Genocide against the Tutsi, the country was in ruins in every aspect, to the extent that rebuilding it required starting from scratch.

On July 4, 1994, the RPA forces managed to stop the Genocide against the Tutsis after more than a million people had been killed.

Stopping the Genocide was not sufficient since the country was in ruins in every way. Apart from the lives lost, infrastructure was destroyed by the conflict, and other assets were looted by those involved in the Genocide.

Tito Rutaremara emphasized that starting from scratch was necessary because much had been severely damaged, and there was no semblance of normal life.

He affirmed their confidence based on their experiences even before stopping the Genocide.

It was a significant event for us, but we had already been through such challenges ourselves, even though we were few and not the entire country. We had gone through a lot and managed to overcome it," Rutaremara said.

"We were rebuilding, but we did not know we would have to start from nothing. We thought we had something to start with, but here we started from scratch. Everything we had done, whether it was our soldiers, RPF cadres, or every member who had sacrificed and contributed their part, gave us the confidence that we could rebuild this country," he added.

Rutaremara indicated that although they saw it would take many years to rebuild Rwanda, they believed it was possible.

He said, "We would say it might take us a long time, but we will rebuild this country. Maybe the first phase was something we had completed, which was to remove the dictatorship, and then after removing it, you start to free the chains that are there including ignorance, economy, and others."

Rutaremara explained that although a significant step had been taken, it required starting from less than zero, which motivated them to work harder.

He also pointed out that another source of strength was the goal they had set to secure the country and build unity among Rwandans.

"It is good to build from the bottom up; it makes us feel that when you reach something and find it completely destroyed and you feel you must do it, it motivates you to work hard to achieve it," Rutaremara noted.

He revealed that if taking over the country had started with its leadership by President Paul Kagame, reconstruction would have been much faster since the pace of development started to become apparent after 2000 when he began leading.

Political expert, Dr. Ismael Buchanan, noted that saying the country was rebuilt from scratch is not a myth but based on the fact that there was no life and nothing to start with.

Dr. Buchanan stated that rebuilding the country was not a matter of luck or a lottery for Rwanda, but it required effort.

Tito Rutaremara emphasized that starting from scratch was necessary because much had been severely damaged, and there was no semblance of normal life.