We cannot speak of Ndi Umunyarwanda without the family- Jeannette Kagame

By Nicol Kamanzi M.
On 2 November 2020 at 03:35

The First Lady Jeannette Kagame and Chairperson of Unity Club Rwanda has said that families are at the core of rebuilding the country and its Ndi Umunyarwanda identity, as she called on Rwandans to rebuild the country that was torn apart by the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

Mrs. Kagame was on Sunday November 1 addressing the 13th Unity Club Forum (UCForum) 2020, themed “Ndi Umunyarwanda: Igitekerezo-ngenga cy’Ukubaho kwacu”- literally translated as “I am Rwandan: A fundamental idea of our existence”- which was the same theme in 2019.

The Unity Club Club was founded back in 1996 by the First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame and it brings together current and former Government Officials, as well as their spouses.

“Ndi Umunyarwanda” is a program initiated by Government through the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) to promote national identity based on trust and dignity.

In her remarks, Mrs. Kagame said that Rwandans and members of the club have gone through a sour history but choose to be one person, accepted to swallow the sour medication which in turn enabled Rwandans to carry on the light of being Rwandans as a foundation of the country’s existence.

The journey is still ongoing thus the need for meeting every time to discuss and access progress made in this regard despite surfacing of voices of denial of this history, which may be done for personal reasons, or as a result of giving up and indifference especially on the progress attained in the country.

With all these challenges at hand, Mrs. Kagame said that there is a critical need to focus on educating young Rwandans who didn’t play a role in the genocide but are still struggling with a sense of belonging as a result of infiltration of genocide ideology by their families.

“Such a forum should be a reminder that we are Rwandans and will always stand by this, but also use this opportunity to pass it on to young ones, especially those who are struggling with a sense of belonging,” Mrs. Kagame said.

The First Lady insisted that to attain this objective, the involvement of the family as a core of rebuilding the country and its Ndi Umunyarwanda identity, must be a focal point.

“We cannot speak of Ndi Umunyarwanda without the family because it is the basis of raising a person with human values, to live with others and love their country,” Mrs. Kagame said.

Rwandans following the event in Belgium challenged parents to think of how they can educate youths to realize that being a Rwandan is a greater relation than any other, to change mindsets which don’t bring Rwandans together with a common goal and vision, but resentment and denial of progress made.

Research conducted by the unity and reconciliation commission have shown that families are at the forefront of spreading genocide ideology, to those and many other Mrs. Kagame urged them to use Ndi Umunyarwanda concept to rebuild their families to be a source of sustainable peace and development.

Mrs. Kagame advised that Rwandans should focus on being dedicated, perception, accountability, self-discipline and belief, confidence, modesty and humility, emotional intelligence, patience, honesty and doing a job well, so as to be examples and a light to others.

“Let Ndi Umunyarwanda be our constitutional idea, shield for the young ones and our protection that drives us to make Rwanda a peaceful place. Our wish as parents should be to pass on the Ndi Umunyarwanda legacy which is above all,” Mrs. Kagame said.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s UC Forum was also held in different sites located in Kigali city and four provinces and unlike in past forums, the event was not able to recognize with medal of “umurinzi w‘igihango” (medal of heroism) awarded annually to individuals who have played a significant role in building unity and reconciliation.

Participants and panelists at the forum emphasized the need to put more efforts in educating and training parents and use of social media to promote unity and reconciliation.