effects of Rwanda Genocide
By Abel BUHUNGU, Councillor Rwanda High Commission Lusaka, Zambia
In commemorating 25 years since genocide occurred in Rwanda, the Government of Republic of Rwanda would like to thank the Government and people of the Republic of Malawi for acting in support of the fight against genocide anywhere.
Malawi deserves this commendation in view of extraditing genocide convict Vincent Murekezi in January this year. Murekezi who fled to Malawi in 2003 participated in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Huye District.
He was tried in absentia and handed a life sentence by a Gacaca court in Rwanda. This extradition came after Malawi and Rwanda had signed an Extradition Treaty as well as a MoU on exchange of prisoners, earlier in February 2017.
This commemoration raises awareness of all humanity on the value of life. It helps us reflect as well as reaffirm the collective responsibility of preventing Genocide on the continent and beyond. We on this day of remembrance pay homage to the victims as well as reflect on the transformational journey that Rwanda has travelled in the last 25 years.
Given the extreme low base that Rwanda started from as an aftermath of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, it is no overstatement to see the socio-economic progress in the last 25 years as a miracle-come true.
It is indeed thanks to the resilience of Rwandans and many home grown pro-people policies that we now have a reconciled and united people and an impressive economic growth that has averaged between 7% and 8% in the last 15 years.
The country is among the most secure not only on the continent but beyond. A country that given her history has come to value security and safety so much that it now has also made a mark in her contribution towards global peace and security. Rwanda now ranks fifth among largest Troupe Contributing Countries for Peacekeeping operations.
Rwanda’s commitment to economic and regional integration within the East African Community, COMESA and the AU is exemplary. Government has since 2000 put private sector development at the forefront of her economic transformation. Diversification of the economy has been at the centre of the country’s transformation agenda.
As one of the impressive milestones, Rwanda now ranks 29th easiest place to do business globally and it is 2nd on the continent (WB Doing Business Report, 2019).
Since 2005, Rwanda’s consistent focus on business climate reform has produced the biggest cumulative improvement of all countries measured by the World Bank, rising from a ranking of 150 globally in 2005, to 29th in 2019.
On the issue of transparent and accountable governance systems the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International ranks Rwanda as the least corrupt in East Africa, 4th in Africa and 48th globally out of 180 countries (Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of 2018).
And in 2018, the Rwandan economy grew at 8.6% (NISR) contrary to the initial projection of the IMF. This elevates current GDP per capita to 787 USD (NISR), up from a meagre USD 216 in the year 2000 (World Bank). The economy is projected to grow by 7.8% in 2019 (IMF).
In addition to economic progress, notable strides have been made in government’s pursuit of a values based society that is devoid of ethnic discrimination.
Guided by the leadership, Rwandese after the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, chose to build unity of purpose, be accountable and think big. The notorious National Identity Cards that identified Rwandese by their so-called ethnic groups were immediately after liberation by the RPF banished and replaced by those that identify one as Rwandan.
Through many home grown initiatives and pro-poor socioeconomic policies, Rwandese are continually benefiting from growing equitable grassroots development, more delivery of previously non-existent or decimated essential services, restoration of vital infrastructure and improved access to basic health coverage and education.
As example, about 90% of Rwandan citizens currently enjoy basic medical health cover with the resultant lifespan raised to 67 years (2018). Typical to countries that undergo post-conflict reconstruction, justice and reconciliation has been at the foundation of Rwanda’s post-genocide transformation. Presently Rwanda ranks 2nd in Africa and 40th globally in the Global Law and Order report (2018).
In conclusion, despite continued proliferation of genocide denial/revisionism by some genocide suspects and their adherents across the globe, growing fight of members of the International Community against genocide-related impunity is evidence that genocide fugitives no longer have an indefinite safe haven.
Otherwise as said by President Paul Kagame during the 20th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, we as Rwandans “made three fundamental choices: (i) we chose stay together; (ii) we chose to be accountable to ourselves; and (iii) we chose to think big”.
With the assured resilience of Rwandans, continued unity of purpose and a stewardship that thinks big and delivers, we as Rwandans have all the faith in achieving the very future we yearn and deserve.