President Paul Kagame on Monday laid the foundation stone at the proposed Rwanda Patriotic Front Liberation Museum in Kaniga Cell, Mulindi Sector in Gicumbi District.
Kagame who was accompanied by First Lady Jeannette Kagame and other senior government officials toured the cave in Mulindi that was used by Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) now Rwanda Defence Forces as a military fortress during the liberation struggle.
The museum will be constructed near a cave which served as the headquarters of the RPF movement which would topple the genocidal regime on July 4, 1994.
The event was part of a flurry of activity in the run-up to the ruling RPF’s Silver Jubilee celebrations on Thursday, December 20.
Addressing hundreds of Mulindi residents that turned up to witness the event, Kagame said that the liberation Museum will always serve as a memorial for the liberation struggle, for Mulindi residents and Rwandans in general who participated in the struggle.
“Mulindi attaches a great importance towards the liberation of this country because it reminds us a lot of things that happened here and shaped our destiny,” he added.
“Today we came here to remind ourselves where we came from, where we are heading, and chart the way forward for the future of our country”.
The President said that all RPF meetings, plans and communication strategies among others that helped to overthrow the former regime took place in Mulindi. Kagame who is also the RPF Chairman, observed that the Museum will always tell the liberation story, explain to younger generations the role it played towards achieving the developments that are currently taking place in the country.
“There is still a long way to go to achieve our development vision but it’s the responsibility of every Rwandan to work hard and ensure the seeds sown by liberation struggle at Mulindi continue to benefit all of us,” kagame said.
The President thanked the residents of Mulindi for playing a great role in liberation struggle and reminded them that the government appreciates the seeds they sow which resulted into a big thing (liberation).
“You cooperated with us and provided us a serene environment during the struggle. We provided you peace during the war because you accorded us peace as well. Accepting to be part of the liberation struggle, it enabled us to enjoy the peaceful Rwanda of today,” the President told Mulindi residents.
Kagame said that the political discipline that defined RPF combatants during the struggle will be the basis for Rwanda’s continuous struggle for self-reliance. He pointed out that RPF has been in existence for 25 years, not many years though, but due to what the party has passed through, it’s like its 75 years old.
“When you face a lot of challenges/troubles in life you grow old so fast”. He called upon Gicumbi residents to work hard to build on the foundation that has already been laid, which he said when people work hard economically they not only develop themselves but their country. “We should continue to remember and writing more of our history but this shouldn’t stop us from moving forward for the better future of Rwanda,” said Kagame.
The President jokingly said that, the tea grown at Mulindi area will be more liked because of the liberation history in the area. Mulindi is famous for tea growing in the country.
The ceremony attracted members of Rwandan Diaspora who were in the country to attend the just concluded National Dialogue (Umushyikirano). Isaie Nsengiyumva, one of the Mulindi residents who were part of liberation struggle hailed RPF for being disciplined rebels at the time.
“They provided us with medical facilities, education for our children, we were very grateful to cooperate with them because the regime at the time was harsh to our lives,” he added.
“I had not seen the RPF Inkotanyi and I feared to meet them because the Habyarimana government told us, the Inkotanyi were not human beings, they had tails, big ears but when we encountered them we found out that they were human beings like us and more friendly to people, “he explained.
According to Protais Mitali, Minister of Sports and Culture, preserving history is very important for the future generation to know what happened in Rwanda.
“This museum joins other museums in the country that have a lot to teach us when it comes to Rwandan history. It will always be a memorial for RPF liberation struggle,” he said.
Mitali added that Mulindi liberation museum will serve as the headquarters of other liberation museums in the country. The RPF/A struggle were launched on October 1, 1990, with the objective of fighting the injustice and discrimination that had characterized Rwanda for decades.
By Hope Muhairwe