Members of the Rwandese Community in the UK attended the New Year Celebration organised by the High Commission of the Republic of Rwanda in the UK, with guest of honour: The Rt Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies at the Parliament of Rwanda.
Welcoming the 300 guests in attendance, Her Excellency Yamina Karitanyi, High Commissioner for Rwanda to the UK, thanked the Rt. Hon Speaker and her delegation for availing themselves to spend some time with the Rwandans living in the UK and to speak to them about the latest developments and highlights in Rwanda. The High Commissioner also shared her best wishes for the New Year to the guests, and opened the evening, against the theme “Ndi Umunyarwanda”, by calling on fellow Rwandans to take pride and interest in their history and identity in order to better grasp the direction we as a people and a country should be heading towards “If you do not know where you’re from, you will not know where you’re going.”
Unification has been Rwanda’s secret to success.
In her keynote address, The Rt. Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies at the Parliament of Rwanda, shared what she believes has been Rwanda’s secret to its successful transformation so far – unity and working together. “Unification has been Rwanda’s secret to success. Just like on a production line, if one person or unit drops from the line, the entire operation is in jeopardy and the product will either be poor or non-existent”. The Honourable speaker added that Rwanda sough for “Home grown solutions”, drawn from Rwanda’s own culture and history, in order to tackle and resolve the unique problems faced by the country.
Rt. Hon. Mukabalisa shared some of the latest highlights and news from Rwanda with the diaspora guest in attendance, citing milestones such as recent infrastructural developments, Kigali’s listing amongst the cleanest cities in the world, a high number of investment deals being struck, to name a few. In thanking the attendees, the Honourable speaker commended the diaspora for their continued commitment and dedication to their country, saying that “the diaspora are major stakeholders of Rwanda’s development and have been great contributors to the country’s progress so far.
The Ndi Umunyarwanda discussion was opened by Rev. Dr. Malachie Munyaneza, followed by a presentation by Hon. JMV Gatabazi MP. Rev. Dr. Munyaneza shared his thoughts on the significance of the term “Ndi Umunyarwanda” (I am Rwanda) and the pride of identity that it evokes, saying that Ndi Umunyarwanda is a response and it is the answer to any question about who Rwandans are as a people. Continuing the discussion, the Hon Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi MP challenged the audience, reminding them of that the responsibility to build their country is that of each and every person individually, and not to wait for a neighbour or friend to take the first step before they follow suit – “Each one of you is the only one responsible of developing Rwanda, which is what the Country’s leader [H.E. President Paul Kagame] did.” The Honourable MP also had a special message to the diaspora that had not been back to Rwanda in very many years that the country awaits them with open arms, no matter how long it has been.
There were great questions asked by members of the audience, all which were answered by the Rt. Hon. Speaker and other panellists, followed by a short segment of exchanging ideas on how to carry the “Ndi Umunyarwanda” principle forward. Other notable guests were Amb. Jeanine Kambanda, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, Mr. Serge Guillaume Nzabonimana, Advisor to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Rwanda, Mr. Yunes Mouladad, born in Byumba, Rwanda to the well-known Mouladad family who were the first Indians to settle in Rwanda.
The evening closed with a reception and party atmosphere, with dancing, singing and celebrating and an opportunity to connect and make new friends.