Tumukunde was speaking Saturday in the meeting of Permanent Representatives' Committee in preparation for the launch of AfCFTA.
Tumukunde appreciated the work of Issoufou Mahamadu, the President of the Republic of Niger and the head of African Continental Free Trade Area for relentless efforts and invaluable contributions towards the realization of AfCFTA.
“As you are all aware, the establishment of the AfCFTA is a critical political priority of our African Union leadership. It is also a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063,” she reminded.
She said that the AfCFTA is not about trade liberalization for its own sake, but rather it is also a political reflection of leaders' commitment to finding joint solutions for African problems.
Tumukunde said that AfCFTA is a political statement and declaration of the idea of African Unity in economic and commercial terms. She added that without it and Africa's economic integration, rhetoric about African unity will remain empty.
“With AfCFTA jobs would be created. Entrepreneurs will expand their businesses. African value chains will be developed and maintained, and those value chains will be linked to global value chains,” she said.
“Our young people will have genuine employment opportunities on the continent and no longer hanger for greener pastures in Europe or elsewhere because the greener pastures would be here,” she added.
Speaking at the meeting, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Amb. Kwesi Quartey thanked President President Paul Kagame and the Chairperson for the African Union for his commitment, determination and ability to place Africa on the international scene.
He also thanked President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger for spearheading efforts geared at creating One African Market.
“I urge PRC to lay down fundamentals that enable us to execute the decision taken by AU Heads of State of creating one African market by putting in place the African Continental Free Trade Area,” he said.
He said that African Continental Free Trade Area refers all to political symbolism.
“Africa taking charge of itself. Her voice should resonate with other projects that contribute to its development, especially consolidation of its integration and unity,” he said.
The African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat arrived in Kigali, on Friday to take part in the African Union Extraordinary Summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area slated on Wednesday 21st March 2018, as well as in preparatory meetings at the level of the Permanent Representatives Committee and the Executive Council.
He will also take part in the Business Forum that will be held on the margins of the Summit, and take the opportunity to interact with private sector representatives.
The Kigali Extraordinary Summit was agreed to during the ordinary session of the Assembly of the Union held in Addis Ababa in late January 2018.
The Free Trade Area is one of the flagship projects of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063 and aims to deepen the integration process. It is being driven forward along with other key related initiatives such as the Single African Air Transport Market and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport.
The project will be implemented under the Scaling Off-Grid Energy in Rwanda (SOGER) project.
Expected to be completed in June, the plant is being constructed at Nyankorogoma River in Mpanga Sector.
The Project Coordinator, Victor Hakuzwumuremyi said that the plant will provide 13 kilowatts and will provide access to electricity to 145 households and attract different income generating activities like haircutting saloons, grinding machines and welding workshops among others.
He said the plant will cost $85,000 (over Rwf72 million). The project was funded by Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) which will provide 70% of the total cost, Mpanga residents will provide 7%, Investor Israël Habimana 10% and the remaining 13% will come from Commercial Bank.
“Electricity services cost much in this region, they need to travel long for charging their mobile phones, so, they got an idea of making electricity from that river and we committed to partner and provide with them what they desire,” he said.
“This is a people's project, though they will provide some monthly contribution for the plant to continue exist, but, it will cost them less than they used to,” he added.
Jonatilde Shirumuteto, a resident of Mpanga Sector said that they expect much from the electricity.
“We will engage in different income generating activities like tailoring among others. Currently, these who have solar power charge us Rwf50 for recharging our mobile phones batteries,” she said.
Kirehe District Mayor, Gérald Muzungu commended the project partners and Mpanga residents for combining efforts to make the project possible.
“This is a good example of how we can find solutions from ourselves, this model should be replicated in other sectors,” he said.
Karuranga had been the spokesperson of the interim regime in the last nine months.
In the elections which took place at the church's Dove Hotel, this Saturday, the committee of five people has been elected.
Elected are Rev. Euphrem Karuranga the spokesperson; Vice-spokesperson, Rev. Pastor John Karangwa; Secretary General, Pastor Paul Gatemberezi Muzungu; Head of Governance and Finance, Aurélie Umuhoza and Pastor Jean Paul Ntaganda, the advisor for Finance.
Speaking in an interview with IGIHE this week, Karuranga said that during the interim regime, the committee had a big job of restoring the order in the church after different problems they passed through.
“We achieved many things including restoring order in the church. We also dealt with debts,” he said.
Nyarugenge Sector of Nyarugenge District had this week banned the use of speakers on Mosques and urged Muslims to use other means that would not cause noise pollution.
Speaking to IGIHE, the spokesperson for Rwanda Muslim Community (RMC), Sheikh Musa Sindayigaya said that after being informed about the decision, Muslim leaders approached different government institutions and were later allowed to use speakers on the condition that they reduce sound and don't affect other people.
“First of all there is adhan (Islamic call to worship), it will continue as usual with low voice calling worshipers from around the Mosque. The new move says that we will inform people from around the Mosque as they are the ones praying from there, and of course it is necessary to inform worshipers about the time to pray. No Mosque is in charge informing all city dwellers, which was a mistake and is now made clear,” he explained.
He said that after adhan, the prayer leader will not use speaker by preaching people from inside and affect people from outside in their businesses.
Sindayigaya added that in the morning, prayer starts when some people still sleeping which is why it is not necessary to use speakers.
He thanked the government for the fruitful discussions saying that the decision by Nyarugenge Sector was not very clear. He said that the Muslim community will adhere to new regulations.
The ban on speakers on Mosques followed the clampdown on sub-standard churches across the country.
The Cabinet Meeting was briefed on preparations for the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union scheduled to take place in Rwanda on 21st March 2018. The Cabinet Meeting appreciated that the preparations are on track and that all concerned stakeholders are collaborating.
1. The Cabinet Meeting approved Minutes of previous Cabinet Meeting held on 14.02.2018, with some adjustments.
2. The Cabinet Meeting approved the following Draft Laws:
a) Draft Law approving the ratification of the Loan Agreement signed in Kigali, Rwanda on 12th March, 2018 between the Republic of Rwanda and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), relating to the Loan of twenty million American Dollars (USD 20,000,000) for Rwanda Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Program; b) Draft Law approving the ratification of the Grant Agreement signed in Kigali, Rwanda on 7th March, 2018 between the Republic of Rwanda and the International Development Association (IDA) acting as Administrator of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for achieving nutrition impact at scale, relating to the Grant of twenty million American Dollars (USD 20,000,000) for Stunting Prevention and Reduction Project;
b) Draft Law approving the ratification of the Financing Agreement signed in Kigali, Rwanda on 7th March, 2018 between the Republic of Rwanda and the International Development Association (IDA), relating to the Credit of seventeen million, six hundred thousand Special Drawing Rights (SDR 17,600,000) for Stunting Prevention and Reduction Project;
c) Draft Law approving the ratification of the Grant Agreement signed in Kigali, Rwanda on 7th March, 2018 between the Republic of Rwanda and the International Development Association (IDA), acting as Administrator of the Global Financing Facility relating to the Grant of ten million American Dollars (USD 10,000,000) for Stunting Prevention and Reduction Project;
d) Draft Law approving the ratification of the Financing Agreement signed at Kigali, Rwanda and Luxembourg on 28th December, 2017 between the Republic of Rwanda and the European Investment Bank, relating to the Loan of forty-five million Euros (EUR 45,000,000) for Kigali Central Sewerage Project;
e) Draft Law determining the responsibilities, organisation and functioning of National Public Service Commission (NPSC);
f) Draft Law on Cyber Crimes;
g) Draft Law relating to the rights and the protection of the child;
h) Draft Law modifying and complementing the Law N° 05/2011 of 21/03/2011 regulating Special Economic Zones in Rwanda.
3. The Cabinet Meeting approved the following Orders:
a) Presidential Order relieving from duties Mr. MUNYAKAYANZA Eugene who was Rwandan Representative in Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Basin Authority (ABAKIR);
b) Prime Minister's Order determining organisational structure, job profiles, salaries and fringe benefits for employees in the National Rehabilitation Service (NRS);
c) Prime Minister's Order Appointing Lt. Triphonie UMUHIRE as Military Prosecutor.
4. The Cabinet Meeting approved the agrément of the following persons to represent their respective countries to Rwanda at the level of Ambassador:
a) Mr. KAREN DRASTAMATOVICH TCHALIAN, of the Russian Federation, with residence in Kigali;
b) Mr. ERNEST JUMBE MANGU, of the United Republic of Tanzania, with residence in Kigali;
c) Mrs. FRANCISCA ASHIETEY-ODUNTON, of the Republic of Ghana, with residence in Nairobi, Kenya;
d) Mr. LOH SECK TIONG, of Malaysia, with residence in Nairobi, Kenya;
e) Mr. KRZYSZTOF BUZALSKI, of the Republic of Poland, with residence in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
f) Mr. ABULLA JASSIM AL-MAADIDA, of the State of Qatar, with residence in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
5. In AOBs.
a) The Minister of Education informed the Cabinet Meeting that on 22/03/2018 at Serena Hotel in Kigali, the Mastercard Foundation based in Canada will launch a new Strategy for Africa called “Young Africa Works”. b) The Minister of Environment informed the Cabinet Meeting that from 19th to 21st March 2018, Rwanda will host the Sustainable Energy Forum and Africa Cooling Summit at Serena and Marriot hotels in Kigali.
b) The Minister of Sports and Culture informed the Cabinet Meeting that from 21st to 23rd March 2018 Rwanda Archives and Library Services will hold in Lemigo Hotel a Seminar bringing together local and international experts in archives and library services to discuss on the Development of Rwanda archives and library services.
This Statement was signed By Marie Solange KAYISIRE The Minister in Charge of Cabinet Affairs
Bimenyimana succumbed to Leukemia on Sunday.
The burial ceremony was attended by different Catholic Church episcopal from different Dioceses including Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza of Nyundo, Celestin Hakizimana of Gikongoro, Servelien Nzakamwita of Byumba, Antoine Kambanda of Kibungo, Vincent Harolimana of Ruhengeri, Habiyambere former Nyundo Diocese Bishop, Smaragde Mbonyintege of Kabgayi, Rukamba Philippe of Butare and Pope Francis's envoy in Rwanda among others from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
Bishop Bimenyimana eulogized as hero
Bishop Halorimana said that late Bimenyimana was a person of all people.
“In our country that was characterized by history of divisionism and hatred, he was a person of all people. People who had divisionism among themselves hunted him wanting to kill him, but, luckily he escaped the death several times,” he said.
In 1994, he was hunted but committed to stay together with Tutsi who were being hunt and shared hardships they passed through, he added.
He said that his race was Rwandanship and Christianity. His inspiration was gospel and made him consider all people as brethrens.
“He passed on as a hero, that is why all people who knew him should stick on such heroism,” Halorimana said.
“Other Bishops used to have study visits to this diocese with the ambition to learn from him, the way he managed the church and the way all things developed leading to good gospel,” he added.
Under the message of Episcopal Conference of Rwanda red by Harolimana, they said ‘We loved him and he was a person of value in our shared mission'
Bishop Bimenyimana was born on June 22nd 1953, in Bumazi, former Cyangugu Prefecture now Rusizi District of Western Province.
He was ordained a priest on June 6th, 1980; ordained to the sacerdotal class in Nyundo Parish; and was ordained as Bishop of Cyangugu Diocese on January 18th, 1997. He was made an episcopal priest on March 16th, 1997.
Photos by Moses Niyonzima
Moreover the programme is bridging gender equality gaps in agriculture and ensuring women's equal participation in the value chain.
In Gasovu, Muhanga District, a small village if you walk past the fields of maize mid-day, you'll find women farmers sitting in a circle, using their smartphones as they take a break. But they are not checking Facebook updates or Twitter streams; they are getting crucial weather and market information that will help them grow and sell their harvest. And, it's revolutionizing their farming and marketing skills.
“Before, we used to struggle to know the exact size of our land,” says Christine Mukarukundo, a maize farmer and member of the Tuzamurane Cyeza Cooperative in Muhanga district.
“As a result, farmers were unable to predict their level of production, which made negotiating with buyers and financial institutions difficult” she added.
Through a digital, mobile-enabled “Buy from Women” platform, farmers can know the exact size of their land and forecast the production. The platform connects small holder farmers (men and women) to the agricultural supply and value chain and provides them with critical information on weather, market prices and incoming opportunities via text messages.
UN Women, in partnership with World Food Programme's Patient Procurement Platform (PPP), launched this innovative platform in June 2016, and it will be implemented in 10 cooperatives over the course of the next nine months.
In total, 699 women from two farming cooperatives in Gatsibo district in Eastern Province and one in Muhanga district in Southern Province have already registered. The registration process for the platform includes a mapping of farmers' land plots, which is then used to generate a yield forecast.
The platform improves farmers' capacity to produce marketable surplus, provides real time financial information and increases their market access, especially for women farmers, who were traditionally not involved in all parts of the value chain. Now both women and men farmers can negotiate better deals with buyers and financial institutions.
Some participating cooperatives have signed advance contracts with reputed buyers, such as the Rwanda Grains and Cereals Corporation.
“We used to sign contracts with buyers and not be able to meet its terms, especially related to supplies, because farmers would sell part of their produce on the side. Now with this system, everyone will know in advance the quantity of produce that they are required to bring at the Cooperative, and this will motivate everyone to meet the requirement and aim to produce surplus,” explains Beatrice Mukanoheli, another member and adviser of the Tuzamurane Cyeza Cooperative.
With real-time information that the platform provides, farmers are also able to make better decisions to adapt to climate variability by adjusting the planting time and making better use of fertilizers.
The programme, currently in its pilot phase, has received financial support from the Government of China.
While visiting the programme site, Ambassador of China, Mr. Pan Hejun said, “China is committed to providing technical support to Rwanda, especially in relation to technology development in agriculture. Agriculture is an important sector to the Chinese economy as it is in Rwanda.”
By focusing on women's empowerment, the programme is also educating farmers on gender equality issues, with the aim of bridging the gender gap in agriculture and ensuring women's equal participation in all areas of the value chain, including in the front line negotiations and decision-making. Following the harvest season and assessment of the programme next year, UN Women plans to scale it up in other parts of the country.
According to the management, the bank recorded significant growth in business.
The bank reported profit before tax of Rwf9.8 billion, an increase of 17% year on year resulting in a cost-to-income ratio of 55.8%, compared to 58.1% at the close of 2016.
The bank's headline earning per share grew by 11.3% from Rwf11.61 in 2016 to Rwf12.92 in 2017.
According to the bank's Managing Director, Robin Bairstow, the performance is accredited the passion for customer satisfaction and investment in staff.
“With a constantly evolving economic landscape, we have managed to remain relevant and we are doing this by listening to and meeting market needs. We are also now focusing on new business avenue such as support to the SME sector, and partnerships with the development agencies to grow targeted segments of market such as export growth and tourism,” he said.
The bank targets to steady income growth over the next five years, with Compounded Annual Growth Rate 18% on loans, 19% on deposits and 18% on revenues.
Also, the bank targets to continue to invest in people with training in the staff.
“Based on customer insights and forecast market trends, we shall in the near future be rolling more innovative products for our customers including treasury products which focus on managing our client's risk, bank assurance and wealth management,” said the bank's Executive Director and Divisional Head of Business Development, Faustin Byishimo.
By 31st December, I&M Bank's total assets was Rwf260 billion which represents a year on year increase of 26%.
In 2017, the bank embarked on a new five-year strategic plan which is based on revenue diversification, operational excellence, digital channel optimization and business growth.
Speaking to IGIHE, the Vice-Mayor of Bugeresa District, Priscille Uwiragiye said that it struck yesterday around 3:00pm.
“Lightning struck the building, but luckily there were no people inside. There were heavy rains with lightning. In the building, there were computers and the lightning damaged them and started fire which gutted the whole house ,” she said.
She said that efforts by people to extinguish the fire were futile.
Lightning cases continue to increase in the country since the beginning of this year.
Statistics from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) show that among 33 people killed by disasters since January to March, 27 were killed by lightning.
The construction of Rwf4 billion facility was funded by African Development Bank. Its master plan was developed by a French Architect Patrick Schweitzer.
The premises were officially inaugurated by the Minister of Education, Dr. Eugene Mutimura yesterday.
Mutimura said that the facility will help to promote education in science and technology studies.
“This is very crucial as our country envisions a knowledge-based economy; it is our country's target to promote innovation in technology and indeed this facility is essential,” he said.
University of Rwanda's Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Philip Cotton urged all users to sustain the beauty of the premises.
Speaking to IGIHE, Belyse Igihozo, Architecture student said that previously they had a small facility which would not enable them to learn comfortably.
“We had very small classrooms which would not enable us to feel comfortable. We are very happy as this facility will create a good learning environment for us,” she said.
Construction works started in 2015 and the premises were constructed using materials available locally including volcanic rocks locally known as ‘amakoro'. Over 350 got jobs during the construction activities.
The building has the capacity to accommodate 600 students.
The on-going exhibition is organized by PSF's chamber of Agriculture. It is currently held in Rusizi district, where 40 local exhibitors are showcasing a number of products from the agricultural sector.
The Exhibition that started on the 14th march will last three days; and is aimed at identifying new markets for Rwanda agricultural products.
While opening the exhibition, Rusizi Mayor; Harelimana Frederic assured Rwanda exporters of new storage facilities to be constructed at the border as these will facilitate in storing local goods especially the perishable goods.
“Some exporters have always raised the issue of lack of storage facilities on this border. However, we are going to discuss this with other stakeholders to construct these warehouses,” He said
The agriculture exhibition follows another Agribusiness trade fair that was held in Goma, DRC in 2016 in partnership with the Farmers' association in DRC. Exhibitors are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the cooperation between exporters of the countries.
Callixte Kanamugire the Chief Advocacy Officer, PSF mentioned that the Federation is currently surveying other potential markets in different countries where Rwandan products can be exported.
“We cannot close the trade deficit gap unless we promote exports. We organize these events to facilitate our traders that's why we will continue identifying other external markets for Rwandan products,” he said while addressing exhibitors.
Christine Murebwayire; one of the exhibitors and chairperson of Agriculture chamber noted that DRC possesses an enormous market potential for Rwandan exports.
However, adding that it's imperative for Rwandan exporters to produce quality goods.
“DRC has a huge market for our exports. Most of our exhibitors have sold-off all their products and they're stocking more. We expect at the end to sign agreements with Congolese to formalize our trade,” she said
The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda recently launched the COMESA Simplified Trade Regime (STR) which allow small-scale traders to import products not exceeding the value of $2,000 duty-free.
The STR programme was initiated by COMESA to help increase trade among small-scale cross-border traders dealing in small quantities of goods. This programme aims to simplify clearing procedures as well as reduce the cost of trading by making it possible for the small-scale cross-border trader's consignments to benefit from the removal of Customs Duty (COMESA Preferential Treatment)
The Head of State was speaking Thursday in an interactive session with members of the African Union Broadcasting (AUB) gathered in a General Assembly in Kigali
For African broadcasters to be able to broadcast football or other sports, they need to buy rights from European or American companies.
He said that Africans want an African Union that can deliver, and through that aspiration they can't stand problems like broadcasting rights.
“It is an embarrassment for example that the rights of Africans playing football in Africa is managed by people outside. There is nothing to be proud of in such a situation. For how long can we continue this way?” Kagame questioned.
“Countries are paying for broadcasting rights. So, money really isn't Africa's problem. Why don't we use that money for what is right for us and actually reduce the cost?” he urged.
Kagame said that Africans need to occupy their space; otherwise others will occupy it for them.
“Who in Africa doesn't know the problems we have? We can't keep lamenting over our problems. We know what we need to do for ourselves,” Kagame urged.
He said that for people to speak for themselves they need their own mouth.
“You can't give someone else a signal to speak for you. We need our own content and our own way of transmitting it, not only to Africans but outsiders as well,” he said.
Kagame said that they have to encourage analog to digital migration saying that people are less driven by deadlines than the benefits they will get. He said that they should help each other to understand that the switch-over is beneficial for the continent.
“Analog to digital migration is delayed but we have not forgotten it. I am happy to push for this as chair of the Smart Africa Initiative, and include relevant partners,” he said.
Liquid Telecom is a leading communications services and solutions provider across 13 countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa that serves carrier, enterprise and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity and digital services.
With some delegates from the group, they visited Jordan Foundation that is home to 25 visually impaired children. Founded in 2016 by Mrs. Vanessa Bahati in honour of her visually impaired two year-old child, Jordan Hakiza Guy.
Out of Bahati's begetting a visually impaired son, reeled the passion for raising more.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman for Liquid Telecom Rwanda, Sam Nkusi, said that the idea of visiting the foundation came from an article they read about Bahati who decided to raise visually-impaired children.
He said that the strength and determination of Bahati inspired the group to support her.
“There are some families that have some problems; and there are others who really have some oppressing problems; like blind children [...]; We found that we could lend a hand while congratulating you on such a humanitarian initiative. You will always have our support,” said Nkusi
He continued praising Bahati's strength and courage; which he noted as extremely rare comparing to the situation she was in.
Liquid Telecom was accompanied by the chairman of Zigama CSS, Dr. James Ndahiro, who is a successful visually-impaired man. He expressed his hope and faith for a great future for Jordan Foundation's children.
Bahati; founder of Jordan Foundation expressed her gratitude for the donation of Liquid Telecom; she added that it would impact on the children' lives and their education as it will be used mainly for the construction of a school for visually-impaired children that will be located in Gasabo district.
Recently, Liquid Telecom dedicated itself to deliver a Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) roll out exercise around the country to delivering high-speed internet to Rwandans.
Olga I. Ishimwe
Kagame was speaking Thursday in an interactive session with members of the African Union Broadcasting (AUB) gathered in a General Assembly in Kigali.
The Head of State said that African Union has been there for sometime and is about how countries can work together to achieve what they have to do.
“This time we actually have to pay our bills. If you don't pay your bills you actually end up paying even more than you would had paid directly. The one who pays for you in the end owns you,” he said.
He said that some initiatives of the African Union are not new.
“The 0.2% levy has been defended, argued about and is now very clear as one of the ways forward in being able to pay for our activities. Maybe with time we will realize that we are wasting our own opportunities. We have to do something for ourselves as a continent. African leaders now think it is time to do what we ought to,” he said.
Kagame said that Africans should learn from their past failures and apply lessons learnt.
In Rwanda, he said, having learnt a lot of lessons the hard way, Rwandans are very realistic about their situation and the global issues that affect them.
“We understood that we have to do what is good for us and find out what works. The model we have is as simple as what we want as Rwandans. We want peace, prosperity and security for everybody,” he noted.
Speaking about African refugees, Kagame said that Africans have to confront the issue as it is happening and figure out how to manage it.
“As African countries, we collectively need to find root causes to why our people are leaving to go die or be sold as slaves elsewhere,” he said.
He said that Public policies, however good they may be, if they are still producing people wanting to leave their countries, those policies need to be rethought and fine-tuned.
President Paul Kagame said this as at Kigali Convention Centre while attending the General Assembly of African Union Broadcasting (AUC) that has been underway since Monday, March 12, 2018.
He illustrated the chances of Africa setting new milestones and changes relayed in the adoption of the Continental Free Trade Area.
"If Africans find ways of dealing with the fear of the Continental Free Trade Area; when adopted, it will be the best thing to ever happen to our continent. The benefits will be enormous. Broadcasters need to be out there explaining this to our citizens.", he said
The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was adopted during the 30th African Union Summit that was held in Kigali.
It will bring together the Africa's fragmented three main organisations;the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African countries (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
It is a combined market of over 1.2 billion people, the largest in the world but which, unfortunately has not transformed into intra-African trade as is the case of the European which is half of the market.
A free trade area that encompasses the whole continent will be a great turnabout in an area that has a combined GDP of over $3 billion that is lying to waste.
Olga I. Ishimwe
Problems in diplomatic relations between Rwanda and France take roots from the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi where French Government sponsored genocidal government and some French soldiers who were in the country under Opération Turquoise, a French-led military operation in Rwanda in 1994 under the mandate of the United Nations participated in the execution of the genocide.
While speaking to the Media on Tuesday, Mushikiwabo said that President Macron has proven the will to restore the relationships.
Mushikiwabo was referring to how Macron met with President Paul Kagame twice since he took office in May last year.
Macron met with Kagame in New York in September 2017 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Both Heads of States also met last week in New Delhi, India on the sidelines of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Founding Summit.
Mushikiwabo said that under Macron's leadership, there is a need to restore the relations between both countries, contrary to previous leadership which needed to run their relations on the condition that Rwanda keep quiet on France and soldiers' role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, things which she says is impossible.
She said that Rwanda continued to seek good relationship with France; however, they were given conditions that they should neglect history which the country passed through.
“Countries' relationships can't go forward by neglecting the vital part of our history, which is why we always disagree. As you there are people wanting to falsify history by involving in genocide denial and involving in the politics of this country,” she said.
Alain Juppé who was France Foreign Affairs Minister since 1993 to 1995 and Prime Minister since 1995 to 1997 is among French politicians who continue to deny the genocide against the Tutsi due to their role when he was in high ranking positions of France during the genocide.
The most terrible case is that of Saturday 10th March lightning that killed 16 worshipers of the Seventh Adventist Church in Nyaruguru District of Southern Province leaving many injured and hospitalized. The previous day, also in the same district, it had struck 18 students leaving one dead.
On March 5th in Ngoma District of Eastern Province, lightning struck and killed ten cows in Kazo sector as was confirmed by Ngoma District mayor, Aphrodise Nambaje.
On March 3rd in Rubavu District, five people were injured, 26 houses were totally destroyed, 924 houses partially destroyed and 138.5 hectares of crops were damaged following the downpour in the district.
That's a peek from statistics from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) which show that from January to March this year, disasters killed 33 people from across the country, leaving 143 injured.
Why a spate of disasters?
Speaking to IGIHE, the Acting Director for Risk Reduction and Disaster Preparedness at MIDIMAR, Alphonse Hishamunda said that the disasters continue to increase due to the rain season and rainstorm.
He, however, observes that behind this spate of disasters are a combination of nature and human activities. Floods and landslides are caused by a combination of the results of climate change and poor use of land.
“Cutting down trees and razing down entire forests, lack of radical terraces and lack of proper drainage systems all feed into deepening the problem,” he said.
From the beginning of this year, disasters have destroyed 1674 houses and 13 classrooms and damaged 541.1 hectares of crops. They killed 27 livestock and destroyed 11 bridges.
Among 33 deaths recorded since this year started, lightning occupy the big number with 27, rainstorms and five landslides.
A total of 143 people were injured by disasters. Among them, lightning injured 124, rainstorms injured eleven, floods injured five and landslides injured three.
In 2017, disasters killed 67 people leaving 133 and destroyed 5768 houses and 198 classrooms. They also damaged 5251.1 hectares of crops and killed 587 livestock.
The same year, disasters also destroyed three health centers, damaged 13 roads, destroyed 37 churches, 49 bridges, 17 administrative bureau, ten water supplies and 79 transmission lines.
Why lightning continue to claim many lives
As has been observed, from January to March this year, among 33 people killed by disasters, 27 were killed by lightning.
Also in 2017, among 67 people killed by disasters, 24 of them were killed by lightning followed by rainstorms which killed 21.
MIDIMAR's Hishamunda said that when it rains, affected people are likely to be in conditions which attract lightning.
“Nowadays, there are heavy rains followed by lightnings people who are outside their homes, close to water areas are likely to be struck by lightning; it is rare to see people struck from inside their houses,” he explained.
He explained that from inside the houses lightning struck those who don't disconnect electronic gadgets and without lightning arresters.
He urged people to avoid using electronic sets like mobile phones when it is raining as they attract lightning.
He said that people should avoid going close to towers and metallic fences when it is raining. He added that people should avoid seeking shelter under trees.
“It doesn't rain abruptly, people should consider seeking shelter at good places and avoid any contact with water,” he added.
Hishamunda said that MIDIMAR encourages owners of big structures and public places to install lightning arresters so as to avoid the risks.
“Regulations indicate that owners of public places like churches, hospitals, markets, administrative offices should install lightning arresters,” he said.
On the case Nyaruguru lightning that struck worshipers from inside the church, Hishamunda said that MIDIMAR has learnt that the church had no lightning arrestors and had connected electronic gadgets from inside and outside the church, some of which were directly exposed to the rain.
“If they had disconnected these equipment earlier or if they had lightning arrester, that tragedy would have been avoided,” he added.
He said that last year, MIDIMAR wrote to all districts and the Ministry of Local Government requesting them to conduct inspection of big structures to establish whether they have lightning arresters.
The Government has intervened in supporting the victims.
For the case of Nyaruguru lightning, the district promised to foot all medical bills for survivors as they also paid all cost for burial of deceased.
Also the government provides roofing to people whose houses were destroyed and neighbors support them through community works (umuganda) to construct or rehabilitate their houses. Also the government provides with them material reliefs.
MIDIMAR minister, Jeanne d'Arc De Bonheur and the State Minister in charge of Social Affairs in the Ministry of Local Governance, Alvera Mukabaramba yesterday joined Nyaruguru residents to comfort families of lightning victims.
Mukabaramba announced that the government is going to install lightning arresters in regions which are highly struck by lightning in the country.
A total of $77,958 will go to construct new maternity ward and purchase one open care warmer, two medical cupboards and 17 beds. The grant is also expected to improve reproductive health for more than 58,000 people.
$81,109 of the grant will go to construct new school buildings of the JOC Vocational Training Center including five classrooms, one administrative block, one sanitary facility and one workshop. With the aim to improve the quality of the training, the grant is also expected to allow JOCA Rwanda to accept over 100 more students.
The signing of the grant took place yesterday in Kigali between the Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda, Takayuki Miyashita and Executive Director of Association Rwandaise pour le Développement Rural (ARDR) Jean Munyurangabo and JOC Rwanda President Jean Bosco Harerimana.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Miyashita said that the new maternity ward will provide pregnant women with proper labor, delivery and maternity rooms.
He added that the project will reduce the number of pregnant women who have to give birth without having appropriate health facilities.
“Most pregnant women have to lie on the floor because of a lack of beds in the maternity ward of Nyacyonga Health Center. Moreover, the maternity ward does not have a water tank to clean the delivery room after child birth,” he said.
He said that the project is expected to lower the health risk for newborn babies and pregnant women and improve reproductive health for more than 58,000 people in Jabana and Nduba sectors, Gasabo District.
On school, Ambassador Miyashita said that the grant will provide a proper educational facility to students and enhance their school environment.
“This grant will allow JOC Rwanda to have enough work space for vocational trainings including welding, tailoring and hairdressing. The school can also accept over 100 more students who were put on a wait-list,” he said.
Nyacyonga Health Center Director, Clementine Mukagasana welcomed the grant saying that previously they had a room with five beds only and was a problem to manage them due to the number of pregnant women they receive.
ARDR's Munyurangabo said that during the implementation of the project, they will partner with residents through community works, and the district will provide with them experts to supervise construction works.
Joc Rwanda's Harerimana said that the grant will help them save the amount of money they used to spend in renting classrooms. The school was launched in 2014.
He said that they used to spend over Rwf1.4 million in rent, but they will allocate them to improving the quality of education by buying new equipment.
The auction of unspecified tobacco quantity is set for 28th March, 2018 at the factory located in Gikondo industrial area in Kigali in order to recover tax arrears, according to an announcement by a bailiff, Mr. Védaste Habimana.
“As requested by RRA and after reviewing the tax-establishing decisions given to Premier Tobacco Company Ltd; with an intention to recover tax arrears, the professional bailiff announces to the general public that there will be an auction of tobacco stock of Premier Tobacco Company Ltd on Wednesday 28/03/2018,” reads part of the statement released yesterday and signed by lawyer Védaste Habimana.
Visiting the stocks will start next Tuesday, afternoon.
Details of the stock quantity and amount of arrears remain unrevealed but bailiff Habimana has referred IGIHE to RRA for further details which remained unavailable by press time.
IGIHE is trying to get the details from RRA and the factory's management.
Jean d'Amour Mugabo
Suspects are Apostle Charles Rwandamura, Reverend Pastor Fred Nyamurangwa, Bishop Innocent Rugagi, Rev Emmanuel Ntambara, Pastor James Dura and Pastor Emmanuel Kalisa Shyaka.
Speaking to IGIHE, the Prosecutor General Jean Bosco Mutangana said that they received the case file on Monday 12th and currently, they are analyzing it.
Following their arrest, Police said that all pastors are suspected of having had plans to tamper with the exercise of clamping down on churches that do not meet structural standards across the country.
Police said that some church heads formed a group with the aim of impeding the exercise.