For us, inclusion is personal. We believe that everyone needs to play a role in including persons with disabilities more fully in society.
Sara lost her sight at age seven and has witnessed the way that society marginalizes and undervalues persons with disabilities. The embassy sponsored Sara's visit to Rwanda this month, just as the United States celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of inclusive practices, including employing persons living with disabilities.
The United States promotes the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society, including academic, economic, and civic activities. We passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 to ensure equal treatment under the law for all and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. We believe that everyone should seek to ensure that all persons with disabilities have meaningful and equal access to the workforce and the economy.
Many countries, including Rwanda, have similar laws to prevent discrimination and promote inclusion, but these laws are often not well enforced, even back home. There is an important role for government, civil society, and even individuals in ensuring that responsible agencies understand their obligations to their citizens and that agencies have the right resources to comply with these obligations.
Despite these protections, persons with disabilities face high unemployment rates. Last month in the United States, for example, the unemployment rate for persons with no disability was just 3.2 percent, but almost double that rate – 6.1 percent — for persons with disabilities. In some countries that rate can be as high as 90 percent, sadly.
Accessibility affords every individual the opportunity to benefit from the economy, and it also allows companies to benefit from the patronage of the whole population. The World Bank estimates that about 15% of the world's population has a disability – imagine the business potential of such a large segment of society! Including persons with disabilities in the workforce is critical to achieving broad-based economic growth and to creating an economy where everyone has a chance to thrive.
One study found that businesses generally see a net benefit from hiring an employee with a disability, even if they need to make accommodations. Benefits include lower staff turnover, improved customer service, and fewer accidents and errors. A report by Accenture proves the point – companies that proactively employ persons with disabilities have 28% higher revenues than companies that do not.
Rwanda is well-positioned to be at the forefront of inclusive employment trends. In the U.S. presidential proclamation announcing National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we noted “automation and technology are changing the way in which work is organized and performed – and who can perform it. Many jobs will be open to new populations particularly individuals with disabilities.” That's especially true in Rwanda, as the labor force transitions from agriculture to more skills-based jobs—like assembling smart phones and drone delivery.
And while accessibility has a very important technical aspect, inclusive employment practices means that companies create a workplace environment where all persons, regardless of their physical or intellectual abilities, have a sense of belonging and value. In this way, all employees can fully contribute 100 percent of themselves to their companies.
We ask that you – whether as a good neighbor or as a hiring manager – vow to give this issue the high profile it deserves, as we work toward equal opportunity for all.
Here at the U.S. Embassy, we will continue our work to mainstream inclusion and to support the implementation of Rwanda's laws on the protection of persons with disabilities and the socio-economic development of persons with disabilities. Specific to inclusive employment, we will continue to support Rwanda's special needs and inclusive education policy, to provide job training for youth with disabilities, and to empower organizations that advocate on behalf of persons with disabilities. We will also renew our commitment to prioritizing inclusion in our hiring practices.
And we will continue to bring American voices – like Sara – to Rwanda to educate and advocate for inclusive civic and social policies. Together, we can make sure that everyone is included.
Ambassador Peter H. Vrooman (@USAmbRwanda) is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service and has served as the Ambassador of the United States of America to Rwanda since March 2018.
Sara Minkara (@MinkaraSara) is the CEO and founder of Empowerment Through Integration (@ETIntegration) and is visiting Rwanda through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affair's U.S. Speakers Program.
U.S. Ambassador Peter H. Vrooman and Sara Minkara
The conference gathered over 150 energy and nuclear professionals from across the globe. Representatives from key African countries that are planning or already implementing their respective programs for developing peaceful nuclear technologies included Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.
The topics key issues for the development of nuclear on the continent: international collaboration, technology development, infrastructure, financing, and regulation.
Speaking at the panel on global nuclear trends, Dmitry Shornikov, CEO of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, emphasized the advantages of joining the atomic club through creating nuclear industries in newcomer countries and gave an overview of projects with the maximum positive effect on the industrial development, enhancing the quality of life and developing knowledge economy.
He noted: “We are the only ones in the world who are fully vertically integrated in absolutely every segment of the nuclear value chain. We utilize this competitive advantage to create additional value by providing full support for the national nuclear energy program of the customer country at all its stages and provide access to the entire line of products and services throughout the entire life of a nuclear power plant from a single supplier. Rosatom offers solutions to partner countries in the field of energy and food security, health, education, and science, improving the quality and standard of living of the population”.
Ryan Collyer, Deputy CEO of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa highlighted the reliability and versatility of small modular nuclear power plants.
He spoke of several tried and tested solutions in the field: “One of our latest and most exciting solutions is a floating nuclear power plant (FNPP).
The first plant, fondly named “Akademik Lomonosov” after famous Russian polymath, scientist, and writer Mikhail Lomonosov, is a unique and pioneering solution in the area of small modular reactors. ”
‘Akademik Lomonosov' twin KLT-40 reactor system has a capacity of 77 MW, which is sufficient to satisfy the electricity needs of a city with a population of about 100 thousand people.
Due to its mobility, FNPP's offer an excellent solution for power supply in remote and poorly accessible coastal territories.
The versatile FNPP has numerous other applications such as heat generation and desalination depending on the needs and location of the region. ‘Akademik Lomonosov' will be ready to start commercial operation on the shore of the Arctic Ocean in the Far East region of Russia in December 2019
Mr. Collyer also noted that Rosatom offers land-based small modular reactors known as RITM-200: “A modular approach allows for easier and more cost effective electrical capacity expansion, as additional reactor units and turbine equipment are able to utilize existing auxiliary infrastructure”.
It is said that students' mattresses and other equipment inside were burnt to ashes.
The fire caught the dormitory this Friday around 10 am.
The mayor of Rulindo district, Kayiranga Emmanuel has told IGIHE that investigation is underway to establish the cause.
“The cause of the fire has not yet been established but investigations are underway. We have held a meeting to devise means of helping students with alternative accommodation so they can continue with their exams,” he said.
Police Fire and Rescue Brigade rushed to extinguish the fire soon as it was alerted.
It is the second time that the fire incident is reported at the school this year.
Damaged cement was provided by the Ministry of Defense through the Reserve Forces one year ago following the heavy rain that left a number of houses destroyed in Rubavu district.
Tuyisenge Felix, one of the disaster-affected residents said the cement was long-awaited to complete their houses.
“Following disasters, the Government rented accommodation for vulnerable residents but others with means rebuilt houses. I am among those who managed to set up other buildings. It would be better we get the cement to make final touches,” he said.
Rubavu district vice mayor for economic affairs, Nzabonimpa Déogratias said they have assigned a team to inspect the number of damaged sacks and hold accountable the people behind the negligence.
“There are at least 700 sacks of cement that might have wasted in-store within a year. We have delegated a team following up on the matter to identify non-damaged cement to be used. We need the cement to build 400 houses of vulnerable residents this year. We shall opt for the court to bring to book whoever is responsible for the waste,” he said.
IGIHE has learned from credible sources that 5078 sacks were damaged in store though the vice mayor reduced the number to 700.
The heavy downpour of 3rd March 2018 resulted in the flooding of River Sebeya hence completely destroying 26 houses and dampened over 900. Most of the victims are still housed by good Samaritans.
Mudathiru is one of 25 RNC combatants arrested recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo and arraigned in the Military Tribunal in Nyamirambo.
The group comprises of members from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and one Tanzanian-born with Malawi nationality.
All the 25 suspects were charged with four counts, namely; being part of an unlawful military outfit, treason, forming an illegal military outfit, and conniving with foreign countries to destabilize Rwanda.
Mudathiru admitted charges this Friday as he and co-accused recently repatriated from DRC appeared in the Military Tribunal in Nyamirambo for hearing.
Mudathiru pleaded guilty of all the counts but explained that the rebel group's plans were not executed.
“I apologize for that,” he said.
Mudathiru's defense lawyer, Paola requested the beginning of the client's trial in depth without remand period since the client pleaded guilty of counts cited by the prosecution.
Prosecution explained that court procedures must be determined by laws.
Other co-accused said they were promised job opportunities like driving, health care and mining among others to seduce them and later diveted into joining P5.
Retired army Major Habib Madhatiru, 53, is a former officer in the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF). He has been walking on crutches due to a leg injury he sustained at the time of his capture.
Prosecutors say Mudathiru was in charge of operations and training in Congo for the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), a rebel group founded by Kayumba Nyamwasa.
P5 is a coalition political parties against the government of Rwanda known as P5 including People's Congress (AMAHORO-PC), Forces Démocratiques Unifées-Inkingi (FDU INKINGI), People's Defence Pact-Imanzi (PDP-IMANZI), Socialist Party-Imberakuri (PS IMBERAKURI) and Rwanda National Congress (RNC) chaired by Kayumba.
With 84 weekly flights to 17 destinations in 16 countries, Africa is a crucial part of Brussels Airlines' long haul network. The airline offers more than 1.2 million seats on its African flights this year and has a vast knowledge in operating to the continent, specifically to sub-Saharan Africa. The success of its flights to and from Africa lies partly in the connections to the rest of the Brussels Airlines network via its base at Brussels Airport, as more than 70% of travelers connect to or from other destinations in Europe and the US.
Although most of Brussels Airlines' destinations in Africa have a primary focus on corporate travelers and passengers who visit their friends and relatives abroad (VFR) in Europe and the US, more and more holidaymakers find their way to the beautiful coasts and nature of Africa. Brussels Airlines sees an increasing holiday trend to beach destinations like Dakar (Senegal) and Banjul (The Gambia). Entebbe (Uganda) and Kigali (Rwanda) are year after year attracting more hikers and adventurers who want to visit the mountain gorillas in the wild. Last but not least, Sierra Leone with its pristine beaches is slowly but surely becoming a go-to destination for adventurous surf lovers from all over the world.
To better serve all of its travelers, the airline introduced a “boutique hotel in the air”, a brand new travel experience in its retrofitted A330 aircraft. By investing in a completely new Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class, Brussels Airlines wants to offer a personal experience, recreating a boutique hotel feel at 30,000 feet. Next to a renewed Business Class and Economy Class, the airline also introduces Premium Economy, a brand new travel class. As more retrofitted aircraft enter the fleet, the new class will gradually be rolled out to more African destinations (see a detailed schedule below). From now on, Premium Economy is available on flights to and from Kinshasa and Luanda.
With a focus on comfort, personal space and hospitality, Premium Economy aims to respond to customers who want to have a high quality service and superior comfort, but do not wish to pay a Business Class fare. In Premium Economy, customers can expect 23% more legroom than Economy Class, a wider seat with a bigger headrest and a generous 40° seat recline. Premium Economy is separated from the other cabins for maximum privacy and rest.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization that provides insight and influences the public discourse on critical global issues.
The Council was formed on February 20, 1922. Originally named The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the organization was established as a neutral forum for discussing foreign affairs during a period of isolationism in the United States after World War I.
The delegation that arrived in Rwanda from Ethiopia held talks with Kagame yesterday revolving around Rwanda's politics in the 25 years journey, economy and citizens' wellbeing.
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe said that guests have a lot of things to learn from Rwanda including the country's 25 years transformational journey.
He further stated that the delegation was thirsty to learn from Rwanda's resilience over the past 25 years.
“Many foreigners still doubt about Rwanda's transformational journey looking at the current progress and the situation in 1994. They hailed a lot concerning implemented economic policy, Rwanda's Governance and culture among priorities promoting Rwandans unity,” he said.
Before meeting with Kagame, the delegation held talks with other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.
The head of the delegation said that they had extraordinary discussions with the President of Rwanda, what lessons the Unites States might be able to learn from Rwanda about how the society is brought together and what other states might do to continue to be a great good partner of Rwanda.
Kagame made the call yesterday as he officiated the swearing-in of the new Senate, Airforce Chief of Staff, and the new CEO and Deputy CEO of the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).
“You were elected Senators based on your values, your patriotism, knowledge, and strengths. This forms the basis of why Rwandans expect you to use your strengths and abilities to improve their lives,” he said.
“Transforming the lives of our citizens will require to work closely with them, to help solve the challenges they still face and advise them on how to confront those that are laying ahead of us,” added the President.
Kagame reminded them that their job is to make sure that Rwandans get all they need and deserve towards living healthier lives.
He emphasized that security and good governance are foundations of their work that should be upheld as everyone's responsibility.
“Good politics and good governance are things that each one of us should play a role in. This is what has brought us to where we are today. We are not yet where we want to be, but we are on the right path. It is important that we keep owning it and putting in all our efforts,” said the President.
Kagame congratulated new senators who took their oath of office to serve their country, the incoming Senate Bureau; the new Senate President and Vice Presidents and wished them success in their new duties.
He also thanked the outgoing Senate and its Bureau noting that their achievements will serve as the foundation for the incoming Senate's activities and help the country to keep moving forward.
The newly sworn-in 20 senators will serve the country's third Parliament for a five-year term.
They joined six others whose mandate will end next year.
Senators sworn-in yesterday at the parliament include Hadija Ndangiza Murangwa, Juvénal Nkusi, Dr. Alvera Mukabaramba, Espérance Nyirasafari, Marie Rose Mureshyankwano, Professor Cyprien Niyomugabo, Dr. Laetitia Nyinawamwiza, Dr. Augustin Iyamuremye, Lambert Dushimimana, Dr. Habineza Faustin, Bideri John, Mupenzi George, Ntidendereza William, and Habiyakare François.
Others include Fulgence Nsengiyumva, Prof. Ephraim Kanyarukiga, Pelagie Uwera, Adrie Umuhire, Innocent Nkurunziza. The senators of the second mandate who are welcoming the new ones include Consolée Uwimana, Charles Uyisenga, Jeanne d' Arc Mukakalisa, Chrysologue Karangwa, Zephyrin Kalimba, and Margaret Nyagahura.
After the transitional period (1994-2003), the first legislature of the Senate commenced in 2003 and ended in 2011. The Second Senate concluded its mandate on October 10 bringing eight-year tenure to an end.
The Senate of Rwanda has 26 members. Twelve senators are elected by the specific councils in accordance with the administrative entities in the City of Kigali and the four provinces.
Of these, one is picked from the City of Kigali, two from Northern Province, while the rest of the three provinces (West, East, and South) elect three senators each. Eight senators are appointed by the President of the Republic. Four senators are designated by the Forum of Political organizations.
One senator is elected among lecturers and researchers of Public Universities and higher learning institutions. Both the elected and appointed senators serve a five-year term, renewable once.
The process dubbed 'Public Transport Generation Two (PT-G2)' launched on Thursday is part of the national transformation process, which will officially come into force in May next year, running for five years until 2025.
PT-G2 described as a well planned, scheduled and prioritized public transport network, will replace the five-year PT-G1 launched in August 2013, which mainly focused on organizing and regulating public transport in the capital.
PT-G1 also replaced PT-G0 (before 2013), when the city was defined by low capacity vehicles with poor accessibility, operating on non-assigned routes, high revenue leakages between vehicle owners and drivers/conductors, and the government; abusive drivers and conductors; long waiting hours; unclean vehicles and unhygienic drivers and conductors.
Under PT-G2, the regulator will introduce vehicle schedule time at every bus station, improved route planning, introduce public transport application for smart-phones to facilitate passengers in their schedules on time when a bus will be at the station; driver duty board, which is filled by the driver on arrival and departure time at every bus station; and an intelligent service monitoring system, which helps the regulator to track buses in line with regard to arrival and departure time at stations.
Others include better vehicle mix, improved service contracts, increasing the commercial speed to influence use public transport rather than use of private means, which cause traffic jam; introduction of drivers' shifts to preventing stress and accidents caused by long working hours, contracts for drivers to ensure job security, medical insurance, and organized salary payment process, all which is aimed at having professional drivers with access to financial loans since they will be having contracts.
This Thursday's launch of the reforms process marked the official call for fresh interested parties to operate public transport in the City of Kigali, a process that will take two months.
Currently, there are 80 routes in the City of Kigali up from 41 routes in 2013, which are classified into four zones.
RURA's Director-General, Patrick Nyirishema, while speaking, during the press conference, said that PT-G2 comes to implement the city master plan, which requires a transit-oriented city, sustainable transport network, and comprehensive transport system.
“We have moved a long journey from PT-G0 towards PT-G2 and to PT-G3 (which will start in 2026); we moved from a disorganized transport system where passengers had no right, but we are yet to get where this country wants to be, and we will get there in favorable steps and phases," Nyirishema said.
He added that under the new public transport generation, passengers will hold transporters and drivers accountable through a real-time passenger information systems, fight traffic jams through prioritized public transport routes, and increase the use of public transport and preventing road accidents.
Currently, motorcycles account for the majority 60 percent means of transport in Kigali, private cars account for 34 percent, while public vehicles and cargo trucks account for 3 percent each.
A survey conducted this year indicates that there are 450 fleets in Kigali with a capacity of 18,394 passengers.
According to Nyirishema, the current fleet is enough to accommodate passenger capacity in Kigali, but the commercial speed is affected by the big number of private means of transport, which the new reforms will strive to address.
Generation Two will also look at the transport fare, improve operations monitoring system, public transport operator structure and governance.
Transport schedules will also take into consideration normal and peak hours, weekend and public holidays.
Nyirishema said that the reforms are meant to further ensure reliability and legibility, increase passengers' satisfaction and improve traffic control.
Dr. Iyamuremye has been elected today during the swearing-in ceremony of new Senators who joined the country's third Parliament. The ceremony was presided over by President Paul Kagame at the Parliamentary building in Kimihurura.
Esperance Nyirasafari, the former Minister of Sports and Culture has been elected the Vice-President of the Senate in charge of Legal Affairs and Control of Government Actions with 23 votes against her contestant Hadija Ndangiza Murangwa who got 3 votes.
Mukabaramba Alvera has been elected the Senate Vice-President in Charge of Finance and Administration with 22 votes against his competitor Adrien Umuhire who obtained 4 votes.
Dr. Iyamuremye thanked his colleagues for the trust bestowed on him.
“I would like to express my sincere gratefulness from the bottom of my heart for the trust bestowed upon me. I assure you of delivering to the best of my ability. My thanks go to fellow senators and co-chairs of the Senate Bureau. It is a great responsibility that we can only achieve success with every senator's direct support,” he said.
Iyamuremye promised efficiency towards citizens' common interests
A trained veterinary doctor, Iyamuremye, 74, is a vastly experienced senior PSD politician. His political career spans over three decades. He served under previous regimes, including as prefet (governor) of then Gitarama prefecture, Head of Intelligence, among other key roles.
During the post-1994 period, he served in different Cabinet portfolios, including Agriculture, Information, and Foreign Affairs. He also served as a senator, presidential advisor, among other roles.
He is among the four senate-designates who joined the Senate as a presidential appointee in September 2019.
Other presidential appointees include Espérance Nyirasafari, François Habiyakare and Alvera Mukabaramba.
Until his recent appointment, Iyamuremye was serving as the Chairperson of Rwanda Elders Advisory Forum (REAF), a role reserved for people who have proven experience and ability in addressing national challenges.
Prior to her appointment as Senator, Nyirasafari also served as Minister of Gender and Family Promotion for the Government of Rwanda since October 4th, 2016.
She served as a Member of Parliament Chamber of Deputies Standing Committee on Political and Gender Affairs since October 06th, 2013.
She also held the positions of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice from January 2007 to May 2011, National Prosecutor from 2004 to 2007 and the Chief Prosecutor in former Gitarama Province from February 2001 to July 2004.
From 1999 to 2001, Mrs. Nyirasafari Espérance worked with the Civil Society in the field of women and children's rights in Haguruka Association.
Dr. Alvera Mukabaramba – the former presidential candidate (2003/2010), was elected the Senate Vice President in charge of Administration and Finance.
She returns to the Senate for the second time.
Mukabaramba is a Paediatrician who graduated at the First Pavlov State Medical University in Russia. Dr. Mukabaramba who is the President of the Party of Progress and Concord (PPC), was the Minister of State for Social Affairs in the Ministry of Local Government.
They were handed the sentence on 6th July 2018 following two months of appeal in the Paris Court d'Assises. They later filed a complaint to the Court of Cessation which held the verdict on 16th October 2019.
Octavian Ngenzi and Tito Barahira were successive Mayors (Bourgmestres) of the former Kabarondo Commune, now in the current Kayonza District between 1977-1994.
The Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR), a rights group that works to bring Genocide suspects living in France to book has welcomed the decision.
The Chairperson of CPCR, Alain Gauthier said: “The duo is additional to Pascal Simbikangwa convicted of genocide crimes in 2016 making it only three genocidaires handed life sentence in France in 25 years. It is unfortunate.”
Tito and Ngenzi were convicted for taking part in the killings of Tutsi who fled to former Kabarondo commune offices.
Octavien Ngenzi, 61, and Tito Barahira, 68, were handed life sentences in 2016 and upheld during the appeal hearing in 2018.
IGIHE learnt that Gen Rwigamba breathed his last in Cairo International Medical Center where he went for treatment.
Rwigamba assumed different offices as the Commissioner General of Rwanda National Police prior to 2008 when he was relieved of his duties and replaced by Emmanuel Gasana in 2013.
The post was temporarily being filled by Deputy Commissioner General, Mary Gahonzire who was at the time appointed Head the National Prisons Services.
Andrew Rwigamba was sent to retirement from RDF at the rank of Brigadier General in October 2013 along with other senior and non-commissioned officers.
He was among the first batch of senior officers sent into retirement that took part in stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Following his retirement, Gen Rwigamba was appointed the Director-General in charge of Foreign Military Relations and Cooperation at the Ministry of Defense.
The Government of Rwanda introduced land registration in 2009 to enhance transparency and put an end to land-sharing related disputes. The exercise was completed in 2013 but some parcels remain unregistered.
RLMUA statement released on 15th October 2019 has given a three-month deadline for people with unregistered land.
It is said that some landowners provided incomplete and wrong registration details resulting in rejection by the data entry system.
They were requested to provide evidence proving them right owners but 14% of the land remains unregistered.
RLMUA figures indicate that a total of 11,5 million land documents have been issued based on land identification number known as Unique Parcel Identifier (UPI) while the rest remaining 1.5 million parcels are not registered.
The institution also reports 18,000 parcels involved in disputes.
Espérance Mukamana, the Director-General of RLMUA has said that people with unregistered land are given a three-month deadline while those with disputed land have one month to settle the issue or face penalties including registration of the land as Government property.
“We have not yet taken possession of the land but we want all parcels registered to owners. All people coming with evidence proving they are right owners will have the land registered to them. The main intention is to avoid incomplete data,” she said.
RLMUA indicates that 331,110 of registered parcels belong to the Government that those whose owners are not registered will become Government properties very soon.
The Accreditation Ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola, Secretaries of State and senior officials of the Ministry of External Relations, and senior officials in the office of the President as well as Diplomats of the Rwandan Embassy in Angola.
On July 16, 2019, President Paul Kagame appointed Ambassador Wellars Gasamagera extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to Angola.
During his audience with the President of the Republic of Angola H.E João Lourenço the Rwandan Ambassador to Angola, thanked him for the excellent and growing cooperation between the two countries and for the role Angola is playing in bringing peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
The Ambassador also expressed his desire to strengthen and develop the already existing relations between both countries and accelerate the signing of the joint Permanent Co.
The President of the Republic of Angola, H.E. João Lourenço observed that he honors the excellent relations, friendship and mutual understanding that exists between the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Rwanda.
Rwanda and Angola are both members of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and have cooperation agreements in the fields of Diplomatic, civil aviation, security, and public order.
The authorities of both countries have been working to diversify cooperation by adopting means that help to identify common interests with mutual benefits for both countries.
The decorated hybrid force under Rwanda Formed Police Unit-One (RWAFPU-1) deployed in Malakal, Upper Nile headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Paul Gatambira, is one of the three Rwandan Formed Police Units (FPUs) operating under the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
UNMISS Head of Field Office (HOFO) in Malakal Mrs. Hazel Dewet presided over the medal ceremony held in their base camp.
It was also attended by UN Police (UNPOL) Chief of Staff, ACP Barthelemy Rugwizangonga, who represented UNMISS Police Commissioner, UNMISS Sector-North Commander Brig. Gen Johnson Akou Adjei Koffi, Malakal Police commissioner Maj. Gen Chol Atem, commanders of peacekeepers from other countries, among other high-ranking UNMISS and South Sudan officials.
The medal ceremony was characterized by a parade, martial arts and cultural performance by the decorated Rwandan peacekeepers.
Mrs. Dewet hailed the Rwandan peacekeepers for their professionalism in contributing to the peace agreement in South Sudan. She particularly appreciated the role played by the Rwandan women under RWAFPU-3, adding “it's an indication that peace-building is not only the work of men.”
“Your limitless efforts showed that you were prepared enough and brave people to endure any challenging situation; it erased doubts you would accomplish any assigned tasks with resolute efficiency and extreme professionalism even in the face of fragile and volatile environment,” Mrs. Dewet said.
She stated that the awarded medals define Rwandan peacekeepers' commitment to the unification and peace for the people of South Sudan, adding that the UN appreciates “Rwanda's commitment to international peace.”
The UNPOL Chief of Staff, ACP Barthelemy Rugwizangoga conveyed his gratitude to the Government of Rwanda for its contribution to UNPOL and for bridging the gender parity gap in peacekeeping.
He thanked the decorated officers for their confidence and trust building patrols, cordon and search operations, prevention of sexual and gender-based violence as well as operational support to the mandated activities of the Individual Police Officers (IPOs), UN and humanitarian actors.
In his remarks, the RWAFPU-1 contingent commander, ACP Paul Gatambira stated receiving the medal was an honor for the decorated peacekeepers, and thanked the UN, South Sudan government; UNMISS leadership and the people of South Sudan for their support, which facilitated them to effectively discharge their duties.
“I would like to acknowledge that it would not have been easier without support, encouragement, cooperation, and guidance of the UNMISS leadership like; UNPOL/IPOs, Military components, UNDSS [United Nations Department of Safety and Security], and all civilian components without forgetting humanitarian agencies,” ACP Gatambira said.
He further noted that they have gained more experience, exposure, diversity, and resilience in handling “unpredictable and challenging circumstances,” which will be shared back in their home country and beyond.
ACP Gatambira also thanked the decorated officers under his command for their professionalism, commitment, teamwork, and hard work, and expressed gratitude to the people of Malakal for being “partners in peacekeeping activities.”
RWANFPU-1 was deployed in UNMISS, Malakal in November last year, where they were largely charged with the protection of over 32,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and communities in the vicinity and conducted varied human security activities, including communal work—Umuganda.
The signing took place during Kagame's one-day official visit to Bangui and was reached following bilateral talks.
The agreements focus on defense, oil, investment promotion, mining and oil, investment promotion and a Bilateral Investment Treaty.
While in Bangui, Kagame attended a State Luncheon hosted in his honor by President Touadéra, where he was awarded the highest decoration "Grand Croix de la Reconnaissance" and a symbolic key to the City of Bangui as the city's honorary resident.
Kagame welcomed the award and commended the signing of bilateral agreements noting that it was an indication of a new chapter in bilateral ties between the two countries.
"This occasion marks a new chapter in the bilateral relationship, between Rwanda and the Central African Republic," he said.
“Today, we signed a number of important agreements which put our joint endeavors on solid footing. And this is just the beginning. These agreements should be diligently implemented, so we can build on them to achieve even more together, in the years ahead,” highlighted Kagame.
President reminisced on both countries' shared history and observed that nothing should hold back their progress because there are possibilities to shape a dignified future.
"Both our countries have endured difficult histories. There is no doubt about it. However, no nation is forever hostage to its past. There is always a choice that can be made, collectively, to build a future, in which every citizen has a sense of dignity and belonging," he noted.
“We also seek to learn from the efforts of others, including the Central African Republic. In a small but significant way, this kind of practical cooperation gives meaning to the tragedy we went through. Rwanda stands ready to continue accompanying the people of the Central African Republic, as you move forward,” added the President.
The central African Republic has been in turmoil since a violent takeover of power in 2013. The aftermath saw widespread violence as armed militia fought each other and took revenge on the population.
The March 2016 election of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra brought an initial lull but was followed by more fighting in late 2016 and early 2017 between armed groups including ex-Seleka factions and anti-balaka militias – both controlling vast areas of the country.
Rwanda experienced a tragic past during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which took the lives of over 1 million victims. Following the mayhem, Rwanda introduced unity and reconciliation programs that all Rwandans were brought together under one common identity and worked hard for the country's resilience.
For Rwanda, Kagame said, the key factor in the country's peacebuilding process was a firm commitment to national unity whereby Rwandans endeavor to find solutions to their problems through dialogue and consensus.
He highlighted that Politics should bring people together to promote the well-being of everyone, not create divisions and commended the President and the people of the Central African Republic for the steps taken towards peace and reconciliation.
Kagame's visit was the first of its kind since Touadera assumed office in 2016.
Rwanda is the top contributor of peacekeeping forces in the CAR with a mission of 1,370 army troops as well as 430 police personnel.
He replaces Vincent Karega who was appointed to represent Rwanda in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda and South Africa have been working towards revitalizing relations that soured in 2014 over political crises related to hosting convicted fugitives including Kayumba Nyamwasa convicted of terrorism acts that involved grenade attacks in different parts of Kigali taking lives of many people.
At the time, South Africa also accused Rwanda of being behind an armed attack on Kayumba's home in South Africa.
This saw South Africa suspending the issuance of Visa to Rwandans heading to the country using ordinary passports and deported three Rwandan diplomats in Pretoria. In return, Rwanda expelled six South Africa's diplomats.
As President Ramaphosa attended African Union Summit in Kigali 2018, he revealed that he had agreed with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame to facilitate both countries' Foreign Affairs Ministers to deal with the issue amicably and make a report for implementation. No progress has so far been reported.
George Nkosinati Twala was the last South Africa Ambassador to Rwanda. He was recalled after ending a 6-year term limit but has not yet been replaced.
The Project brings together African troop-contributing countries, the other UN Member States and the UN Department of Field Support.
It aims at enhancing the capacity of engineering contingents or sub-units through training and equipping.
While giving his closing remarks on behalf of the RDF Chief of Defence Staff, RDF Chief of Logistics, Brig-Gen Dr. Ephrem Rurangwa emphasized that RDF has no doubt that the trained personnel will use the acquired skills to effectively perform their tasks.
“Having an operator graduating from using one machine to using more than two machines is quite an achievement for our operators. Being able to train our personnel is important in capacity building, and this requires skills improvement for a good instructor as well as a good student,” he said.
“You will work with trainees all over the country where we have projects.
Take care of the reference materials that you have been given, they will make your work easier,” Brig-Gen Rurangwa added.
He further stated that the skills acquired are also crucial for deploying Engineering Component Squadron in UN Peacekeeping Mission, noting that the squadron is composed of combat engineers, construction engineers, and equipment.
The training was organized in partnership with the governments of Rwanda, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, and the UN.
Theogene Nsabimana, 40, was arrested Monday in Gitaraga Cell, Masaka Sector in Kicukiro District following several complaints from victims, some of who were his passengers while others fell victims of his sporadic ambushes in late hours of the night along different pathways in the cell.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Marie Gorette Umutesi, the Police spokesperson for the City of Kigali has said that law enforcement agencies and the cooperative of motorcyclists in Masaka have been working together to locate and arrest Nsabimana and two others still at large said to be part of the gang.
“We understand that Nsabimana was working with other two people to grab bags and other belongings, especially from women and girls. All the victims described Nsabimana and two other men still at large, as their attackers,” CIP Umutesi said.
Following the arrest of Nsabimana, a number of his victims showed up and indeed identified him as one of the men, who attacked them and stole their belongings that included mobile phones and money.
Most of the victims are women from Gitagara and Rusheshe cells in Masaka, who would be attacked on their way from Biryogo market. It is the second time he has been arrested over the alleged criminal acts.
Meanwhile, the cooperative of commercial motorcyclists in Masaka also said that Nsabimana was not a registered motorcyclist and that “such unregistered members take advantage of their being incognito to steal from their passengers.”
The federation of motorcycle cooperatives—FERWACOTAMO—is building a database and registering every commercial motorcyclist and owners of motorcycles, including installation of GPS, to help trace implicated wrongdoers, keep records of their members' behavior and help them to take action against errant members.
The AG100 motorcycle, RA 965N was stolen on October 8, from Munyangoga's home in Nyamata Sector. It was recovered on October 14, in Rilima Sector.
The Police spokesperson for the Eastern region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hamdun Twizeyimana said that on the fateful evening, Munyangoga returned home and parked his motorcycle on the veranda.
Later that evening, he came out of the house only to find that his motorcycle was nowhere to be seen and he immediately called law enforcement agencies which commenced the search for the motorcycle and suspected thief.
“On October 10, Rilima Police station received a call at about 10pm from a local resident, who saw a motorcycle hidden in a banana plantation; apparently the suspected thief was looking for a buyer,” CIP Twizeyimana said.
“The suspect was selling the motorcycle at Rwf700, 000. Although he managed to flee the arrest that very night, we know him and law enforcement officers are working together to locate and bring him to justice,” the spokesperson added.
He thanked the resident, who was quick to provide information, which facilitated the recovery of the motorcycle and called for strengthened partnership and information sharing on anyone they suspect to be a wrongdoer.
Munyangoga, on his part, thanked the resident who helped the Police efforts to recover his motorcycle, and commended the impact of community policing in fighting and preventing crime.