Botswana has paid homage to President Paul Kagame and the Rwanda Patriotic Front for liberating and transforming Rwanda into a model country.
The Minister of Defence and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, who was also Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs during Rwanda’s Liberation Day celebrations held in Botswana’s capital Gaborone on Thursday August 25, said Rwanda was a source of inspiration to many countries.
“I believe you agree with me that the great milestone we are celebrating today could not have been possible without the sacrifices, bravery, and foresight of these heroes,” he said.
Mmusi hailed President Kagame’s visionary leadership saying it has resulted in a peaceful co-existence and unification of the people of Rwanda.
“Evidently, Rwanda has become a great source of inspiration to many, and thus remains a model for peace and enviable model for socio-economic development, not only on the African continent, but to the entire world and humanity as a whole,” Mmusi said.
He said the reconstruction and reconciliation model adopted and implemented after the Genocide against the Tutsi has assured and consolidated unity and peace in Rwanda. He said this was previously inconceivable. Mmusi said Botswana was noting with admiration Rwanda’s relentless effort in continuing to build a peaceful political atmosphere characterised by unity of purpose and vibrant socio-economic progress.
“The developmental indicators of Rwanda are indeed enviable and we in Botswana are keen to work closely with our Rwandese brothers and sisters to emulate those, for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples.”
He said as a result of this, Botswana regards Rwanda as an important and strategic ally in development efforts. He said there were prospects of deepening and widening the scope of cooperation between Rwanda and Botswana which led to the convening of the Inaugural Session of the Botswana/Rwanda Joint Permanent Commission in Kigali in April this year.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Botswana, James Musoni, chronicled the history of Rwanda after it attained independence in 1962 which was characterised by bad governance, segregation, propagation of sectarianism and promotion of hatred among Rwandans.
Musoni said the regimes that took over independence masterminded and promoted the exclusion and oppression of some Rwandans, especially the Tutsis in schools, work and politics, killing them and forcing them into exile. He said this led to the formation of the RPF which was committed to end these problems and bring peace, unity and equality in Rwanda.
“After stopping the Genocide in 1994, the RPF government was established which promoted national unity and reconciliation, carried out a number of reforms that enabled Rwanda to be a stable and transformed country it is today,” said Musoni during the Liberation Day celebrations.
He highlighted the socio-economic transformation under the leadership of President Kagame which has resulted in the country being a model country and now the hub of Africa’s economic transformation.
Musoni hailed the strengthening bilateral relations between Rwanda and Botswana saying; “Rwanda and Botswana enjoy cordial and excellent bilateral relations under the able leadership of HE, President Kagame and HE, President Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi, we have successfully held the inaugural session of the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation and first trade and investment conference in Kigali which will be reciprocated in Botswana next year.”
Liberation Day celebrations were also attended by Rwandans based in Botswana, Botswana’s government officials and the business community.
Meanwhile, Botswana and Rwanda signed a Memorandum of Agreement on defence cooperation covering military operations, sports, culture and exchange of information on matters of common interest as well as the status of attached personnel.
Mmusi and his Rwanda counterpart Major General Albert Murasira, signed the agreement in Gaborone Wednesday August 24.
Mmusi described the agreement as a milestone made possible by the visionary leadership of Presidents Masisi and Kagame.
“Both Botswana and Rwanda retain a position of good standing in the African continent and are well respected for their contributions towards attaining peace in their respective regions as well as Africa as a whole,” said Mmusi.
He noted that both countries had and continued to play a significant role in maintaining international peace and security as evidenced by their troop deployment in Mozambique.
“The two countries have also in the past collaborated in joint military exercises which were aimed at building operational capacity for deployments in UN and AU peacekeeping missions,” Minister Mmusi said.
Maj. Gen. Murasira said: “I am confident that it will strengthen our ability to work together not only to ensure our nation’s security but also to enhance African stability and to address global security challenges.”
Maj. Gen. Murasira and his delegation also visited Botswana Defence Force and Botswana Police Service facilities.