Xinhua, July 4,2013
KIGALI, — Rwanda celebrates the Liberation Day on Thursday, with an emphasis to promote self reliance and achieve inclusive growth for the better future of its people.
The day is fixed on July 4 against the backdrop of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), now Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF), stopping the genocide in 1994 and established a unity and reconciliation government.
Celebrations to mark Rwanda’s 19th Liberation Day and 51 years of independence are observed at the community level across the East African country, where residents share ideas about their self- liberation and how to continue striving for their dignity and better life.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday visited Kami Army Barracks in the suburbs of the Rwandan capital Kigali to assess homes built by the RDF for the most vulnerable population.
Addressing the gathering, the Rwandan president said Rwanda is a country where the vulnerable are cared for and where the government invests heavily in the well-being of its citizens.
“The times of a divided Rwanda are behind us. Rwandans today value each other and their role in building a prosperous nation.
“We shouldn’t wait anybody to build our country; we should use our available means to move Rwanda forward,” Kagame said, adding that the journey is still long despite the fact that the country has achieved tremendous progress in a short period of time.
He called upon Rwandans to stand on their ground and shape the country’s future as it is their responsibility.
“Rwanda’s history and challenges cannot be addressed as business as usual…it requires a new approach. We must fulfill our responsibility to take part with our own two hands in the development of our nation,” he said.
The country’s Liberation Day has over the past 18 years been marked with a major event at Amahoro National Stadium, where spectators would be entertained by various performances, including the national military band, military parades and martial arts demonstrations.
Rwanda has taken great development strides since 2000, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Index (HDI) report released months ago.
In 2012, the country’s economy grew by 7.7 percent mainly as a result of good yields in the service and industry sectors.
The deaths of children under the age of five have fallen from 152 of every 1,000 in 2005 to 54. Maternal mortality has dropped from 750 of every 100,000 in 2005 to 134, while the number of deaths caused by malaria reduced greatly, from 54 percent in 2005 to 6 percent.
Poverty in Rwanda has dropped by 11.8 percent since 2006, a rate six times lower than what the country achieved between 2000 and 2006, according to the latest Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey.