The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Vincent Biruta has said that the Africa Liberation Day must give Africans an opportunity to ensure that the spirit the founding fathers of the African Union, formerly the Organisation of the African Union (OAU), had in 1963 is not lost.
Biruta made the remarks in a live webinar conference to celebrate Africa Liberation Day, under the theme "Silencing the Guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa's development".
The conference was held virtually due to the current challenges to host meeting physically due to the COVID19 pandemic, which has caused countless deaths and economic distress globally.
“Africa Day gives us an opportunity to ensure that the spirit our founding fathers of the OAU had in 1963 is not lost.,” Minister Biruta said, adding: “That spirit that led to the indomitable and irresistible surge of our people for political independence should be manifested today in addressing the current challenges,”
Speaking about the theme of this year’s Africa Day, Biruta noted that the African Union more relevant given the need to end and prevent conflicts on the continent, especially in the current context of the COVID19 pandemic which is having a serious toll on African populations and economies.
“The liberation struggle that continues today is aimed at dealing with the challenge of poverty and integration of our continent, which cannot be realized without dealing with and ending conflicts in Africa. Security and development are inextricably linked,” Biruta said.
Minister Biruta reminded participants that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed over a million lives, is one of the continent’s biggest failures on its liberation course, which should be a wake up call for Africa to rethink her own mechanism of averting similar catastrophes.
Biruta said: “Our current liberation path in Rwanda has largely been guided by our terrible history to which we have vowed never to happen again. Rwanda initiated home-grown solutions and governance innovations that provide unconventional responses to societal challenges unlikely to be addressed through conventional means.”
He added: “Rwanda is determined to take part in peace support operations on our continent and beyond, to protect civilians and be part of continental endeavours to silencing the guns.”
Minister Biruta noted that while ‘Silencing The Guns’ remains a priority, it is only when mechanisms like the AfCFTA are operational that Africa’s dream of peace and security and economic integration will be realized and root causes of conflicts addressed.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission said that there is no nobler manner of celebrating Africa Day than by initiating ensuring food sufficiency, create millions of jobs, and save hundreds of millions of African citizens, who are currently seriously exposed to pandemics and various other hazards.
“This entails a real outpouring of solidarity for a truly strong and lasting African resilience,” Mahamat said.