President Paul Kagame has decorated nine individuals with National Order of Outstanding Friendship (Igihango) for their outstanding acts in promoting friendship and cooperation between Rwanda and other countries.

These are acts that promoted the dignity and honor of the People and Nationof Rwanda, on the international scene.

The recipients of the order are Hezi Bezalel, Howard Buffett, Gilbert Chagoury, John Dick, Paul Farmer, Alain Gauthier and Dafroza Gauthier, Linda Melvern and Joseph Ritchie.

Speaking during the awarding ceremony Saturday, Kagame said that in Rwandan tradition, Igihango was the most solemn bond, that could unite two people, or two families. He said, it was a freely chosen pact, based on truth and mutual sacrifice, which was unbreakable and lifelong.

He said ordinary friends were called ’inshuti’. Those joined by a pact of Igihango were known as ’abanywanyi’, literally, those who have drunk of one other.

“Each of these eight individuals, is most definitely an outstanding friend to Rwanda, there is something of us in you, and something of you in us” he said.

“Earlier, we heard some of the achievements of the honourees and their story with Rwanda. I can assure you, that what they did in many cases even goes beyond those citations” he added.

The head of state said that because of the contribution of recipients of decoration Rwanda has been able to overcome seemingly insurmountable problems.

“Through the toughest times, where circumstances dictated that we had to rely on ourselves to survive, Rwanda was never totally alone. We had friends that we could call on. Please know that you can always count on us as well” he said

He said on the purpose of Rwanda’s various National Orders, is to honour extraordinary contributions to national life. He said doing so, serves to inspire young people, to conduct their lives with the highest principles and ambitions.

Kagame said that the ceremony will be a regular occurrence, allowing Rwanda in due course to recognise the many others, whose achievements fortify the country.

Howard G. Buffett accepting the National Order of Outstanding Friendship said Rwanda has shown the world what it means for Africans to stop being treated like children. Src: Igihe

The Express News

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