Rwandan President Paul Kagame (1st L), who is also the chairman of Rwanda's ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), delivers remarks at the opening ceremony of a national congress of RPF in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on Dec. 14, 2017. The three-day national congress organized by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) opened Thursday at the party headquarters in Kigali, as part of activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the party's establishment. (Xinhua/T. Kisambira)
KIGALI, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- A three-day national congress organized by Rwanda's ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), opened Thursday at the party headquarters in the capital city of Kigali, as part of activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the party's establishment.
In his keynote address, Kagame, who is also the chairman of RPF, described the anniversary as a milestone not only of years, but of efforts that changed the course of history of Rwanda as well as people's character.
Formed in 1979 by Rwandan refugees in exile, the Rwandese Alliance for National Unity became the RPF in 1987. In 1994, RPF took power and ended the Rwandan genocide, which claimed over 1 million lives, mostly ethnic Tutsis.
He explained that the RPF emerged as a response to serious problems in Rwanda, caused by bad politics. These problems included a divided country with no direction, where citizens had no rights, dignity or even a sense of security, according to Kagame.
Changing the situation in Rwanda, required commitment and great sacrifice as well as ideological clarity, with corresponding actions and behavior, he said.
"All the challenges we have faced, and the milestones we have reached, they should all serve as lessons that we should use to move forward," he said.
We must think of what we can do today to benefit the generations to come, said the president.
He urged Rwandan leaders to think of themselves as a leader who puts people's interests first and thinks about how to work with their peers.
Thursday's national congress was preceded by other events ahead of Saturday's celebrations.