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“We will not hand over the country to drug users,” Col. Mugisha advises the youth

Col. Vicent Mugisha, one of the senior officers in the Rwandan Defence Forces, shared with the youth the exemplary conduct of the forces that stopped the Genocide against the Tutsis in 1994. He reminded the current generation to follow in the footsteps of their elders, avoiding bad behaviors including drug abuse, to ensure that when they inherit Rwanda, it will have all it needs to avoid falling into disaster.

Considering that Rwandan youth constitute almost 70% of the population, the country’s current policies prioritize youth involvement to ensure that when the current leaders step down, they will be replaced by competent successors.

One of the prevailing issues among today’s youth is indulgence in alcohol and drugs, sometimes leading them astray, neglecting their future responsibilities.

This is why, in recent weeks, the Ministry of Youth and Culture has been touring all provinces, educating over 5000 young people, especially those in secondary schools, on what they need to focus on to prepare for the job market.

This program concluded last weekend in Kigali, where about 1000 young people were advised by experienced professionals, even those who started their careers without much hope.

Among the advisors was Col. Mugisha Vincent, who shared with the youth how those who were fighting to liberate the country behaved. He pointed out that if they had indulged in drugs, the mission to free Rwandans would have remained a mere thought, resulting in defeat.

He told them about facing a formidable army with all sorts of weapons, while the Inkotanyi sometimes had to dodge bullets, but their discipline and clear objectives enabled them to stop the Genocide.

He warned that drug abuse leads to loss of intelligence, lack of future hope, disappointing parents and the country, and even imprisonment. He spoke from experience, having tried all kinds of alcohol and finding them utterly useless.

He said, “Drugs will bring you nothing but ruin. Our children, avoid drugs because we will not hand this country over to madmen. Do you really want us to give it to marijuana users? People who are not mentally sound? The country would plunge into disaster just like a drunk driver crashes a car. That’s how a country dies.”

Apart from abstaining from alcohol and drugs, Col Mugisha advised the students to continue striving, setting goals, and being determined, innovative, and resilient. “Even if you fail, keep trying and don’t be discouraged,” he said, assuring them that President Kagame is always concerned about their future.

He cited the struggle for liberation, where parents, knowing what they wanted, would send their children to fight, losing some and sending others again.

He said, “You would be five siblings. The parent would send two, who would then die, and upon hearing of their deaths, would send the remaining two. That’s exceptional determination; even if they also died, you’d remain alone but continue. What defined the Inkotanyi was not giving up or getting discouraged, and you should do the same.”

He highlighted that this perseverance is why Rwanda is now a global power, often called upon for peacekeeping missions, not because “we love bloodshed or war, but because we oppose anything that violates human rights.”

Regarding Rwanda’s Heroes’ Month, Col Mugisha said that while the war with guns is over, heroism now lies in various tasks to build the country, urging them to seek knowledge to develop the country further.

He advised, “Keep learning. Stop thinking that getting your first degree and spending all your money is the end. What have you finished? You’re just beginning. You’re starting to learn and see the world. There are opportunities for education. A country doesn’t progress without educated citizens; it progresses because it has enlightened people.”

He concluded with a call for unity, reminding them that the country’s wealth is its people, combined with humility in their duties, rather than pride and arrogance when assigned responsibilities.

He said, “You might become a mayor and feel too important, or even a minister. What ruins us Rwandans is taking pride over our duties. Be humble and listen to those below you.”

Col Mugisha showed the youth that everything is prepared for them to follow the right path to success, urging them not to waste these opportunities, as the achievements today are “built on the many lives lost in the struggle to liberate the country.”

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