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Rwandan’s Wake Up To Umuganda Day

4 Min Read
New House for 101-year old Epimaque Ngashotsi

Rwandans across the country are bracing chilly weather coupled with some drizzles as they embrace Umuganda under strict guidelines against Covid-19 pandemic.

About 2 hours drive from Rwanda’s capital Kigali to Gakunyu village, Kiziguro sector in Gatsibo district residents of this area will brace the rain and gather for Umuganda usually observed at every last Saturday of the Month.

According to an announcement from the sector officials early this morning, residents will gather at a spot where 101-year old Epimaque Ngashotsi, a distinguished World War II Veteran will be resettled effective today. Since early March, residents have been taking part in the construction of Veterans new house pledged for him by the government.

In February, Taarifa published a story on Ngashotsi a senior citizen whose contribution to the liberation of Rwanda and wider defeat of the Nazi regime in Germany had never been known by many in Rwanda.

Ngashotsi has been living a quiet life in Kiziguro Sector since he returned from exile in 1994 after the Rwanda Patriotic Front Army stopped the genocide against Tutsi and defeated the enemy government forces.

In 1941, Nyagashotsi was a very energetic young man and vividly remembers when he was enlisted into Britain’s colonial King’s African Rifles under the 7th Battalion. He was sent to Nairobi, Kenya for World War II- a conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during 1939–45.

Nyagashotsi was fighting on the side of Britain against a tyrannical Adolph Hitler of Nazi Germany that sought to conquer the world.

At the end of World War II, Nyagashotsi was decorated with a service medal and returned to Rwanda.

During the period from 1959 to 1961 the political situation in Rwanda was very ugly with extreme ethnic violence targeting the Tutsi. The social revolution began in November 1959, with a series of riots and arson attacks on Tutsi homes and forcing hundreds of thousands into exile.

A helicopter hovered over villages and dropped match boxes so that the Parmehutu militia would set ablaze homes of Tutsi families.

Nyagashotsi Epimaque is a decorated World War II soldier

“My house was burnt, cows looted and eaten by Parmehutu militia,” Nyagashotsi earlier told Taarifa. He adds that he fled immediately and crossed to Uganda just like other 336,000 Tutsi that fled to neighbouring countries and living there as refugees.

Exiled Tutsi refugees were restless for an immediate return by force and overthrow the regime in Rwanda. They didn’t know whether to seek a negotiated solution or through war.

“I was bitter that the extremists had grabbed the country from us. I was determined to fight and rescue my country from the extremists,” Nyagashotsi sharply recounts the tense period that saw pooling of exiled refugees leading to the creation of an armed militia known as ‘Inyenzi‘.

Nyagashotsi can therefore be described as a distinguished senior citizen of honour who has seen the journey towards a modern, secure, united and prosperous Rwanda. Today the country and residents of Kiziguro sector are celebrating this gallant soldier.

Taarifa will be on site to give you an exclusive update as Nyagashotsi lets into his new house on a one hectare of land stocked with a hybrid cow. His life has completely transformed into a descent one befitting a person of his stature.