President Paul Kagame yesterday received the African Peace Personality award 2012, which he won after an online voting by African students/youth across the continent.
The accolade was presented to the Head of State by the reigning Miss University queen of Africa, Rorisang Molefe, during an event held at Village Urugwiro.
The 18-year old Lesotho beauty was accompanied by a group of seven prominent Nigerian personalities, Joseph Habineza, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, and Protais Mitali, Minister of Youth and Culture.
Kagame was shortlisted for the prestigious award alongside three nominees who included presidents, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Olesugun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria.
The voting process which was done via Miss University Africa website and lasted for 41 days saw President Kagame win with 817,201 votes.
The Head of State was recognized for his ingenuity and style of leadership to unite the people of Rwanda and seek peaceful means to stabilise the country after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Kagame got the highest number of votes from Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria.
Speaking to journalists shortly after presenting the award to the President, the continental beauty queen said: “We presented the award to President Kagame, because we the youth recognised him for the efforts he put in towards healing Rwanda after the Genocide.”
“We were at the Kigali Genocide Memorial and we were told about the genocide, it was really touching and painful to know what really happened here 18 years ago and it’s also surprising how quickly the country has developed, healed and stood up”.
Molefe stated that President Kagame emerged winner because of the good leadership that has spearheaded Rwanda’s recovery and development.
“After receiving the award, you could see he was really touched and humbled. He is a gentle and down to earth President and I was privileged to present it to him,” she observed.
The delegation was led by Yemisi Dooshima Suswam, the First Lady of the Nigeria State of Benue.
“The award is unique because it’s the voice of Africa. It recognized President Kagame’s efforts in maintaining peace and bringing reconciliation process in the country which has resulted in this development strategy that the world is witnessing in Rwanda today,” Suswam said.
According to Habineza, the delegation from Nigeria was very pleased to interact with President Kagame.
“The Head of State had a wide range of discussions with them regarding Rwanda’s recovery process and encouraged the young people to be responsible leaders and never be ridden like horses, but should be the horse riders,”
Habineza told journalists after the delegation met the President.
Former recipients of the award include the late Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wangari Maathai of Kenya, and Presidents Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and as well as Dr. Yahya A J J Jammeh of Gambia.
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