Almost two years after meeting Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Mzee Rutayisire peacefully meets his creator


President Paul Kagame with Mr and Mrs. Rutayisire at Urugwiro Village in 2013


Gervais Rutayisire, a 92-year old Rwandan man, who had wished to meet Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame before meeting his creator died Friday, a month shy of two years after he met the Rwandan leader.

Mr. Rutayisire, a longtime resident of Ruhango District, South Rwanda first tasted the limelight when he publicly requested to meet his president through an article in a local newspaper.

In the article, Rutayisire was quoted as saying “I wouldn’t want to die before passing on a very important message to Kagame”

Mr. Rutayisire lucked out when the article and his wish landed on the president’s desk, after reading the article, Kagame was touched by the old man’s story.

Long story short, the president made it a point to make Rutayisire’s wish come true by inviting him to the President’s Office (Urugwiro Village) in the capital Kigali, on June 16, 2013, Rutayisire, 90 years ‘young’ and his much younger wife in tow finally met Paul Kagame.

After the rare meeting with the president, Rutayisire is reported to have said that now “I can die peacefully”.

The senior citizen told the president face to face that “I had lived in a country where we had lost all hope; thank you for taking Rwanda from the bottom of a deep hole. I follow you on the radio and hear and see that you are working to transform Rwanda, building a united, just, dignified and ambitious society”

Rutayisire went on to say to say to Kagame “Continue the good work, there is more we can achieve. I am old but I will die happy knowing I have met you and that Rwanda remains in good hands.”

Before his death, Rutasire had also pledged to prepare for the president’s visit in his village home in Bweramana Sector, since the President had showed interest in visiting him and his family. Sadly, this didn’t come to pass.

Rutayisire, aka ‘Mzee Rutayisire’, had become an influential personality and an opinion leader in his community and has for the past two years been invited at village meetings to share his wisdom.

Two days before passing on, Rutayisire left a message of wisdom to all Rwandans saying “the secret to longer healthier life is to live in harmony and doing good acts to others”.