By Jean Serge Mandela
The entire nation was caught unaware when the Rwandese Radio sole national channel started airing a “best wishes” song to its leader.
According to the official version, President Juvenal was born on 8th March 1937 at Gasiza , Gisenyi Province (Rwanda north west, near the Volcanoes Park) father Jean Baptiste Ntibazirikana, mother Susanne Nyilazuba.
March 8th, 1987 was a sunny day despite being the beginning of the Rwandese “long raining season” , Juvenal a former minor seminarian was a stunt catholic whose parish St Michael was the cathedral of Archibshop Vincent Nsengiyumva , his friend and former classmate. Past midday, a thanks giving mass was carried live and the celebrant was the Kigali Archdiocese Archbishop an eloquent preacher that extolled Juvenal of being a peace lover.
One of Juvenal children’s recalls that on that material day Juvenal was over joyed, “in the morning Dad was very happy and we followed the music being played on Rwandese Radio”, and the same source continued by saying that after the mass , a party was held at home, “after the mass we went back at Kanombe (the President’s official residence), many people were invited, diplomats, government officials, neighbours and we had Impala , Abamararungu entertaining the guests”.
From 0500, the time Radio Rwanda started its program until 2300, a song was played umpteenth time composed by the famous Impala orchestra at the level everybody was able to sing the same song:
“Enjoy your Jubillee
Father of the Nation
All Rwandese wish you
A Long life!
May God take care of you!
So you could achieve your dreams!
If President Juvenal Habyalima was sill alive he could have celebrated his 84th birthday but he died on 6th April 1994 retruning from a mini summit Dar Es Salaam organised by former Tanzianian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi.