The call was made by Hon. Safari B. Theoneste, Member of Rwanda Parliament, Chamber of Deputies, during the night vigil that took place at Rukara Campus on the 12 April 2019 in the framework of the 25th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The ceremony was attended by students and staff of the College of Education, the surrounding community and invited guests.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Jean Pierre Nkuranga who is the Rukara Campus Administrator noted that bad governance led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He called upon the College community to be agents of change towards nation-building.
During the ceremony, members of AERG (UR-CE) performed a sketch which gives an insight into the preparation and execution of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, its stoppage by RPA and the efforts of the Government of National Unity in nation-building.
A section of AERG Members while delivering the message of hope
In her testimony, Mrs. Uwineza Odette, a survivor of the genocide, explained how the genocide ideology had an impact on her schooling and testified about the hardships she went through during the genocide before she was saved by the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA).
In his address to the audience, Mr. Munezero Eric, the National Coordinator of AERG cited the role of the youth in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and asked them to work hard to build the country and resist being misled to support negative and dangerous ideologies such as genocide. Mr. Munezero commended the Rwanda Patriotic Army that stopped the genocide and rescued the Tutsi who were in danger.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Murenzi Jean Claude, the Mayor of Kayonza District noted that the seeds of discrimination and hatred cannot have a room in the post-genocide Rwanda. He asked the youth to be teachers of unity and reconciliation wherever they are for a brighter future of Rwanda.
Drawing the attention of his audience, the Rt Reverend, Dr. Gahima Manasseh, the Bishop of Gahini Anglican Diocese, referred to Holy Scriptures to indicate that everybody needs to stand against the spirit of strife in order to build a cohesive society. He urged the youth to uphold values of fraternity and the love for the country.
In his remarks, Ambassador Dr. Murigande Charles, the UR Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Institutional Advancement, highlighted the significance of the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He noted that it was not spontaneous, nor did it come like an earthquake. He argued that it was carefully planned and executed. He stressed that the Tutsi were victims of dehumanization which was an essential tool that helped the killers to gain mass support from the rest of the population.
According to him, the fact that Rwandans stopped the genocide when the international community was passive gives hope and strength to achieve the vision towards the country’s development.
To the College community, Amb. Dr. Murigande said ; “I wish to remind you that we are at the University of Rwanda. As you know, the former National University of Rwanda played a great role in the propagation of genocide ideology. Today, the University of Rwanda has to play a positive role in nation-building. We must build a never again Rwanda that strives towards a dignified future and prosperity.’’
Hon. Safari B.Theoneste ( middle) during candle lighting
Addressing the participants, Hon. Safari B. Theoneste, member of Rwanda Parliament, Chamber of Deputies, who was the guest of honour, made an overview of the Rwanda’s dark history from 1959. He underlined that discriminatory policies brought about by the colonial powers and missionaries against the Tutsi were maintained by post-colonial governments until their culmination into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Hon. Safari therefore encouraged the youth to have one voice in the fight against genocide ideology and to adhere to the national policies and programs towards the development of the country.
Walk to Remember
The Night Vigil was preceded by a Walk to Remember from UR- Rukara Campus to Lake Muhazi. Participants included among others the senior management, staff and students of the College, Mr. Rukeribuga Joseph, the Executive Secretary of Gahini Sector and some members of EAR Gahini.
UR-CE community in a Walk to Remember
At the Lake, Mrs. Kanyanja Francine a survivor of the genocide shared her testimony on how the victims, that included many of her family relatives, were killed and thrown into the Lake. On this occasion, wreaths were laid in honour of those killed.
During the launch of the 25th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tusi on the 7th April 2019, the Principal, Prof. George K. Njoroge called on the participants to ensure that genocide does not happen again.
“Every individual has a role to play and this requires having a voice that not only champions humanity against evil but also a constant renewal of commitment and promise to our country, Rwanda, on our abilities to humanize our society,’’ Prof. Njoroge told his audience.
He stressed that the youth has an important role to play towards the transformation of the society.
’’The future of Rwanda is in the hands of the youth and they should be arbiters of humanity, love, and goodness that frame positive transformation. We must stand up against injustice of whatever form, stand up against evil and dehumanization. This calls for a transformation of our mindset,’’ he noted.
In his presentation on the ‘‘History of the preparation and execution of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Dr. Philbert Gakwenzire gave a historical background to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He stressed that the genocide was a result of a long-term plan which was intentionally executed by the former regime of President Habyarimana.
A section of the participants in public talk
Dr. Gakwenzire asked the participants to fight against the genocide ideology and to support the efforts of the government in the reconstruction of the country. Participants were urged to further learn about Rwanda’s history not only in order to understand it, but also in order to be able to correct whoever wants to alter its truth.
The second presentation delivered on Wednesday 10th April 2019 discussed the challenges faced by the Government of National Unity after liberation of the country by the Rwandese Patriotic Army and priority actions taken to address them.
Dr. Jean Leonard Buhigiro pointed out that promotion of unity and reconciliation among Rwandans played a great role in the reconstruction process of the country. He highlighted the achievements of the justice system with the example of the Gacaca Courts.
Participants were cautioned about the genocide ideology and briefed about the provisions of Law 59/2018 of 22/8/2018 on Genocide ideology and related crimes. ‘’ All persons must be conversant with the law and to call to order his/her relatives or friends who would harbor genocide ideology,’’ Dr. Buhigiro said.
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