Hundreds of mourners from the Ministry of Education and affiliated institutions on Tuesday mourned with families of former staff members of the ministry killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The ministry has so far identified over 70 Genocide victims among former staff from its former and current affiliated institutions, but the list is not exhaustive, according to officials.
The event featured reading of names of victims, testimonies of former employees who were discriminated against and how the Genocide ideology was taught in schools and was spread by the elite.
Prof Francois Masabo, the Director of Centre for Conflict Management at the University of Rwanda said Genocide in Rwanda was unique compared to other genocides in the world.
“The country’s toxic ideology led us to where teachers betrayed students and medical doctors betrayed patients, where the elite could kill the uneducated,” he said.
He called for the need to also bear in mind the worst history before the atrocities where people were prepared beforehand to kill and hatred cultivated and people become radicalised.
“The genocide ideology is the enemy to education because it affects the way people think and analyse things,” said Masabo.
Masabo called for combined efforts to uproot the Genocide ideology starting from schools.
“Fighting Genocide ideology should be emphasized in schools and there is need to promote critical thinking to uproot it and build a strong society,” he added
Dr. Eugene Mutimura, the Minister for Education, reminded mourners that while it was a pity that those who planned the Genocide were the elite who planned to wipe out an entire ethnic group, it remains the responsibility of Rwandans to remember while renewing themselves.
“Genocide was carried out in a brutal manner where killers not only aimed to kill but to dehumanize those they killed,” he said
He called for youth empowerment because the youths are the strength of the nation which can be used to either destroy or to build it.
“It is also a good opportunity to remember that while part of the youth was killing, another one was fighting to stop the Genocide. We are thankful for the youth who stopped the Genocide and the role they have been playing in the aftermath to build the nation,” he said
He also urged individuals who might know the whereabouts and any information of former employees to provide them so that the history is documented.
Suzan Mujawamaliya who lives in Kicukiro was a member of staff at the Ministry of Education for about 12 years before the Genocide.
She talked about discrimination, hatred and genocide ideology in the ministry and affiliated institutions before the genocide started.
“I grew up in a society where we were divided along ethnic group, in schools, we were publicly divided among ethnic groups, very few Tutsis were employed and faced harassment in government institutions. It was not easy to get a job and those who got it were hardly promoted,” she said.
It is the eighth time the ministry remembers its former staff.