Editorial: Genocide: Businesses can help address housing challenge

The Chief Executive Officer of Private Sector Federation on Friday castigated business leaders who used their fortune to bankroll the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

He singled out Felicien Kabuga, the wanted businessman who is widely referred to as the ‘Chief Financier of the Genocide’, whom he said used his wealth to kill his compatriots and destroy his country, instead of using it to positively impact others and to build the country. 

Twenty-four years after the Genocide, Rwandans, including members of the business community, can proudly look back and take solace in how fast they have managed to turn their country’s fortunes around. Together, Rwandans have worked so hard and pulled their country back from the brink.  

Nonetheless, there is no room for complacency.

Private sector leaders have committed to continue playing their role in fighting genocide ideology. Any right-thinking person is expected to draw a lesson or two from Rwanda’s tragic past and help prevent recurrence of such atrocities. The role of business leaders on this front is very much welcome and appreciated. 

It is also encouraging to see that private institutions are increasingly partaking in activities to commemorate the over one million lives lost during the Genocide through organising commemoration events at the institutional level.

This is a noble act and we call on all institutions to embrace it.

However, we should also actively support those whose lives were completely shattered by the Genocide and are yet to stand on their own two feet again, especially on social welfare matters. 

Through the Fund for the support of Genocide Survivors (FARG), the post-Genocide Government has invested significant resources to help improve the welfare of vulnerable Genocide survivors. The Fund has enabled children orphaned by the Genocide to go to school, extended medical care to disadvantaged survivors, constructed or renovated houses for vulnerable survivors, among others. 

Nonetheless, thanks to the magnitude of Genocide consequences, there are issues that still need to be addressed.

The most challenging issues are related to housing.

According to FARG officials, there is need for at least 579 new housing units, while another 1,000 or so need to be renovated. Officials estimate that this will cost the country not less than Rwf18 billion and hope that the issue will have been addressed by the end of next year.

At such a time when the country is commemorating the Genocide, it’s an opportunity for everyone to challenge themselves on what they can do to help improve the living conditions of Genocide survivors. Housing is one area where the corporate world and businesses in general can play a significant role in helping Genocide survivors lead better lives. Many have already contributed to this effort in one way or another but nation-building calls for a never-ending commitment.

 

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