The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has agreed to spend $450,000 (about Rwf356m) on the long-awaited study on the nature and extent of genocide ideology in the region.
MP Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, the chairperson of the Committee on General Purposes, told The New Times that already $200,000 was availed in this financial year and more will be disbursed later to complete the task.
She said: “The budget for the whole research is about $450,000, but since we could not secure the whole amount, we only raised $200,000 this financial year so as to start the work.
“And, when we get the supplementary budget around January next year, we shall try to secure the (extra) needed budget of $250,000.”
The study was commissioned following a series of resolutions by the Assembly condemning genocide, its ideology and denial, and one of the resolutions was to carry out this study.
The study, planned to last three months, is expected to commence as soon as a working group in charge is elected when the Assembly meets in Arusha, Tanzania, later this month, according to officials.
The resolution on the study, moved by Kenyan legislator Abubakr Ogle, permitted the EALA Commission, the principal committee of the Assembly, to establish a seven-member team which will, among others, look at the security ramifications of genocide ideology and attempts to deny or minimise its scale and severity.
According to MP Martin Ngoga, a member of the EALA Commission, the next plenary to be held towards the end of this month will most likely give the planned study direction.
Ngoga said: “I am not in control of the order paper but I believe members are ready to push the idea that during this particular plenary, the select committee that will collect data must be put in place.”
“For this financial year, we voted a budget line. We knew it’s not going to be sufficient but the most important thing we wanted to see happening is to kick start it, and mobilise resources from outside the EALA budget to complete it,” he added.
EALA speaker Daniel Kidega is said to have listed the study among the key issues on his agenda before the tenure of the third Assembly (2012-2017) ends early next year.
“I believe it is something on his plan; that during the next plenary, a select committee be put in place. That is a decision for him to make, but I know that is something he has high on his agenda as I have seen how he has been pushing for it from time to time,” Ngoga said.
Ngoga previously emphasised that, among other things, there is need for a general and common understanding in the bloc that the presence of fugitives is “a collective issue” and a general problem that concerns “all of us”.
A motion in the Assembly to consider how to mitigate genocide ideology and denial was initially mooted in 2013, but it was never put on the order paper for debate.
Genocide researcher Tom Ndahiro said, “this is long overdue.”
“A genocide ideology has been eating the tissue of our East African Community (EAC) and the Great Lakes Region of Africa for a long time. It is high time an institution like EALA confronted it head-on.”
Twenty two years ago, more than one million people were savagely and systematically exterminated in 100 days, but perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi continue to roam freely in the region and beyond.
“The Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda was bad enough to be a very good lesson, but, unfortunately you have so many online publications in our region and beyond which keep the deadly ideology alive and effective,” Ndahiro added.