EDITORIAL: Bring culprits of hate crimes to book

On Tuesday, Rwandans woke up to shocking news of cruelty meted out on at least three helpless cows belonging to Genocide survivors in different parts of the country. The attackers hacked the livestock multiple times with machetes leaving them for dead.

On Tuesday, Rwandans woke up to shocking news of cruelty meted out on at least three helpless cows belonging to Genocide survivors in different parts of the country.

The attackers hacked the livestock multiple times with machetes leaving them for dead.

By press time, some of the cows were still battling for their lives after vets intervened.

These are not spontaneous attacks. Rather, they are part of a hate-inspired campaign against Genocide survivors that tends to be prevalent around this time when Rwandans embark on commemorating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The attacks against the cows – usually those donated to disadvantaged survivors through the government’s One-Cow-Per-Poor-Family programme – are believed to be a manifestation of the genocide ideology that continues to be haboured by some inside and outside the country.

But these cowardly acts, often conducted under cover of darkness, are by no means an indication that the ideology is growing rather than diminishing.

To the contrary, there has been a significant decline in these and other heinous acts over the years, thanks to the growing conviction among Rwandans that hate and genocide ideology have no place in this country.

Nonetheless, these senseless actions by the remnants of the ideologues of division and bigotry in Rwanda’s tragic history should inspire Rwandans not to relent on the ever-present need to jealously guard their hard-earned security, social harmony and socio-economic development.

Yet these incidents are a rude reminder that we still have a long way to go. These are challenges that we must collectively tackle head-on as a people. Through such initiatives as community policing and neighborhood watch, residents should be able to work closely with security organs in keeping peace and security and providing information that can lead to such negative elements.

In addition, manifestations of the crime of genocide ideology and hate must be treated with the urgency they deserve. Such cases as the coordinated attacks on Genocide survivors’ livestock are not random crimes that can be adjudicated by community-based mediators or Abunzi.

These are cases that call for thorough criminal investigations to identify the culprits and bring them to book.

 

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