Kwibuka23: Makuza warns leaders on the politics of hate

Today’s politicians should emulate those that paid the ultimate price when they rejected the agenda of the genocidal regime that cost the country the lives of more than one million of its citizens, the president of the Senate, Bernard Makuza, said yesterday.
Families and friends lay a wreath on the graves of their loved ones that were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at Rebero Genocide memorial, yesterday. / Nadege Imbabazi
Families and friends lay a wreath on the graves of their loved ones that were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at Rebero Genocide memorial, yesterday. / Nadege Imbabazi

Today’s politicians should emulate those that paid the ultimate price when they rejected the agenda of the genocidal regime that cost the country the lives of more than one million of its citizens, the president of the Senate, Bernard Makuza, said yesterday.

Makuza was speaking at the official closure of the 23rd Genocide commemoration week at Rebero Memorial Site.

Over 14,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi are buried at the site, including 12 politicians who were killed for opposing the genocidal government in 1994.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo at the official closure of the 23rd commemoration week at Rebero Memorial Site. / Nadege Imbabazi
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The mourners who turned up at Rebero memorial site. / Nadege Imbabazi
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Minister of Sports and Culture Julienne Uwacu lays a wreath in memory of the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi. / Nadege Imbabazi

Explaining why politicians should focus more on those that they lead than themselves, Makuza said that it is important to remember the politicians who rejected calls to propagate genocide ideology.

“The politicians that we are here to remember today are a very good example of how evil, divisionism, injustice and genocide ideology can be rejected. Remembering them reminds us of the principles that should characterise any authentic politician who is more focused on the advancement of those that he leads without segregation. What those that we remember today strived for and were willing to sacrifice their lives for was for a greater good. This is a challenge for Rwandans in general and politicians in particular,” he said.

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The Senate president, Bernard Makuza (2nd left), lead other dignitaries in laying wreaths in honour of the victims of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at the Rebero Genocide memorial in Kicukiro District, yesterday. The event marked the official closure of weeklong national commemoration of Genocide victims. The memorial is home to the remains of some 14,000 victims, including at least a dozen politicians who opposed the genocide agenda. / Nadege Imbabazi

Makuza said that the Genocide against the Tutsi was planned for many years, pointing out that former governments had built its foundation and propagated its seeds over decades.

He warned those that deny or undermine the genocide that they will never win because the evidence is overwhelming.

“The truth is known. Genocide was not an accident or a natural disaster. The first and second republics laid the foundation of bad governance based on segregation, favouritism and impunity. Those trying to deny or undermine the Genocide against the Tutsi should know that it’s impossible. They are wasting time. There is evidence that the political line of hatred and divisionism are what eventually led to the Genocide,” he said.

The attendees also heard from Thaddeo Karamaga, who was a member of Rwanda Armed Forces (FAR) during the genocide against the Tutsi. He refused to participate in the killings and instead worked hard to rescue those who were being hunted. Karamaga who hails from Burera District, Northern Province was awarded a medal for this heroic deeds.

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Thaddeo Karamaga, former member of Rwanda Armed Forces (RAF), giving testimony during the event. / Nadege Imbabazi

He took the crowd through his experience dating way back to years before the Genocide kicked off, saying that there were several incidences that indicated that the regime then was preparing massacres.

He pointed out the role of media houses in propagating the seeds of hate and inciting people to go after each other, something that he said spread like wildfire.

“The front page of Issue Number 7 of Kangura newspaper had a photo of Kayibanda wearing a business suit and next to him, a machete, the caption said that Kayibanda had fought ‘Inyenzi’ and defeated them. If you continue supporting RPA- Inkotanyi, this machete shall cut your throats,” he said.

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Andy Bumuntu (L), Ben Kayiranga (C) and Yvan Buravan perform during the event. / Nadege Imbabazi
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Maria Yohana performs at the commemoration event at Murambi Genocide memorial yesterday. / Nadege Imbabazi

About Rebero Memorial Site

In 1994, Rebero served as a refuge for short time for those who survived the Nyanza-Kicukiro massacres and who were rescued by RPA troops. This was after the troops had captured the strategic hill of Rebero in order to fight the genocidal forces. The survivors were relocated to Kabuye after a few days due to intense fighting in the area.

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