The annual Walk to Remember events will soon be conducted at the local government level, lead organisers and government officials have revealed.
Marc Gwamwaka, one of the initiators of the Walk to Remember, says they are now looking at making the ordinary people more involved in the marches, which seek to raise public awareness about the causes of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the need to avoid a repeat of similar atrocities anywhere in the world.
“It’s about teaching people and spreading the impact both locally and globally. We plan to take this campaign to many more countries,” he said.
He said this year 17 countries hosted Walk to Remember events, with the main event taking place in Kigali on April 7, the day the nation kicked off a weeklong commemoration for the more than a million people killed in the Genocide.
Several districts across the country also organised parallel walks but the organisers say they were looking into ways of extending the events deeper into the countryside.
Dr Deogene Bideri, a senior official at the National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) and a legal expert, said the annual events have made a significant impact, adding that getting the ordinary person at the grassroots on board would help consolidate the gains made so far.
“The walks have increasingly become popular in different parts of the world and we would like to work closely with the organisers to have them right at the grassroots,” he told The New Times this week.
Besides the five East African Community partner states, this year’s marches were also staged in Sudan, Nigeria, Belgium, Canada, China, India, Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and US.
Rwanda’s High Commissions abroad play a major role in organising these events, Gwamwaka said.
In Kigali, President Paul Kagame regularly takes part in the main Walk to Remember, and this year’s event also attracted several high-profile foreign dignitaries who were in town to attend the main 20th Genocide anniversary.