Espoir player cited in playing a role in genocide
An official from Rwanda’s football governing body, Ferwafa has said that bureaucrats of the time are to blame for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which claimed over a million lives.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport, Ferwafa’s commissioner in charge of youth development for Kigali city Aloys Kanamugire, said that several Sports Ministry administrators, club officials among others, played a big role in promoting the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
“I remember at the time of the (1994) Genocide, we had a coaches’ course which was conducted by a Swiss instructor.
“It (April 6) was a normal just like any other day but things changed instantly at night after Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down.
“It’s the time I last heard from my good friend Camille Kayihura, who was coach at the Rwanda National University at the time. He was hacked to death on his way back to Butare from Kigali,” Kanamugire recalls.
However, the former Amavubi team player and coach blames all that happened to bad leadership of the time.
“Bad leaders had divisionism and segregation in their minds, actions and day to day activities, likening Tutsis to evil spirits baying for human blood.”
According to Kanamugire, majority of the clubs never practiced divisionism and segregation but soon after the Coup d’état of 1973, SC Kiyovu was hit by these problems as it was regarded as a ‘club of Inyenzi’(cockroaches) relating it to then Rwanda Patriotic Front (FPR) which stopped Genocide in 1994.
“I was however, hurt by one sad thing as I prepared Rwandan football team to play away to Cameroon in 1973, the Sports Minister then Simeon Nteziryayo openly questioned me whether I had included Tutsis in the team after one player had failed to report to camp on time.
“I was shocked to hear such person with his position trying to bring things of divisionism in the national team. “I told him that in my selections, I didn’t mind whether one was a Tutsi or Hutu, but considered the players’ ability to perform for the national team,” Kanamugire, a veteran football administrator recollects.
He said, the Minister was just one administrator in the leaders, who openly fought having Tutsi players on the national team.
Other leaders, he said included Col. Serubugo and Col. Pierre Celestin Rwagafirita, who was the Gendarmerie deputy Chief- of Staff.
One weekend, Col. Serubugo confiscated the gate collections when SC Kiyovu hosted archrival Rayon Sport in a league match at Mumena.
Kanamugire also remembers an active player, playing for Cyangugu-based league side Espoir Fc, who participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
“There was a player nicknamed Electro, who took part in setting up road blocks at which so many Tutsis were killed. He even intercepted team mates at different road blocks in his home area.”
Although club presidents didn’t openly discriminate against Tutsis, Kanamugire believes that they had the idea in their minds given to the systematic execution of the 1994 genocide.
Kanamugire started his football career with Mukura Victory Sport in the 19950s and capped with a spell at military side Panther Noir in 1976. In 1979, he went into coaching and coached different clubs and trained local referees.
A veteran of local football, Kanamugire is urging Rwandans to draw a lesson from football which has 17 rules plus an addition ‘special’ 18th rule of Fair Play.
“Football teaches self respect and how to live with one other in peace. A true footballer with fair play will never stop any body from playing the game because he is a Tutsi, Hutu or Twa.