Genocide ideology is a serious threat to unity of Rwandans, and while there are signs that it is reducing, Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement Jean-Damascène Bizimana argues that more efforts are needed to fully eradicate the vice. Bizimana made the observation on Day II of the 18th annual National Dialogue, locally known as Umushyikirano, on Tuesday, February 28. Genocide ideology, according to Bizimana, is more prevalent during the period of commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He added that the ideology is prevailing mainly among the youth. For instance, he said, during the 2021 Genocide commemoration period, 57 out of 184 youths, or 30.9 per cent, were prosecuted for genocide ideology, while 44 out of 179 youths, or 24.5 per cent, were prosecuted last year. Over the last five years, however, the prevalence of genocide ideology has decreased by 17.5 per cent, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Unity and Civic Engagement. “We have accomplished a lot, and it is astounding. It was possible because, since the Genocide against the Tutsi was stopped, Rwandans chose to embody the spirit of resilience they received from their ancestors, which let them win forever in history and in all moments of tragedy the country encountered,” Bizimana said. The Minister said that a survey conducted in 2020 indicated that 94.7 percent of Rwandans believe that unity has been achieved and also see it as a responsibility and voluntary commitment that can be taken on. The survey also indicated some of the major national programs that have a rate of over 93 percent which Rwandans believe play a critical role in the journey of unity and reconciliation. They include Ndi Umunyarwanda, Education for all, commemorating the Genocide against the Tutsis (Kwibuka), Citizenship education as well as Girinka Program. Others are good Governance, Security as well as having equal opportunities and equal rights for all. “Although we have reached this far, we are still not at the level we want to reach. 26.9 percent of Rwandans still have historical wounds that cause trauma including the youth,” he added. According to the same census, Bizimana said that 65.3 per cent of the population is under 30, with over 78 per cent of people between 30 and 40 years old. “This indicates that some were children and teenagers, and many were born after the genocide. Nonetheless, some people, particularly genocide survivors, are still dealing with the trauma and pain of the Genocide.” “We cannot achieve complete unity with the youth who are at risk of trauma, so they require ongoing care.” Way forward As Rwanda embarks on the journey of strengthening the unity and resilience of Rwandans, Minister Bizimana says that there is a need to strengthen dialogues and spaces such as Ndi Umunyarwanda both at the local level and the international level. Bizimana also highlighted the need to review Itorero program at the village level and also include it in the annual planning at all levels. Equally important, he said, is the need to fully equip history and civic education teachers, as well as introduce lessons about Rwanda’s history at all levels of learning institutions. Bizimana also touched on the role of faith-based organizations, as well as that of the family. “The country will attain unity and sustain growth and development if we collaborate to put these strategies into action, beginning with the family, because these goals can only be met when they are based on culture and supported by the family.