On Friday, April 21, staff and management of Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) Ltd and Rwanda Energy Group (REG) gathered at Kigali Genocide Memorial to commemorate former ELECTROGAZ employees who were killed during 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. They laid wreaths to pay tribute to the more than 250,000 victims of the 1994 genocide buried at the Memorial. Electrogaz was a public utility for production, transmission and distribution of water and electricity in Rwanda, before being split into two institutions - WASAC and REG. During the commemoration, Emmanuel Ntivuguruzwa, a former ELECTROGAZ employee narrated how discrimination and the planning of genocide against the Tutsis were carried out before 1994. “There were a lot of persecutions at work. Since 1990 when RPA-Inkotanyi launched the liberation struggle, employees who were Tutsi at ELECTROGAZ suffered a lot due to discrimination. I had a workmate with whom we shared an office but he always had a sword with him in the office and was always telling me that he would use it to kill me one day. Ntivuguruzwa said that his brother and 16 other Tutsi were also burnt with charcoal and firewood in Gicumbi. “They were burnt being accused of admiring Inkotanyi. This is to show how killing the Tutsi started earlier. The Tutsi were always menaced, as the employees of ELECTROGAZ were also persecuted including me,” he said. Ntivuguruzwa got a job in ELECTROGAZ in 1985 under the support of a man called Katabarwa. But he was later dismissed from the job because he was a Tutsi. “Although the man supported me to get a job at ELECTROGAZ, I had no good education level because I had a three-year post-primary certificate only. I could not manage to pursue my education due to discrimination in schools. However I was performing well at my job in ELECTROGAZ. One of the superiors called Donat identified all the Tutsi and dismissed them including me. I became jobless. The former ELECTROGAZ employee recalled how a crowd of workmates used to threaten the Tutsi by closing doors at work as a way of menacing and forcing them to give up their jobs. “This is when my fellow worker brought a sword and kept it in our office telling me that he was planning to kill me,” he narrated. Journey to resilience Ntivuguruzwa managed to continue studies after the genocide and is currently a lawyer. He commended RPA-Inkotanyi that stopped the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and the government of Rwanda for putting unity and reconciliation at the heart of governance. “We are proud of genocide survivors’ resilience and we owe a lot to our country. We are requested to be patriotic to sustain the achievements in renewing this nation,” he added. Felix Gakuba, the Managing Director of Energy Development Corporation Ltd. (EDCL) at Rwanda Energy Group, stressed the need to annually organizeactivities to commemorate former ELECTROGAZ employees killed during the genocide against the Tutsi and pay tribute to genocide victims in general. “We have to continue supporting vulnerable genocide survivors. We thank Kigali Genocide Memorial management for having partnered in this year commemoration. This is the right time to continue fighting against discrimination, divisionism, genocide ideology and denial against the genocide committed against the Tutsi to ensure genocide never happens again,” he said. Gisele Umuhumuza, the CEO of WASAC, said: “The former ELECTROGAZ employees who were killed during genocide were contributing to their family and country’s development but were never recognized. We have to honour them and tell them that the trees and branches have flowered again and that is our resilience.” She said that testimonies like that of the former ELECTROGAZ employee who survived should be a weapon to combat genocide denial. “We will always remember former ELECTROGAZ employees who were killed during the genocide. We commit to avoid any discrimination and subdue genocide ideology. We have to back unity and reconciliation efforts to have a bright future,” she noted. Ernest Nsabimana, the Minister of Infrastructure, said: “This is a tool to combat genocide deniers. The testimonies show how the Tutsi were persecuted long before 1994, either at work or in the community. We have also heard testimonies of how genocide had been tried in different parts of the country. This was due to seeds of bad leadership. We now need joint efforts to fight genocide denial,” he said consoling victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Nsabimana hailed the RPF-Inkotanyi for stopping genocide against the Tutsi and urged the youth to borrow a leaf. Irene Niyitanga, the Secretary General of the umbrella body for genocide survivors' associations, Ibuka, highlighted the importance of having more commemoration activities during the 100 days of Kwibuka. “This helps to exhibit evidence about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and remind genocide deniers both in Rwanda and abroad that genocide will never happen again. We also console genocide survivors who have not yet known the whereabouts of their loved ones so that they get a decent burial,” he said. Niyitanga lauded WASAC and REG for supporting genocide survivors and for the commemoration activities. “For instance, REG helped in establishing the AHEZA centre that plays a role in healing survivors with trauma,” he added.