Students and staff members of Mount Kenya University (Rwanda) on Friday paid tribute to victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi laid to rest at Ntarama Genocide Memorial in Bugesera District.
Here, they paid tribute to the thousands of victims of the Genocide who were killed from and are interred at the former Catholic Church of Ntarama.
After the walk, the group reconvened at the MKU Campus in Kagarama, Kicukiro District, where they were joined by residents from around Kicukiro District and leaders for discussions on the Genocide and its implications on the Rwandan community.
The event also involved observing a minute of silence in memory of the victims and commemorative songs that were performed by different artistes.
MKU students read out poems during the commemoration.
In his welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor of MKU Edwin Odhuno said that although its 25 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the memory is still fresh in people’s minds, calling for collective effort to ensure it never happens again.
“It is also good to note that Rwanda has beaten the odds and rebuilt the country from ashes. Every time we commemorate, we stand together with survivors as we are reminded of what we need to do to ensure that Genocide never happens again,” said Odhuno.
“As MKU, we are today commemorating with our students and staff that come from the region currently from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia,” he added.
While addressing the gathering, the guest of honor, MP Emmanuel Bugingo reminded those present that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was well planned by the Government at the time and that it did not happen by accident.
“We all wonder why the Genocide was planned by Rwandans against Rwandans in Rwanda. Before the colonialists, Rwanda was a united country under one king as a unifying factor but all that changed. So today as we remember we continue to fight the ideology that brought about the Genocide against the Tutsi,” said Bugingo.
The guest of honor, Honorable Emmanuel Bugingo while addressing the gathering.
He added that a lot has changed in the last 25 years after the Genocide and that Rwandans have proved that in spite of the bad history, the country is now known for good things.
Sarah Kagoyire, who was 15 during the Genocide, still vividly remembers the horrors of the Genocide against the Tutsis with strong emotions.
Kagoyire, who lived with her family in Kicukiro District, just near where the campus is built, said she recalls the days when the killers started hunting them with machetes and guns.
Kagoyire gives her testmony during the commemoration.
With tears and a shaking voice, she narrated how Tutsis were brutally murdered and thrown in pits and others dumped in Nyabarongo River.
“In 1990 I had both my parents and that was before things began to get pretty bad. Being young at the time, we did not know much of what was happening but we would feel the tension in the air around us.”
She told of the bad neighbors that threatened to kill them when the time came.
“We had neighbours who tormented us on a daily basis. My mother was always scared and warned us against being far from home. We were segregated against in school and called names because we were Tutsi,” said Kagoyire.
The gathering lights candles during the ceremony.
She thanked the Rwanda and RPF (Inkotanyi) for saving their lives.
“We went through a lot of horrors to survive the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and the act by the RPF Inkotanyi, who sacrificed their lives to be able to save us, is just humbling,” she said.
Mount Kenya University is a chartered private university operating in the East African region, and a member of Inter-University Council of East Africa, African Association of Universities and Association of Commonwealth Universities.