Genocide history to be incorporated into memorials

The Governor of Western Province, Alphonse Munyentwari, has pledged to appropriate a budget that will fund the documentation of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in areas where most memorial sites are built within the province.

He made the pledge Thursday in Bisesero, Karongi District where the remains of 49 newly-discovered victims were accorded a decent burial. Over 50,000 Tutsi in the area were killed during the Genocide and are laid to rest at the site.

“We must continue to preserve evidence of the Genocide against the Tutsi through these memorial sites. We need to integrate well-written and documented Genocide history such as testimonies in those memorials,” he said.

“We need partnerships but, most importantly, districts should plan for it in every annual budget. We have committed that a certain amount of budget will be injected for such activities every year. It helps teach and guide visitors into knowing exactly how the Genocide took place and how victims tried to defend themselves.

The governor was referring to the Genocide history in Bisesero that was characterised by Tutsi resistance. The victims fought back and resisted for several days.

“We are talking about resistance during 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi but we are also talking about the battle to ensure resilience of Genocide survivors whose hope is being restored through different initiatives,” he said.

He urged the youth to emulate values of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) that liberated the country and stopped  the Genocide.

Augustin Bikorimana is the representative of Genocide survivors whose relatives were killed in Bisesero.

“We thank the RPA that intervened and liberated us from discrimination and the Genocide and we thank them for having restored our hope. That is why our testimonies must be well preserved so that we tell future generations about what happened,” he said.

Egide Nkuranga, the Vice President of Ibuka, reiterated that the history of resistance must continue to be preserved in different ways.

“For instance, the resistance of Tutsi in Bisesero is documented in the book “Les Collines se souvienent” (The hills remember). There are also many places across the country where Tutsi demonstrated strong resistance such as in Gasabo District, Bitare in Nyaruguru District and others. We hope that more authors will continue to document the history and testimonies,” he said.

He warned those who still harbour genocide ideology that justice awaits them.

“Many Genocide convicts are going to be released (after completing their sentences). We have to make sure that they do not succomb to Genocide ideology.