The Rwandan community abroad is set to follow events on the 26th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi online.
They will also commemorate from their homes as they abide by precautions to flatten the curve of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
From the Indian capital, New Delhi, Rwandan High Commissioner Jacqueline Mukangira told The New Times that Rwandans in countries she oversees are briefed and will follow online.
In Kigali, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) last week announced changes to commemoration activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown.
In the Diaspora, Rwandans and friends of Rwanda will have to follow Kwibuka26 on RBA channels and social media.
According to Mukangira, the High Commission of Rwanda to India had planned to host the Kwibuka26 on April 7 at India International Centre in New Delhi and invitations cards had been dispatched.
But considering the prevailing situation of preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in India, the High Commission decided to postpone its activities for Kwibuka26 in New Delhi as well as other scheduled activities by Rwandan students across India, until further notice.
She added: “However, the High Commission has forwarded the Commemoration Programme from CNLG to all Rwandans living in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and requested them to follow the events online.”
“Furthermore, on April 7, 2020, the High Commission will send a message on Kwibuka26 to all Rwandans living in its jurisdictions.”
The initial official commemoration week, as usual, starts from April 7 until 13.
Thereafter, the regular 100 days of commemoration will end in July.
From Dar es Salaam, Rwanda’s envoy in Tanzania, Maj Gen Charles Karamba, as well noted that due to the current situation, the Rwandan High Commission in Tanzania “is to do two things as we wait for the situation to possibly improve and allow gathering of big number of people hopefully within the three months period of Kwibuka.”
First, the diplomat is publishing an article in the most prominent Tanzania daily newspapers.
He said: “The article is within the Kwibuka theme and recalls where we have come from, those who helped in one way or the other, it touches on failures of those who did nothing in the face of glaring evidence of Genocide against the Tutsi. It also touches on those currently involved in denial, trivializing and other genocide ideology that the perpetrators and their sympathisers are currently involved in, and on justice that’s still required.”
The second thing is, he noted, to have a small event in Arusha where about eight people that include the UN Residual Mechanism Court, an EAC representative as well as one Diaspora representative and an embassy official with a Tanzanian government official join to lay flowers on the Genocide monument built in the EAC complex.
All, he said, will be done in accordance with guidelines to do with Covid-19 prevention.
In France, Jessica Gerondal Mwiza, the deputy president of Ibuka-France, said that starting Tuesday and for the whole week, “we will post videos on our website and social media.”
Tomorrow, Mwiza said, they will have speeches from officials including the Rwandan envoy, Ambassador François Xavier Ngarambe, Etienne Nsanzimana, president of Ibuka France and Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.
“Then we will post testimonial videos from past years ceremonies, and memory songs. We will share everything that our partners are preparing in terms of support: messages, videos, poems, photos, all the week,” she said.
“Also tomorrow, all day and all night, we will make sure that everybody is ok among the survivors living in France. We are all very connected on whatsapp, skype, zoom, Jitsi or just with a good old phone call.”
A Kwibuka26 programme in the Netherlands indicates that the Embassy of Rwanda in the Kingdom of the Netherlands informs everyone there that in observance of all measures announced by the Dutch Government aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, ceremonies marking the 26th Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi will be broadcasted through the Embassy social media channels starting on Tuesday April
7 at 1600hrs with the official commemorative ceremony.
From April 8 to 13, every day at 1600 hours, a video that is planned for that day will be put online on the YouTube channel of the Embassy.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Stanislas Kamanzi, said: “Constraining circumstances of the moment will not permit a public gathering to commemorate as is customary.
“A message will be sent out through social media and our website inviting each individual in his own capacity, to the compelling endeavour to join the people of Rwanda, as we honour the memory of the victims and take stock of the strides made in reconciling and rebuilding our nation.”
In Washington DC, the Embassy of Rwanda in the US also plans to hold a virtual Kwibuka26 ceremony on Tuesday.
The event which will be streamed at www.rwandaembassy.org/Kwibuka26 will cover the key elements including: survivor testimonies, messages from friends of Rwanda, and candle lighting and a minute of silence.Follow https://twitter.com/KarhangaJames