Slain politicians honoured

Mourners during a past commemoration event at Rebero Genocide Memorial. File.

Families of senior politicians who were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi will today be joined by national leaders and diplomats to honour the politicians who were laid to rest at Rebero Genocide Memorial in Kicukiro District.

The event will also mark the end of the 25th official commemoration week, according to the National Commission for the fight against the Genocide (CNLG).

The week was marked by commemoration events in different parts of the country and different institutions and sharing testimonies as well as calling on all Rwandans to shun genocide ideology and promote unity and reconciliation.

At Rebero memorial, mourners will lay wreaths on tombs where the former politicians are buried and also pay homage to other Genocide victims buried there.

“Besides remembering politicians killed during the Genocide, there will also be discussions on the role bad politics played in the Genocide against the Tutsi,” said Jean Damascène Bizimana, the executive secretary of CNLG.

All of the politicians, many of who were members of either the Liberal Party (PL) or Social Democratic Party (PSD), were reformists who called for peace and reconciliation, pushed for dialogue, and condemned hate ideology that was being propagated by the regime of President Juvenal Habyarimana.

They include Landouard Ndasingwa, aka Lando, Venantie Kabageni, Charles Kayiranga, André Kameya, Aloys Niyoyita, Augustin Rwayitare, and Jean de la Croix Rutaremara.

Others include Joseph Kavaruganda, Frederic Nzamurambaho, Félicien Ngango, Jean Baptiste Mushimiyimana, and Faustin Rucogoza.

Another politician, but who is not interred at Rebero, is Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the former Prime Minister who was laid to rest at the National Heroes’ Mausoleum in Remera.

Many of the slain politicians had been designated senior positions under the Broad Based Transitional Government that had been agreed upon under the Arusha Peace Accords, but which hardliners in the regime reneged on and instead launched the Genocide.

Speaking to The New Times, Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze,the Secretary General oftheSocial Democratic Party, said that the day is very important now that it offers Rwandans, especially politicians, an opportunity to reflect on human and patriotic traits the slain politicians exemplified.

“It is a big day for us as politicians whose comrades were killed in the Genocide, it is time to remember their strength, their humanity, their humility and the resilience to fight bad politics,” he said.

“It shows that not all politicians were bad and that there were few good politicians who detested evil and came forward to speak their minds, they were killed because they opposed bad leadership, put the people first and were not driven by greed unlike most politicians then,” he added.

He called upon Rwandans, especially the youth, to promote politics that is inclusive and avoid any kind of discrimination, saying this should be the real meaning of politics.