EDITORIAL: In Gakenke, Genocidaires got the last laugh and it’s unacceptable

When the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi erupted, some families were not lucky; their killer-neighbours were so efficient that they wiped entire families off the face of this earth.

GAERG – an association of former student survivors of the Genocide – embarked on the noble task of trying to compile lists of those families and making them public – complete with names and other details. The goal was to keep the memories of the victims alive, that they had not been forgotten.

But since the property had to be made productive, local leaders decided to rent them out to the local population.

So, one can comprehend why survivors went through the roof when GAERG discovered that in Gakenke District in the Northern Province, some of the tenants had participated in the Genocide and were now reaping from the spoils of their victims.

It is a very troubling situation, an indication that some of the local leaders are very detached from the full horrors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. If it was not out of sheer ignorance, how could they be so heartless to that effect?

It is true some of those former Genocide convicts have served their sentences and are now free men and women, but that does not put them on the moral high ground to be custodians of the property of the very people they had a hand in killing.

In the previous genocidal cycles Rwanda passed through, marauding hoards would be encouraged by promises that they would share the spoils of killed Tutsi, that is why they went to the extent of even killing infants; they did not want anyone laying claims in the future. On top of that, they were assured of impunity.

The 121 Tutsi families wiped out in Gakenke in 1994 deserve better, but more so, they deserve respect and need to stop turning in their graves due to the callousness of a few misguided leaders.



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