Kwibuka24: Time to crack the whip on non-state actors

Inside the Former Nyamata Catholic Church turned into a genocide memorial. Genocidaires did not fear to kill Tutsi in churches.

As we continue to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi for the 24th time, we all need to be vigilant on certain Genocide denial elements (implicit and explicit), especially in the private sector and among non-governmental organisations, where government has little influence.

This is because, as we mourn the innocent souls that perished in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, some in the mentioned sectors seem relaxed and unbothered with joining Rwandans in commemoration yet what happened in the country was a crime against humanity.

The indifference of some of these sectors implies wilful complicity with evil, albeit probably unintended. Certain actions within these sectors can be so destructive to the victims – both psychologically and emotionally – but they can also be supportive of and encouraging to the perpetrators.

All these, however, go unmentioned largely because of fear for possible reprisal.

It’s rather strange but some people in these sectors are busy seated in their offices, day after day, and do not fully grasp the facts about the depth and the consequences of the heinous acts that left  over 1,000,000 Tutsi dead in an unimaginable massacre that lasted just 100 days.

The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi constituted one of the worst manifestations of genocide of our time, as set out in the 1948 Geneva Convention

on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

So letting individuals minimise this – in one way or the other, implicit or explicit – should not be given space whatsoever.

Moreover, some materials and signs provide a clear picture of a possible interplay among employees, motives, and events in these sectors.

Some individuals, especially expatriates in senior positions, seem not to be interested about understanding Rwanda and its history but beneath the intentions lies an effort to downplay the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi or the role of the current leadership in stopping the Genocide.

Some institutions avoid any chance of commemorating with the rest of the world, and Rwandans in particular. Even when this should be common sense.

I think it’s time the Government cracks the whip on or provide an induction for these individuals and encourage employees in these organisations to speak up against such elements whenever they manifest, as is the case in the public sector.

I’m also choosing my words carefully but I think individuals from these organisations need help from whoever is responsible to know the basic facts – that over a million people perished in just 100 days, because maybe some could be doing such unconsciously.

On the other hand, Government agencies also need to emphasise this during the issuance of licences or work permits.

The representatives of companies and organisations as well as their acolytes should be reasonably inducted with the right information to fully understand the true dimensions and the nature of the massacres and how they can avoid and detect these at the workplace.

Commemoration is a cause that should be taken seriously, especially if we are to resolve to work towards ensuring such atrocities never occur again in our country.


The views expressed in this article are of the author.

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