Kwibuka24: Priest berates “coward” Catholic clerics

Fr Vedaste Kayisabe and other officials pay tribute to Genocide victims at the event yesterday. Jean de Dieu Nsabimana.

The Rector of Kabgayi Major Seminary, Father Vedaste Kayisabe, has criticized fellow priests for not using their authority to protect their colleagues and flock during the Genocide against the Tutsi, which he termed as cowardice.

Kayisabe said this at a ceremony held on Thursday to commemorate those who lost their lives at the Mukarange Church, where over 5,000 Tutsi were killed.

Kayisabe, who at the time of the Genocide was based in Mukarange, Kayonza District, said that failure by fellow priests to practice what they preach saw their colleagues Bosco Munyaneza and Joseph Gatari, and the church’s flock perish at the hands of other Christians.

Munyaneza was the priest at Mukarange Parish and is now considered a hero for having lost his life trying to protect thousands of Tutsi.

Kayisabe, who gave an emotional speech, said that Munyaneza encouraged the Tutsi not to die without putting up a fight.

“The Interahamwe asked him to get out of the way since he was not Tutsi, but instead, he told the militiamen that we were only sheep looking for refuge. He asked his eventual killers that if they wanted him to live, then they should spare the lives of his flock too. He was killed. While most lost their humanity, Munyaneza remained a man of God until the end,” Kayisabe said.

Kayisabe, who lost his mother and siblings in the Genocide against the Tutsi, expressed his disappointment about how many Christians obeyed powerful people’s instructions instead of following their conscience and God’s teachings.

“Whatever I preach, I do not forget to tell believers that if the teachings are not put into practice, there is potential for sinning because even those who committed genocide were Christians,” he said.

Having been shot in the leg, Kayisabe was able to hide under dead bodies until he was rescued by Rwanda Patriotic Army soldiers on April 17, 1994.

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