There has been a great need to foster Unity and Reconciliation after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Government of Rwanda has set up different organizations within the community that have played a major role to achieve Unity and Reconciliation that Rwanda is currently enjoying.
“As we commemorate, we should re-focus on unity and reconciliation, fight against Genocide ideology and revisionism. Survivors should struggle to ensure that they live a better life,” said Doctor Francois Xavier Dusingizemungu, the President of IBUKA, the umbrella organization of Genocide survivors.
The Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi every year, has been a big force towards upholding unity and reconciliation. During the commemoration period, Rwandans not only honor Genocide victims, but also reconcile and are encouraged to live at peace with others.
We cannot ignore the role that Gacaca courts have played in the reconstruction of unity and reconciliation. The aim of Gacaca was to promote reconciliation through giving a platform for victims to express themselves, encouraging acknowledgements and apologies from the perpetrators, facilitating the coming together of both victims and perpetrators every week on the grass.
Gacaca courts were closed in 2010 after 1.3million cases were handled including half a million cases of murder. The Gacaca justice system has proven to be a path to reconciliation, bringing about harmony and peace.
“Solidarity camps (Ingando) which is a civic education tool has also been vital in the prevalence of unity and reconciliation. These groups usually live together for a period of two months, carry out debates and discussions on many issues concerning Rwanda.
Through these, Rwandans have reconciled hence living together in unity,” said Naboth Mugisha, a businessman residing in Kabeza.
Community mediators (Abunzi) have helped in conflict mediation thus leading to unity and reconciliation. These are elected from their community and serve as mediators on voluntary basis.
“When it comes to issues of peace and reconciliation, Community mobilisers (Abakanguramaraga) have assisted a lot. These have come out to the grassroots to reconcile people in communities,” says Eugene Musanganire, a shopkeeper at Remera.
Musanganire further explains that individuals or Rwandans as a whole have also played a major role in fostering unity and reconciliation.
“They have let go of the past and the ethnic differences and now look at each other as one race and tribe, the divisions have wilted away,” he added.
The struggle for unity and reconciliation to reign in Rwanda starts with an individual and it is everybody’s responsibility.