The Minster of Sports and Culture, Joseph Habineza, has called upon East African Community Partner States to learn from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and avoid ethnic differences that may lead to a similar catastrophe in their respective nations.
He made the call during his presentation to members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) who started their ordinary session at the Parliamentary Buildings yesterday.
“As we push for the East African Federation, we should do so not as Hutu, Tutsi, Luos or Baganda, but rather East Africans,” said the Minister, who was addressing the regional lawmakers in the wake of Rwanda’s 16th commemoration of the Genocide.
He blamed the Genocide on the colonial masters who employed the divide and rule method that bred hatred amongst erstwhile brothers and sisters which culminated into the Genocide that left over a million people dead.
“When the colonialists came, they found a stable and safe society where people were neither Tutsi nor Hutu. They created divisionism that was then based on wealth and body structure, which later led to an ethnic strife in 1959 and later the 1994 Genocide,” Habineza said.
He urged the lawmakers to use their position to champion unity amongst their people instead of using ethnicity to elevate one group above the others, which he stressed, only creates antagonism, hate and segregation.
“Bad leadership is one core reason why the Genocide against the Tutsis took place. Leaders at that time had informed the Hutus that Tutsis didn’t belong to Rwanda and had to be wiped out. And, because people at that time feared their leaders, they easily started executing the Genocide,” Habineza underscored.
He said that regardless of what happened in Rwanda, the country has reorganized and brought back on feet all institutions which made the country prosper both economically and politically.
“We cannot change the past, but together we can shape the destiny of Rwanda and East Africa so that we become one person void of negative differences and with a bright future,” Habineza urged.
The lawmakers are in the country for a 12-day session that will see them enact several legislations concerning the five-nation bloc.