Inmates at Nsinda Prison, Rwamagana District have been warned against acts that may compromise the unity and reconciliation process in the country.
The warning was issued by the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) Commissioner General, Maj Gen Paul Rwarakabije, while addressing thousands of inmates at the end of the one-week national commemoration for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi yesterday.
Rwarakabije said that whoever was against the reconciliation process wouldn’t be tolerated.
He was reacting to concerns from inmates that former leaders convicted and incarcerated in several prison facilities in the country were impeding the reconciliation process in prisons.
Nsinda Prison is home to several convicts that participated in the 1994 Genocide, including four former mayors, then known as bourgmestres.
“It is a shame that some intellectuals and former leaders are discouraging citizens incarcerated with them from reconciling,” he said.
Rwarakabije called on the inmates, particularly the former leaders, to speak the truth and help young inmates through the rehabilitation process.
“There are young people inside this prison…some of them were led by those leaders to commit the Genocide, so the least the leaders can do is let them embark on reconciliation process,” he said.
Inmates alleged that the former bourgmestres serving sentences in prison often threaten and harass those who say the truth about the Genocide.
Emmanuel Habimana, aka Cyasa, 58, a former president of Interahamwe in Kibungo prefecture (part of today’s Ngoma District) told The New Times that the bourgmestres were a stumbling block to the reconciliation process.
Habimana and other reformed inmates started a reconciliation club inside the prison, last year, that has over 400 members.
“When we started the club, the former bourgmestres sidelined us…they started a campaign to fail us. They are still influential inside the prison and command reasonable influence. During this week of commemoration, clothes of a prisoner who gave testimony telling the truth about Genocide were torn and they (bourgmestres) must have had a hand,” he said.
There are 4,801 Genocide convicts in Nsinda prison, more than half the number of total inmates.