Senators, yesterday, took a few hours off their schedule and visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi to pay tribute to victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
At the memorial, the legislators laid wreaths on the graves where more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide are buried, observed a minute of silence in remembrance of the victims, and toured different parts of the memorial.
Through an exhibition about the history of the Genocide at the memorial, the lawmakers learned about the country’s history and the Genocide that killed more than a million Rwandans.
There is a close link between senators’ work and Genocide memorials because the prevention of genocide is one of the mandates of the country’s Senate.
Speaking to journalists shortly after visiting the memorial, the Senate president Bernard Makuza said the visit serves as a moment to reflect on the role of leaders in shaping the country’s life.
“It’s a sort of meditation time for leaders to assess their responsibilities for society. We have an important role to ensure that genocide and other atrocities don’t happen again in our country,” he said.
Makuza added that there are reasons to believe that genocide will never happen again in Rwanda given the country’s current policies of unity and reconciliation as well as inclusive development.
At Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, guides took senators on a tour around the centre and explained about different programmes offered there, including its peace education programme for the youth as well as the genocide archives project.
The Kigali Genocide Memorial is the best known and most visited Genocide memorial site in Rwanda because of its easy accessibility to many Rwandans and tourists who arrive in Kigali.
The memorial centre contains oral testimonies collected from different parts of Kigali City, documents, publications, human bones and skulls that have been treated for conservation and weapons used during the Genocide like machetes, clubs, and swords.
The centre also contains objects left behind by Genocide victims such as rosaries, photographs, IDs, shoes and clothes.
The remains of more than 250,000 people who are buried at the memorial centre were gathered from different districts of Kigali and were buried in the cemetery of this memorial site.