In a bid to maintain and keep alive memories of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Kirehe District in conjunction with National Commission for the fight against the Genocide (CNLG), yesterday, launched a project to renovate Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial Site.
Nyarubuye, which is a former Catholic church, is home to remains of more than 50,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide. It is one of the designated eight national Genocide memorial sites under the care of CNLG.
The project was launched after residents complained about the declining state of the memorial site even after promises by different officials to have it renovated.
Addressing hundreds of residents during the launch, the district mayor, Gerald Muzungu, said the site would be a decent place to keep the remains of the victims, adding that it would provide space for the young generation to learn the history of the Genocide.
“The construction will be done in accordance with an existing master plan…at least Rwf350m will go towards the works. It is an important historical site that will live to tell the ugly story of the country,” he said.
Muzungu urged residents to take good care of the site by cleaning it and clearing the wild grass around it.
Martin Muhoza, a CNLG official, said 21 years after the Genocide, the country is still striving to ensure that the remains of victims in memorial sites are properly preserved, noting that some memorial sites are in dire need of a facelift.
“We shall start by moving the remains to a makeshift place then the renovation for the whole building will follow,” he said.
Muhoza said it is important that initiatives to renovate memorial sites are taken up by local authorities and area residents before CNLG intervenes.
“It should not be looked at as a responsibility of the Government only; every Rwandan should have a stake in the maintenance of the memorial sites,” he said.
Damascene Musangwa, one of the survivors of the Genocide, commended efforts to rework on the memorial site, noting that it was at the verge of collapsing.
“There was a certain concern over the structural strength of the building…the roof is leaking. As survivors, it bothers us because this is the resting place of our people that we lost in the Genocide,” he said.
CNLG, with support of UK-based Cranfield University, developed mechanisms of preserving Genocide remains to last at least 150 years.