Members of the Anti-Genocide Parliamentary Forum (AGPF-Rwanda), yesterday, agreed on a five-year strategic plan to fight Genocide ideology in Rwanda and across the world.
The forum, created a year ago and made up of 91 MPs from both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, yesterday held its second general assembly.
At the meeting held in Nyamata town in Eastern Province’s Bugesera District, the MPs approved a strategic plan of their activities from 2016 through 2020.
Estimated to cost nearly Rwf400 million, the plan entails three major interventions; carrying out research and documentation about genocide and Genocide ideology in the Africa Great Lakes region, running communication campaigns against Genocide ideology and Genocide deniers, and building partnerships with local, and regional and international organisations that fight against Genocide.
“We had a very successful meeting because we now feel that we have a clear orientation for our work based on ideas obtained from our members today,” the president of the forum, MP Théoneste Karenzi, told The Saturday Times at the end of their general assembly yesterday.
To start off, the activities laid out in the strategic plan, the MPs agreed that the forum’s plan of action for the next fiscal year 2016-2017 will include carrying out one study about Genocide ideology in the the Great Lakes region and its implications on peace and security in the region and another research about drivers of Genocide ideology in the region.
“If we can achieve our goals to fight Genocide ideology, it would be a great contribution toward promoting the unity of Rwandans,” Karenzi told fellow MPs at the meeting.
Launched in April last year, AGPF-Rwanda works to fight against Genocide ideology and denial in the country and beyond, which are currently being promoted by those who deny the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Genocide ideology was promoted by colonial and post-colonial governments in Rwanda and it culminated into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
But some of the people who masterminded and perpetrated it are trying to push for its denial in Rwanda and worldwide where they live, an effort experts consider as normal in documented steps of Genocide.
“When Genocide perpetrators fail to exterminate members of their targeted group, they proceed to denying Genocide and that’s what is happening about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. So, we still have a lot of work to do in fighting Genocide deniers,” Senate president Bernard Makuza told MPs in the anti-Genocide forum yesterday.
The ideology is especially being promoted, among others, by members of the FDLR militia based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is mainly comprised of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, as well as their supporters based in different countries in Africa, North America, and Europe.
Senator Narcisse Musabeyezu, a member of AGPF-Rwanda, told fellow MPs yesterday that Genocide ideology is dangerous not only in Rwandan post-Genocide society where Genocide survivors live with those who committed the Genocide, but also in foreign countries where it can be exported by Genocide deniers.
“We need to raise awareness about Genocide deniers who are living in different countries around the world and are propagating Genocide ideology in those countries where they live. We need to warn people in those foreign countries where these Genocide deniers are hosted that Genocide ideology being espoused by the deniers will also have grave consequences on the host countries,” he said.
As the MPs ended their general assembly yesterday with renewed commitment to fight Genocide ideology, many of them called for creating partnerships with other organisations and other parliamentarians across the globe if they are to succeed in their mission.
“We need to look for partners in these efforts against Genocide ideology because its a cause that requires alot of resources. They can join us for these initiatives and we can work together to achieve our goals,” said MP Anitha Mutesi.
The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Donatille Mukabalisa, told the meeting that the Parliament and other country’s institutions will support them in their effort to fight Genocide ideology because it’s crucial for cementing the unity of Rwandans.
She also urged them to continue working together to implement the activities they agreed to do to fight Genocide ideology and also be closer to Rwandans, especially Genocide survivors, during the forthcoming Genocide commemoration week.
The 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, starts on April 7.