Rwandans living in Uganda and Friends of Rwanda yesterday commemorated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi by beginning the construction of a Genocide museum at Ggolo memorial site in Mpigi district.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Frank Mugambage, laid a foundation stone on which a state of the art museum will be constructed to serve as an education centre on Genocide.
The 1994 Genocide museum, to sit on a 1.6 acre piece of land in Ggolo, is the first of its kind to be built outside Rwanda and the first in Uganda.
It will be home to some items like clothes that were left behind by Genocide victims whose bodies were dumped in different rivers across Rwanda and ended up on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.
Different speakers, including the Member of Parliament for Mawokota South, Mpigi district Hon. Joseph Kenneth Bbosa Kiyingi, and the newly elected District Chairman, Peter Claver Mutuluza, pledged their full support in mobilizing funds to build the museum.
“One who doesn’t respect the dead lacks the purpose of living. I will do everything within my means to mobilize resources for this museum,” Kiyingi said.
Ggolo, Kasensero and Lambu memorial sites in Mpigi, Rakai and Masaka districts respectively are homes to over 10,000 bodies of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
For the last few months, the Rwandan community in collaboration with the High Commission have been fundraising to see the museum fully constructed.
“After laying this foundation stone, the next step is to reach the wider audience to request for their hand in raising the funds needed for construction. For now, we are grateful to all those that have contributed money that has brought us to this stage,” said Frank Macari, the General Secretary of the Rwandan community in Uganda.
At the ceremony, Mhamood Noordin Thobani, a Ugandan businessman who played a significant role in preserving the bodies, pledged to provide all building materials like stones and granite to be used in the construction of the museum.
Businessman Sam Bucyana pledged $6,000 to the construction of the museum igniting a spirit that will lead to a more vigorous fundraising drive to involve Rwandans and their friends in Uganda.
As a way forward, the Rwandan community in collaboration with the Rwanda High Commission in Uganda will now engage the Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) for more guidance on structural designs and general cost of the project.
“We felt that fighting Genocide ideology extends to giving a descent resting place to our beloved ones who perished in the Genocide. This is just a beginning, we are going to mobilize more people to raise funds,” said Alice Buhinja, who works with the African Union Peace and Security department.
Alfred Rudodo, the President of Humura, an organisation of Genocide survivors in Rwanda observed that UNESCO should classify Ggolo memorial site as a historical place that will help educate future generations.
“We are happy about the Genocide museum to be built here because it is the first of its kind going to be built outside Rwanda. This means we have a chance for people outside Rwanda to learn exactly what happened in 1994,” Rudodo said.
Fighting Genocide ideology
Mugambage observed that Genocide deniers always use all means of diverting the pursuit of acknowledging the crime to seek accountability for those responsible.
“22 years after the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the FDLR still roam the region freely as the world looks on. Many genocidaires are also residing in many capitals in the western world instead of being brought to account for the horrendous crime they committed against humanity,” he said.
Donat Kananura, the Chairman of the Rwandan community in Uganda commended the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) that stopped the Genocide, calling on the international community to denounce Genocide deniers.
On Thursday, the Rwandan community in Uganda and friends of Rwanda participated in a public lecture and a church service at Kasanga Miracle Centre where Pastor Isaac Kiwewesi prayed to God to continue giving the leadership in Rwanda more wisdom to defeat Genocide deniers and propagators.
The Rwandan community living in Entebbe will today hold an ecumenical service and a procession in memory of the victims of the Genocide.