Perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi should show remorse, apologise and survivors be willing to forgive their former tormentors to facilitate the unity and reconciliation process in the country.
Father Ubald Rugirangoga of Mushaka Parish in Cyangugu Diocese delivered the message during ‘healing mass organised by the Catholic Church’s Regina Pacis Parish Remera at the Amahoro National Stadium on Sunday.
He stressed the need for true reconciliation and healing through genuine apology and forgiveness.
“Let us embrace truth. True apology and forgiveness is vital for reconciliation. This is possible, we have examples. Apologise, forgive, you will be clean”.
He urged Christians to relieve themselves by telling the truth.
Truth, he said, will always prevail.
He urged Christians to remember that God is merciful but also righteous.
“Relieve yourself; speak your mind to avoid diseases such as brain cancer, psychosomatic disorders, among others, which are a result of trauma,” Father Rugirangoga said.
“True Christians should follow in Jesus’ footsteps, He showed us a good example when He prayed for those who crucified Him. The bad days have passed and best days are ahead of us. Don’t be held back by history, the future is brighter”, he said.
He also called upon religious leaders to take it upon themselves to teach those who still bear hate and divisionism in their hearts to let go.
“When you tell people to kill others, you are against God. Clerics must know it is their duty to teach people to shun hatred, divisionism and genocide ideology to build new Rwanda,” he said.
Fr. Rugirangoga regretted the fact that people of faith participated in the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“Not a single religion in this country can claim innocence in the Genocide against the Tutsi. I toured all prisons in Rwanda and all are represented. It’s deplorable,” he said.
He dispelled common belief that Muslims were not involved in the Genocide, citing a notorious Muslim said to have killed many people in the former Cyangugu Province.
“We are blessed to be Christians. But not all are true Christians as there are some who killed under the banner of Christianity. Religious people lost the war during the Genocide but the fight has resumed and we must not be defeated again,” he added.
Father Rugirangoga, who lost his relatives in the Genocide, was recognised among the Champions of Unity because he initiated a programme that brings together perpetrators and victims to promote reconciliation.