Dignitaries in the country and families of politicians killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi yesterday gathered at Rebero Genocide Memorial Centre in Kicukiro District to pay tribute to politicians who were killed for standing with humanity in the face of evil.
The event was one of those held across the country on the last day of the national mourning week to commemorate the Genocide, which started on April 7.
At the Rebero Genocide Memorial Centre, City of Kigali, dignitaries such as top government officials, leaders of political parties, Members of Parliament and leaders of civil society organisations, as well as relatives of the deceased politicians, laid wreaths on the tombs where the victims are buried.
Politicians interred at Rebero include Landouard Ndasingwa, aka Lando, Venantie Kabageni, Charles Kayiranga, André Kameya, Aloys Niyoyita, Augustin Rwayitare, and Jean de la Croix Rutaremara.
Others include Joseph Kavaruganda, Frederic Nzamurambaho, Felicien Ngango, Jean Baptiste Mushimiyimana, and Faustin Rucogoza.
All the victims, many of who were members of either the Liberal Party (PL) or the Social Democratic Party (PSD), were reformists who called for peace and reconciliation, pushed for dialogue, and condemned the hate ideology that was being promoted by the regime of President Juvenal Habyarimana.
The mourners at Rebero were led by Senate president Bernard Makuza.
“Politicians should strive for policies that develop citizens instead of dividing them, which leads to such atrocities as genocide,” Makuza told journalists shortly after the event.
Lessons on patriotism
The spokesperson of the National Forum for Political Organisations (NFPO), Christine Mukabunane, said remembering the departed politicians is important because it helps to recognise their constructive ideas, patriotism and heroism.
“Every political party has a responsibility to condemn bad ideas whenever they are advanced by some people. We have a responsibility as political parties to teach our members about civic education and patriotism,” she said.
Mukabunane called on politicians in the country to strive to work together, always trying to build consensus while debating the country’s affairs instead of nurturing conflicts and animosity against each other.
“We need to stay together because we chose the policy of consensus over hostility. No one should be in conflict with each other simply because they don’t have the same opinion,” she said.
Although the official mourning week ended yesterday, Genocide commemoration activities will continue in different communities around the country until July 3, a day before the Liberation Day.