Gasabo District, in partnership with Rwanda Energy Group (REG), on Friday, accorded decent burial to some 25,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi by laying their remains to rest in a refurbished memorial centre in Jali Sector.
The renovation of the site was funded through a partnership between the utility group and Gasabo District authorities, where the former contributed more than Rwf32 million and the latter Rwf7 million.
Addressing the gathering, the Mayor of Gasabo District, Steven Rwamulangwa, commended the support by REG toward the noble cause, saying that it was the responsibility of every Rwandan to ensure the remains of the departed are in a decent place.
According to the Executive Secretary of Jali Sector, the site was originally built in 1997 with the meager funds the local government authorities could provide, meaning it could not hold for a long time.
It was not until last year that REG agreed to meet the cost of its refurbishment, while the district would meet the cost for new caskets in which the remains would be moved.
The site hosts the victims from the sectors of Jali, Gatsata, Jabana in Gasabo, while others are from Rulindo District – victims who had sought protection at the military camp that was located in Jali Sector during the Genocide.
The City of Kigali vice-mayor for Social Affairs, Judith Kazayire, comforted the families of those whose loved ones are interred in at the site and also thanked Rwanda Energy Group and Gasabo District for their efforts to renovate the final resting place.
Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), said the plan to renovate Genocide memorial sites is part of a comprehensive national strategy.
“The wish is to bring into fewer and stronger memorial sites all remains that are scattered in the different mass graves in the country. We want sites to have a long durability and ensure they are periodically maintained,” he said.
“Burying genocide victims in good genocide sites is to give them their value and honor they lost.”
According to Bizimana, there are currently 234 Genocide memorial sites in the country.
Genocide ideology persists
Bizimana said a survey by the National Commission of Unity and Reconciliation, done last year in conjunction with CNLG, shows that genocide ideology still has roots in some communities but it was going down.
“Few people still have it and we have to increase efforts to uproot genocide ideology among these people and bring them in a good direction of the country that aims at building peace.”
This year, at least 304 people were charged in courts because of genocide ideology, according to Bizimana.