Today’s politicians should emulate those that paid the ultimate price when they rejected the agenda of the genocidal regime that cost the country the lives of more than one million of its citizens, the president of the Senate, Bernard Makuza, said yesterday.
Makuza was speaking at the official closure of the 23rd Genocide commemoration week at Rebero Memorial Site.
Over 14,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi are buried at the site, including 12 politicians who were killed for opposing the genocidal government in 1994.
Explaining why politicians should focus more on those that they lead than themselves, Makuza said that it is important to remember the politicians who rejected calls to propagate genocide ideology.
“The politicians that we are here to remember today are a very good example of how evil, divisionism, injustice and genocide ideology can be rejected. Remembering them reminds us of the principles that should characterise any authentic politician who is more focused on the advancement of those that he leads without segregation. What those that we remember today strived for and were willing to sacrifice their lives for was for a greater good. This is a challenge for Rwandans in general and politicians in particular,” he said.
Makuza said that the Genocide against the Tutsi was planned for many years, pointing out that former governments had built its foundation and propagated its seeds over decades.
He warned those that deny or undermine the genocide that they will never win because the evidence is overwhelming.
“The truth is known. Genocide was not an accident or a natural disaster. The first and second republics laid the foundation of bad governance based on segregation, favouritism and impunity. Those trying to deny or undermine the Genocide against the Tutsi should know that it’s impossible. They are wasting time. There is evidence that the political line of hatred and divisionism are what eventually led to the Genocide,” he said.
The attendees also heard from Thaddeo Karamaga, who was a member of Rwanda Armed Forces (FAR) during the genocide against the Tutsi. He refused to participate in the killings and instead worked hard to rescue those who were being hunted. Karamaga who hails from Burera District, Northern Province was awarded a medal for this heroic deeds.
He took the crowd through his experience dating way back to years before the Genocide kicked off, saying that there were several incidences that indicated that the regime then was preparing massacres.
He pointed out the role of media houses in propagating the seeds of hate and inciting people to go after each other, something that he said spread like wildfire.
“The front page of Issue Number 7 of Kangura newspaper had a photo of Kayibanda wearing a business suit and next to him, a machete, the caption said that Kayibanda had fought ‘Inyenzi’ and defeated them. If you continue supporting RPA- Inkotanyi, this machete shall cut your throats,” he said.
About Rebero Memorial Site
In 1994, Rebero served as a refuge for short time for those who survived the Nyanza-Kicukiro massacres and who were rescued by RPA troops. This was after the troops had captured the strategic hill of Rebero in order to fight the genocidal forces. The survivors were relocated to Kabuye after a few days due to intense fighting in the area.