The country’s main cement manufacturer, CIMERWA, on Sunday remembered its 58 employees who were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, as part of the 23rd commemoration of the Genocide.
The victims are buried at Muganza Memorial Site at Gakoni Cell, Muganza sector in Rusizi District.
This is the eighth time that the Rusizi-based factory is remembering its employees who lost their lives in the Genocide, according to officials.
In paying homage to their fallen colleagues, factory employees kept a night-long vigil before commemoration day, an activity in which area residents also participated.
The commemoration event was characterised by a Walk to Remember from the factory to Muganza Memorial Site where they laid a wreath.
After the session held at the memorial, the participants went back to the factory from where the main event was held, characterized by speeches from officials and testimonies from different speakers.
Oliviette Mukankusi was tracked down by the killers because she got married to a Tutsi.
In her testimony, she said that during the Genocide, she was working at CIMERWA in the laboratory while her husband was a technician at the same plant.
Mukankusi testified that since 1990, the Tutsi were occasionally picked up and imprisoned at Kamembe Prison where they were kept without anything to eat and visitations by friends and family were not allowed.
It was a terrible moment for Mukankusi because she was married to a Tutsi.
“After a while, the prisoners were released. However, the torture against my husband never stopped,” she said.
Mukankusi was thereafter , listed among the people to be slaughtered as the perpetrators identified her as an accomplice to the Tutsi. Fortunately, she said, she managed to flee with her husband to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Adria Mukamudenge another survivor said that during 1994, there was no love at all, many people had become hostile and insecure – those that did not threaten to kill, refused to hide her.
Mukamudenge said sharing testimonies helps the young generation to know how bad leadership led to the death of over a million people.
Karl Willem Heese, CIMERWA General Manager, thanked Rwandans for their courageous spirit and refusing to be held hostage by the bad history.
“Though we were not present here at the time, facts speak for themselves and help us to understand what happened in Rwanda. We do remember because we can’t change the history. History is unchangeable. We can choose where we want to be today and tomorrow but we can’t change the past,” Heese added.
Emmanuel Nsigaye, the Rusizi vice mayor in charge of social affairs, thanked CIMERWA for the time they had taken to pay tribute to the victims among other activities with which they partner with the district to improve genocide survivors’ welfare including provision of shelter.
Nsigaye said that remembrance gives the people the strength to fight against genocide ideology. He took time to thank the RPF Inkotanyi soldiers for having stopped the Genocide.