The Rwandan High Commissioner to Kenya, James Kimonyo, last week, shared Rwanda’s experience and efforts to restore peace in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He was speaking at the international Conference on Peace, Security and Social Enterprise held in Nairobi.
“Rwanda has made considerable progress on the road to reconciliation and is focusing on economic development. In the last decades, Rwandans have come a long way on the arduous road to reconciliation,” Kimonyo told the meeting that was also attended by Kenya’s Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Nkaisery.
He said that to ensure not only recovery but also sustainable peace, government, in the immediate aftermath of the Genocide, decided to eliminate the reference to ethnicity in identification documents and embarked on the legal process of investigating genocide crimes and building restorative justice.
“This is how the semi-traditional courts ‘Gacaca’ were introduced to speed up justice and facilitate reconciliation in our communities,” he said.
The envoy also touched on inclusive development that is hinged on the country’s historical values, including the re-introduction of community work (Umuganda) which has been vital in Rwanda’s socio-economic development.
Speaking at the forum, Mount Kenya University Rwanda founder Prof. Simon Gicharu urged leaders and the public to think about preventive measures and being candid in talking about peace.
“Higher learning is not about profit making, but instilling positive change among young people who are our future leaders to be dynamic and influence others positively. The world spends billions of dollars on conflicts instead of key sectors like education which is one of the pillars of development making the world a better place,” he said.