Members of the Anti-Genocide Parliamentary Forum (AGPF-Rwanda) are on a two-day tour of five districts where genocide ideology is still considered a challenge.
The legislators are meeting students in all the secondary schools in the five districts to engage them on the issue.
The five districts where genocide ideology is still prevalent as established by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission are Nyagatare, Ruhango, Nyanza, Musanze, and Rubavu.
The MPs, who engaged students as part of their field trip, covered nearly 250 secondary schools.
The president of the forum, Théoneste Karenzi, told The New Times that the legislators needed to reach out to students and help them build the kind of analytical tools that will help them think critically and shun any indoctrination involving hate associated with genocide ideology.
“It is important to be close to the youth so that they can have the ability to challenge negative ideas picked from various sources. We need to be close to them in order to tell them the truth about our history. These children are tomorrow’s leaders who will need to have the right version of the history of Rwanda. That’s why we focus attention on the youth,” Karenzi said.
The head teacher of Busasamana Secondary School in Western Province’s Rubavu District, Jean de Dieu Nikuze, said students expressed their support to the Government’s policies to fight genocide ideology.
“It was clear that the students picked a lot of interest in the topic. Because we are situated near the border with DR Congo, which hosts FDLR militia, the youth were urged to always share information about any threats and always support other Rwandans in the commemoration of the Genocide and reconciliation efforts,” he said.
‘Validating existing efforts’
At Rubona Secondary School in Southern Province’s Ruhango District where the legislators will be meeting students today, the head teacher said the MPs’ outreach programme to students will help validate the already existing unity and reconciliation programmes at the school.
“It’s a good course and it’s important to emphasise what we already tell students about unity and reconciliation,” she said.
In March, MPs agreed to undertake campaigns against Genocide denial and promote unity of Rwandans during the Genocide commemoration period.
They also warned against the continued campaigns outside the country to deny the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which they resolved to fight through engaging different members of the Rwandan society.
Although genocide ideology has significantly reduced due to the country’s good governance policies and pro-unity campaigns, legislators in the anti-genocide forum say new ways need to be consistently devised to counter any threats to promote the vice.
“We need to bring our ideas and actions together in fighting against genocide ideology. Those who committed genocide and their supporters keep devising new ways to deny it and we need to come up with new ways to fight them too,” Karenzi said in March.
The forum was created in 2015 and is made up of members from both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.