This week saw members of the Anti-Genocide Parliamentary Forum travel to secondary schools across five districts in the country on a campaign to encourage the youngsters to steer clear of hate crimes and genocide ideology.
This comes after a report by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission indicated that genocide ideology tendencies were more prevalent in the secondary schools in the five districts (Nyagatare, Ruhango, Nyanza, Musanze, and Rubavu).
The majority of students who are in secondary schools today were born after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and therefore did not grow up in a country that espoused hate and discriminatory ideologies.
Nonetheless, it would be naïve to expect that the immediate post-Genocide generation would be immune from genocide and hateful ideologies because these extremist ideas had been inculcated and nurtured among Rwandan families for decades in the build-up to the Genocide.
As such, the campaign to challenge these ideologies must not leave the younger generations behind; in fact, these should be placed at the heart of this effort because they are the custodians of our nation’s posterity.
Therefore, the parliamentarians’ drive should be supported and conducted more regularly, countrywide.
However, there is need to adopt a comprehensive, multisectoral approach to dealing with the threat of genocide ideology across the different facets of our society. For schools, it’s important that standard curriculum about our history is taught and its incumbent upon the country to ensure that we have teachers who are committed to the cause.
But the campaign should also include parents and communities because they are the ones that poison the minds of children and the youth with archaic and dangerous ideologies.
It’s through continuous education and sensitisation that we will eventually see the emergence of a generation of truly patriotic citizens that respect the sanctity of life and genuinely place ‘Rwandanness’ above any narrow considerations.