Staff members of the City of Kigali, government officials, and victims’ relatives on Saturday met at Kigali Genocide Memorial to honour former city employees killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The activity began with a Walk to Remember which started from the City Hall in downtown Kigali to the Gisozi-based memorial, where over 250,000 Genocide victims are laid to rest.
Jeanne d’Arc Gakuba, the vice president of the Senate who was the guest of honour, said commemoration is time to commiserate with survivors and to renew efforts to fight genocide ideology.
“We must comfort survivors so that they stay strong. That is why we put in effort to ensure everyone who was killed is remembered every year; it is significant and this revives hope that our children will live in a better country,” she said.
Not only should we say that genocide must never happen again, its ideology must cease as well, she said.
“We have the responsibility to restore values, the economy, and other things that were ruined during the Genocide,” she said.
Artists Dieudonne Munyanshoza and Mariya Yohana performed some of their commemoration and healing songs at the event.
Pascal Nyamurinda, the Mayor of the City of Kigali, said Rwandans “can’t allow such a history that created many orphans and widows to happen again,” he said.
He revealed that the City of Kigali will support three families of survivors by giving them free houses in Kigali.
Dr Jean Damascene Gasanabo, the Director General of Research and Documentation Centre on Genocide at the National Commission for the fight against the Genocide, elucidated the precursors of the genocide that include training of Interahamwe, a paramilitary group responsible for carrying out the genocide.
He said that the genocidal regime distributed arms under the guise of ‘Auto defence civil’ or ‘civil self-defense’ which were used to kill innocent Tutsi.
Pascal Bune, a survivor, recounted the horrors he went through during the Genocide.
It shocked many to hear how Bune and his colleagues were discriminated against primary school years before the beginning of the Genocide.
He praised former RPF-Inkotanyi soldiers who stopped the genocide and whose valor many owe their survival.
There are 45 known Genocide victims who worked in former Kigali prefecture.