EDITORIAL: We must make sure that over a million did not die in vain

Sometimes it needs shock treatment to bring big heads back to earth. For many years, the question of Rwandan refugees who were scattered all over the world had been swept under the carpet by successive governments.

Sometimes it needs shock treatment to bring big heads back to earth.

For many years, the question of Rwandan refugees who were scattered all over the world had been swept under the carpet by successive governments.

Gregoire Kayibanda, the chief architect of the anti-Tutsi pogroms that began in 1959, treated Tutsi as scum that had to be eradicated. In fact, it was his zeal to carry out another round of Genocide in 1972 that was his undoing.

On July 5, 1973, Maj. Gen Juvenal Habyarimana and fellow officers carried out a coup d’état with the pretext of putting an end to the killings of the Tutsi promising to prioritise unity, peace and development

Whereas Kayibanda never hid his disdain, Habyarimana was shrewd and cunning and managed to instill a false sense of safety among the Tutsi living in Rwanda. But it was never Habyarimana’s intention to let refugees repatriate and always used idioms to show that his hands were tied.

The most famous was that Rwanda was like a glass of water full to the brim, there was no space for more. That was the main catalyst that led to the liberation war that began on October 1, 1990.

The initial setbacks suffered by the RPF gave Habyarimana false hope that he had done away with the refugee question once and for all, but he had another think coming. He had never put into account that when someone has nothing more to lose, there is nothing to fear.

The Rwanda government had been dillydallying during the peace talks, putting more obstacles in the way.  But when RPF forces came knocking just outside Kigali on February 8, 1993, he was brought back to his senses, and then bought time to draw an elaborate plan that would leave over a million dead.

That is why, in rebuilding this country, we should be motivated by a deep desire to make sure that those who died did not do so in vain.

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