Rwandans have a saying that ‘inkoni yirukana ingwe nabwo uyivana ku muturanyi’, literally meaning that a stick or weapon which defends you against a leopard, (enemy) cannot be borrowed from the neighborhoods. This is because by the time you get the weapon far from your neighbours, the enemy will have finished you.Rwandans should take the first initiative to fight and overcome the genocide ideology that has in past put our country in trouble.
There is no need to seek advice from abroad or regional neighbours on how to solve our problems.Fourteen years ago, genocide was planned and executed in Rwanda by the then Government, with an objective of exterminating Tutsis. Consequently, serious challenges continue to face the survivours and the Rwandan society as a whole.
While other societies and groups have experienced genocide, the case of Rwanda is unique in several respects. The genocide was done by the very Rwandans unlike in other countries. A husband killed a wife and vice versa, depending on who was targeted. The aftermath of the genocide too, is extremely shocking; the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa peoples continue to live together as neighbours.This is mainly because the genocide was committed by the very neighbours, who were either maternal or paternal relatives of the victims. They are at the same time the very people who directly or indirectly perpetrated genocidal acts. This, on the other side is what complicates reconciliation initiatives as well as processes for securing justice. The fact that they are relatives has made it difficult for justice to take its course, as in ‘some’ cases truth is hidden. Such scenarios were experienced in a case of one Munyambo, who financed and supervised killings in the district of Rwamagana. In the case, his family members were divided into two; those who supported him and those who were against him. This created confusion and judges were perplexed. Nonetheless, Rwandans should strive at building a united and reconciled state rather than creating ethnic divisions. The past history has shown how conflicts and genocide can destroy a nation. We should not be having for example, people who deny the 1994 genocide in our society.
We instead have to manage the post-genocide era in Rwanda and build a stable society.
The large number of people suspected of committing acts of genocide should be brought to court. Many of these people and their family members must at the same time live peacefully with genocide survivours.
Rwanda therefore, has to be prepared to undertake efforts to build mechanisms that will create a peaceful environment for different groups in the same neighbourhoods. Genocide has enormous devastating consequences, not only to the targeted group but also to the society as a whole. It leaves behind widows, orphans, HIV/AIDS patients, the physically handicapped, etc. Today, many of the survivours continue to suffer from trauma and are not yet healed from the wounds they suffered. All these are challenges we experience. However, the Rwandan society has to be rebuilt, different communities will have to live together, and the entire population must commit itself to respect human lives. Which is why, the government of Rwanda has in the past fourteen years worked hard to normalize the social and economic situations. It has also strived hard to improve the lives of survivours and coordinate their efforts to check the aftermath of the genocide.
Reconciling Rwandan people
Remembering the victims of genocide does not only serve to honour them, but can also be a way of checking future genocide. It is vital, therefore, that those who suffered and lost their lives, be remembered in a way that contributes to their healing. Peace building among different communities in Rwanda is also very important. It is impossible to assume that the genocide in Rwanda is a thing of the past and forget to put a stable foundation for peace. This should be the commitment of every Rwandan.
n addition, we have to explore effective ways to meet the survivours’ entitlements to truth, justice, reparations, including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation. This will help us to prevent any other genocide in our society. The agony and terrible consequences of the genocide do not end when actual acts of genocide cease. Instead, their destructive impact on individuals, families and society continues for lifetimes, and down through the generations.