KARONGI — Scores of residents in Kibuye have been marching every other day, since Monday, in protest against genocide ideology. The marching is part of the activities to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide.
The marchers from Gatwaro Stadium towards the Catholic Church in Rwagasirika hold burning candles and listen to testimonies of genocide survivors
On the first day, the Catholic father prayed for the souls of the victims of the Genocide to rest in peace after which people were given the opportunity to tell their testimonies.
"These marches symbolize the unsuccessful journey that the deceased Rwandans made in an attempt to escape death from Gatwaro to the church and vise versa," said one of the organizers and a sector official. He explained that it was very hard for any one who sought refugee in the church to survive after being duped of protection.
"This journey reminds me about my father, my husband and my children, if we had hidden in bushes in stead of the church may be they would not have been killed," said Madalena Mukaremera a survivor. After giving the testimonies, people peacefully march back to the Stadium for a night vigil. About 10,000 remains of the genocide victims were buried at Gatwaro Stadium, while about 14,000 were buried at the Catholic Church.
Even the routine discussions about the genocide attract hundreds of residents. "It has really surprised me to see the stadium getting filled up everyday to the extent of people missing seats," said a sector official. At the stadium people watch genocide-films, and listen to more testimonies from different people who survived the massacres at Gatwaro Stadium.
"If we continue with such a heart of togetherness we shall stem the genocide ideology and constant suffering of genocide survivors," said one resident, a teacher. It emerged that people still habouring genocide ideology commit a lot of things during the mourning period aimed at annoying survivors. These include: verbal insults defecating in survivors’ homes, stealing from them and threatening their lives among other things.
"Last year I woke up to find blood sprinkled on my front door during the commemoration week which made me traumatized," said a survivor who gave his name as Rukara.
It is said a primary child told his peers that; "if you think you shed blood in 1994 it was just half a litre you’ll have to shed more.’ In this year’s case however, there are no such cases which have been reported. During the Monday function two snakes disorganized the march before being killed.
"Give maximum respect, remembrance and gratitude to the deceased by fighting the genocide ideology in our district," Bernard Kayumba, Karongi district Mayor urged residents at a function, attended by provincial governor, Penelope Kantarama, district leaders and sector officials.