VILLAGE URUGWIRO - President Paul Kagame yesterday, at Village Urugwiro, met and held talks with a group of international scholars with an interest in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and post Genocide Rwanda.
The eight scholars, on an annual summer work trip, led by Prof. Jean Pierre Karegeye, the founder of Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Centre (IGSC), discussed with President Kagame the country’s path to recovery and reconciliation.
The researchers from different parts of the world also discussed with the Head of State the increasing cases of denial of the Genocide.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Karegeye, a lecturer at Macalester College in Minnesota, USA said that the talks between President Kagame mainly centred around the country’s recovery from the effects of the Genocide and the current progress.
“We talked about Rwanda’s progress in various sectors, but most importantly, we talked about our job as researchers---what we know about Rwanda and the truth in what we publish and also how, as researchers, we can be able to tell the truth,” Prof. Karegeye said.
Boubacar Boris Diop, a Senegalese researcher and author on the Genocide, said that the talks focussed on Rwanda in general, where the country has come from and how it has overcome unimaginable obstacles.
“We also informed the President about our role as researchers and authors on the Genocide, to point out the truth and stand by it and at the same time fight the propaganda of Genocide deniers,” Diop told the media.
Prof. Wandia Njoya, a Kenyan academic and researcher, noted that the discussions with President Kagame gave the researchers an insight into how Rwanda managed to stand the test of time as Genocide deniers set out to distort what happened.
“He told us that every time he is questioned or criticised is an opportunity for him to tell the truth. So we think our strategy would be having as many voices as possible standing for the truth,” she said.
“We need more voices to encounter the deniers and dispel the falsehoods that are being spread by people who deny that the Genocide ever happened here,” the Kenyan academic said.
According to Jean de Dieu Mucyo, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide (CNLG), the scholars discussed with President Kagame the need to uphold the truth.
“Many wrong stories about Rwanda have been circulated out there, especially regarding the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. So the discussion mainly focused on how the truth can be upheld and how these wrong stories need to be corrected,” Mucyo said.
“The talks did not only focus on the Genocide, but also where the country is in terms of justice, ICT, economic development, among others”.
During their stay in Rwanda, the scholars attended a conference on the effects of the 1994 Genocide on research in Africa.
Since their arrival on July 25, the researchers have visited genocide memorial sites across the country and interviewed a cross-section of Rwandans.