The Minister of Local Government, Protais Musoni, was Tuesday called to explain to lawmakers what was going on regarding the troubling issue of genocide ideology in schools.
According to the deputy Speaker of parliament, Polisi Denis, the Minister was summoned to explain after a 2007 ad hoc parliamentary commission discovered that local authorities were not tackling the problem adequately.
“MPs followed up the issue in schools and it was realised that local authorities do not follow up on issues, especially the genocide ideology, yet they are the ones primarily responsible,” Polisi said.
“How do you see the problem, and what control measures have been put in place?” Polisi asked the minister. In his presentation, Musoni acknowledged the ad hoc commission report’s troubling findings.
“There are local authorities who did not follow up on the problem and this report did awaken us on the matter,” he said. “We cannot develop without dealing with the question of mindset change,” pointed out the minister.
He explained that six measures were put in place to fight the genocide ideology and that currently, local leaders are required to submit weekly status reports to his ministry, reports which show how the issue and any other issues in schools in general are being dealt with, he explained.
According to him, the six key measures include programmes on: mindset change, community spirit, conflict resolution, fighting poverty and better service provision, law enforcement, and improving coordination between various levels.
“The genocide ideology takes time to entrench in society and in many forms: culturally, politically and economically,” he said, and added: “That is why we should see to it that all aspects of human life are improved.” He stressed that fighting the ideology will take time but efforts must be taken to fight it.
Musoni stressed that genocide ideology is mostly manifested towards and during the national mourning period. He underscored that in the first months more efforts will be put in fighting it. The Southern province has also been seen to show the highest degree of the genocide ideology.
The legislators, however, were not entirely satisfied with his initial presentation and posed many other questions regarding the matter.
Emmanuel Mugabowindekwe wondered what concrete measures MINALOC had effected since even when parliament puts up laws, they are sometimes not obeyed by the local authorities.
“We discovered that some local leaders know what is really going on down there but fear or don’t take decisions,” said Françoise Mukayisenga.
“Don’t you see this problem, what measures are in place?”
Regarding fighting poverty as a measure against the ideology, Jean Baptiste Zimulinda pointed out that the genocide ideology was not only practised by the poor, but the rich were also implicated. He suggested that measures against it should focus more on the historical causes, and uproot it.
Among the many other queries by MPs, Libérata Kayitesi stressed that she agreed with better service provision as a remedy, but suggested that the realities on the ground were alarming. She suggested that the ministry follow–up on how people’s issues are handled.
She pointed out that most problems were not with the children in schools but it was discovered that the major cause was from parents at home.
On the ministry’s weekly reports, MPs observed that most local leaders were lying about the status of genocide ideology in their localities.
“They fear showing that their localities are bad in the reports,” said Sebera Mukamurangwa, who highlighted the fact that genocide survivors sometimes call for help but are ignored.
Juvénal Nkusi asked what would be done to deal with the allegedly high instances of genocide ideology within local administration cycles themselves.
“We only visited schools,” he said, “what about the local authorities?”
Constance Mukahyuhi Rwaka pointed out that MINALOC will not successfully manage the problem on its own. While responding to the many questions asked, Musoni pointed out that his ministry has the overall responsibility but it is limited when it comes to dealing with the problem holistically. Most people believe that concerted government efforts are needed to fight the ideology.