The war on genocide ideology in the Nyabihu district seems to be won, the acting Mayor, Jean Damascene Ndagijimana has said, at a recent meeting of Bigogwe residents, to discuss what could be achieved during the Unity and Reconciliation Week.
The week ran from November 12 to 23, 2008, it was recently adopted by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC).
According to NURC, the idea of a reconciliation week was conceived during the formulation of the National Policy on Reconciliation an event to be marked annually. It is aimed at evaluating progress on unity and reconciliation among other things.
“It’s amazing to see that although Nyabihu is one of the districts that were strongly affected by the 1994 Genocide where thousands of Tutsis were killed in sectors like Bigogwe, people are successfully uniting and reconciling,” the Mayor said and lauded the residents for burying the vice. He urged them to work together towards the district’s development.
Ndagijimana said the unity and reconciliation week was useful for residents to evaluate and think of how genocide criminals could reconcile with those they wronged.
“We need to reconcile and forgive those who take a step to ask for forgiveness because if we followed ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ philosophy, the world will be a place for the blind and the toothless because we all do wrong,” he said.
He asked residents to work hard to protect the environment in order to prevent disasters that have in the past affected residents in the district.
The Mayor observed that although Nyabihu was one of the most fertile districts and the major producer of Irish potatoes, most cultivatable land was vulnerable to soil erosion due to its hilly nature.
This, he said, calls for much protection to safeguard its fertility through making terraces and stopping agricultural activities on elevated areas.
At the meeting, genocide criminals sentenced to community work (TIG) thanked residents and the government for accepting them into communities in spite their past crimes.
“I, like most of my colleagues feel guilty for what we did. We were misled by our conscious and former leaders into doing inhuman acts. We thank the government of unity for pardoning us,” Jean Paul Nzayisenga, one of them said.
He added, “We shall do our best to use this TIG period to contribute to the country’s development through rehabilitating roads, digging terraces and willingly and energetically construct houses for the homeless Genocide survivors in our district.”
Meanwhile, in Nyamagabe district, as part of the activities to mark the reconciliation week, the youths renovated a house of a single mother whose whole family died in the Genocide.
Clement Ayinkamiye, 30, whose house was renovated could not hold back tears of joy after getting shelter. She said the youth’s gesture reflected the kindness that characterised Rwandans ages ago.
“After so many attempts at the Sector, my efforts were finally rewarded when the boys surprised me this morning. I don’t know how thank them,” Ayinkamiye said. She hailed the government for instituting policies that benefit the local people.
According to NURC’s Executive Secretary, Fatuma Ndangiza, the youth were encouraged to significantly contribute towards unity and reconciliation because they are tomorrow’s leaders.
“Investing in young people is the best contribution one can give to his/her country,” she told The New Times last week.