The Executive Secretary of the National Commission charged with preventing genocide ideology in Rwanda Jean de Dieu Mucyo has called for increasing the capacity of the media in the country so as to eliminate the “still prevalent” genocide ideology in Rwanda.
Speaking to the press in his Kacyiru office Mucyo said; “the media is crucial. It was used by the Genocidal regime prior to 1994 in a campaign that was aimed at preparing some Rwandans to kill others.”
Mucyo’s appeal comes exactly a year after a parliamentary investigation found alarming cases in the country’s education system where various students were found to be harbouring the ideology.
The report released by a six man commission headed by Donatille Mukabalisa, a member of the lower chamber, in December 2007 found schools, especially in the Northern Province allegedly promoting genocide ideology “some registering 97 percent cases of the ideology.”
In Gakenke one secondary school was said to have lists of Tutsi students to be killed drawn up. However school administrators say no one has so far been killed on the said lists.
In this same school students were made to wear different uniforms according to their ethnic group. The headmaster of the school then said the uniforms were supplied by the Fund for Genocide Survivors’-FARG, a claim that students at the school denied.
The report disclosed that” genocide ideology” was detected in 84 of the 637 secondary schools in Rwanda in 2007.
Mucyo said that the media was essential in promoting an open and frank society where citizens discussed freely issues relating to the Genocide.
“We need to promote an open society culture among Rwandans where people talk freely instead of going to their homes to indoctrinate their children with the evil ideologies of genocide,” said Mucyo who is also a former Minister of Justice.
He said that government has since set up a national framework covering all layers of the local government structure to help in sensitising Rwandans against the ideology saying that all institutions in the country were equally responsible for fighting the genocide ideology.
“There’s a national advisory council to fight genocide ideology in the country headed by President Paul Kagame. The council has a wide outreach to the grassroots administrations,“ he revealed.
Mucyo said that it was now important to sensitize local administrators to advise citizens so that they can pay tribute to Genocide memorials across the country, and calling upon them to write literature on what happened in the country.
He added that places of social interaction were the leading centres for the dissemination of Genocide ideology and only the media could contribute to ending this hate propaganda.
Stephen Rangira, a veteran teacher in Kigali said; “Most journalists in the country are young, they are not very conversant with the country’s geopolitical and socio-economic history. Many need much training in reporting on issues such as the genocide ideology and its multi faceted manifestations.”