Trust without truth?

The recent RPF’s National Executive Committee meeting had serious issues on agenda to deliberate on, but one of the many that senior cadres dwelt on, was our unity and reconciliation, and more specifically, the fact that; asking for forgiveness on behalf of a section of our society, in whose name genocide was perpetrated was the natural thing to do.
Prof. Nshuti Manasseh
Prof. Nshuti Manasseh

The recent RPF’s National Executive Committee meeting had serious issues on agenda to deliberate on, but one of the many that senior cadres dwelt on, was our unity and reconciliation, and more specifically, the fact that; asking for forgiveness on behalf of a section of our society, in whose name genocide was perpetrated was the natural thing to do.

This item which had been discussed in Imbuto Foundation‘s 19th Youth Forum that took place in Serena Hotel on 30th June, under the theme “The Promise of a Post-Geneocide Generation”, put every RPF cadre in a situation where they had to see face to face with the realities of the abnormal Rwanda, and particularly into the face of the ghosts of genocide in our society, and one which will define and inform our political dispensation for generations.

Talk to the heart

The Y-generation in the aforementioned forum had overcome what their older generation (fathers/elder brothers) had failed to do, not so much because they were not involved in the heinous crime, nor because they are less informed, but mainly because the crime will inform their future, if they did not take it head on, and say no to the trend, a trend that may not affect the older generation (may be has already), as they will be irrelevant and possibly gone. Y-generation became wiser in this, like in many other spheres of our development, than their mentors.

They talked to their hearts, and their hearts out, and earned the trust of each other by talking truth, all truth. The fact is that genocide in Rwanda was committed in phases from 1958 to 1962, 1973, and to its climax in 1994, and was all done in the name of a section of our people, Hutus. Period.

Calling it any other name, giving it another tag, label, or explanation is only evading, or avoiding the truth, but truth has no other face, shape or colour. For this genocide, this is the truth. Yes, it is very painful and indeed a national shame, but what is not? The loss of 1 million compatriots for who they were?

Truth to heal?

I am not sure that, telling the truth and asking apology for crimes committed in the name of a section of our society will heal the hearts and minds of genocide survivors, and indeed the entire Rwandan society, but it would be a step in the right direction, for a people, and the country. For as the Party Chairman, and the President of our country rightly put it, ‘genocide affected every Rwandese, be it those who lost their beloved ones, and their worth, but also those perpetrators who either are implicated directly, of by association”.

And so, listening to every contribution of top cadres on this issue, most of which was emotive, tells a story. A story that, the impact of genocide to Rwandese society is much deeper, wider and more complicated than one can imagine.

Considering that many Rwandans were accomplices to genocide either directly as planers, killer mobs, or indirectly by directing killers where the victims were hiding, or even by mere inaction as observers to killing mobs, who killed in the name of the very community that looked on, or worse still by the mass refusal to help victims in distress, gave rise to collective ownership of this heinous crime.

This collective guilty then means that, genocidaire and Hutuism could be translated as synonymous in the extreme.

As such this is, has been a national ghost that must be exorcised from part of our community, for it to be at peace with the rest. But this exorcising has to be done by the very people who allowed these ghosts to possess them to the extent that, humanity (ubumuntu/ubuntu) ceased to be, considering the enormity of the crime, and the most brutal, unspeakable manner in which it was committed.

Were it not for the exemplary leadership of Paul Kagame, the revenges and counter revenges that would have taken place would have torn our society beyond any possible reconciliation. But this ‘development’ feeds into our political homework, and in my opinion, key word to the same.

Admission

Cadres that happen to belong to that section of our society (Hutus) admitted that, the right thing to do is to apologise in the name of the part of our society that perpetrated the heinous crime against their compatriots, and that this will be done soon.

Each of the speakers, talked of how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi  was committed by a people in the name of the section of the society, which is why it was so systematic, and in a short span of just 100 days. A record killing in the history of mankind of a people by their own. And so, it was not the mere mobs of interehamwe youth or their military alone.

The community was mobilised to exterminate their compatriots. Chilling and heart breaking stories we have heard before, but this time round, we were told by senior RPF cadres’ by way of confessions… ‘kill them (Tutsis) until those to come will ask how they looked like…send them back to Abyssinia by river Nile, kill all the cockroaches, snakes…kill your own child for he/she has Tutsi blood etc dimmed the rest of the meeting.

Feedback?


To me, and a few senior cadres I happen to chat with, the stories told in the very high level meeting and the manner in which they were told portrayed the ghosts of abnormal Rwanda;  alive and kicking.

It is also a reminder that our unity and reconciliation is not only raw material with lots of work to be done, but also that any other political narrative has a huge potential to offset the balance, and all we have achieved at a priceless cost. And do we need to debate the obvious potential reversal of our current political dispensation amidst these developments?

The writing was, and is on the wall.  

The writer is an economist and financial expert

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