Reconciliation is central to the change debate

In the previous article, the issue of apology by the section of our society in whose name, and or who committed genocide seems to have garnered unanimity at least as a step towards national healing and cleansing.
Prof. Manasseh Nshuti
Prof. Manasseh Nshuti

In the previous article, the issue of apology by the section of our society in whose name, and or who committed genocide seems to have garnered unanimity at least as a step towards national healing and cleansing.  

But listening to negationists/revisionists/genocide demeanors/deniers one captures the enormity of our reconciliation process and through this, our national cohesion.

That social media/media is awash with negative forces, some of whom participated in this heinous crime and have diverted attention of many through their double genocide that never was, but one they use to calm their concience, that will never be at peace, given the infinite guilt of innocent bloodshed. 

What is surprising is that, these forces are given a platform/air time by even such media as BBC and VOA etc in countries where the mention of genocide against Jews in a way that demeans it carries serious criminal offense is telling.

Telling a story that, the world that watched us killing each other, is indifferent to this day. But serves as a reminder that, as genocide was committed by our own, its consequences are our own, and ours alone. Period.

Precedent?

That Germans are paying reparations even today to Jewish Holocaust survivors indicates the seriousness of this crime more than four decades after it was committed.

Unlike other recorded genocides where the sitting government was the main actor in this heinous crime, ours was the genocidal government with the society that had been sensitised as early as 1959, and fed into divisionism unseen in post independence Africa, explains the substance of genocide in our country.

Stories of school children taught in classrooms genocide ideology, which was then reinforced by parental affirmation of the same ideology informs the extent to which we have a long way to go before our reconciliation can yield the desired results of one Rwanda, one people.

But this will only happen with exemplary leadership, that understands and is committed to ensuring that, we evolve a cohesive community that is a critical cornerstone to a sustainable development of our country, and without which, it will remain fragile and susceptible to reversal.

This is an area among many others, where President Kagame leadership has been more than transformative considering how far we have come, although the journey ahead is still long and treacherous if one factors in change. 

Collective apology, of a collective crime, that has given rise to collective guilt, is natural for the healing of hearts and minds of both victims and perpetrators, and critical for our reconciliation process.

Research:

Recent research by Illuminatio Consultants and Training Centre sheds some light on genocide perception and by extension the effectiveness of reconciliation in our country.

That this qualitative research found out that, ‘there is persistent fear of recurrence of genocide…where close to 40% believe that some Rwandans “would try and commit genocide again, given the opportunity”.

The term ‘given the opportunity’ is highly correlated to leadership in place, one that can manage/mismanage the emotions behind this heinous crime.

In our situation it has taken more than focused leadership, to convince victims to forgive their killers. And they did. Normally, it should have been the other way round.

Killers should have asked for forgiveness and it would have been up to the victims to forgive or not. This model or reconciliation is unique.

Unique because, the exemplary leadership in place was trusted, and thus entrusted with the reconciliation process with the total conviction that, it will yield the results that were in the interest of both the victims and the perpetrators.

It has so far done that. Are we there? I highly doubt. This research is suggestive. It will take our exemplary leadership more time than one may imagine, to usher the process into sustainable mode.

For as it is, this is a generational problem, which is not solved by term limits, change that is an end in its self, if it cannot capture this. 

The take-home-message is: reconciliation is a central function of our change debate, and our future as a people and country.

Professor Nshuti Manasseh.Economist and Financial Expert.

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