Community service activities carried out by genocide convicts in the country last year are valued at the tune of over Rwf 12 billion, a report of the Secretariat of Works for General Interest (TIG) reveals.
TIG is a Rwandan programme, under which people who were found guilty of participating in the 1994 genocide against Tutsis serve all or part of their sentences through community service.
According to a report published in January that highlights TIG Secretariat activities over the past year, the programme did not only help to promote reconciliation, but also saved government from paying ‘huge’ sums of money on important works.
“Any achievement by TIG is a contribution towards the country’s development programme and also to the unity and reconciliation of Rwandans,” the report observes in conclusion.
“After a short period since the implementation of the programme (TIG) started, it is clear that it produces important results in different areas,” Evariste Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of TIG National Committee, observes in the report.
Various activities carried out by the convicts include land consolidation works through terracing, making bricks, construction and repairing roads, and building houses for the vulnerable.
The works are believed to have helped to speed up development programmes of districts that are highlighted in their performance contracts.
Among major accomplishments, the TIG Secretariat’s report highlights that 2,298 houses were built across the country last year, 1,331km-long roads were completed, and 3,031 terraces were prepared.
Some of these projects were developed by districts and the convicts – commonly known as ‘Tigistes’ – helped to accomplish them.
“TIG helped districts to achieve plans included in performance contracts they signed with the President,” Bizimana said in the introductory part of the report.
The programme was introduced in 2005 and thousands of convicts, mainly those who confessed their role in the Genocide, have been serving in over 108 TIG sites that government has since established across the.
Hundreds of tigistes are still at work in 63 camps. The remaining 43 camps were closed after completing their work, the report says.