KIGALI - The Ministry of Education has summoned Senator Anastase Nzirasanaho for questioning over genocide ideology in ACEDI de Masaba Secondary School. Nzirasanaho is a legal representative of the Association pour La Culture et le Developpment Intergre (ACEDI) de Masaba in Kakenke District Northern region which owns among other things the school.
The senator is also currently battling a case before a Gacaca court at Muhima over his alleged complicity in the killing of one Dr Theoneste Gafaranga during the 1994 Genocide.
Genocide ideology in ACEDI Secondary School is at 97 per cent, according to a Parliamentary probe report released last week.
The lawmakers also discovered that survivors in this school were putting on a uniform different from that of other children.
The report also indicates that the MPs found an anonymous letter at the school inciting hatred and death, quite reminiscent of the infamous Radio Mille Colline utterances.
Education minister Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya turned the fire against the senator on Wednesday, just hours after she was grilled by lawmakers over the rising genocide ideology cases in schools.
Mujawamariya and State minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Joseph Murekerawo are being questioned why the ministry has failed to stamp out the vice in schools.
“I must say I am very upset personally because a senator cannot associate with a school that harbours genocide ideology. We are summoning him to tell us,” Mujawamariya told a charged House.
“We are summoning him as the school’s legal representative. It is serious.”
Contacted on Thursday, Nzirasanaho said he had ordered the school management to give him a detailed report over the matter.
“They are giving a report today (Thursday) evening. But the issue of school uniforms which are not similar is not our own fault,” Nzirasanaho said by phone on Thursday.
He said the only difference was in quality since the survivors put on hard material which lasts three years.
Nzirasanaho said the Fund for the Support of Genocide Survivors (FARG) leaders buy cloth material that lasts quite a long period, yet parents go for quality.
“I did not know that Senator Nzirasanaho is part of this school. We cannot have a senator whose school is characterised by genocide ideology,” Mujawamariya said.
Mujawamariya and Murekeraho on Tuesday and Wednesday this week appeared before Members of Parliament to give explanations to the infuriated legislators.
Silence in the house
There was an eerie of silence in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday when some MPs including, Henriette Sebera Mukamurangwa insinuated that Mujawamariya could herself be harbouring genocide ideology.
A charged Sebera said: “Umwera uturutse ibukuru ukwira hose,” a Kinyarwanda proverb loosely translated to mean: ‘Bad habits from the leaders spread fast.’
Mujawamariya defended herself and cautioned the MPs to go slow on apportioning blame.
She said the fact that there is widespread genocide ideology in some schools does not mean that she as the custodian of the education system in the country is a subversive politician.
She said the ministry was aware about the prevailing genocide ideology but had not known it had reached such an alarming level.
The summoning of the senator comes days after a parliamentary inquiry revealed that in many secondary schools, genocide ideology cases are as high as 97 percent, a finding which has since sparked outrage among parliamentarians.
The report, compiled by six MPs since August, reveals cases of anonymous letters (tracts) in several secondary schools.
Some writings carried hate messages against Tutsi and Genocide survivor students. For instance, in another school, Ecole Secondaire de Gaseke in Gicumbi District, Northern Province, several genocide-fuelling anonymous letters were found.
Other similar hate messages were also found to have been distributed in several schools, and MPs are disturbed that children aged between ten and twenty are involved in such subversive activities.
The lawmakers have threatened to take tough action against the two ministers should they fail to convince the new ad hoc commission. “The new commission has been given 15 days but if the ministers fail to satisfy the MPs, it means that we would have lost faith in them,” said Vice Speaker Denis Polisi.
The Chamber of Deputies has established an ad hoc commission to further scrutinise the report.
The six-person commission, headed by MP Bernadette Kanzayire, has also been mandated to summon Education ministers for further explanations.
Other members on the committee are Alfred Gasana (vice president), Donatilla Mukabalisa, Alfred Kayiranga Rwasa, Françoise Mukayisenga and Jean Baptiste Zimulinda.
Polisi said the House would write to the prime minister, Bernard Makuza to allow Mujawamariya appear before the commission for the 15 days required of her.
Among the commission’s duties is to explore stringent measures together with the ministry to check the ideology, which some MPs have described as ‘cancerous.’
Ibuka speaks out
The Genocide survivor’s organisation IBUKA has demanded that swift and severe punishments be given to whoever is practicing genocide ideology regardless of their seniority.
IBUKA is particularly bitter because after the vice was unearthed in schools, perpetrators have not been punished to date.
“Let everybody implicated by the report pay heavily. We cannot afford to cordon the culture of impunity,” Benoit Kaboyi, IBUKA’s Executive Secretary said by phone on Thursday.
Asked whether schools where the vice appeared so high should be closed, Kaboyi said shutting down schools is never a better solution.
“I think the children should be educated. It is the teachers who must face the wrath of the law,” Kaboyi said.
The organisation says it is concerned and that if the vice is not checked now it could spread, gradually becoming impossible to weed out in the future.