Education Ministers answer unsatisfactorily – MPs

KIGALI - The Education Ministers have unsatisfactorily answered questions posed by the MPs regarding the Genocide ideology in schools, and have been summoned to appear before the House for the third time. Late last year, Parliament authorized a special committee that comprised of six law makers to investigate the Genocide ideology in schools. The committee carried out the investigations and presented its findings to a parliamentary plenary session last month indicating the existence of the Genocide ideology in schools.
Education Minister, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya and her junior, State Minister for Primary Education Joseph Murekeraho
Education Minister, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya and her junior, State Minister for Primary Education Joseph Murekeraho

KIGALI - The Education Ministers have unsatisfactorily answered questions posed by the MPs regarding the Genocide ideology in schools, and have been summoned to appear before the House for the third time. Late last year, Parliament authorized a special committee that comprised of six law makers to investigate the Genocide ideology in schools. The committee carried out the investigations and presented its findings to a parliamentary plenary session last month indicating the existence of the Genocide ideology in schools.

Soon after the report was presented to parliament, another ad hoc commission was set up on December 21 to deal with the matter.

The committee was also charged with the summoning of the education ministers to help them draw stringent measures to curb the vice. On January 16, parliament called an extra ordinary session.

The Sunday Times spent one week following the legislators and probe committee members. Most MPs expressed their disappointment by the two ministers of education, but maintained that it was still early to make the matter to public.

Hoodwink in the House
The head of the ad hoc committee Mp Bernadette Kanzayire told Journalists on Thursday shortly after the morning session that the two ministers disowned their statements.
“What they told Parliament last Month is different from what they told our committee. This sends bad precedent among our leaders,” MP Kanzayire charged.

The tough-talking lawmaker stressed: “Leaders must be honest, credible and straightforward.”

According to the probe report, the Education Minister, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, contradicted herself in many ways especially when it came to the infamous writings and books which contained speeches of the late former president Juvenile Habyarimana who is blamed for the 1994 Genocide.

Mujawamariya said that the ministry had trained teachers on how to appropriately use these writings before students to enhance unity among them.
The riled MPs said one can not give poison to his child, adding that teaching Habyarimana and Ngirumpatse speeches meant that the ministers had learnt nothing from the Genocide.

But according to MP Kanzayire, Mujawamariya failed to produce before the probe committee a report of the trainings but only displayed invitation letters. The minister said that the writings and speeches in question could be used by teachers of high integrity to teach students about the bad practices of the former regimes.
“On the issue of the books, she said she did not know about the contents. We asked ourselves what had become of our ministers!” Kanzayire wondered.
In Ecole Secondaire de Gaseke in Gicumbi District, the parliamentary probe team found the infamous writings similar to the ten commandments of the Habyarimana regime that were published in Kangura news paper; an extremist publication which carried hatred massages against the Tutsis.

Mujawamariya and Murekeraho said that they new about the writings but later admitted their mistakes and failure to take stern action against the perpetrators.

“They would instead punish those who were threatening the students, but went ahead to victimize the innocent students, could that come from the custodian of the country’s education? Kanzayire asked during a sideline interview.  According to Kanzayire, the State Minister for Primary Education Joseph Murekeraho had earlier said that Mujawamariya was right in her submission to the house.

But later, Murekeraho reportedly backtracked and told the probe committee that he was not sure whether what Mujawamariya had said was the reality on ground. In ACEDI de Mataba in Gakenke district, the ministers failed to account for the reasons as to why school administration had introduced uniforms for student survivors of  Genocide that were far different from the rest of the students’.

 MP Kanzayire pointed out that Mujawamariya and Murekeraho told the probe team that they were not aware of the problem and hastened to add that they were to take serious action against the problem.

The two ministers were also blamed for failure to have standards on which schools are run, which Kanzayire said was a major cause of most problems in the education system.
“The two ministers do not have programmes of monitoring routine activities of schools which would help check on the problem of Genocide ideology and other indiscipline cases,” Kanzayire added. MP Fraçoise Mukayisenga, a member of the probe committee stressed that the probe team was not convinced by the ministers’ explanations and a number of programmes presented.

“Their strategies were mere plans of action which we do not think will be effectively implemented to curb the vice,” Mukayisenga noted.
She explained that the problem of Genocide ideology in schools was unearthed in 2004 but lacked stringent measures to halt its spread which the two ministers would have planned for.

Genesis of trouble
The whistle was blown after cases of the Genocide ideology were reported in Ecole Secondaire de Muhura in Gatsibo District Eastern province.
In August last year, parliament set up a select probe committee to investigate secondary schools over the problem.

Last Month the probe committee revealed damning revelations of cases of Genocide ideology in several secondary schools around the country, some scoring as high as 97 per cent. The inquiry came up with a list of eleven schools that were leading in cases of Genocide ideology countrywide. The probe team forced legislators to summon the two Education ministers Jeane d’Arc Mujawamariya and Joseph Murekeraho, state Minister in charge of primary and secondary education, to the August House to explain why the ministry could not contain the Genocide ideology in schools.

Early this week, the law makers unanimously voted to summon the education ministers again to explain why action should not be taken against them for their failure to stamp out Genocide ideology in schools.

Speaker Alfred Mukezamfura and his two deputies, Denis Polisi and Yvonne Uwayisenga chaired Thursday’s heated debate.
Will the ministers survive the sword?

“They have already failed and admitted their mistakes. The rest is to push them out of office,” one Mp who declined to be named because he does not officially speak for Parliament said.

Kanzayire also said that when the ministers return to parliament for the third time and fail to satisfy the House, the next option would be voting them out of the office. “They have failed to do their work.

We have given them an opportunity to tell us what they have in place to curb the vice but failed,” Kanzayire added. When contacted yesterday over the issue of removing ministers from office, Justice Minister Thercisse Karugarama said it was still early to give his legal opinion. “Let us wait until the matter reaches its final stage. I cannot jump now and comment,” Karugarama said when contacted on phone.
Ends

 

ADVERTISEMENT