Rwanda has offered to lead the struggle to eliminate ethnic based beliefs in the Great Lakes region. This is out of the realisation that such beliefs are a major cause of conflict in the region.
This was revealed during a conference organised this week by the Amani parliamentary forum Rwanda chapter. The campaign against ethnocentrism is not only timely but a noble undertaking.
This is because the region has for long been subjected to conflicts whose origins can be traced to ethnic divisionism that is a result of ethnocentrism. And the impact has been devastating.
It is truly fitting that Rwanda offers to lead this campaign, because it has seen the devastation arising out of such ideologies based on ethnicity.
The Genocide against Tutsis in 1994 followed by the long years of exile by Rwandans as a result of ethnocentrism, make Rwanda uniquely equipped to understand the real impact of such a negative ideology.
At the same time, Rwanda has emerged from the ashes of 1994 and has been able to reconcile its people, who had been torn apart as a result of a bad leadership that planted the seeds of Genocide based on a twisted view of ethnicity.
Through bold initiatives by the leadership of the country and with the support of the masses, Rwanda is now a united country that has moved on and such divisionism is a thing of the past.
Nevertheless, this campaign is absolutely necessary because some conflicts in the region have ethnic undertones or have been sparked by a need by some communities to struggle for survival in the face of groups bent on exterminating them.
This campaign will require concerted efforts from the whole region given the likely negative impact of such an ideology if not quashed.