KAMPALA - A large gathering of Rwandans living in Uganda on Tuesday joined their country in commemorating the 15th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The day was preceded by a prayer service at the venue of the event, which is one of the six burial sites for the victims of the genocide who floated on Lake Victoria after being dumped in Uganda.
This was at Ggolo burial site in Mpigi District, currently a home to 955 bodies that were discovered during the 1994 genocide at the shores of Lake Victoria near the lake’s landing site.
In his speech, Okello Oryem, the Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who was also the guest of honour started by reminding the gathering how Rwanda had been abandoned by the whole world during the 1994 Genocide.
“Where were you when it was all happening? How did you allow it to happen? We all sat there as if nothing was happening,” Oryem questioned a cross section of diplomats, government leaders, university students and residents of Ggolo village in attendance.
He also noted that the genocide sparked off other conflicts that have led to the existence of negative forces in the region and brought about regional instability, death and suffering of millions of people in the Great Lakes region.
He was referring to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) an outfit composed of genocide perpetrators operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo who are responsible for atrocities in the region after the Genocide.
“This is a moment to reflect the dark moment, when darkness and absolute madness befell the beautiful country. Let it be a moment that brings the survivors and the young generation that never saw the dark moment, so that together, you can strive to make Rwanda a better place for its entire people.”
He also assured Rwandans that his government had supported Rwanda’s decision to have decent burials in his country for those victims who were dumped in mass graves.
“These burial sites will forever provide a shared history for our two countries and determination that it never happens again in our region.”
Rwanda’s Ambassador to Uganda, Ignatius Kamali Karegesa, strongly condemned revisionism of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in line with this year’s commemoration theme.
“These people are quite many; whenever you hear such people fight them, discourage them and teach them,” the envoy said.
Kamali added that plans had been finalised to have the six burial sites consolidated into 3 graves with Ggolo as the main burial ground, Kasesero and Lambu as the other two burial sites respectively.
This will be done after Easter Holidays but the exact date has not yet been confirmed.
“We are going to give all our people a decent burial. It had taken awhile but it now going to be done. The Ugandan government is with us. We shall start with sensitisation of the population because we do not want to surprise them,” he said. Also in attendance was a delegation from IBUKA, the umbrella organisation of genocide survivors.