KICUKIRO - The Ceremony to mark the end of the Genocide Commemoration week at Rebero Genocide Memorial site also served as an opportunity to remember politicians who stood firm and opposed the dictatorial tactics by the late former president Juvenal Habyarimana.
Some of the politicians buried at the Rebero site include; Landouard Ndasingwa commonly known as Lando, who was a Minister in the former regime and member of the Liberal Party (PL), Venatie Kabageni (PL), Charles Kayiranga (PL), Andre Kameya (PL), Aloys Niyoyita (PL), Augustin Rwayitare (PL) and Jean de la Croix Rutaremara (PL).
Others are Joseph Kavaruganda, Frederic Nzamurambaho who was a member of the Socio-Democratic Party (PSD), Felicien Ngago (PSD), J. Baptiste Mushimiyimana (PSD) and Faustin Rucogoza (MDR).
Most notable among these is Lando, who was killed alongside his entire nucleus family and his memory is kept alive by his Hotel, Chez Lando in Remera.
Kavaruganda was heading the Constitutional Court before getting into loggerheads with the then regime after his refusal to be manipulated to amend the constitution to serve its interests.
These were among the courageous few who could dare a regime that operated on threatening tactics to suppress the opposition by employing repressive methods that included killing, torture and imprisonment.
These reformists called for peace and reconciliation, pushed for talks and condemned the hate ideology that was spreading like a wildfire at the time, perpetuated by Habyarimana and his henchmen.
The slain politicians had the capacity to flee the country or even keep mum on the atrocities but they chose to stand firm, eventually sacrificing their lives for the country.
Some left young families and some so young that the only memories they have of their parents are just names engraved on tombstones.
Tears surged as thousands lined to pay their respects to these brave men and women buried at the Rebero site, alongside other 14,200 innocent victims especially those murdered at Kigali Central Hospital.
Young boys and girls broke down before the graves containing the remains of their fathers and mothers, no efforts would console these young souls, some collapsed on the graves, requiring the attention of first aid crews.
The country’s national leadership including the President of the Senate Vincent Biruta, the Chief of Defence Staff General James Kabarebe, the Acting Commissioner of Police, Mary Gahonzire and the Head of the Political Parties Forum in Rwanda, Protais Mitali laid wreaths on the graves at a sombre ceremony, as sad memories were rekindled.