As the 15th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi came to a close, Rwandans residing upcountry marked the occasion alongside those from other areas. The New Time’s Regional News Desk embarked on a wrap up coverage of the just concluded one week commemoration. This is our reflection
In his presentation, at one of the vigils during the commemoration week within the Northern Province the Rt.Rev. Bishop John Rucyahana of Shira Dioceses observed that the past is our source for seeking out future prospects.
He underscored the fact that the future will be determined by our ability to understand who we are and what we want our future to be.
“The genocide is our history, we should not comprehend the genocide based on our emotions, guilt not even pain only. We need to understand it from a deeper level and take it analytically,” he said.
“From the economic perspective, we should reflect on the fact that the economy which was destroyed in the genocide process was such a great loss to us and now we need to consider developing even greater tools of economic empowerment for our people to fast track recovery ,”the cleric added.
Bishop Ruchyana remarked that Rwanda’s political structure was initially destroyed by the advent colonialism. The attack was centered upon the strength of Rwanda as a nation-state which was a unique bond based on a common language, culture and belief system.
“The power of this nationhood was systematically attacked and destroyed,” he remarked further.
141 Genocide victims buried
Remains of 141 victims of the Genocide have been reburied at Gishali Genocide Memorial Site, Gishali sector, Rwamagana district.
The remains were collected from cells that of make up the sector and were retrieved from locations such as trenches.
There are about 704 victims buried in Gishali Genocide Memorial Site, making a total of 845 victims laid to rest so far.
The burial ceremony was characterized by prayers, mourning,citation of poems and songs.Trauma hit many relatives and friends.
The Ibuka Representative at the ceremony, Seylvin Nsabimana said that remembering the Genocide should build people’s strength to lay strategies to fight the Genocide ideology not only in Rwanda but throughout the world.
He urged genocide survivors to be courageous and to face the future with confidence.
Rwanda Defence Forces(RDF) Brig. Gen Dan Gapfizi said that 15 years after the Genocide, all Rwandans should put their efforts together to fight Genocide negationists. He also asked residents to fight those who violate or threaten survivors’ security.
1,400 laid to rest
RUTSIRO — At least 1,400 remains of the victims of 1994 Genocide against Tutsi were last Monday retrieved and reburied in Rutsiro district. The remains were laid to rest at the closure of the commemoration week that took place at Mushubati Cathedral.
Thousands of relatives, neighbours and the residents of Mushubati sector gathered at the church for the highly emotional ceremony.
Speaking at the event , the Provincial Governor, Celestin Kabahizi said that Rwandans will continue to remember and pay tribute to their lost relatives and friends but insisted that the onus is on Rwandans to struggle with reshaping their future.
The Governor said it is every one’s responsibility, in close reference to this year’s commemoration theme, to join hands to fight genocide denial.
“It is not a rumour…there are still people either out side or inside the country who still deny that genocide happened in our country. Let us bear in mind that every one should lend a helping hand in clearing this,” he said adding that memorial sites should be given due value and protection.
“We should work exceptionally hard to ensure that memorial sites are accorded due attention and security which requires every one’s participation,” he said.
The Secretary General of Ibuka- an umbrella for genocide survivors, Freddy Mutanguha thanked residents who comforted and offered support to survivors throughout the week.
He reminded the Christian fraternity that many people were killed in churches and urged the current crop of the clergy to sow seeds of unity and reconciliation among the current Rwandan generation as a way of fighting re-occurrence of the Genocide.
“I remember prior to the Genocide Western Province constituted 85% of catholic followers and the biggest number was the youth.
Such a figure can be used to halt the reoccurrence of the Genocide of which the clergy should spearhead,” he said. During the Commemoration Mushubati residents and their neighbours collected more than Rwf.1.4 million that will be used to support the genocide survivors in the area.
Seven Genocide victims reburied
KAYONZA — Remains of seven victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have been reburied at Rukara and Mukarange Genocide Memorial Sites.
The remains were collected from administrative cells of Rukara and Mukarange sectors, Kayonza district. They were retrieved from several locations.
Five victims were laid to rest in Mukarange sector over the course of last weekend, while the other two bodies were buried at Rukara sector the previous Monday.
So far, there are more than 7,000 victims buried at Rukara memorial site. After prayers at Rukara Catholic Church, attendees of the commemoration service participated in a 1 kilometre walk to the memorial site where the reburial ceremony took place.
The service and reburial was preceded by a night vigil which was attended by many people. As was the case with many other similar ceremonies, relatives and friends to the victims suffered bouts of trauma.
The Mayor of Kayonza district, Damas Muhororo thanked attendees some who came from as far as Kigali City, Mwili and other parts of the country.
He also reminded the mourners that Genocide is real and as such those denying its occurrence are the same people who carried it out.
The Mayor encouraged citizens to focus on Nation building by offering support and hope to the genocide survivors. “ We have to lend a hand to efforts by the Government of supporting survivors, ”he said.
This week’s Up Country Insight by Dan Ngaboziza, Florence Mutesi and Bonny Mkombozi.