Rwandans were yesterday called upon to stay united and work towards building their country and improve their lives.
The call was made during the event to conclude the official mourning week for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, an event that took place at Rebero Genocide Memorial Centre in Kicukiro District.
At the event, mourners paid tribute to politicians who were killed during the Genocide.
Top dignitaries in the country and families of politicians who were killed during the carnage gathered at the memorial centre, where they laid wreaths on the tombs where the politicians and other genocide victims are buried, and speeches were made to condemn discriminatory policies that led to the slaughter.
The mourners at Rebero were led by Senate president Bernard Makuza, who said that politicians who were killed in the Genocide left a legacy for Rwandans to always strive for their unity and shun bad governance.
“If we had had more politicians like those buried here today the Genocide couldn’t have happened. They gave us homework to always shun discriminatory policies and promote the unity of Rwandans,” he said.
He explained that genocide in Rwanda was made possible by bad leadership and he urged all the country’s leaders today to remain united and serve as an example for the rest of citizens, especially the youth who are the future leaders.
“Shunning discrimination and promoting the unity of Rwandans has to start with leaders. We have to be united as leaders and spread that unity among all Rwandans,” he said.
He lauded the country’s post-Genocide political discourse where politicians agreed to work in consensus instead of engaging in confrontational politics.
“It’s important that all Rwandans continue in the line of unity because the results of working together for inclusive development are tremendous. Let’s strive for our unity and let’s remember our loved ones in full focus on historical facts,” he said.
The spokesperson of the National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations (NFPO), Elizabeth Mukamana, said that consensus-based politics remains the way to go for Rwandans to rebuild their country after the Genocide.
“We have decided to nurture a political system that promotes the unity of Rwandans. Let’s fight everyone who may think about bringing back destructive policies,” she said.
Some of the politicians buried in Rebero include Landouard Ndasingwa, aka Lando, Venantie Kabageni, Charles Kayiranga, André Kameya, Aloys Niyoyita, Augustin Rwayitare, and Jean de la Croix Rutaremara.
Others include Joseph Kavaruganda, Frédéric Nzamurambaho, Félicien Ngango, Jean Baptiste Mushimiyimana, and Faustin Rucogoza.
Many of them were members of either the Liberal Party (PL) or Social Democratic Party (PSD) and were all known to be reformists who called for peace and reconciliation, pushed for political dialogue, and condemned hate ideology that was being promoted by the then genocidal regime of Juvénal Habyarimana.
Another prominent politician who was killed during the Genocide is Agathe Uwiringiyimana, who was prime minister shortly before the Genocide started. Her remains were laid to rest at the National Heroes’ Mausoleum in remera, Kigali.
Valerie Uwintije, daughter of late Venantie Kabageni who was a member of PL, holds fond memories of her mother.
“She loved her country, education, and people. She was a good parent and she hated injustice,” she said after laying a wreath on her mother’s grave.
She added: “It makes me happy when the country honours politicians who worked for it. We have to emulate their love for the country and quest for the unity of Rwandans”.
Although the official national mourning week ended yesterday, Genocide commemoration activities will continue in different communities around the country until July 3 – on the eve of the Liberation Day.