By James Karuhanga
Activities to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi will specially focus on the youth, organisers have said.
The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) said on Friday that the goal is make the youth a vital cog in ensuring that the country never suffers similar mayhem.
During a news conference at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre ahead of this year’s commemoration, Jean Damascène Bizimana, Executive Secretary of CNLG said the theme will once more be Remember – Unite – Renew.
Bizimana said: “The profile that will be given more attention will be the youth and the reasons for this include the fact that people under the age of 30 years are 60 per cent of the population. Most of our youth today know nothing, or very little, about the history of the Genocide.”
Commemoration activities during the 25th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide, the CNLG boss explained, will centre on four key elements: memory and unity; the continued pursuit for justice; fighting Genocide denial; and accountability.
Accountability, he said, is in line with all processes of nation building and development and has a close link with the 1994 Genocide.
“There are issues that persist today, for example, genocide survivors who are not yet well catered for and those in charge should be accountable.”
Preparations in progress
Efforts to make this year’s landmark commemoration a success are underway across the country.
Some of the planned activities include visits to survivors whose entire families were totally wiped out, which will take place on February 16, in Huye, Bugesera and Nyanza Districts.
Other activities such as education and sensitisation workshops are already underway. The also include the Justice Week, which aims to ensure that Rwandans are acquainted with national legislations on Genocide as well as laws pertaining to national unity.
“For example, many Gacaca convicts have finished serving their sentences and are being released while others in similar circumstances are also soon coming to integrate into society. It is important that discussions be held on how these people reintegrate and fit in,
“It is not an easy thing for a survivor to see someone who wiped out his or her family suddenly free even without knowing how this person got free. This can cause so much shock. We need to talk about this. People need to be ready to live with those who killed their relatives.”
Timelines of planned activities
Regarding ongoing activities ahead of April 7, Bizimana noted that besides the visits to survivors whose entire families were totally wiped out;
On March 16, there’s an event planned at three villages – in Masaka, Kicukiro and Nyagatare – where former soldiers who are liberation war casualties reside.
These war veterans, he said, have an important legacy for the nation’s youth.
April 3: There will be a special youth retreat where youth from different parts of the country and the diaspora will converge in Kigali to discuss and learn more about their role in nation building, among others.
April 4 and 5: An International Conference on Genocide will follow.
Bizimana could not precise when exactly but he noted that before April 7, the plan is that in Rwandan embassies abroad there should be meetings and discussions too.
April 8: A project of a memorial garden at the Genocide Memorial in Nyanza, Kicukiro will be launched.
April 11: All foreign embassies and international organisations in Kigali will commemorate at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, in Gisozi, in the morning with the former then joining Rwandans in the afternoon at the Genocide Memorial in Nyanza.
April 12: is also reserved for opinion leaders such as religious leaders and others to commemorate while the commemoration week will be wrapped up on April 13 by especially remembering the politicians killed during the Genocide.
With everything happening “at District level”, on that day, emphasis will be on thinking about the role good politics plays in nation building and development.
Source The New Times