Senate President in Rubavu during the commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi .
The ceremony to mark the 18th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi which took place in Gisenyi Sector, Rubavu District was kicked off by a walk to remember departing from the former Rubavu Bus Station to the Genocide Memorial Site located at a place known as “commune rouge”. Current and former residents of Gisenyi Town turned out for the walk. All the speakers during the subsequent part of the ceremony held at the same place, criticised people who had opposed the project for construction of the Memorial at that very site which embodies a lot of history marks.
The IBUKA representative in Rubavu District, Mr KABANDA Innocent expressed his gratitude to the incumbent district authorities who finally decided to launch works of raising the Memorial at “commune rouge spot”, given that their predecessors had long time before failed to or were even reluctant to do so. He further commended residents of neighbouring Congo joining the event, for their presence and the fact that they harboured hundreds of Gisenyi survivors while genocide was underway.
Addressing the gathering, the President of the Senate who was the guest of honour, condemned those who opposed the idea of constructing “commune rouge Memorial Site”, and described them as negationists. He encouraged them to repent of their wrongdoings; otherwise, they might face justice. He went on urging local residents to provide information as to find where victims are still buried indecently, so as to offer them a decent burial worthy of human dignity. Regarding statements claiming the Law on genocide ideology to be harsh, the President of the Senate put that whatever some people may pretend to say, it is a must to contain genocide ideology since it was the same ideology which led to the 1994 Genocide.
Also at the ceremony was the Minister of Sports and Culture, Hon. MITALI Protais who joined voice in condemning people reluctant to give information about the spots where victims’ bodies still remain indecently buried. He explained the rationale of centralising Memorial Sites which falls in line with consolidating mechanisms meant to eternise historical features and soothe minds of the population.
Gathering during the commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Gisenyi Sector of Rubavu District
One of Gisenyi town survivors, Mr Narcisse who delivered testimony said that it was so miraculous to escape killings in Gisenyi as Interahamwe blocked all routes and given that each house in the town has access to a street, it was so hard to find a single path to escape.
As he explained, the area where Rubavu Memorial Site is located was named after a story of a certain RUGOTOMEZI who was killed there like many others. Killers succeed in getting him out of his home pretending that they were taking him to the Commune Office. So, he told killers: “this is not a Commune Office, it is rather a ‘commune rouge!”, – which may be translated as “a red commune office”, because of commission of mass killings.
The Memorial Site of Rubavu will cost over Rwf 87 000 000 when works are completed.