On 26 May 2019, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Rt. Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa joined residents of Nyanza District in remembering women and children killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
Upon arrival at Kibirizi, the Rt. Hon. Mukabalisa laid a wreath on a tomb while she paid respect to 453 women and children plus one man laid to rest in Kibirizi Genocide Memorial known as the memorial for child and female victims.
In a testimony, Justine Ngutete who miraculously survived the killings committed in ADPR church of Ibambiro, recounted bitter time Tutsi endured at the church where the then authorities collected women and children hoodwinking them that they meant to protect them. Instead, they tortured them, starved them and ultimately killed them. Most of women and children who had rushed to the place with hope for finding haven were slaughtered.
Killings at Kibirizi were so cruel, said Ngutete, that mothers were raped in front of their siblings and kids killed before the bare eyes of their mothers, under instructions of authorities who were supposed to protect the people.
Dr. Gasanabo Jean Damascène, Director General for Research in the CNLG delivered a lecture on stages of Genocide against the Tutsi, how the latter were persecuted, denied rights to education and rights to work until some of them were forced out of the country.
Other speakers of the day included Mr. Janvier Forongo, who spoke on behalf of survivors of Ibambiro neighborhood; Mrs Valerie Mukabayire, chairperson of AVEGA (Association of Genocide widows) representing at the ceremony the survivors’ umbrella association IBUKA. Both described atrocious killings of Kibirizi demanding prosecution of perpetrators who are still at large. They also demanded execution of Gacaca judgements as far as payment of damages is concerned and making the Ibambiro ADPER church a genocide memorial to women and children who were killed there. They further suggest that the Kibirizi Genocide Memorial be upgraded to its peculiarity as memorial site where only children and female victims lie (except one male victim).
The guest of Honor, Rt. Hon. Donatille Mukabalisa addressing the gathering, first and foremost condoled with those who lost their beloved ones in the bloodbaths of Ibambiro during the Genocide against the Tutsi. She called on them, especially the youth, to work hard and thrive as token of honor to kinsfolks whose life was cut short by genocidaires. She went on explaining that the victims they were commemorating were people of integrity, generosity and love. More particularly, they proved an extraordinary perseverance as they went through a very hard situation for 35 years, during which they were denied all fundamental rights.
During1994, Rwanda experienced lots of inhumane scenes, said Rt. Hon. Mukabalisa, whereby a mother renowned for her tenderness and love got directly involved in genocide acts, killing their likes [mothers] and innocent kids just because they were Tutsi and they ‘had to be’ exterminated. Killing women and children was in the agenda of making sure no Tutsi remained alive as killing a child and a woman implies putting an end to humankind lineage.
Rt. Hon. Speaker urged the youth to stand against any form of division, called on them to team up for national development basing on the registered successes and take them even further, for the good of present and future generations. Madam Speaker took the same opportunity to hail the Forces of RPF for having dedicated their lives to saving innocent people.
“The situation we went through is hard to understand. Fortunately enough it nurtured our resilience as we successfully found outstanding solutions to harsh challenges. Indeed, the result has been tremendous as well when we compare the satiation of 1994, right after the liberation struggle was over and the genocide stopped by brave forces we owe respect. We want young people to uphold the fruits of hard work during the last 25 years as they forge new gates of development opportunities. We believe you will make it because you are united and therefore have a shared vision. Hence, nobody can divide your efforts towards that mission”, she said.
Four hundred and fifty-three bodies of children and women plus one body of a man lie in the Kibirizi Genocide Memorial Site, which is recognized national wide as a genocide memorial for child and female victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
In 1994, the authorities lured children and woman to the church hoodwinking them into believing that they would be protected. Instead they killed them. Apart from Rt. hon. Mukabalisa, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, in attendance at the commemoration ceremony were also the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Hon. Nyirahabimana Soline, Vice President of the Senate, Hon. Jeanne Gakuba; the Governor of the Southern Province CG Emmanuel Gasana as well as different personalities including Senators and Deputies.