Rwandans battle genocide ideology

Since the 1994 genocide, Rwandans have been struggling to separate themselves from the course that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Unfortunately, as a recent parliamentary probe revealed, the country is still awash in sentiments of hatred and division.

The probe was established in August to investigate claims that survivors or children of survivors were being regularly harassed. The study examined 32 secondary schools and found that 97 percent exhibited cases of “genocide ideology.”

Damning details of rampant of genocide ideology were equally unearthed at Ecole Secondaire de Gaseke. There, the six-man Chamber of Deputies’ probe team, found widespread cases of anonymous genocide-fuelling letters, with some reading ‘Musenge n’ubwo tutabatema tuzabaroga kandi muzapfa nabi’ (pray because even if we don’t cut you in pieces, we shall bewitch you), ‘Murabeshya tuzongera tubaganze kandi tuzongera tubice kuko niyo ntego – mwa ba Tutsi mwe, twabibutsaga’ (You Tutsis we shall ultimately kill you again, because that is our mission – that’s a reminder).

In that same school, the MPs led by Donatilla Mukabalisa told their colleagues during a plenary session on Monday, that they found writings similar to the infamous ten Hutu commandments, which were published in the former extremist Kangura newspaper, in the run up to the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

The report indicated that subsequent to the continued hostile agenda targeting Genocide survivor students at Ecole Secondaire de Gaseke, district and the school authorities, transferred some of the most targeted students to other schools, while one was made to become a day scholar.

Threatening anonymous letters were also found in other schools where genocide ideology was found to be rampant including Groupe Scolaire de Shyogwe in Muhanga District, Southern Province; Ecole Secondaire de Mudasomwa in Nyamagabe District, Southern Province; Ecole Secondaire de Taba in Gatsibo District, Eastern Province; Groupe Scolaire de Muhura in Gatsibo District and Ecole Secondaire de Tumba in Rulindo District, Northern Province.

The harassment and segregation is not only being carried out by the students, however, but by the teachers and administrators as well.

In one case, for example , Association pour la Culture, l’Education et le Developpement Integre (ACEDI) de Mataba, a school in Gakenke District, Northern Province, school authorities introduced uniforms for Genocide survivor students, which were different from other students’.

Societal backlashes are historically common following genocidal outbreaks and it’s not surprising to find Rwanda still grappling with these issues thirteen years later; the fact that parliament is looking into instances of racial division and any ideology that could lead to another outbreak of violence is encouraging.

As MP Specioza Mukandutiye correctly stated during a report on the hearing, “we have campaigns to fight against HIV/Aids, we should also have similar campaigns directed towards fighting the ideologies of genocide and divisionism among Rwandans.”

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