Rwandans and friends of Rwandans living in Nigeria gathered to mark the 20th commemoration of Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda.
The 1994 Genocide against ethnic Tutsi in Rwanda left over a million dead.
The Kwibuka20 held in Abuja Nigeria, on 13th April 2014 was attended by 21 Heads of mission (Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Rwandans living in Abuja, and friends of Rwanda. Journalists from different Nigerian media institutions.
Below is a full speech by Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, HE Joseph Habineza.
Excellencies the Ambassadors, High Commissioners,
members of diplomatic corps,
Gentlemen of the Press,
Friends of Rwanda and my fellow Rwandans
Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen,
Please let’s observe one minute of silence remembering all these waisted lives during
the 1994 genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda
Let me express my appreciation to all of you who joined us tonight for the 20th
commemoration of the genocide against Tutsi that happened in Rwanda in 1994.
Actually Rwanda and the whole world observes 7th April as the official day to
remember the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, but in Rwanda we observe a whole
mourning week from April 7th to April 13th.
On April 13th we commemorate the top politicians who were killed during the
20 years have passed and a lot have happened. We have to remember the victims,
console the survivals and make a commitment to Never Again. That’s why our theme
is Remember, Unite, Renew.
20 years ago, 1,074, 017 lives were waisted in 100 days, meaning on average 10,
740 people being killed every day, 448 every hour and 7 every minute.
A whole country became a killing field where innocent people were being haunted by their neighbors just for the simple fact of being Tutsi, related to them or being against the rulers of then ideology.
Till today people are wondering what are the causes of this tragedy!? A genocide never happen spontaneously, it’s planned, prepared, taught and executed.
The ideology takes time to mature, that’s why in the Rwandan case, we have to look at its roots causes and the political ones. We can’t ignore or close our eyes on the role played by the catholic church missionary and the colonialist in destroying our traditions and culture!
The divide and rule strategy brought by the colonial masters divided the Rwandan
society but also the lack of vision, charisma and the selfishness of bad politicians
contributed a lot to this tragedy! Poverty and ignorance of the mass made the
When the killings started the world turned their back to Us, every country focusing
on his own internal problems, it’s only Nigeria, Czech, New Zealand and Spain
who were members of UN security council who tried to raise an alarm warning that
a genocide was happening in Rwanda.
The media didn’t report enough on what was happening in Rwanda as they were
busy covering news like the African Cup of Nation finale, the world cup, the death
of Formula one Champion Eryton Senna, .....
At the end of those 100 days of darkness, Rwanda was completely destroyed without
any hope for neither reconstruction nor reconciliation of her citizens. The so called
or self claimed "Africa Specialists" were proposing to divide the country into 2 parts
or to put the country under UN protectorate.
It took resilience, never die spirit of Rwandans to build a new Rwanda that
everybody is celebrating her achievements in doing business, ICT, health sector,
agriculture, women empowerment , good governance, security to mention a few.
As my President mentioned it in His speech on 7th April 2014 at Kigali, after the
genocide, we made three choices!
1. Stay united,
2. Being accountable,
3. Thinking big.
Going back to our culture and tradition, we adopted our values to help us overcome
challenges we were facing.
Gacaca helped in trial of genocide suspects, umuganda is helping in Unity and
development, ubudehe and girinka are helping in poverty alleviation, and many
more home grown solutions helped to restore unity among Rwandans.
We identify ourselves as "Umunyarwanda" and no longer as umuhutu, umututsi or Umutwa.Accountability to the community you serve is our motto! We are driven by Our
Dignity, Agaciro that demands us to deliver and out perform in whatever we do.
I hereby express my gratitude to all our development partners who assisted and
continue to support Rwanda in her economic and social transformation!
The lessons that the world should learn from our tragedy are many and I essentially
implore my brothers and friends Nigerians to take notes:
Nobody is born a Killer, manipulation, brain washing and bad leadership lead to
genocide! I indulge the politicians of this country to put the country and Nigerians
first than their own interest.
Those who are backing terrorist groups should think twice as you know when you start those activities but you never know when and how it will end.
why should people die due to their religion ? After all Islam nor Christianity is not
a Nigerian invention! Focus on the 90 percent you have in common than the adopted
small difference you have.
In Rwanda, we say "Akimuhana kaza imvura ihise" meaning an external help or aid
comes after rain has stopped" and I think our wise ancestors had foreseen what will
happen in 1994!
The international community abandoned us during genocide but came back when there was peace, there is another say that "Usenya Urwe umutiza umuhoro" meaning that when somebody is destroying his shelter you lend him a machete" so my dear brothers and sisters of this great nation Nigeria, you should solve your own problems using dialogue and putting the national interest first than individual ones.
For my fellow Africans,We have to think and act big, we think that its time for
Africa to take responsibility of our destiny and not wait for outsiders to come and
solve our problems!
The Rwandan experience should teach us to understand the world and know that in
politics there is no permanent friendship but permanent interests!
We should not be
naive! Our natural and human ressources should benefit us and not threaten us
attracting civil wars, insurgencies and terrorism.
Once again thank you for having honored our invitation and God bless All of you