Rwandans have poured scorn and disappointedly expressed outrage over the planned celebration of a silver jubilee of priesthood for seven priests in Kabgayi Catholic Diocese including two infamous ones; Joseph Ndagijimana and Rukundo Emmanuel, convicted for their notorious involvement in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
Father Rukundo Emmanuel was the military Chaplain from 1993 and was given the rank of Captain in the military. He was convicted and handed a 25-year sentence by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2009, in Arusha Tanzania.
Father Joseph Ndagijimana the former chief priest of Byimana parish in 1994 was convicted of crimes of getting Tutsi killed including his fellow priest Mpuguje.
In 2008 father Joseph was convicted of crimes of murdering Tutsi and threatening with a gun those who fled to Byimana parish. He was convicted by Byimana Gacaca court and is currently jailed in Mpanga prison.
The silver Jubilee to be held on July 16th 2016 will also involve ordaining one priest and five deacons.
In an interview with IGIHE,the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) , Dr Bizimana Jean Damascene has said that he saw the announcement of the Jubilee circulating on WhatsApp even though he has not yet got much details about it.
He said that if the announcement is real, it is not fair for the church to celebrate the deeds of people ‘who deviated from the social pact’.
“A genocide convict should not get his jubilee celebrated. Jubilee is a celebration day of commending someone for having perfectly accomplished his/her duties. We don’t understand how a genocide convict can be lauded. A person convicted of a crime heavier than others? We will discuss with Catholic Church about the issue as we usually hold talks on other concerns,” he said.
Other priests who will celebrate the jubilee of 25 years are Lukanga Kalema Charles, Rutarema Rukanika Aime, Gatete Theotime, Rubasha Zirimwabagabo Emmanuel, and Uwigaba Jean Baptiste.
IGIHE has tried to get a comment from the spokesperson of Catholic Church, Bishop Phillipe Rukamba and the Bishop of Kabgayi diocese, Smaragde Mbonyintege but their phones were off.
One of the Rwandan bloggers, Mwene Kalinda has said of the arrangement; “Let’s face it, this church has been involved in a multitude of despicable deeds the world over and they are documented (the pedophile case in the US, is an example), while they will apologize when victims are white, they do not even want to acknowledge that something so horrendous was planned and physically carried out in their "holly" churches all over Rwanda! This Bishop should come clean and tell us who drew the list and who authorized its publication, let him shame the evil hiding in his church!”