The Arusha-Moshi Rwandan Community in collaboration with the East African Community and the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals yesterday held the 23rd commemoration of genocide against the Tutsi under the theme Remember the genocide against the Tutsi, fight against genocide ideology-Build on our progress.
The Commemoration began with a walk to remember from the East African Community Secretariat Headquarters to Arusha City center and thereafter a wreath laying ceremony led by the Rwanda High Commissioner to Tanzania HE. Eugene Kayihura.
In his remarks, the regional Commissioner of Arusha Province Mr. Mrisho Mashaka Gambo who was also the guest of Honour said that today we stand in solidarity with the survivors of genocide against the Tutsi and always remembering over a million of innocent men, women and children who lost their lives during the genocide.
“This calls for an answer as to why we failed as members of the international community to prevent and stop this horrible atrocity in the history of humanity.” he noted.
He further emphasised that the answer can only come from all of us and is nothing else other than ensuring that it will never happen again whether in our region or elsewhere in the world.
He stressed that the east African Community must be at the forefront of preventing conflicts and fighting against genocide ideologies and its denial that do escalate into mass murders, extermination and the genocide in our community as was experienced by Rwandans in 1994.
He specifically commended HE Paul Kagame the President of Rwanda for his outstanding leadership in Africa and the tremendous progress that Rwanda has made since then.
The Deputy Secretary General of East African Community in charge of Productive and Social Sectors Hon.Christopher Bazivamo informed the commemorators that today’s theme is Remember the genocide against the Tutsi, fight against genocide ideology-Build on our progress.
He urged the entire world to stand with the Rwandans in fight against genocide ideology and its denial and say never again to genocide. He informed the commemorators that the commemoration has three pillars namely; unite, remember and renew.
He noted that a series of events will take place during this period of 100 days among which will include visiting Universities and high learning institutions around Arusha to create awareness on the fight against genocide ideology.
The High Commission of Rwanda in Tanzania Amb. Eugene Kayihura said that Rwanda experienced a tragedy in which over one million innocent Tutsis were savagely exterminated in a very horrific and systematic manner.
‘Since then Rwanda has moved to greater heights and she now offers a story of hope, prosperity and equal opportunities for her people. Today Rwanda is one of the most efficient in the region and the world as a whole with regard to the ease of doing business, stability and safety. Rwanda is also ranked among the safest countries in Africa.’ Amb. Kayihura reiterated.
He further noted that Rwandans are moving with their heads held high determined to move on and not be prisoners of their bitter past, very positive and optimistic about their future. He thanked all friends of Rwanda for being part of the journey to fight against genocide ideology and denial.
In her remarks the Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Finance and Administration Honourable Jesca Eriyo said that in 2014, the United Nations and the African Union designated April 7th as the day for Commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi and have been since joining the government and the people of Rwanda to commemorate it.
She underscored that it is in that regard that the East African community put in place an EAC internal organising committee to ensure full ownership of commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsi at the East African Secretariat level.
She added that after 23 years of commemorating the dark spot on human conscious, Rwanda is yet to recover from this barbaric occurrence.
‘Yes Rwanda has made tremendous strides that have exceeded expectations and should be rightly commended for doing so. However, the scars of such tragedy linger on and take generations to heal if healing from such atrocities like genocide is possible.’ Honorable Eriyo underscored.
The Chairman of Rwandan Community Arusha-Moshi and Rwanda Diaspora Global Network (RDGN) Eng. Daniel Murenzi stressed that after the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, the Government of Rwanda embarked on a journey of nation rebuilding.
He added that since then, the government of Rwanda has been calling all Rwandans and friends of Rwanda to join hands in commemoration activities and contribute in the struggle to fight against genocide ideology.
Mr.Olufemi Elias the Registrar of the UN-Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) noted that this 7th day of April, was made an international day of reflection to remember the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
He observed that annual commemorations will facilitate the healing and reconciliation among Rwandans and that the world must remain vigilant to prevent and fight genocide ideology and its denial.
In her opening prayer Apostle Trice Shumbusho, said that it was a moment of prayer for the future of nations especially the nation of Rwanda for God to make it a strong nation. She emphasised that Rwanda as a nation has gone through a lot and God has continuously helped her leaders to keep the nation strong. She called upon the leadership of the EAC Partner States and Africa as a whole to fight the genocide ideology and its denial.
Among other dignitaries were the Lord Justice the President of the East African Court of Justice Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, Members of Diplomatic Corps, Arusha Regional Police Commander, representatives of Religious denominations, Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political federation Dr. Enos Bukuku, EAC and MICT Staff, Representatives of Academic institutions and members of the Arusha- Moshi Rwandan Community.