Ugandan philanthropist receives top award over role in preservation of Genocide memorials

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 22 April 2024 at 12:19

Ugandan businessman and philanthropist Mohamood Noordin Thobani has received the protector of social pact (Umurinzi w’Igihango) award in recognition of his role in preserving the remains of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Thobani was among seven people feted by Unity Club –Intwararumuri on October 29, 2023, but he was unable to collect the award at the time.

The award was presented to him by Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda Col Joseph Rutabana, during the 30th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi held at Ggolo Memorial Site in Mpigi district in Uganda.

“The award was issued on October 29, 2023, during the 16th Unity Club’s Annual Forum but he could not travel to Kigali that time to receive it and I am honored to hand it to him today, in front of you all, but especially in front of the 100 Humura members who came from Rwanda,” Col Rutabana stated.

Hundreds of dignitaries drawn from the Rwandan community, friends of Rwanda and heads of diplomatic missions in the neighbouring country graced the event.

The award, given by the organization founded by Rwanda’s First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, is bestowed upon individuals who showed extraordinary courage and humanity during the genocide and even after.

The recipients of the award are considered as ’Abarinzi b’Igihango cy’Abanyarwanda’ or Protectors of the Rwandan Unity Pact. The pact includes commitments to unity, reconciliation, peacebuilding, and national development.

As part of the honor, Thobani received a certificate and a pin, as well as a data storage device containing citations and videos from the 16th Unity Club Annual Forum.

The Ugandan with an Indian origin is widely recognized for having buried about 10,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

During 100 days of the 1994 cold-blood murders in Rwanda, thousands of bodies of Genocide victims were thrown into Akagera and Nyabarongo rivers, both tributaries of Lake Victoria, and ended up in Uganda and beyond.

The businessman collected the bodies from the river and gave the victims a decent send off.

He is also credited with building three memorial sites, including Kasensero in Rakai district where 2,875 bodies are buried, Ggolo in Mpigi district where 4,771 bodies are buried, and Lambu in Masaka district with 3,337 bodies.

“Mohamood Noordin Thobani hired a caretaker for the memorial, offering money to pay the maintenance and cleaning staff. He continues to be involved in organising the commemoration of the victims of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” a citation by Unity Club reads.

He has also engaged in charity activities to help survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi make a livelihood. In 2018, at the 24th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Thobani donated 50 bicycles to Genocide survivors living in Rukumberi, Ngoma district.

The award was presented to Mohamood Noordin Thobani by Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda Col. Joseph Rutabana.