Rukumberi unity and Reconciliation community event
Rwanda genocide the swiftest genocide in history where more than 1000,000 people killed in just 90 days. Rukumberi in history of Rwanda was known as an isolated location where Tutsi people were deported as way of separating them from others. Through a campaign called “Toussaint Rouge” the first act of genocide against the Tutsis was committed during what has been termed “Hutu Revolution” within a year 3000 to 4000 Tutsi had been murdered.
Thousands of others Tutsi were chased from their land and see their houses looted and burned down, many sought refuges in the neighboring countries of Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and DRC while those remained in Rwanda suffered persecution and internal deportation to Nyamata and Rukumberi where people suffered a lot. Geographically Rukumberi is surrounded by rivers during genocide few people managed to escape, every junction had red blocks to kill who tried to escape. Even today the survivors of Rukumberi are still suffering the consequences of the past.
With its mission of uniting and Reconciling the Rwandan communities, Prison Fellowship Rwanda (PFR) conducted healing and reconciliation trainings in helping 600 families of Survivors, families of Returnees, families of offenders and Ex-offenders to live peaceful again 24 years after genocide. Each category of people under went a separate training sessions as way of helping them to speak their hearts. Trainings focused on Restorative Justice, unity and reconciliation and social cohesion which had impacted positively to entire community.
On 24th January 2019 PFR prepared the joint-groups event commonly known face to face event where all people were invited and local leaders to dialogue on way forward to sustain their unity and reconciliation .
In his remarks, the mayor of Ngoma Ndambaje Aphrodice said “I see new hope in eyes of people of Rukumberi, let us raise beyond our differences and work together to make this nation a better place”
The representative of NURC Johnson Mugaga said ”I know unity and reconciliation is a journey, let be a journey of action not of words. He reminded the audience that the integrity person is who vow what he will fulfill, he thanked the families of Survivors for being brave, giving pardon the families of ex-offenders and offenders ”. and he acknowledged the willingness of families of ex-offenders for asking for forgiveness, He said “I know it is not easy to stand here asking for forgiveness it requires courage” he enclosed his remarks by encouraging the both side for ask for forgiveness and give pardon because of it is action of bravery.
The Governor of Eastern Province, said “I came here days back when we were in commemoration of genocide against Tutsi, I was shocked on how people didn’t participate in that event but today I am so happy to see people hugging each other. I want to remind you the foundation of this nation is built on unity and reconciliation and in process of the development of this country, we don’t want to leave anyone behind.
He continued and said that, you should know we had a bad history of ethnic and discrimination politics, in all this, we gained nothing out of it, today people who participated in killings are living a life of shame and guilty. Generally, the bad leadership led the country in poverty and we all know when poverty hits, it doesn’t select either you are Hutu or Tutsi. Up to date, we are still facing the consequences of that bad leadership. For instance, during the genocide period other countries were inventing or discovering new things, but our country was in mourning period. I am happy today for the speeches I heard, I see change and hope in people of Rukumberi.