The New Times (Kigali)

6 January 2014

Rwanda: Genocide Torch for Nationwide Lap of Honour

The "Kwibuka Flame" of remembrance will be lit tomorrow in Kigali as it begins a countrywide lap of honour in the run-up to April 7, the beginning of the national mourning period. Officials said the event to light the flame will mark the beginning of preparations for the 20th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi

A flame of remembrance, dubbed "Kwibuka Flame," will be lit tomorrow at a Genocide memorial centre in Gasabo, Kigali, and circulated around the country's thirty districts in the run-up to April 7, the official beginning of the national mourning period.

Officials at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) have said the event to light the flame will mark the beginning of preparations for the 20th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The Executive Secretary of CNLG, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, told The New Times last week that Rwandans need to begin planning how they will commemorate the Genocide in their communities.

"We need to start preparations early enough, we need to get every Rwandan to start thinking what steps we need to take to look back at the last 20 years since the Genocide and also look forward," Mucyo said.

According to CNLG, right after the launch of preparatory works for the 20th anniversary this week, public talk-shows and debates will begin at local government level and Rwandan diplomatic missions around the world.

The dialogues are meant to offer Rwandans the opportunity to reflect on the events of 1994 as well as the journey since, CNLG officials said.

The pogrom

In what has been described as one of the worst mass slaughters in history, more than one million people were killed by a genocidal regime in 1994.

The regime, which had led Rwanda with discriminatory policies against Tutsis and other Rwandans who would disagree with the persecution, would later be toppled in 1994 by the Rwanda Patriotic Front led by Paul Kagame, the country's current President.

At an event to be dubbed "Kwibuka20" in April, Rwandans will be commemorating the tragic death of their countrymen and women, relatives, and families who died at the hands of the genocidal regime.

Even as cabinet is yet to release the official theme for the 20th commemoration, Mucyo said that reflections are likely to be along the lines of reinforcing the unity of Rwandans as well as their dignity and self-reliance.

He urged the public, especially the youth, to work together to ensure that the national mourning period in April and three months thereafter instills in them the resolve to work together and take the nation and their lives forward.

"We remember but we also look in the future, we need to take steps forward," he said.

The launch for preparations will take place at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, where the torch will be lit and also handed back on April 7 at the official start of the mourning after a countrywide lap of honour.

CNLG has also set up a web site, www.kwibuka.org to offer resources for individuals, educators and community organisers involved with the 20th commemoration activities.

In the run-up to April 7 and throughout the 100 days of remembrance, the web site will provide information about the history of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to bring renewed clarity about its causes, realities and consequences.

Documentation about Rwanda's 20-year journey of socio-economic transformation and explanations of post-Genocide issues of justice and reconciliation will also be available on the web site.

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