23 April 2018

Rwanda: Genocide - Ex-Water, Energy Utility Employees Remembered

Photo: New Times
Genocide survivors seen perusing through an old album which was discovered in the grave to see if it belonged to one of theirs.

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd (WASAC) staff on Friday gathered to pay tribute to the over one million Rwandans that died in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as part of this year's 24th Genocide commemoration activities.

The event was also organised to honor employees of the former water and energy utility, Electrogaz, of whom 173 have so far been identified.

Led by REG Chief Executive Officer, Ron Weiss, and Aimé Muzola, CEO, WASAC, the staff members of both institutions started with a walk to remember from REG headquarters in downtown Kigali to Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi, the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

In a somber ceremony, after touring the memorial, the staff laid wreaths on the mass graves and made a donation towards the maintenance of the site.

After the visit, the mourners returned to tents erected at the Kigali Genocide Memorial where they held a moment of silence and later listened to testimonies and held discussions.

Weiss noted that the events that took place before and during the Genocide were horrific and that it is unimaginable that human beings can commit such atrocities onto each other.

"We need to keep this dialogue going so it never happens again," he told the staff.

The Executive Secretary of Ibuka, the umbrella for Genocide survivors, Naphtal Ahishakiye, said that it is now 24 years after the Genocide and though a lot has been achieved by survivors, much more needs to be done to ensure a better country.

"We thank both REG and WASAC staff for their efforts in delivering water and electricity to Rwandans and we encourage them to continue getting involved in creating hope by uplifting their living conditions of all citizens, including survivors," said Ahishakiye.

"Remembering gives us strength and courage. The void left by the Genocide must be filled with commitment and we should draw strength from the spirit of those we remember who wished the best for their country. We owe them that," said Kamayirese.

Andre Katabarwa, once the managing director of Electrogaz before the Genocide, told the gathering that he recruited many Tutsi on merit because they were qualified which was against the order of the day.

"I gave people jobs because they were competent in spite of the fact that it was against the position of the government at the time. I was questioned and later removed from office in 1989 because I refused to abide by what they wanted," he said

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