Rwandans Seek More Govt Support in Healing Process

The statue depicting the valour and heroism that was manifested during 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi by Rwandan Patriotic Front (now Rwanda Defence Force) soldiers (file photo).

A cross section of Rwandans want the government to extend its support to various categories of people who are still facing challenges in their healing process, 27 years since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

This was revealed by the Executive Secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Fideli Ndayisaba, while presenting the 'Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer 2020' report to the Senate on Wednesday April 21.

Ndayisaba told the Senators that the data collected during the assessment indicates that the indicator of individual healing under the pillar of justice, fairness and rights went down from 88.6 per cent in 2015 to 86.7 per cent in 2020.

"Respondents pointed out that while the tendency has been to associate trauma with only genocide survivors, there are other categories of the Rwandan society, who needed support to heal such as former genocide convicts, children and spouses whose parents and partners committed genocide," he said.

The report also showed a decline in the understanding Rwandans have of their own history, dropping from 93.8 per cent in 2015 to 92.8 per cent in 2020.

This was blamed on parents who continue to plant seeds of genocide ideology and divisionism among their children.

For instance, the report indicates that 9.8 per cent of Rwandans who participated in the assessment said that the family remains the main place where history of hatred and division is taught today.

Another 8.6 per cent argued that there were some Rwandans who continued to instil genocide ideology among others.

Under the pillar of security and wellbeing, the indicator of national security and reconciliation regressed from 96.8 per cent in 2015 to 92.8 per cent in 2020.

The report associated this with recent events of insecurity and propaganda of imminent wars through social media.

However, scores of other indicators like personal security, economic security and appreciation of infrastructure distribution have considerably increased.

"Back in 2015, there were people that didn't appreciate how they were for instance using water from wells and this made some question whether they were being treated like other Rwandans. Today, with the government's efforts to connect more people to water and electricity have paid off," Ndayisaba said.

Forward thinking

The report also found that at Rwandans have a forward-looking mind-set and are cognizant of the fact that the journey to the future still encounters some obstacles.

For instance, the report indicates that 90 per cent of Rwandans do not see the possibility of another genocide in the country, while 9.8 per cent still see issues that indicate that it can happen again.

The 2020 scores show a difference in comparison to 2015 findings. The percentage of Rwandans who saw the possibility of another genocide in the country was 15.9 per cent in 2015, while those who did not see that possibility were 84.1 per cent.

The same decline is also observed on whether there were Rwandans who would try to commit genocide should conditions be favourable. In 2015, those who agreed with such a statement were 28.9 percent, while the score stands at 5.2 per cent in 2020.

The drop out of the percentages is highly associated with the growing trust in the capacity of the government to counter all practices leading to genocide. 97.7 per cent believe that Rwandans today have the capacity and will to counter that possibility.

General picture

Findings show that the current state of reconciliation in Rwanda stands at 94.7 per cent, an increase from 92.5 per cent in the 2015 assessment.

The report indicates that when it comes to understanding the past, the present and envisaging the future, findings indicate that its score increased from 91.8 per cent in 2015 to 94.6 per cent in 2020. This increase is attributed to continuous efforts to build a united nation that is aware of its bitter past and lessons picked to build a better future.

Senators react

Senator Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu called for seriousness when dealing with the healing process.

He warned that failure to heal and apply professional treatment where applicable would cause many other long term health implications to many.

However, he also reminded that there is need to be vigilant as the country's enemies could capitalise on this as a weakness to take some Rwandans steps back.

"The resilience that our leaders talk about always should manifest in everything that we do on a daily basis. We should not allow the detractors to use our wounds to take us steps back. We should find a way to deal with them as we also move forward," he advised.

Senator Marie-Rose Murashyankwano praised the report and called on fellow Senators to note the areas that need more support so that the journey towards having a country built in the foundation of unity and reconciliation is achieved.

"This research has given us much-needed information that we should capitalise on to get closer to our communities and tie in the loose ends where the score has declined instead of improving," she said.

Senator Ephrem Kanyarukiga advised the commission to consider doing another research to look into what the much younger generation's opinions and mind-set are.

"We need to know what youths below 18 think especially at a time we are reading that they continue to be corrupted by their families. We need this data because it is easier to change mind-sets when these children are still young," he said.

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