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Published On: Wed, Apr 9th, 2014

Rwandan genocide: 20 years after

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As one of Africa’s contemporary economic performers, with a considerable degree of social inclusion, could it be said that the genocide of 1994 in which extremist Hutus bloodily descended on their Tutsi compatriots and even moderate Hutus watered the ground for the relative economic success and social progress of Rwanda? The Rwanda genocide which broke out on the 6th of April, 1994 and lasted a hundred days was mankind’s most horrendous moment. Incidentally, the United Nations did very little to halt the carnage until it was well under way, and even then, it responded so feebly. Curiously the United Nations secretariat then was under the leadership of the Egyptian-born Botrous Ghali and the department for peace-keeping was under the charge of Mr. Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian-born who was later to become the secretary general of the United Nations.

Rwanda, a former Belgian colony, was, likemany African countries, a victim of colonial divisive policies, which pitted one ethnic group against the other. The Belgians were said to have unfairly promoted the ethnic Tutsis, whose physical features includes been tall with long noses. Their more dimumtive Hutus did not take the colonial favours to their compatriots with relish. The tension created by the purported colonial favours was further exercerbated by the dominance of the Tutsis in government bureaucracy, even when the Hutus are known to be in the majority. The political leadership of the Hutus by sheer numerical superiority is said to be undermined by the dominance of the Tutsis in the government bureaucracy and the military. The immediate trigger of the genocide was the crash of the plane carrying the Rwanda president of Hutu origin, which the Hutus blamed on the Tutsi dominated then, rebel group, the Rwanda Patriotic Front, RPF.

Some other sources, fingered the Hutu extremists who needed an excuse to orchestrate the pogrom targeting Tutsis and moderate Hutus, as perpetrators of the plane crash in which the president was killed. Within days of the accident, all hell was let loose, as Hutu extremists rampaged homes, hospitals, churches and every where their Tutsis compatriots could be found. They were dragged out, slaughtered in this most gruesome manner with the world and its most organized body, the UN, watching at about the same time the west used the instrumentality of the United Nations to halt the rampaging serbs from finishing the Bosnian Muslims in Herzegovina, the inaction in Rwanda has been explained is some quarters as the serial indifference of the euro Asian stock to the plight of Africans.

Moreso, Rwanda has neither natural resources nor is the country of any geo-strategic significance. While, the earlier sebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslim men and boys, numbering about 8,000, stirred outrage, the Rwanda massacre went on, until the mainly ethnic Tutsis RPF, based in Uganda, marched on Kigali to halt the mayhem. Today, while the RPF regime has meticulously preserved the memorial of the carnages it has however, moved on, bringing about healing and reconciliation. The giant strides in economic construction and social progress couldn’t have been possible, if the post-genocide era, had been characterized by recriminations and veagence. To this very important step, we commend president Paul Kagame and the leadership of the country; Rwanda has scored a very impressive mileage in overcoming the scars of the genocide. We do not share the west’ obsession, about the alleged high-handed and authoritarian rule of President Kagame and his RPF regime. Authoritarian rule, corruption, nepotism and cronyism were the political building blocks of the genocide. The current arrangement of political inclusion, consultation through the democratic process accounts for the spackle of progress on show in Rwanda.

While we urge the ruling RPF to bring itself under democratic accountability, we urge the concerned western powers to let the country be and she strives to make the genocide, truly a history with all the lessons it can teach for the future.

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