The commemoration event themed “Remember-Unite-Renew” was preceded by a ‘Walk to Remember’ and laying of wreaths at the Commemoration Monument at the EAC gardens as a tribute to the more than one million innocent lives lost through the heinous extermination of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.
The Arumeru District Commissioner, Ms. Emmanuella K. Mtatifikolo lays a wreath at the Commemoration monument at the EAC gardens.
Speaking during the commemoration, EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki said that as the world commemorates for the 29th time, it was important to reaffirm the fundamental truth that all humans were created equal, each with certain undeniable rights that include the right to life, adding that no one has the right to take it away as was done 29 years ago from the innocent men and women of Rwanda.
Hon. Mathuki, however, said that 29 years later, Rwanda has made tremendous strides that have exceeded expectations and should be rightly commended for doing so.
« In just 29 years, unity and reconciliation is being realized in Rwanda, » said the Secretary General.
« Never Again’ should not only be a slogan but should also be translated into concrete actions as we strive to be one people for one destiny, » said Dr. Mathuki.
The Arumeru District Commissioner, Ms. Emmanuella K. Mtatifikolo, who represented the Government of the United Republic of Tanzanian said that the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Rwanda was a tragedy not only to Rwanda as a country but to humanity as a whole.
« With the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda, the entire humanity was put to test and the sanity of human nature was for once put into serious doubts, » she added.
Ms. Mtatifokolo further said that as these barbaric acts were being carried out in Rwanda, the whole world was well aware of such terrible occurrences yet the International Community did nothing to stop those killings in which innocent men, women and children were brutally murdered for no other reason than their ethnic belonging.
She, therefore, called upon all citizens to spare no efforts in fighting against genocide ideology and revisionism in all their manifestations.
« I therefore call upon the international community in general and the EAC countries in particular to work together at different levels to fight against all forms of genocide ideology or any slightest signal of its kind, » she said.
The Judge President of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Hon. Justice Nestor Kayobera, said that as the judicial arm of the Community, the EACJ is mindful of the need for the EAC Partner States to draw lessons from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in order that these events never happen again.
« As we commemorate, my hope is that we shall all get a better understanding of our shared humanity and renew our collective commitment to protect and uphold fundamental human rights,» said Justice Kayobera.
The Rwandan High Commissioner to the United Republic of Tanzania, Amb. Maj Gen Charles Karamba, expressed his appreciation to the EAC, the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and all friends of Rwanda for standing in solidarity with the Government and people of Rwanda to remember loved ones who perished in 1994.
Amb. Maj Gen Karamba said that it was during this period that Rwandans take time to reflect on where the country was in 1994, on the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi, and where Rwanda is today.
« The country was totally destroyed with no hope of recovery, » he said, adding that, the post 1994 Government of Rwanda was faced with enormous challenges of rebuilding a deeply divided country with a destroyed political, economic, social, and legal infrastructure.
« The stakes were high and tough decisions were needed, » added Amb. Gen. Karamba.
The High Commissioner informed the invited guests that for the last 29 years, Rwandans chose a completely different path of resilience and courage necessary to get solutions for their problems, rejecting the rotten politics of hatred and divisionism, thus, rebuilding Rwanda from the ashes.
The Chairman of the Rwandan Diaspora (Arusha and Moshi), Eng. Murenzi Daniel, informed the commemorators that after 1994, the Rwandan community abroad embarked on a journey of national rebuilding and promotion of peace and reconciliation with the support from the government of Rwanda.
« Today, the Rwandan Diaspora plays an integral role in uniting the Rwandans aboard with a focus on building the nation, » said Eng. Murenzi.
The event brought together a broad spectrum of stakeholders including representatives from various religious groups, Germany Cooperation in Arusha (GIZ), the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), the African Union Advisory Board Against Corruption (AUABC) UN-MICT, and students from various universities and secondary schools in Arusha, and EAC staff.
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