Beginning April 7 up until April 13, Rwandans will not participate in any form of entertainment or social activity as the country commemorates the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Last week, the Ministry of Sports and Culture and police warned citizens against engaging in any form of social or leisure activities, urging them to instead actively participate in commemoration activities by attending vigils and discussions in villages.
Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu told Rwandans to desist from engaging in leisure activities for the five days, urging people to participate in discussions and commemoration activities which will be held across the country.
“It is important for all of us to be part of commemoration activities. It is a national duty. It is not a duty of the survivors or people who were directly affected by the genocide. It is our responsibility as a nation,” Ms Uwacu said.
There are no concerts expected or any other activities for at least one week, unless they are part of commemoration activities. Television and Radio stations are expected to play commemoration songs the entire week.
The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has also issued guidelines, which must be observed at the grassroots while Rwandan missions abroad will also organise commemoration activities for Rwandan communities and friends of Rwanda in their respective countries.
Dr Jean Damscene Bizimana, executive secretary of CNLG urged Rwandans abroad to actively participate in commemoration activities as a way of creating awareness in the countries they live in.
“Most of the revisionism, denial and trivialisation of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi comes from foreign countries for different reasons — either because perpetrators live in those countries or simply because of misinformation or lack of information on the genocide,” noted Dr Bizimana.
As such, CNLG believes Rwandans abroad can play a key role in countering genocide denial, revisionism and the genocide ideology, which are prevalent abroad.
This year, discussions, which will take place at the grassroots level, will focus on making citizens understand better the history of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
According to Dr Bizimana, the debates will help Rwandans understand how the genocide was planned and executed by its masterminds. The commission says every year there are attempts to rewrite the history of the genocide by those who played a direct role or backed those who carried it out.
Several topics around the planning and execution of the genocide have been developed and local leaders will ensure that people gather in their respective communities for the discussions to take place.
CNLG says there is a lot of information online, most of which, is misleading young generations which may not have a clear picture of how the genocide was carried out.