Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ministry of Health Commemoration Event

I was honored to participate in the commemoration events in Nyanza where we commemorated our brothers and sisters killed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.  Afterwards, we held an event for 35 Ministry of Health colleagues who were killed during the genocide against the Tutsi 21 years ago.  

Please read the New Times article, written by Jean Mugabo, that described the event.  

Full article written by Jean Mugabo of the New Times can be found here: 


"The health sector has recommitted to fighting  Genocide denial country continues to mark the 21st anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
 "Remembering the departed is a responsibility to every Rwandan, but it is even more important to our profession which is tasked to save lives"
‘‘Everybody was created to live, not to be killed. And remember the perpetrators are still there. So, we have to fight them, and fight Genocide ideology, denial and trivialisation,” said James Kamanzi, the Acting Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).
Kamanzi was speaking at Nyanza Genocide Memorial site in Kicukiro District during an event to remember the 35 former employees of the Ministry of Health (MoH) who were killed during the Genocide.
He noted that the Genocide was stopped by Rwandans and urged health workers to strive for self-reliance.
“No one can love Rwandans or solve their problems more than Rwandans themselves. When the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) left amidst the brutal killings, the RPF Inkotanyi stopped the Genocide. ‘‘So, learn from their heroic actions, never wait for foreign aid but seek to be self-reliant,” he said.
Encouraging everyone to comfort and support survivors, Kamanzi stressed the importance of remembrance in ensuring that the notion of ‘Never Again’ is a reality.
At least 11,000 Genocide victims are buried at Nyanza memorial site, including 3,000 who were killed at Nyanza and 8,000 from nearby areas.
Naphtal Ahishakiye, the Executive Secretary of the umbrella of Genocide survivors associations, Ibuka,  recounted the awful killing of 3,000 people who had sought refuge at the former Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO) Kicukiro, currently the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kigali.
 “At the height of the Genocide, the Belgian peacekeepers said that their mission was over and withdrew from ETO School on April 11, leaving at least 3,000 Tutsi behind.
‘‘Interahamwe militia marched them to Nyanza and massacred them from there. About 100 were rescued by the RPF the next day when the killers were on the way to finish them off,” he said.
During the event, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister for Health, led other officials at the ministry, to lay wreaths on the graves of Genocide victims there.
The event was followed by a ‘walk to remember’ from IPRC to MoH offices, where commemoration activities continued.
 After lighting the flame of hope, participants listened  to  testimonies of two Genocide survivors.
 Constantin Ntaramana, a worker at the National Centre for Blood Transfusion (NCBT), testified how he was confined to his work place and fed on glucose for about three weeks.
 “I was at work in NCBT on April 6 (1994), but failed to leave when the Genocide started.
‘‘I stayed there, hiding in the ceiling and feeding on serum glucose until late May when someone took me to the International Committee of the Red Cross. There, the RPF saved us from the killers,” he recalled.
Theogene Hakizimana also recounted how the Genocide robbed the lives of his parents and seven siblings.
“I was beaten and left for dead thrice, but survived thanks to God’s mercy.
‘‘I watched my father, and siblings being killed with machetes while hiding, but later I started wishing I could have been killed with them.
‘‘I used to sit by their dead bodies, waiting for my turn but I always survived,” he testified.
Hakizimana, is among the few who survived in his area of Nyaruguru District, commended the RPF for rescuing him.
Both Ntaramana and Hakizimana spoke of hope for a better future."

*New Times Article written by Jean Mugabo -