News / Africa

Official Hails Rwanda’s Reconciliation, Economic Transformation

Mike Nkuzumuwami stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the redbrick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 genocide, and which he helps to look after, in the village of Nyarubuye, eastern R
Mike Nkuzumuwami stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the redbrick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 genocide, and which he helps to look after, in the village of Nyarubuye, eastern R
Peter Clottey
Rwanda’s attorney general and minister of justice says the country has made significant strides to reconcile citizens in the past 20 years following the 1994 genocide that left about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus killed in a 100-day massacre.  Rwanda begins the commemoration of the genocide on Monday.

Busingye Johnston says the commemoration of the tragedy is a period of stocktaking, to remember, renew and for Rwandans to commit to the country’s unity, as well as the legacy of the genocide and its aftermath.

“It is also to take stock of what is happening to the world 20 years down the road.  Is genocide still, never again?  Is it still crime against humanity?  Is the world behaving as if genocide will never happen again?  Are people being brought to account who got involved in the perpetration of the genocide?  So we are taking stock of the 20 years and looking at the future with a lot of hope,” said Johnston.

Rwanda’s economy, infrastructure, social services, education systems and health system, were totally shattered after the genocide, according to Johnston.

He says President Paul Kagame’s government has since made significant efforts to reconcile the people after the genocide and has implemented policies that have improved the lives of the people.

“We came to a point that we wrapped around policies that can foster unity, working together, building a nation, having diverse views, but also knowing the limit of what we do, and being sure that we don’t rupture our society again,” said Johnston.  “We are not 100 percent, but we have made very good progress.  We are working on all facets of national, political, social and economic life and Rwandans feel one nation again.”         

The government in Kigali says Tutsis were mainly targeted to be wiped out during the 1994 genocide, although moderate Hutus were also killed during the same period.

Some Rwandans contend the administration’s insistence the genocide mainly targeted Tutsis could breed divisions among the population.

But Johnston disagreed.  He says the government honors and commemorates those non-Tutsis who stood up to the ethnic cleansing, but lost their lives as a result of their effort.

“The genocide happened certainly against the Tutsis, but there are people of all walks of life who died standing up against the genocide,” said Johnston.  “For us it is giving everything its proper place and those who fought against the genocide, we really do commemorate with them, every remembrance week.”

Johnston says there is need for politicians to be cautious about their utterances that could undermine efforts made to reconcile the people as well as maintain the country’s peace and stability. He outlined some of the lessons learned from the legacy of the genocide.

“We have learned that divisive politics, we have learned that an ideology that is capable of nothing else but hatred of one community against another community, of one people against the other ends up causing you mass atrocity.  And the mass atrocity that we saw in 1994 was without an action process that preceded it many years, and then it culminated in the 1994 genocide,” said Johnston.

“We have also learned that you can do your best to reconcile the people and also that you can pick up from a shuttered and written off state with determination with modest efforts to continue moving and you can get to where we are,” said Johnston.  “We are certainly not where we want to be, but we have made some progress and we now have something that we can proudly call a nation.”

Critics say the government has narrowed the country’s political space making it difficult for opponents to freely operate without fear of intimidation or harassment. 

Johnston disagrees.  He says several opposition political parties freely operate in the country without hindrance.

“I know there are about seven or eight political parties operating in this country.  I do not know those who lack space and they lack space to do what?  It might depend really on what they want that space do.  Otherwise, all the political parties in this country are operating normally like any other party would operate,” he said.

Johnston says Rwanda is looking to the future with a lot of hope after what he says has been the country’s economic transformation since the genocide.
Clottey interview with Busingye Johnston, Rwanda's attorney general
Clottey interview with Busingye Johnston, Rwanda's attorney generali
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
April 07, 2014 11:26 AM
God Bless population Rwanda


by: yophes bosire from: nairobi kenya
April 06, 2014 11:40 AM

Rwandans move forward .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid