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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid