Victoire Ingabire attacks Rwanda Government over conditions of genocide survivors
Kigali: Under fire from all sides including President Paul Kagame, opposition politician Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza on Wednesday blamed government for not doing enough to support Genocide survivors but without mentioning the word “Tutsi”, RNA reports.
In a statement, the FDU-Inkingi chief says it is “outrageous” that resources meant for Genocide survivors are being embezzled by government officials “to the extent that up to this moment, survivors lack basic essentials.”
Ms. Ingabire’s comments come as bitter criticisms are targeted at her from all sides – with some sections describing her as a Genocide denier – which is actually a criminal offense. Her trouble started on January 16, on arrival from exile, when she called for the recognition of Hutus supposedly killed.
A local daily The New Times branded her as “espousing double Genocide theory”. The following weeks have left her under Police investigation over the controversial comments – which she denies.
As the country commemorates 16 years after the mass killings, Ms. Ingabire says government needs to show “concrete actions” aimed at supporting survivors.
However, in her two-page statement, Ms. Ingabire does not mention the word “Tutsi”, instead referring to those who suffered from the ordeal as “survivors”. As for the actually killings, Ms. Ingabire calls them simply as “Genocide”.
A constitution amendment passed in 2007 recognises the mass slaughter as “Tutsi Genocide” – a move which abandoned the previously connotation of Rwandan Genocide. This essentially means that just calling it the Genocide is a criminal offence – with up to 25 years behind bars.
The FDU-Inkingi also claims government does not have a “concrete programme to protect” survivors against gruesome attacks, saying reports on investigations have never been made public. Ms. Ingabire also calls on the country not to be “prisoner to the past”.
Meanwhile, in the national stadium, the head of IBUKA – the survivors’ umbrella group, Mr. Theodore Simburudali told President Kagame that new rules must be formulated to govern who visits memorial sites across the country.
Mr. Simburudali said with such a mechanism, individuals who he said insult the honour of victims in the guise of “political debate”, may not be allowed anywhere close to the sites. Without making any specifics or names, it was clear Mr. Simburudali was referring to the opposition critic Ms. Ingabire.
In addition to the social difficulties survivors live with such as poverty, IBUKA also expressed concern that remains of victims continue to litter different places. Mr. Simburudali said in places like Kibeho, Murambi and Musha – remains of victims have not been laid to rest.
IBUKA also raised new numbers of victims of the mass slaughter – saying 10,000 Tutsis were killed everyday for the entire duration of killings. Some 100 Tutsi bodies were flooded into Lake Victoria everyday through numerous rivers, according to Mr. Simburudali.
In a related development, in Belgium, the community sympathetic to survivors is also demanding that the Brussels administration change the words inscribed on the Genocide memorial site located in commune of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. According to IBUKA-Belgium, the inscription needs to change to “Tutsi Genocide” and NOT “Rwandan Genocide”.
Government and survivors argue the latter appellation negates the slaughter which was planned and targeted at Tutsis.