Ibuka, the umbrella organization that connects associations of survivors of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi has asked Rwandans to respect government safety directives as the country heads to the 26th commemoration period which starts on April 7.
The Executive Secretary of Ibuka, Naphtali Ahishakiye, said that citizens should start to prepare themselves mentally for alternative ways of commemorating the genocide as the Coronavirus situation in Rwanda cannot allow the traditional events to take place.
In normal circumstances, late March has, for the last 25 years been dedicated to commemoration preparation community work to clean genocide memorial sites and other related activities.
And, during commemoration week, from April 7 to 14, Rwandans and friends of Rwanda visit genocide memorial sites and lay wreaths in honor of the victims.
This year, Rwandans will have to adjust to the new situation. Rwanda is implementing severe measures of totally closing activities that put citizens at risk of more contaminations after the cases hit to 36 since the first case recorded on March 14.
Movements outside compounds are restricted, except for medical, food shoping services and other emergencies.
These number have so far, as of Monday March 24th, reached 36 cases.
Last week, the national commission for the fight against the genocide (CNLG) released a statement on compliance with measures to prevent COVID-19 virus transmission halting group visits to memorial sites but permitting single person visits with respect of preventive measures – like washing hands before entry.
In this continued Coronavirus epidemic, Ibuka said that Rwanda will have to commemorate at their homes.
“This is a very hard time and as we wait for further directives from the government we are asking citizens to stay at home and use technology, social media as sources of information as they commemorate this year,” Ahishakiye said in a phone interview.
In his view, Ahishakiye said that the essence of commemorating genocide cannot be lost if citizens remain authentic to the Never Again cause which puts respect of human life above all.
“We can commemorate inside our hearts, without necessarily putting our lives and lives of others into danger,” Ahishakiye said.