The National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) has made changes that will affect two key events of the commencement and the closing of Kwibuka – Commemoration Week, April 7 and April 13.
During the week, the country carries activities related to paying tribute to more than 1 million Tutsi who perished during the Genocide that was meticulously prepared and perpetrated by the government between April 7 and July 4 in 1994.
In the last 25 years, Kwibuka included going to Genocide memorials to lay wreaths to mass graves as mourners pay tribute to the victims. They would also gather in designated places to follow several sessions on Genocide ideology, denial, the resilience of survivors, among others. It also included the walk to remember and night vigils in different settlements.
For Kwibuka 26, Covid-19 crisis will not allow people to assemble and such events that bring people will not take place in their usual format.
CNLG had last week, planned to have selected persons to participate in the official events at the national and district levels during the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, while the rest of Rwandans Stay Home and follow up using digital means.
A new communique made more changes.
“The official opening of commemoration ceremonies at district levels on April 7 will not take place, as earlier proposed. All citizens will participate in the commemoration from their homes using TV, radio, and social media to follow the national event at Kigali Memorial site-Gisozi,” said Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, the CNLG Executive Secretary.
Bizimana also added, in part of the statement, that the April 13th closing date of the official commemoration week, which was also supposed to have few officials in attendance will not take place.
This closing day, which is held annually at Rebero Genocide memorial site in Kicukiro district, where over 14,000 victims are buried, is dedicated to the commemoration of politicians killed during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
CNLG said that the changes were part of the national plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It was also informed by the recent cabinet decision to have an extended 15-day coronavirus lockdown period.
Dr. Bizimana reminded Rwandans that they can still commemorate the 26th anniversary of the1994 genocide against Tutsi, without putting their lives at risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus.
The second lockdown period was announced on April 1, three days to the end of the first one on April 4. The extended lockdown will run through April 19, 2020 at 23:59, a period of more 15 days of staying home.
As of April 2nd, Rwanda has recorded 84 cases since March 14, when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed.
The Ministry of Health said that all patients are in stable condition and there has never been any case in critical condition.
This week, the ministry is expected to discharge the first batch of COVID-19 patients who are in recovering process.