The Umbrella Association Genocide Survivors, Ibuka, has warned against the growing trend of Genocide denial, hate speech and propagation of genocide ideology that is increasingly appearing on social media platforms, warning that if nothing is done, the consequences could be tragic.
In a talk show that was aired on KT Radio recently, Callixte Kabandana, a representative of Ibuka, said that while some Genocide deniers are publicly doing it on social media platforms, others are secretly disseminating the Genocide ideology in villages, in what is becoming a worrying trend.
Kabandana said that Genocide perpetrators and deniers willing to cause divisionism are still active and they could lead to possible tragedy if nothing is done to condemn and prosecute them.
Appearing on KT Radio’s daily program known as ‘Ubyumva Ute‘, this week, Kabandana noted that the growing trend of Genocide-related crimes need intensified government intervention and enforcement of the law to combat them before the situation gets out of hand.
“The government should ensure that crimes related to Genocide denial and trivialization are punished so that even people who are thinking of engaging in similar acts or intend to disseminate hate speech and propagating ethnic divisions, are deterred,”
“There should also be a way of investigating these deniers whether in or outside the country. Nobody should get away with such crimes regardless of where they are,” Kabandana said.
Kabandana added that Genocide deniers should be arrested and punished in their numbers, wherever they are to set an example for others, pointing out that the current trend has allowed more and more people to engage in genocide denial, trivialization and propagating the genocide ideology without any consequences, while hiding behind freedom of speech and expression.
“Some countries like France have legally considered Genocide against the Tutsi denial as a crime in their laws but others such as Belgium accommodate many Genocide perpetrators and deniers and they have not done anything about it,” Kabandana said.
A big number of members of Jambo Asbl, an organization composed of mainly children of renowned genocide masterminds and defeated former politicians, as well as offspring of renowned genocide perpetrators and politicians, reside in Belgium, where they run campaigns hinged on ethnic divisions and genocide denial.
He further noted that these individuals seek to promote divisions, undermine public order, and incite the masses into civil unrest, all actions which are punishable under the Rwandan law.
The call was reiterated by Dr. Diogene Bideri, a Senior Legal Advisor at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), who pointed out that social media platforms are increasingly being used to promote genocide denial and the genocide ideology, actions which contravene the Rwanda and international laws.
“The media, especially social media, is becoming the new platform for denial. It is now the main weapon and those who do it are aware that it is the only weapon they have. Genocide denial is equivalent to committing genocide crimes,”
“You will find that those who engage in denial are in one way or another connected to those who committed it. It is even worse when people who allege that they survived the genocide are the ones actually engaging in genocide denial and propagating the genocide ideology,” Bideri said, adding however that the law is not discriminatory in its application.
The warning by the officials followed a series of videos that appeared on social media by a one Yvonne Idamange Iryamugwiza, who claims to be a genocide survivor, making outlandish claims against the government, that have angered genocide survivors.
Idamange claimed that the government has forgotten the plight of genocide survivors, despite the government putting billions in their welfare over the years, herself being a beneficiary. It has since emerged that she was given a house and her education was paid for by the Genocide Survivors Fund (FARG) of ‘comm
In the video, Idamange, who has since been labelled a genocide denier, said that remains of Genocide victims have been ‘commercialized’, where tourists pay to visit memorials. Her claims have been termed as ridiculous and dangerous by genocide survivors who said they have nothing against the government.
Disowned by her husband
Idamange, a mother of four, has been welcomed by genocide deniers, especially those living abroad, especially members of Jambo Asbl and disgraced former Prime Miniser Faustin Twagiramungu, who are encouraging her to continue with what she is doing.
However, on February 7, Idamange’s husband, who is currently living in South Sudan, where he is working, distanced himself and their children from Idamange and her actions, pointing out that her actions were done in her individual capacity and against his advice.
Eng. Oswald Mabumba took to social media to publicly denounce Idamange and affirm that his family does not support her actions.
“Perhaps the reason why I am writing this piece of information is to let the general public know that my wife Yvonne recently went public criticizing the government of Rwanda on social media and this is something I do condemn with all terms possible,” Eng. Mabumba wrote on Instagram.
“As her husband and a father of her children, I tried to advise her at family level on the negative path she is choosing but still [she] couldn’t take my advice. Thus, I’m here to declare to the general public that she is on her own whereas I and my children, as law abiding citizens of this country (Rwanda), are not part of her agenda,” Mabumba tweeted.
Last week, CNLG warned that such rhetoric and hateful content on social media platforms is similar to what was being broadcast and published pre-1994 and later plunged the country into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Hundreds of Rwandans have also taken to social media to denounce genocide deniers using the hashtag #HaltToDeniers and #TwiyamyeAbapfobya