On 10th May 2017, a cross section of ULK community made a big queue not to go for polls but for a walk to remember the lives that perished during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. It is a procession that kick-started from the main Campus of the university to Gisozi Memorial Site.
Once at the memorial site, they were given the historical background of the site to better know why the site was erected. They also toured the site to clearly witness how Tutsis were mercilessly killed in the genocide. As one of the staff at the memorial site said, the site was put in place to embrace a number of goals which include that of paying tribute to the victims.
The procession headed back to the campus shortly after laying wreaths on the graves. At the campus, they all gathered in the university stadium for remarks, testimonies, and songs from various people.
In his commemoration songs, Mr. Bonhomme , Rwandan artist, spiced up the program of the day as he could be called forward for conveying comforting and encouraging message through his vocals.
In his biblical message, Pastor Olivier KAYITARE, compared what happened in Rwanda to the horrors encountered by the Jewish community in Egypt when the King ordered that all male children should be killed. As he said quoting the biblical book of Exodus, while killings were intensifying, one woman gave birth to a male child and hid him near the river. When the King’s daughter went to the river for bathing, she saw the handsome looking boy and she felt merciful to the extent that she vowed to bring up the young boy. It is this young boy who would be named Moses and thereafter be tasked by the Almighty God to rescue Israelites and take them to the Promised Land.
The pastor linked this incident to the Rwandan experience and said that Moses has his brothers and sisters here in Rwanda because some young men and women also survived the killings and they are now soldiering on with hope for a better tomorrow.
In his remarks, Col. JOMBA, narrated how he and his fellow RPF troops embarked on the liberation struggle without sufficient means but with a sound reason, liberating the country from bad leadership. As he said, he always feels proud to have been part of that struggle which put end to the genocide and reshaped the country’s destiny where every Rwandan has a room. He also urged young people to emulate the example of their rescuers by behaving decently and upholding ethical values.
“I’ve what to boast for. I have been part of those who liberated the country and stopped the genocide. You should also strive to do what is right and avoid behaving indecently so that you may have what to rejoice for in the days ahead”, he told them.
The testimony by Therèse MUKANKWIYE left many with tears glistening in their eyes after narrating how she spent three nights in a field of sorghum and witnessed a dog licking a wound she had sustained when killers hit a club on her leg.
Many other speakers such as AYINKAMIYE Benoitte from the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide, Emmanuel TWAHIRWA, AERG National Coordinator, Claude HATUNGIMANA, AERG ULK, echoed their message which centered on the idea that it is worthwhile to remember the genocide so that we may stand firm to prevent it from happening again. They also urged young people to always cherish love, unity and the spirit of brotherhood so as to ensure a genocide free country in the days to come.
Dr. Ezechiel SEKIBIBI, Vice Chancellor of ULK, who was also the guest of honor, thanked each and everyone for having valued and honored the walk to remember and urged them to draw a good example from what was done by the then RPF INKOTANYI troops who rescued the country and gave it a promising direction.
It is the statement of the guest of honor that marked the end of the function.