By Jean-Baptiste Mberabahizi
Kigali, Kigali Central Prison, October 20, 2005
That day, Pastor Marie Goretti Murebwayire, a Rwandan citizen residing in Kicukiro (Kigali City) and seasoned Esther Vision Ministries preacher, was on her tour of duty in Kigali Central Prison. The activity had become a routine since the Gacaca Executive Secretary Domitila Mukantaganzwa had given her a pass to all detention facilities of the country hosting genocide suspects or detainees. According to her own report, she sermoned the crowd of Hutu prisoners forced to listen to her by correctional authorities her creed which is summed up by two main statements : « (Emera)ko nkuko Itsembabwoko ryabaye rusange ku Batutsi bose (kuko umugambi wari uwo kubatsemba) ni nako ari rusange ku bahutu bose. Bisobanura ngo : Abatutsi bose bacitse ku icumu, naho Abahutu bose ni Interahamwe »
« (Accept) that just like the genocide targeted all Tutsis (since the purpose was to exterminate them), the same way all Hutus are responsible. In other words, all Tutsis are survivors, whereas all Hutus are Interahamwe (killers) »
A couple of weeks later, on December 2, 2005, she repeated, elaborated and confirmed her shocking utterances to the great disenchantment of the general public in Rwanda, in the region and beyond. This was a clear call for ethnic hatred and an advocacy for collective guilt for a whole section of the Rwandan people. She continued her advocacy without any hindrance from the RPF government authorities.
Kigali, Serena Hotel, June 30, 2013
That day, talking to a selected audience of young Hutus in a function dubbed « Youth Connekt Dialogue » organized by the ministry of youth, culture and technology, the structure in charge of indoctrination called « Itorero ry’Igihugu », the ministry of internal affairs and Imbuto Foundation, a charity founded by his wife, President Paul Kagame echoed Marie Goretti Murebwayire. He stated that the 1994 genocide against Tutsis was committed in the name of all Hutus and that therefore, every Hutu should apologize for that crime committed « in his/her name ». The campaign went on and gained momentum when the proponent of such collective guilt plea Bamporiki was selected as an RPF candidate for the coming « parliamentary elections » to be held in September 2013.
Machiavellian political calculations
President Paul Kagame’s open advocacy for collective guilt for all Hutus and ethnic hatred have sent a sismic wave within and without the the Rwandan society, in the region and in the World and rightly so. It attracted global outcry and total condemnation from all peace loving Rwandans and foreigners including our neighbors especially those from Burundi, Tanzania, DRC and Uganda.
Rwandans have discovered with horror that Pastor Murebwayire’s creed was actually an official RPF ideological line, the official government policy that is now being openly being implemented at the highest level of governance of the country. This sheds more light on the concept behind Gacaca courts, its rules and procedures, proceedings and outcomes. It explains why two millions Hutus were indicted, judged and at least one million convicted at different levels for the same crime. This doctrine of holding all Hutus responsible of the crime of genocide committed by some Hutu extremists.
These shocking statements didn’t come out of the blue. They are part of well calculated political machination. The RPF government wants to justify the denial of political freedoms to Hutus. Indeed, if they are collectively guilty of genocide, how possibly can they nourrish pretences of leading the country ? Paul Kagame confirmed this when he added in the occasion refuting demands for political space from opposition parties that the fact that ‘genocidaires’ i.e. Hutus were allowed to live in Rwanda was the greatest political space that one could possibly think of. For him, the fact that all Hutus were not exterminated in retaliation for the genocide crime committed in their name by extremist was the only « political space » they diserve.
The other purpose of this doctrine is to mobilize all Tutsis around Paul Kagame’s autocracy with the consequences that any dissenting voice among Tutsis would be synonymous of treason and would be treated as active collaboration with « genocidaires ».
Two attitudes to avoid by all means
There are risks of reacting negatively to this strategy, thus playing the game of Paul Kagame’s sectarian, militaristic and expansionist autocracy.
The first attitude that our people should avoid is to feel collectively guilty and as a consequence trying to hide that guilt behind convenience alliances with controversial Tutsi figures for the sake of dressing up that baseless collective guilt.
In fact, this tactic was used and overused by the RPF to conceal its sectarian essence and practice behind cosmetic recruitments of Hutu figures whose end is always tragic as we know it. President Pasteur Bizimungu was eventually jailed. Minister Seth Sendashonga and MP Col Lizinde Theoneste were eventually assassinated in exile. The RPF Chairman during the civil war Col. Alex Kanyarengwe was first marginalized before being thrown in oblivion where the met an evitable death by lack of adequate medical treatment.
Some Hutus in the opposition are playing this game. They’re copying and pasting these RPF tactics by resorting to accommodating alliance with Tutsi figures whose criminal record leave a lot to desire. This response bears ethical, moral and political burden that makes the cause of justice for all irrelevant and contributes to suppressing the line between criminals and victims.
The second dangerous attitude to avoid is responding to the RPF globalization of guilt strategy by resorting to an equally sectarian Hutuism in the name of resistance against Tutsi collective domination. By so doing, we would be justifying the RPF ethnic strategy by an equally ethnic resistance. Therefore, all RPF attacks would be justified and this would inevitably lead to defeat.
The way forward
To solve this contradiction, we need to oppose our nationalism to their ethnocentrism, our inclusiveness to their segregationism. We must fight by all means their strategy of confounding all Tutsis with victims and all Hutus as perpetrators. As we take into account the necessities of avoiding infiltrations and hostile activities from within, we must not fear to expose the wrong done to Hutus as a community, nor should we be scared of mobilizing and organizing them so that we collectively resist against the RPF sectarian regime. We must equally embrace all Tutsis who are genuine patriots and who are opposed to this evil plan of transforming a whole section of the country into second class citizen.
We must also expose the wrongs done to our people, especially Tutsi workers and peasants, by the tiny but emerging lumpen bourgeoisie whose greed is transforming Rwanda into a launching pad for plunder and domination by capitalistic foreign forces in the Great Lakes region in particular and in Africa in general. The RPF mask is down. Let’s seize this opportunity and put down this evil regime for the betterment of Rwandans, the region and Africa.