By Daniel Sabiiti
Despite the remarkable decrease of genocide ideology over the last 22 years, more concerted efforts are required to fully eradicate it.
Reconciliation Barometer (RRB) report 2015 findings shows that this has been as a result of an increased sense of citizenship and identity, understanding the past and envisioning the future, justice, social cohesion and a good political culture.
The report indicates that in 2010 at least 30.5 percent of Rwandans viewed themselves along ethnicity and this has dropped to 27.9 percent by 2015.
Keeping the 2012 Rwanda population census constant at 11.4million Rwandans, this means that over 3.4 million citizens still viewed themselves along ethic backdrops in 2015 compared to the current statics which show only 3.1millions making an 8.8 decline.
The National Unity and Reconciliation commission (NURC) Reconciliation Barometer (RRB) report 2015 is the second of its kind since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
The first assessment of the status of reconciliation in Rwanda, Reconciliation Barometer (RRB) was carried out in 2010.
The second barometer report findings show that there was a decline in the persistence of genocide ideology from 31.5 percent to 25.8 percent and the attempt for Rwandans to commit genocide again also had a decline from 39.9 to 28.9% while wounds of genocide healed from 11.6 to 4.6 percent.
The NURC Executive Secretary, Mr. Fidele Ndayisaba, said that numbers are good and show that Rwandans have set their eyes and hearts on development and moving away from the past but there is need for Rwanda’s parliament to start strategic ways of fighting genocide denial beyond borders.
Ndayisaba also said that the journey of reconciliation is a step at time and Rwanda is not about to give up.
“Reconciliation takes time and we are recommend that Rwandans should not give up on this cause, since they have sacrificed a lot to get here. We are banking on the youth to get there, and asking our parliament to step up the fight against spread of genocide ideology outside Rwanda and also educate the local population” Ndayisaba told Rwanda Eye on phone.
NURC attributes this significant progress in reconciliation to national policies such “Ndi Umunyarwanda”, contribution of civil society organization and the willingness for the survivors and perpetrators to reconcile even beyond person to person but among families and concepts.
The NURC annual activity report 2014-2015 action plan indicated that the Ndi Umunyarwanda program had reached even convicts in different prisons in the country and revealed itself to be very efficient in giving the floor to the emotionally wounded to speak out their hearts, resulting to its adoption as a profound national programme at the National Dialogue in 2015.
The purpose of the present Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer (2015)1 was to track the current status of reconciliation in Rwanda, through citizens’ experiences and opinions, while identifying key favorable factors and challenges, in this regard.
Methodologically, the assessment was nationwide and employed both the quantitative and the qualitative approaches, on a total sample of 12,000 individuals.
The assessment focused on 6 variables, namely: (1) understanding the past, present and envisioning the future, (2) citizenship and identity, (3) political culture, (4) security and wellbeing, (5) justice, fairness and rights, and (6) social cohesion. With strong consistency, empirical findings indicate that Rwanda is far ahead in the process of reconciliation. On average, findings indicate that the current status of reconciliation in Rwanda is at 92.5%.
Rwanda’s journey may be a long one but the fruits of reconciliation has seen many regional countries come to visit and learn from the Rwandans who have set their eyes on restoring their dignity again.
Just last month, the NURC hosted a delegation from the Sudanese Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) who came to learn about the informal/traditional justice and reconstruction process of Rwanda.
Many of these groups, and of the kind have come from as far as USA, Canada and all of Africa to hear and witness Rwanda’s story of Reconciliation.