Kabarebe urges business leaders to back efforts toward inclusive growth

The minister for Defence, James Kabarebe, urged the private sector to avoid segregation in business, saying the practice, that was rampant before the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, threatens equitable economic development.

He was speaking Thursday at the Private Sector Expo grounds during a night of remembrance for private sector members who were killed during the Genocide.

“Private sector should know that our liberation war was founded on clear principles. One is that we could not tolerate the then regime’s governance structure of economy that impoverished part of Rwandans,” he said.

Kabarebe told business leaders that, “whatever achievements you can register, they must be sustained through fighting genocide ideology which can destroy them in a short time.”

He stressed the importance of commemoration in preserving the truth of how genocide was planned and executed.

Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairperson of Private Sector Federation, pledged the sector’s support to Genocide survivors so that economic development does not leave behind anyone in society.

Gasamagera noted that the private sector was used to destroy the nation by bankrolling the Genocide against the Tutsi.

He urged today’s business leaders to play their role in rebuilding the nation.

“During the Genocide against the Tutsi, private sector was targeted in two ways. The first was through financing (the Genocide) and another as victims –Tutsi private sector members were hunted and killed on accusations of supporting Rwanda Patriotic Army,” he said.

We observed how RTLM radio ‘‘aprivate radio was used in disseminating hate messages. Those who were killed are part of lost energy,’’ he added.

However, he added, during the liberation war, it is commendable that, the private sector also played an important role which they should continue to play today.

Witness account

Serge Rusagara, a Genocide survivor whose father owned a bicycle assembling factory before he was killed during the Genocide, recalled the agony the family went through.

He was 14-year-old when the Genocide happened.

He recalled how his parents were tortured in the years of leading up to the Genocide in 1990 when they were falsely accused of supporting RPA.

Their family factory was razed during Genocide after their parents were killed.

“At school, we were always segregated against. We could be told to stand up along ethnic lines. I realised how serious it was when one day I reached home from school and found that my father had been picked up, that was in 1990,” he narrated.

“My parents were wrongly accused of spying for Inkotanyi (RPF). Every Tutsi businessman was persecuted during that time. Soldiers kept returning home even when my father was in prison. My mother was also later picked up and jailed and later released,” he said.

His father was also later released but the torture continued until 1994 when, on April 8 at around 4:00 pm, Interahamwe militia attacked and killed his parents.

Rusagara and his sisters survived when they were taken to Hotel Mille Collines from where they crossed over to the area under RPA control.

Life was hard after the Genocide because my father’s business had also been destroyed, he said.

He was re-enrolled in school by his foster family and after completing studies, he started his own business with support from wellwishers.

“I am now a member of Private Sector Federation. I learnt from my father’s business skills. My sisters and I have hope in the future,” he said.