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OPINION: My visit to Kigali Genocide Memorial has taught me a lesson
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OPINION: My visit to Kigali Genocide Memorial has taught me a lesson

My visit to Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda Has taught Me A Lesson Which I Believe Every Gambian Should Know.

All the civil wars in Rwanda from 1959 to the genocide of 1994 were propagated by the divide-and-rule game of the colonial powers and the greedy politicians who believed that method was the only game that could make them succeed in their political quest.

There was no recognized tribe in Rwanda before the coming of Europeans, all they live in was a caste system- according to the number of cattle one has. When the colonial masters came, they studied Rwanda very well and concluded that they can't penetrate such a united society. They worked in disuniting them by dividing them into three tribes; Tutsis (cattle rearers), Hutus (the cultivators), and Tawa (the forest men).

The saddest thing was, the people they knew were the most intelligent were grouped as Tutsi. Now, they used the majority they regarded as Hutus to kill the entire Tutsi, the intelligent population so that they could succeed in their exploitation.

They made Hutus believe that Tutsis were strangers, not original Rwandese, and at the time, Tutsis had already settled both economically and educationally.

When they succeeded in propagating the hate campaign, the society began to fall out. People started seeing one another as different people, based on tribal lines. The superiority and inferiority began to rise. The minority Tutsi began to suffer as the Hutus waged a war against them to extinguish their existence.

During these periods of civil wars and the 1994 genocide, almost one million people were killed, a higher percentage of which were Tutsis.

Many displaced Tutsi families including the family of the current president, Paul Kagame sought refuge in neighboring countries like Uganda, Congo, etc.

The biggest lesson to learn is that the great son of the same rejected cornerstones, Tutsis happened to be the unifier of Rwanda. Paul Kagame has indeed succeeded in uniting Rwanda.

I brought this short history of Rwanda for Gambians to weigh whether our country is not following the same direction as what happened in Rwanda. Our politicians are every day working tirelessly in dividing a very united population.

Many Gambians are supported based on tribal lines. They often engaged in throwing hate speeches against other opponents, by attacking their tribes. It is not a strange thing anymore to insult one another's tribe in the Gambia, and the doers are secretly celebrated by their political leaders.


1. Government should criminalize hate speech and make sure the law is implemented to the fullest, generally without segregation.
2. Government should also ban all the tribal associations and their social media groups in the Gambia and stop spreading a red carpet to any group that has a tribal connotation.
3. Government, religious groups and civil society organizations should engage the population in sensitizing them about the dangers of tribalism and hate speech, and equally preach the importance of unity.
4. Tribal propaganda media outlets should also be banned to minimize the spread of hate speech and tribal bigotry. This way, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be proud to call Gambia a homeland.

Written by Edrisa Janko
The Gambia

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