I am currently visiting parts of Gasabo District as part of my ongoing grand tour across all thirty districts of Rwanda. On this Heroes’ Day, let me share what I observed in the Campaign Against Genocide (CAG) museum.
This museum is a precise illustration of the military operation conducted by the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) in a successful bid to stop the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. The exhibits of the highly tactical RPA’s intervention are preceded by the disclosure of how the genocide was prepared and executed.
The museum is set up in the parliament building. It is the same building that served as the base of 600 soldiers deployed to protect the dignitaries of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) who came to the capital to monitor the implementation of the Arusha Accord in 1993, only to find themselves in the midst of the most devastating state-sponsored genocide in modern history.
For a long time, the house in which policymakers assemble bore scars inflicted upon this nation by its dark history. Whenever I looked at the building and its scars, I felt the closeness of the past in a country that has moved so far away from it. When the building was under renovations, I saw the reflection of a healing nation.
As the merciless Interahamwe went on a rampage, the troops broke out of the building to save lives, following an order from the Chairman of High Command, Major General Paul Kagame. This happened when other battalions were fighting their way from Mulindi w’Intwari to Kigali through a number of strategically selected entry points.
This museum is a fountain of information. In addition, it is a tool of inspiration that instills a sense of pride and patriotism. A combination of galleries, graphics, films, monuments and immortalized likeness of soldiers in action revive the past and put history into perspective.
The material I found in this museum can create the perfect script for a blockbuster movie. The outdoor part of the museum is adorned with monuments popular in the backgrounds of many Instagram photos uploaded by the new generation. Speaking of the new generation, one of those monuments features a hero rescuing a baby while holding a pair of binoculars. The baby and the binoculars paint a picture of the RPF’s vision of the future of Rwanda.
The author is currently visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Gasabo is sponsored by The Click Creations, Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel, The Peakspot Lodge, Elimo Real Estate Ltd and Imari Hose Ltd.