Eighteen years ago today, as Rwanda posed to watch history unfold as both the RPF and the Habyarimana government prepared to usher in a new government crafted in Arusha, an event that changed the history of the country shuttered all hopes. Habyarimana’s plane was shot down from the skies killing the President and all aboard.
Who shot the plane down is a question that has been put to rest. Forever.
Rwanda’s enemies would try to pin the downing of the presidential plane on the RPF. Nothing would stick. We now know hardline Hutu extremists who did not want to relinquish power were responsible, led by none other than the monstrous Bagosora.
Many have foolishly and unconvincingly argued that the downing of the plane sparked the genocide against the Tutsi. The speed,efficiency and planning of the slaughters that were to follow within hours of the plane falling from the skies disproves this empty logic. Habyarimana’s death was a pretext.The evidence is overwhelming.
In light of what ensued after April 6, Habyarimana’s death is irrelevant. The only relevance of this event is that it was the signal for the plotters to embark on their criminal plan.
As we pose to commemorate the genocide against the Tutsi eighteen years ago, we must reflect on how we got there. Lives were changed forever. Our land was soaked in innocent blood, our spirit was bruised but not broken.
Rwanda will rise and shine again. It is a collective effort. This much is clear:those who seek to take us back to the days of old when ethnicity was the cornerstone of government policy will not succeed. Those who paid the ultimate price will always remind us that we must be on guard that those who sought to execute the so-called FINAL SOLUTION are still planning.