• Jeune Afrique N° 1474
    Il faut être fier de son origine, qu'elle soit hutu, tutsi ou twa. Mais ce qui importe, avant tout, c'est que chacun se considère comme un Rwandais à part entière.

A True and Genuine Response to the January 31st, 2016 New Times Article “A visit to the Presidential Palace Museum”

After reading this article, we, The Family of The Late President, wife, children, brother, and relatives – who have well known and lived in the said house, are deeply shocked by several facts stated therein that are totally untrue. The history told about this house is utterly false, and  maliciously distorted.

The various transformations and changes that were done on the house by those who took over the house after assassinating our Parent, should not be attributed to him.

During President Habyarimana’s lifetime:

– There was no entrance to the so called « president’s office » from the rear and no waiting room. President Habyarimana always sought to separate state affairs from his family life. The very few times he received people at home for service reasons, happened in the family lounge on the ground floor, at the back entrance of the house. This is where the television was, and the table with elephant legs. So there was no “TV room that also doubled as the president’s secret exit”, as the article states.

– What New Times called a “control protocol house, where every armed men would leave his guns before entering the president’s office”, is an added detail that never existed. Shown on the picture, was an open garden pavilion (bungalow), used by the family just for after work relaxation.

– The dining room was smaller.

– There was no gym or sport room.

– There were no security sensors or movement detectors described at the stairs, and there was no remote controlled door.

– There was no house for a python supposedly given by Mobutu SeseSeko. The “python swimming pool” shown on the picture was simply a fish pond constructed in a shape of the Rwandan map.

– Quoting your allegation, “The ironic part of it is that just in the proximity of the chapel is the office of the witch doctor who used to render services to the first family. The floor finally winds up with the first lady’s saloon and a study room where private coaching was administered to the first children.” True there was a chapel, but not this disgusting office story of a witch doctor, or next to the chapel or elsewhere. Neither were there a first lady’s saloon, nor a study room for private coaching for children. The two rooms next to the chapel were just children’s bedrooms.

– There was no « guard’s watch tower » where now visitors “stand to have a look at the debris of the Falcon 50”.

By a press release in 2003, the Habyarimana family expressed their opposition to the Kigali’s government decision to transform this private house into a museum. We think it was a cynical, dishonest, shameful, and spiteful gesture, by usurping a family property right to convey a biased message, under the pretext of promoting unity and reconciliation. What a fine example of transparency and dignity! What a fine example to pay tribute to a man who diligently served his country!

We must not forget that President Habyarimana served his country with dedication, and sincerity. Although he inherited the ethnic division, President Habyarimana worked all his life to reconciliation, have peace and unity to all Rwandans, regardless of their ethnicity. He was cowardly and maliciously murdered while trying to protect all the people of Rwanda in which all his life was completely invested. Simply because the RPF had wrongly and maliciously made our parent President Habyarimana its enemy, he must not be portrayed as an enemy of the Rwandan people. This museum is clearly a means to manipulate public opinion, just to cover up the misdeeds and the role of the RPF in the Rwandan tragedy. Alas, « the winner is always right », he can try to make masses believe whatever he wants. So, by pretending to support reconciliation and unity of the Rwandan people, the RPF is seriously cultivating a culture of lies, contempt, provocation, division and injustice. Through lies and purely gratuitous accusations, RPF is preaching non-respect for the memory of a man who served his country and his people.

We, the Late President Habyarimana Family, believe that the history and future of a country should not be built on blatant lies. Those that induce people into error by falsifying the truth must know that, as Pope Francis said at Angelus in 2013 for prayer for peace in Syria, « There is judgment from God and also judgment from history upon our actions that no one can escape ». They should know they have a great responsibility to these two supreme realities for which they will be held accountable.

May God The Almighty touch the hearts and minds of those bent to do evil in the name of fairness.

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