A Call for Unity and Truth: Celebrating 25 Years of the Seth Sendashonga Institute

Seth Sendashonga

On May 25, in Brussels, the Institut Seth Sendashonga pour la Citoyenneté Démocratique (ISCID asbl) will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The event, announced by Jean-Claude Kabagema, President of ISCID, will take place at Rue Washington 40, 1050 Ixelles, near Avenue Louise, in the Châtelain area. The ceremony will feature public debates from 2 PM to 6 PM, followed by socialization and refreshments. The theme of the discussions is “Remembering Our Victims of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and Fostering the Truth by Fighting Lies.” These debates are organized in collaboration with the Rwanda Truth Commission (RTC).

The Seth Sendashonga Institute was established in May 1999, a year after Seth Sendashonga was assassinated in Nairobi, Kenya. Sendashonga, known for his dedication to fighting injustice, ethnic discrimination, and favoritism, faced persecution and fled Rwanda in 1975. After the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) seized power in 1994, Sendashonga was appointed Minister of the Interior and Communal Development. However, he resigned a year later due to disagreements with Paul Kagame, then Minister of Defense and Vice-President, over security issues caused by the RPF forces. Following his resignation, Sendashonga fled to Kenya, where he was assassinated on May 16, 1998, by assailants believed to be linked to Kagame.

In response to Sendashonga’s assassination, his friends and supporters established the Seth Sendashonga Institute to uphold his legacy and ideals. Over the past 25 years, the Institute has published three books, numerous documents, and organized public conferences and broadcasts on radio and TV. The Institute’s mission has been to encourage Rwandans to overcome divisions and advocate for their rights, true justice, and full democracy.

Despite these efforts, the Institute remains deeply concerned about the ongoing conflicts and human rights abuses in the region. Thirty years after the RPF’s violent rise to power, the number of innocent victims continues to increase due to conflicts instigated by the Rwandan government. The atrocities committed by the Rwanda Defense Forces in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are particularly alarming and threaten to strain relations between Rwanda and its neighbors.

The Institute also highlights the ongoing oppression within Rwanda, where the populace remains under the control of a 30-year-old dictatorial regime centered around Kagame and a small group of loyalists, reminiscent of past monarchical regimes. The Seth Sendashonga Institute calls on all Rwandans to strive towards building a country where every child has equal opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, region, religion, or other factors unrelated to public interest and national laws.

The upcoming anniversary event will serve as a reminder of these goals and a platform to discuss ways to achieve a just and democratic Rwanda, free from the shadows of its troubled past.