Commemorating the 27th Anniversary of the assassination of Muzihirwa Christophe the friend of refugees in DRCongo
Commemorating the 27th assassination of Monsignor Christophe Muzihirwa Archbishop of Bukavu killed a certain Tuesday October 29th, 1996 in Bukavu, South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
The Collective of Youth Organizations for Solidarity in DRC known as COJESKI-DRC, Coordination of North Kivu, joined the Association Fraternity Christophe Muzihirwa who organized the memorial for the his 27th assassination, this was the second time such event is organized in Goma.
The event started with this testimony “ In 1995, Monsignor Muzihirwa presided over the ordination of New Priests at Chai Catholic Parish in Bukavu, and after the Mass, people had to go for food which was contributed by all different Parishes, surprisingly Muzihirwa came and asked the Christians to collect all the foods, pack them and send it to refugees in camps around Bukavu saying: We here, have eaten this morning, and in the evening we have hope to eat but we have our brothers and sisters who have not yet eaten and who do not know if they will eat in the evening, let us go right now and help them”.
Brief about Christophe Muzihirwa
Christophe Muzihirwa originated from Kabare Territory in South Kivu, DRC, he was the Catholic Archbishop of Bukavu, and since 1994 he was concerned about the political situation in the Great Lakes Region as millions of refugees entered DRC.
In 1995 he wrote several letters to the United States of America President Bill Clinton over the USA and UK Diplomatic strategy in the Great Lakes Region, he also denounced the plans by neighboring countries especially Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda to kill and massacre refugees in Eastern DRC by then Zaire and he opposed the idea of war in DRC in order to claim the solutions to certain problems.
On the fateful day of Tuesday October 29th, 1996 as the war started in North Kivu, Muzihirwa came from the meeting with actors of the Civil Society in Bukavu at around 9am he was stopped on his way in Nyawera Bukavu, he was instructed to go to the radio and make statements to support the war, he refused that instruction and he was then killed, according to the witnesses the dispute between him and his killers took over 30minutes and then they opted to kill him.
Activities for the commemoration in Goma
The 27th Commemoration of the assassination of Christophe Muzihirwa was organized by the Association Fraternity Christophe Muzihirwa in Goma and was joined together by COJESKI-North Kivu.
The whole day of activities started by sharing the life of Muzihirwa, and sharing testimonies about his life and his struggle for peace in the Great Lakes Region: The Fraternity focuses on his struggle mainly Peace, Justice, Reconciliation and Truth telling.
Who killed Monsignor Christophe Muzihirwa?
Questions were raised by the representatives from COJESKI North Kivu, and wanted to know the following: Who killed Muzihirwa? Why was he killed? Who gave the order to kill him?
In response to these questions the Fraternity believes that Muzihirwa was killed because of this struggle to oppose the war in DRC, his desire to ensure the protection of refugees and his activism to oppose the aggression of DRC. The Fraternity believes that those who killed him were Rwandan Soldiers who were ordered by Rwanda, and all the concerned are waiting for justice to be done, and praying that the perpetrators should be brought to justice.
The activities on Sunday October 29th 2023 started with prayers in which focused on implore the Catholic Church to declare Muzihirwa a “Blessed and a Martyr”, songs and praises and the event was named a party in order to celebrate the life of Monsignor Christophe Muzihirwa. Then there was various testimonies, among them we have proposed the following:
In 1996 Muzihirwa was in Kinshasa the capital city of DRC and as the war started inn eastern DRC he came to Bukavu, in Kinshasa they asked him to stay but he refused saying “you know I have responsibilities over the faithful there, they are also human beings and Congolese who are facing the challenges of the war, I have to go and suffer together with them, but also near them we have our brothers and sisters in refugee camps who need our support”. And the last as we said Muzihirwa denounced the plans by Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda to massacre refugees in different camps in DRC.
The second activity was the Mass and Prayers held at Shaba Catholic Parish in Goma, which was led a Father Christian who placed his homely on the need to ensure the protection of refugees in DRC. The Mass was animated by the choir from the Fraternity of Chirstophe Muzihirwa and ushered the faithful into songs of praise and adoration.
Later on in the afternoon a get together was arranged where people had food and drinks, but also various speeches were introduced, the delegate of COJESKI Nord Kivu engaged the members on how best we can work together in order to advance this struggle. Ideas were developed on how to interact with refugees, how to help refugees and to help Congolese to understand better the situation of refugees in North Kivu, COJESKI Nord Kivu was then tasked to organize interactions between the members of the Fraternity Muzihirwa and refugees, but also more ideas were share in order to foster a strong partnership.
Fr. Christian also promised to come and visit the refugees but also was wondering what he can do in order to help refugees, lastly members of the political parties who attended the event shared their desire to come and interact with refugees at COJESKI, it is now our role to plan for all these meetings which we believe are in line with our advocacy on refugee issues in DRC, in general and in North Kivu in particular.
We are aware that many people here do not know much about the situation of refugees, we were happy that we have another audience where we shall capitalize in the struggle to ensure that refugees live better in this country. Our main challenge remains the money in order to do all what is required but we remain optimistic about the future.
COJESKI – North Kivu/ DRC