From idealism to genocide
Much has been and continues to be written on the 1994 genocide and the ongoing tragedies in Rwanda; some writers trying to explain the genesis of the genocide (cf Grard Prunier’s The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide, 1997; John A. Berry and Carol Pott Berry’s Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory, 1999), others trying to critically understand the concept of the genocide as applied to Rwanda and Burundi (cf Ren Lemarchand’s ‘Genocide in the Great Lakes: Which Genocide? Whose Genocide?’), and others attempting to place blame and responsibility (cf Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, 1998; Fergal Keane’s Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey, 1995; or Human Rights Watch’s Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda-1999).
While some critics have been quick to blame the genocide on the Habyarimana regime, others, like Grard Prunier, have attempted to show how ethnic and regional practices may have contributed to the ‘social memory’ that led to the 1994 genocide. While Prunier notes that ‘the Habyarimana regime up till (circa) 1988 was in general one of the least bad in Africa if one considers only its actions and not its intellectual underpinnings’ (83), he fails to analyze key documents that led to the ‘peace and stability’. He credits General Habyarimana for bringing peace and stability to Rwanda before 1990.
This paper explores the last 20 years of Rwanda’s constitutional and ethnic policies, their shortcomings, and the possible role they played in the 1994 massacre. Through an analysis of the 1978 and 1991 Rwandan Constitutions, the statutes of the MRND, the only political party allowed during much of the Habyarimana years, and the 1993 Arusha Peace Accords, I argue that these documents were fraught with an idealistic optimism that failed to recognize the existence of Twa, Hutu and Tutsi, and the problems existing between the last two – a recognition that would have warranted provisions about minority rights.
I argue as well that when the Rwandan Patriotic Front attacked in 1990, the war seriously weakened the few minority rights that existed, as the Tutsi population gradually became identified with the attackers, as had previously been the case on several occasions during the 1960s. The RPF attack, however, had the beneficial effect of spurring pressure for the democratization process, le multipartisme, which the Habyarimana government grudgingly accepted with the hope to subvert the RPF’s criticism that the Hutu government was not democratic.
The paper also analyzes current practices of the Tutsi-dominated government and concludes that the democratization of Rwanda in the 21st century is still a far cry and that any democratic process should first recognize the Hutu-Tutsi problem, now compounded by the 1994 genocide, and deal with it in a straight-forward and honest manner. Otherwise, Prunier’s gloomy conclusion that most ‘Rwandans seem to have given up any meaningful belief in the possibility of national reconciliation’ will haunt Rwanda for centuries to come.
In order to put the period under study in this paper (1973-1994 and beyond) into perspective, it is necessary to present a brief overview of how constitutions or public policies and ethnicity related to one another in Rwanda, both under King Mutara III Rudahigwa in the 1950s and President Grgoire Kayibanda from 28 January 1961 to 4 July 1973. On 14 July 1952, the Belgian administration issued a decree that instituted a High Council (Le Conseil Suprieur du Pays) whose main objective was not so much to reorganize the Belgian indigenous politics in the colony under its tutorship as to limit the power of the king in order to better serve the interests of the people (Lizinde 55).
The decree was also an attempt to democratize existing governing bodies through elections that were to produce the members of the High Council. It is worth noting that the Mwami (king) presided over the High Council. More important is the fact that both the elections of 1953 and 1956 produced an overwhelmingly Tutsi dominated council; of the 34 members of Le Conseil Suprieur du Pays, only one was a Hutu, and things did not improve with the second elections in 1956.
Because each time the elections had favoured his Tutsi chiefs and sub-chiefs, King Mutara III Rudahigwa felt encouraged to declare, during a meeting of the Vice-Government of Ruanda[sic]-Urundi (‘Vice Gouvernement du RuandaUrundi’) on 21 April 1956, that it was impossible to define the terms Mututsi or Muhutu insofar as there existed no clear criterion to distinguish between a Tutsi and a Hutu. Yet in 1958, a special committee, Comit d’tude du Problme Social Mututsi-Muhutu, was set up to study the social problem between the Tutsi and the Hutu. Noteworthy is the fact that the special committee was composed of six members from the High Council and five members from the writers and signers of the 1957 Hutu Manifesto.
When the committee president asked whether or not the Hutu was not as represented in the indigenous administration as the Tutsi, a Hutu representative answered that the few Hutu who were in the administration were not true Hutu. Niyonzima went on to say that a true Hutu is defined by ways of doing things and by his pride in being a Hutu (61). Grard Prunier has noted that ‘even when Hutu were included in these "councils", they were the abagaragu [servants] of the chiefs, and as such perpetually acquiescent to their shebuja [Tutsi masters].’ In other words, the power was diffused ‘principally among the group which already possessed it, that is to say the Tutsi caste’ (47).
After long discussions, the special committee voted to recommend that the elections to the High Council be not only publicized but that special attention be given to Hutu candidacies. King Mutara III Rudahigwa’s reaction was to deny that there was any discrimination based on ethnicity: ‘We don’t differentiate between the two races to elect candidates to public offices; they’re chosen according to their capacity and merits’ (Kagame quoted in Lizinde, p. 70). This reaction clearly contradicted his former position on ethnicity by implicitly acknowledging that the terms Mututsi and Muhutu existed. It is worth noting how the Habyarimana and the Tutsi-led regimes would later pursue the same strategies.
The inequality between the Tutsi and Hutu in the colonial administration was made possible by the inequality in education, as the white missionaries had initially favoured the Tutsi chiefs’ children over the Hutu; in Astrida (Butare now), there was a school, cole des Batutsi (School of the Tutsi), which received exclusively Tutsi students. Equally important, in 1951, the clergy whose number equalled that of the white priests, was almost exclusively composed of Tutsi.
Prunier has rightly noted that being ‘better educated than the Hutu and exercising a quasi-monopoly over the native clerical positions in the colonial administration, the Tutsi of exalted lineage had been the first to pick up on the new ideas of racial equality, colonial political devolution and possible self-government’ (43). Nevertheless, a few Hutu, including Grgoire Kayibanda, had succeeded in attending the Grand Seminary of Nyakibanda; out of this seminary came the few Hutu intellectuals who, in March 1957, published a document that came to be known as the Bahutu Manifesto (Manifeste y’Abahutu) in which they decried the iniquity and racial injustices perpetrated against the Hutu population.
For the nine Hutu leaders who signed the Hutu Manifesto, the problem was ‘basically that of the political monopoly of one race,’ the Mututsi, a monopoly that was transformed into ‘an economic and social monopoly.’ Furthermore, given ‘the de facto selection in school, the political, economic and social monopolies turn into a cultural monopoly which condemns the desperate Bahutu to be for ever subaltern workers, that even after independence they will have contributed to gain without even realising what is in store for them. The ubuhake [vassalage] has been legislated away, but these monopolies have replaced it with an even stronger oppression’ (Prunier 46).
According to Lizinde, the Manifeste des Bahutu’s most salient points were: ‘The document demanded an integral emancipation of the Hutu, an emancipation thwarted by the Tutsi monopoly, later supported by the colonial administration, for many centuries. It opposed immediate independence and the departure of Europeans before this objective could be fulfilled’ (72-3). It must be noted that the writers of the Hutu Manifesto were later joined by many disenfranchised Tutsi who had been deceived by the monarchy (72).
Critics like Prunier have traced the ideology of the Hutu power back to the Hutu Manifesto which not only emphasized the term ‘race’, a consequence of long years of European myth of the Tutsi as a ‘superior race’, but was diametrically opposed to removing the labels ‘Muhutu’, ‘Mututsi’, and ‘Mutwa’ from the identity cards (introduced by the Belgian colonial administration). Indeed, they argued that suppressing ethnic labels ‘would create a risk of preventing the statistical law from establishing the reality of facts.’ Prunier further notes that ‘here the confusion becomes particularly serious. "Racial" statistics are set as a guideline, as a monitor of democratisation. We have here the intellectual root of the future "quota democracy" which was to become the law of the land in independent Rwanda’ (46). Prunier, however, fails to note that the Hutu Manifesto’s insistence on keeping the three ethnic labels in identification papers was a direct response to the High Council’s suggestion that these labels be removed from official documents (Lizinde 75). Additionally, King Mutara III Rudahigwa later demanded that the terms ‘Mututsi’, ‘Muhutu’, and ‘Mutwa’ be dropped from official documents in the government and in schools and that all the citizens have one name, Rwandan.
As Lizinde writes, the Hutu representatives protested the king’s suggestion: The Hutu representatives protested, saying that they always considered themselves to be Hutu; that at any rate if the terms Muhutu, Mututsi, and Mutwa, were maintained, it would be much easier in the future to check whether or not the progress was really reaching all the social groups of Rwanda’ (76).
Also pivotal to the question of ethnic policies during the colonial period was the momentous role played by the Catholic Church, which may explain why the same Catholic Church has been vehemently criticized by the Tutsi-led government in Kigali and its priests and bishops are being charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. Until the 1950s the Catholic Church had been supportive of the colonial policies regarding administering the colony through existing administrative structures, first siding with the German administration and then with the Belgian administration. A number of scholars have cited Bishop Lon Classe as one of the staunchest supporters of the theory that the Tutsi were born to rule while the Hutu were not born to govern.
In both 1923 and 1933 when the Belgians wanted to reverse their policies in favour of the Hutu, Bishop Classe vehemently and successfully opposed the decision. He forcefully argued that the ‘greatest mistake’ that the Belgian colonial administration could make ‘would be to suppress the Mututsi caste’ because such ‘a revolution’ would catapult the country into ‘anarchy and to hateful anti-European communism.’ Bishop Classe added that they could have ‘no better, more active and more intelligent chiefs than the Batutsi. They are the ones best suited to understand progress and the ones the population likes best. The government must work with them’ (Prunier 26).
In 1958, Bishop Aloys Bigirumwami, one of the first Rwandan clergy, denied the existence of a Hutu-Tutsi problem, the crux of his argument being based on inter-marriages between the two groups, though paradoxically he saw himself as a Hutu. A year later, Bishop Bigirumwami was to concede that there was a Hutu-Tutsi problem; he invited policy-makers to deal with the problem forthrightly and honestly in order to find a fair solution (Lizinde 74).
In 1957, however, the Catholic Church became increasingly aware of the injustices prevailing in the country and issued a collective letter from the Bishops of ‘Ruanda-Urundi’, whose main topic was justice. In the letter, the Bishops of Rwanda and Burundi condemned the abuses of power of all kinds. Lizinde notes that during this period people noticed a certain relation between the Hutu grievances and the Catholic Church’s position on the question of justice in the country (73). Besides, many of the writers of the Hutu Manifesto, including Grgoire Kayibanda, were ex-seminarians from the Nyakibanda Seminary. Because of this new, close relationship between the Catholic Church and the Hutu leaders, some scholars have suggested that the Hutu Manifesto was actually written by European missionaries.
It is worth pointing out that between 1957 and 1959, the Hutu-Tutsi relations were worse that they had ever been, compounded by the Hutu Manifesto and the formation of several political parties, many of which were Hutu dominated. Everything culminated into November 1959, a period that was later to be referred as La Rvolution Sociale de 1959 from the Hutu perspective and known as the first massacre of the Tutsi by the Hutu. This was the first step in repudiating the monarchy.
Prunier has wrongly argued that the so-called revolution was not ‘a fake’ because it was a ‘racist revolution’ (347) but that it was dictated by the missionaries: ‘The White Fathers told the "revolutionaries" what to do; they set the starting date and blew the whistle to get everybody back inside when the game was over. A revolutionary was executed under the direction of a colonial army colonel, with the support of colonial troops and the blessing of an all-powerful Catholic Church’ (348).
But Prunier seems to minimize the fact that it was a Tutsi attack on Dominique Mbonyumutwa, a Hutu sub-chief, which sparked the Hutu anger when it was believed that they had killed him. Also, he seems to ignore his own research according to which some Hutu actually fought on the king’s side to save the throne (49). Jean Rumiya in Rwanda Under the Belgian Tutelage, 1916-1931, has cogently argued that the Revolution failed to articulate tangible reforms beyond ethnicity. ‘As such the Revolution was logical in itself because it envisioned no reforms but the reversal of ethnic quotas and the creation of new social structures. Thus, the essential question relentlessly limited itself to a simple political dialectic, Hutu-Tutsi’ (9).
The second step in repudiating the Tutsi dominance came between June and July 1960 when the county elections favoured heavily Kayibanda’s party PARMEHUTU (Party for the Emancipation of the Hutu) with 70.4% of the votes, while the Tutsi-founded UNAR (Rwandan National Union) received 1.7% despite its boycott of the elections. A few months later, a transitional government was formed in Kigali with Kayibanda as the prime minister – 5 Hutu, 2 Tutsi, and 2 Europeans. Also, a transitional council was put in place with Joseph Gitera as its president. Noteworthy would be the absence of UNAR in both the transitional government and council (Lizinde 73).
The third step in dismantling the monarchy was an event that came to be known as Le Coup d’Etat de Gitarama (Coup of Gitarama) that took place on 28 January 1961 in Gitarama. It ensued the first Rwandan Constitution, a document that would not only lead to the independence of Rwanda on 1 July 1962 but would guide the first Rwandan Republic under President Grgoire Kayibanda from 1962 to 4 July1973.
After reading the 1961 Rwandan Constitution, one would be inclined to agree with John B. Webster who concludes in The Political Development of Rwanda and Burundi, that ‘aside from abolishing the monarchy and effecting a coup d’etat [sic] to insure the continuance of PARMEHUTU power, the provisions of the Constitution are in very close accord with the stage of constitutional evolution existent in Rwanda at that time’ (72). A closer look at the preamble, however, suggests that insisting on the abolition of the monarchy without guaranteeing minority rights was a major flaw.
In the preamble, the members of the Legislative Assembly state that the aim of the constitution is ‘to permanently liberate the people of Rwanda’ and ‘to endow’ their country with ‘a really democratic system, to calm the population, in order to form a more perfect national union, to establish justice and respect for the human person in our country, to ensure domestic tranquility, to liberate the people from the feudal and colonial yoke’ (‘Constitution of the Rwandese Republic’ 2).
Thus, central to the writers of the Rwandan Constitution was the desire to safeguard both the 1959 social revolution and the 28 January 1961 coup against the monarchy. By ‘pacifying the population’ one has to understand that in 1959 and then in 1961 Kigeri V Ndahindurwa, the new king, and thousands of Tutsi exiled themselves to neighbouring countries and that the new government feared attacks from Tutsi exiles. Equally, that while the Legislative Assembly purported ‘to form a more perfect national union’, in reality it was PARMEHUTU, a party whose objective was the emancipation of the Hutu, which monopolized the power.
Granted, in its articles 7, 9 and 12, the 1961 Rwandan Constitution guarantees social justice and equality before the law for all Rwandan citizens without discrimination based on race, clan, colour or religion. In article 12, however, it is mentioned that the fundamental rights and liberties as provided in the Declaration of Human Rights are guaranteed to all citizens and the exceptions are to be regulated by (a future) law. One would assume that given the Hutu leaders’ complaints against social injustice and ethnic iniquity, coupled with the turmoil of 1959, the writers of the first Rwandan Constitution would have provided articles that addressed the quintessential question they had been grappling with since the 1950s.
Failure to keep addressing the Hutu-Tutsi problem in a forthright manner – except article 11 that addresses the extradition of political refugees that must be authorized within the limits of the law – would be disasterous for the country, as the young Republic would be governed in the manner of a monarchy. Prunier has correctly noted that under ‘Kayibanda’s presidency the young Hutu republic took on a strange tinge’ insofar as in ‘many ways the President was in fact the mwami [king] of the Hutu.’ The same style of leadership applied, and his ‘deliberate remoteness, authoritarianism and secretiveness’ ironically recalled the old kings’ leadership style.
Equally interesting is that just as the Tutsi kings ‘used to manipulate the main Tutsi chiefly lineage in order to balance their power, President Kayibanda played the ex-Nyakibanda seminarians against the Astrida graduates and his Gitarama clansmen against both Butare and Ruhengeri’ (57). Similarly, the Habyarimana’s government would pin the Abakiga, Abarera and Abashiru, or ‘northerners’ from respectively Byumba, Ruhengeri, and Gisenyi prefectures, against the Abanyenduga from south and central Rwanda.
Since 8 May 1960, Kayibanda’s PARMEHUTU party became MDR-PARMEHUTU (Democratic Republican Movement-PARMEHUTU), the only political party that was to lead the young republic until 1973. Lizinde has pointed out that according to article 10 of the statutes of the MDR-PARMEHUTU, the latter aimed at ‘solving, once and for all and peacefully, the problem of coexistence of different ethnic, racial, and social groups established in the country, in all areas of administrative, political, economic, social, and cultural progress [my translation]’ (Kayibanda G. quoted in Lizinde 156).
In its fourth manifesto, Manifeste no 4 du MDR PARMEHUTU, it is pointed out that the MDR ‘endeavoured to ensure equality of opportunity, of rights and duties, to all the citizens of Rwanda without any discrimination. It condemned all forms of racial discrimination on the national territory in particular and in Africa in general [my translation].’ Moreover, Lizinde cogently notes that this theoretical idealism was contradicted by other stipulations such as that the MDR-PARMEHUTU was the party of those who were ‘mobilized to fight in a democratic manner against the injustice perpetrated against Gahutu and all the destitute people in their own country by the feudal power of the Tutsi monarchy’ [my translation] (156).
To this democracy in the name of and for the Hutu, were added sporadic attacks by the Tutsi exiles between 1961 and 1964, which exacerbated the ethnic relations insofar as each time there was an attack there followed reprisals against the Tutsi population many of whom did not have anything to do with the Tutsi exiles’ attacks. In 1973, the ethnic climate in Rwanda worsened when attacks against Tutsi students began in secondary schools in Gitarama, Kayibanda’s native region, and spread quickly throughout the country. President Kayibanda, his MDR-PARMEHUTU, as well as the government simply let the country slouch towards the abyss.
I remember how the Tutsi of my commune lived in constant fear, not knowing what might happen to them. While some of them left to return later when things were calmer, others decided to stay. Luckily, our mayor banned any burning of Tutsi houses or looting of their cattle. I also remember that during the last years of Kayibanda’s presidency, the Hutu who were not from Gitarama had a hard time finding jobs or passing the national exam for secondary schools. As a matter of fact, corruption was so rampant that the names of those who had passed the national exam were erased at the commune level and replaced by children from rich or well-connected parents.
Also noteworthy is the fact that during this period the relations with neighbouring countries like Burundi deteriorated. I remember how in June and early July 1973, President Kayibanda and President Michel Micombero of Burundi traded insults on their national radios. It is in this climate that the Rwandan army chief of staff and defence minister, General Juvnal Habyarimana, took power, banned all the formation of political parties and dissolved the National Assembly.
Critics like Fergal Keane have speculated that ‘it is widely suspected that Habyarimana was behind the 1973 turbulences’ so as to instigate violence and then stage ‘a coup in order to quell the same violence’ (21). No evidence of this, however, is provided. Yet during 1973, I remember rumours that the next president was going to be an army officer from the North, rumours most probably based on the rift between people from Ruhengeri and Gisenyi on the one hand, and Gitarama on the other.
Prunier has rightly noted that because the Habyarimana regime ended in genocide, people tend ‘to project back upon the whole of the Habyarimana regime’ their ‘knowledge of ultimate evil’ (74). Keane argues that when Habyarimana took power on 5 July 1973, his ‘rule did not, as many Tutsi had feared, precipitate a total onslaught against the minority.’ On the contrary, ‘Habyarimana appeared to go out of his way to stress national unity and appealed for an end to ethnic bloodletting’ (21). When he assumed power in 1973, people were very optimistic that things were going to improve economically, socially and politically.
Under the leadership of Habyarimana and for a period of 15 years, Rwanda experienced what Prunier has called the ‘good years’, referring to the fact that ‘General Habyarimana had brought peace and stability to Rwanda’ (76). While Prunier cogently argues that these peaceful and prosperous years extracted a heavy price insofar as Habyarimana banned political parties and founded his own party, MRND, he fails to analyze the statutes and manifesto that informed Habyarimana’s political ideology. Indeed, a closer analysis of the manifesto and statutes of the National Revolutionary Movement (MRND) reveals such a high level of political and ethnic idealism and optimism that one wonders what went wrong in 1994. Worth noting, too, is the fact that though Habyarimana had modelled the single party system after GrŽgoire Kayibanda’s MDR-PARMEHUTU, he astutely avoided an ethnic labelling.
When MRND was founded on 5 July 1975, its manifesto laid out the political, economic, social, and cultural policies that would lead the country to peace, unity, and progress (Ubumwe, Amahoro, Amajyambere in Kinyarwanda), three words that were repeated for almost 20 years at every official gathering or cultural events. Furthermore, unlike the Tutsi kings (like Mutara Rudahigwa) who refused to accept that there was an ethnic problem in Rwanda, Habyarimana was acutely aware that the progress of Rwanda hinged upon the unity between the Hutu, the Tutsi and the Twa.
In the preamble of the manifesto of MRND, Habyarimana argued that division and hate among Rwandan citizens hinder national development and that peace and unity would be the cornerstone of his government policies. Furthermore, he condemned all separatist or racist tendencies as well as beliefs in racial, ethnic, group, regional, and religious superiority (Manifeste et Status 87).
More importantly, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development aimed at helping all Rwandan citizens achieve the following:
* Definitive uprooting of the consequences of hate and division created by the history of our country among the three ethnic groups and regions;
* Coalition of all forces against psychological and socio-economic under-development;
* Ban against a Rwandan mentality concerning feudality: spirit of caste and court intrigues that hinder national development;
* End all forms of exploitation of man by man;
* Vigorous fight against laziness, banditry, and ethnic, regional and religious radicalism.
Despite this ethnic idealism there was always a sub-culture of Hutu hardliners in the government who felt that in terms of employment and education (high school and higher education) priority should be given to the Hutu in order to redress the injustices incurred by the Hutu during the Tutsi monarchy. During this period, however, many Tutsi changed their ethnic affiliations and passed for Hutu, at least in their identification cards, allowing them to get scholarships and jobs in the government. So when Prunier argues that ‘life was difficult for the Tutsi who were victims of institutional discrimination,’ he is not entirely right. However, he is correct when he points out that under the Habyarimana regime many Tutsi prospered as businessmen and ‘were on very good terms with the regime’ (76).
The so-called ethnic quota system (known as Žquilibre ethnique) that many critics, including Prunier, have pointed out as an example of institutional discrimination against the Tutsi, was not as poignant as regional quotas (Žquilibre rŽgionale) whereby the northern regions of the country, where the president came from, received more students to high schools and more scholarships to the university (local and international) than any other region in Rwanda.
Thus, if the Tutsi were victims of institutional discrimination, theirs was part of a larger discrimination that was more massive and more important than the ethnic quota system. Here again, if the 1978 and 1991 Rwandan Constitutions had provided (beyond guaranteeing basic human rights to all Rwandan citizens) special sections about minority rights, the ethnic quota system could have been avoided. Equally interesting is the fact that both the 1993 Arusha Accords and the 1995 new Constitution lack these provisions; one would think that the Rwandan Patriotic Front, which purported to bring democracy to Rwanda, would have insisted upon having such provisions in both documents.
In 1996, the new Rwandan government banned ethnic labelling in identification cards, a move clearly designed to remove the terms Hutu, Tutsi and Twa from official discourse. The irony, of course, is that the government continues to talk about apprehending the ‘Hutu killers’. The point to be made here is that banning these terms from identification cards will not prevent the Hutu from seeing themselves as Hutu, the Tutsi as Tutsi, and the Twa as Twa. Furthermore, removing these labels has not stopped the RPF-led government from oppressing the Hutu population, including some Tutsi survivors, ostensibly because they collaborated with the Hutu killers.
Clearly, here is a discrepancy between the government’s (seemingly) public policies and what actually happens in practice. Actually, many Tutsi in Rwanda today seem to be worse off than they had ever been during the Hutu-dominated government of Habyarimana; many Tutsi who have the means have been leaving a country whose government is supposed to be Tutsi-led.
For there to be peace in Rwanda, there needs to be greater emphasis on national reconciliation than on the genocide discourse, because demonizing an entire Hutu population for crimes committed by a few is counterproductive. This would include punishing those who truly committed crimes against humanity, including soldiers from the Rwandan Patriotic Front – news media like the National Post and Associated Press have recently reported that the UN is investigating high-ranking members of Paul Kagame’s government for war crimes committed in 1994 as the RPF advanced towards Kigali – and exonerating the majority of the Hutu population who did not participate in the genocide.
Furthermore, there needs to be a national debate on the Hutu-Tutsi problem, the kind that would allow Rwandans to freely express themselves concerning their common past and to realize that although the past cannot be buried, mistakes committed in the past under both the monarchy and the colonial powers – what Catharine Newbury has called ‘double colonialism’ – must be avoided. This from the bottom-to-the-top approach (not the reverse) would work, because for centuries the Hutu, the Tutsi, and the Twa have lived together on the same hills.
Third, a new constitution or amendments to the constitution should be drafted to include civil rights for all citizens in order to avoid ethnic, regional, religious quotas in schools or in government jobs. Finally, instituting a multiparty system and power-sharing must underlie all political and government policies in Rwanda; otherwise, the country is likely to be trapped into a vicious cycle of wars and massacres.
For example, everybody knows that no matter how hard the Rwandan government fights in the Democratic Republic of Congo (hoping to capture Interahamwe and the Hutu killers), the current Tutsi-led government is losing ground. What would happen if the ex-Rwandan Army were to recapture the country from the Rwandan Patriotic Front?
Many Rwandans believe that the Hutu population, and all Rwandans in general, may have given Paul Kagame a chance to transform Rwanda into a peaceful nation, had he truly and honestly opted for national reconciliation; instead, his government has chosen to demonize the entire Hutu population.
John A. Berry and Carol Pott Berry, Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory. Howard University Press, Washington D.C., 1999.
Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With our Families: Stories from Rwanda. Farrar Straus and Giroux, New York, 1998.
Fergal Keane, Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey. Penguin Books, New York, 1995.
Catharine Newbury, The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960. Columbia University Press, New York, 1988.
Grard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide. Columbia University Press, New York, 1995.
Prezidansi ya MRND, Mouvement Revolutionnaire National pour le DŽvelopement: Manifeste et Statuts. Service de l’Information de la PrŽsidence du MRND, Kigali, Rwanda, 1975.
Jean Rumiya, Le Rwanda sous le Mandat Belge (1916-1931). L’Harmattan, Paris, 1992.
John B. Webster, The Constitutions of Burundi, Malagasy, and Rwanda. Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse, 1964.
John B. Webster, The Political Development of Rwanda and Burundi. Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse, 1966.
Major Thoneste Mugabushaka Lizinde, La Dcouverte de Kalinga ou La Fin d’un Mythe: Contribution l’Histoire du Rwanda. Imprimerie Somca, Kigali, Rwanda, 1979.