Generally, historians are divided on the origins of
There were nineteen clans, in all, shared among the three ethnic groups. Some argue that, up to about the middle of the 19th century, clan identities mattered more than Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa categorization.
However, the division of Rwandans by ethnicity, based partly on these indigenous groupings, is believed to be a colonial concoction, which gained currency in the later part of the 20th century.
DIVIDE AND RULE COLONIAL STRATEGY
Ethnic tension in Rwanda is nothing new. There have been always been disagreements between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis.The two ethnic groups are actually very similar - they speak the same language, inhabit the same areas and follow the same traditions. In 1933 the Belgian colonial administration introduced a discriminatory national identification policy based on ethnicity. Banyarwanda who possessed ten or more cows were automatically registered as Batutsi, along with their descendants, whereas those with less were registered as Bahutu.
The Belgians considered the Tutsis as superior to the Hutus. Not surprisingly, the Tutsis welcomed this idea, and for the next 20 years they enjoyed better jobs and educational opportunities than their neighbours.
Resentment among the Hutus gradually built up, culminating in a series of riots in 1959. More than 20,000 Tutsis were killed, and many more fled to the neighboring countries of Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda. When Belgium relinquished power and granted Rwanda independence in 1962, Hutus took their place. Over subsequent decades, the Tutsis were used as scapegoats for every crisis. Tutsi refugees in Uganda - supported by some moderate Hutus - formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Their aim was to overthrow Habyarimana, president of Rwanda at the time, and secure their right to return to their homeland. Tutsis inside Rwanda were accused of being RPF collaborators.
In August 1993, after several attacks and months of negotiation, a peace accord was signed between Habyarimana and the RPF, but it did little to stop continuing unrest. 1994 would see the final collapse of the political process.
As their plane prepared to land in Kigali, it was shot down, some reports say by a surface-to-air missile
Lemarchanda says of the circumstances surrounding the assassination:
"Who actually fired the missile that brought down Habyarimana’s plane may never be known, anymore than that who ordered the missile to be fired. But if circumstantial evidence is any index, there is every reason to view the shooting of the plane as an eminently rational act from the standpoint of immediate goals."
The late President Juvenal Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down
Hate radio urged Hutus to exterminate the Tutsi "cockroaches". Evidence of widespread massacres began to appear; many victims were attacked with machetes, clubs and sticks. The UN force was reduced, and those left could do little more than watch. Pleas for help from the West went unheeded.
Men, women and children were killed as they sought refuge in places of religious worship.
As the genocide built, the RPF invaded the country. By mid-July it had taken over the country – the killing ceased.
Rwanda Refugees in Neighbouring country Photo by World Prout Assembly
Two million people, mainly Hutus, had fled as the RPF advanced. An estimated 115,000 suspected killers were jailed.
About a tenth of
Koffi Annan Former U.N. Secretary General
After the genocide, a Government of National Unity and Transitional National Assembly were put into place. These were composed of all political parties in the country, with the exception of MRND and CDR, who organized the genocide and saw it through.
In July 1994, the Arusha Accords, with some alterations, were adopted by the transitional government as its constitutional base. In August and September 2003 presidential and legislative elections were organized, with President Paul Kagame and his RPF political party winning a landslide.
IN SEARCH FOR JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION
The International Criminal Tribunal for
The Gacaca court is part of a system of community justice inspired by tradition and established in 2001 in
A NEW BEGINNING
The Rwandan government has struggled to rebuild its economy, which was left in tatters by the 1994 genocide. Recent strong growth figures mask the difficulty of the task which lies ahead.
Recently, substantial private investments have been made to develop tourism and new industries such as cut flowers, for export, and fish farming. The full range of
THE LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS
Sources of the Materials and More Information:
Rwanda Gateway-All You Need To Know About Rwanda
The International Criminal Tribunal for