Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:

Monday, November 26, 2012




II. The challenges that faced Rwanda in the aftermath of the war and genocide

Rwanda endured destructive war during the period 1990–1994. The war culminated in the 1994 genocide and massacres. The genocide was planned and spearheaded by the government of the day. The war and genocide had very devastating consequences for Rwandan society. The genocide not only led to the suffering and death of a very large number of people (the number of the dead alone exceeds a million); it also resulted in virtual destruction of the country.

The war and genocide decimated the country’s human capital. A significant part of the country’s work force was killed during this period. Millions of citizens, including the majority of the personnel of state institutions, fled to exile after the fall of the rump government that had organised the genocide. Rooting and wanton destruction of both public and private property was widespread. Economic production ground to a halt. Institutions of the state ceased to function both as a result of the massacres and exile of their personnel as well as lack of infrastructure and equipment. By the end of the genocide, the public had lost all confidence in the state and its institutions as guarantors of public safety and security. By far the worst damage that the genocide inflicted on the country was the further destruction of of the already strained relations of mutual trust, tolerance and peaceful co-existence among the country’s two major communities. The genocide ruptured relations between the Hutu and Tutsi communities at the individual, community and national level and left Rwandan society deeply and bitterly polarised along lines of ethnicity. Not only was Rwanda unstable internally, it also faced dangerous external threats. The forces that had led to the implementation of the genocide had re-grouped upon arrival in exile and were re-organising, re-arming, and making preparations to invade Rwanda and re-capture power.

As a result of the above and other challenges, the reconstruction of Rwanda in the aftermath of the war and genocide was a very difficult task. The principal challenges that faced the government that took power in the aftermath of the war and genocide included the following:

(a) Restoration of law and order;
(b) Organising the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population;
(c) Re-establishing and strengthening institutions of government to drive the reconstruction of the country;
(d) Encouraging and facilitating the peaceful repatriation, resettlement and re-integration of refugees;
(e) Laying a foundation for sound economic recovery and development;
(f) Establishing democracy and the rule of law; and
(g) Identifying and implementing strategies to promote national unity and reconciliation as foundations for sustainable peace and stability.

III. The status of political governance in Rwanda today

President Kagame has received numerous awards from foreign organizations crediting him with success in many areas, including fostering reconciliation in the aftermath of genocide, promoting peace, and reform of government. This section discusses the status of governance in Rwanda. The section seeks to prove that the image of Rwanda as a democratising, reforming and stable post-conflict country that President Kagame and his government and supporters portray it to be does not reflect the real situation. Rwanda is a one-party dictatorship under President Kagame. President Kagame has effectively corrupted the founding ideals of the RPF. Through RPF, President Kagame denies the people of Rwanda the opportunity to exercise their fundamental human rights, particularly the right of political participation. President Kagame is both corrupt and authoritarian. He uses repression to ensure his continued monopoly of power. State institutions violate the most fundamental human rights of the people, including the right to life and the integrity of the person, to keep the President Kagame in power. State security institutions enjoy impunity for grave human rights violations against critics and opponents of the government. President Kagame’s abuse of the institutions of the state to support his quest for absolute power and economic gain is criminalising the fabric of the Rwandan state.

a) Destruction of the RPF as a democratic people’s movement.

The state of governance in Rwanda cannot be discussed in isolation from the character of the RPF and the quality of its leadership because of the very dominant role that the RPF in general and President Paul Kagame have played in the politics of post-genocide Rwanda. The RPF assumed control of government at the end of the genocide and civil war because it was the only opposition group with the military capacity to take on the organisers and perpetuators of the genocide.

At the end of the genocide, the RPF briefly cohabited in a coalition government with other organizations that had opposed the Habyarimana dictatorship. Since late 1995, the RPF has progressively assumed exclusive control of the state.

The RPF was originally established as a people’s movement whose goal was to bring together under one umbrella, individuals and groups of different political backgrounds and ideological beliefs that shared a minimum political platform to promote democracy in Rwanda. From its founding in 1979 as the Rwandese Alliance for National Union (RANU) to its capture of state power in 1994, the RPF professed a commitment to the vision of a free, democratic order under an accountable government. The organisation not only permitted but encouraged open debate and inclusiveness in decision-making. As a rebel movement in the opposition, RPF not only preached, but also practiced internal unity, internal democracy, and a commitment to reconciliation of the Rwandan people. During the 1990–1994 war, the RPF reached out to and sought to build alliances with other like-minded groups to broaden the political base of forces struggling to end dictatorship in Rwanda.

The RPF is no longer the democratic, inclusive and principled organization that its founders and early leaders and members intended it to be. The organization has now become a caricature of its former self. All major decisions affecting the organization are made by the party leader, President Paul Kagame. Organs of the party are merely rubber stamps that serve to legitimise decisions already made by the party leader and his very few close advisers behind the scenes. The party, like the rest of the country, is engulfed by fear, held hostage to President Kagame’s arbitrary and repressive rule. The culture of internal democracy and consensual decision-making that were at the core of the philosophy of the RPF before it came to power has ended. The concept of collective leadership that was crucial to maintaining accountability and legitimacy within the organization has ceased.

The RPF has, over time, been transformed into a vehicle to serve the political and economic interests of one person - the party president. President Kagame does not tolerate dissenting views within the RPF. The RPF has ceased to be a people’s movement led by a democratically minded leadership. President Kagame has terrorised his peers and other members of RPF into submission to his will. The RPF has become President Kagame’s fiefdom, a personal instrument for perpetuating autocratic rule.
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