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The Comfort of Strangers

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Jinmi Adisa

Two

Antecedents of the 1994 Refugee Movement in Rwanda

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1. Root Causes of Violence

  • 1 René Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi, Pall Mail Press, London, 1970 ; Catherine Watson, Exile from (...)

1The present conflict in Rwanda has immediate and remote causes, which are inextricably intertwined. The shadow of the remote causes of the conflict stretches over the present and continues to affect the pattern of reaction among neighbouring states that have been coping with the influx and movement of refugees. The main reason for the movement of refugees from Rwanda into the neighbouring states of the Great Lakes Region of East and Central Africa is the interethnic hostility within Rwanda, which dates back more than three decades.1 Ironically, the genocide and mass displacement of Rwandan people in 1994 occurred within the context of a regional peace effort to deal with this 35-year old refugee problem.

1.1 Immediate causes

2The event which triggered off the 1994 exodus of Rwandan people was the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, in a plane crash en route from a regional peace meeting in Tanzania. This peace conference was initiated to deal with the aftermath of a 1990 invasion of Rwanda by the rebel Tutsi-dominated Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) refugee army based in Uganda. Rwanda’s neighbours (Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Zaire), each of which had a large number of Rwandan refugees, became active in promoting a cease-fire and in arranging a political settlement. The outcome was a regional conference of the five heads of states which drew up the Declaration of Dar-es-Salaam of 1991.

3The declaration spelt out the principles for a regional solution to the conflict, which included the right of repatriation of refugees and a commitment by host states to naturalize refugees who wished to remain. Both the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations have supported this regional effort. As from June 1993, the UN Security Council created two peace keeping missions to nourish the regional peace process.

4In August 1993, the Government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Patriotic Front signed a peace agreement in Arusha which established the basis for a broad-based transitional government and democratic elections. The agreement entailed four major protocols : (i) a protocol of 18 August 1992 for the creation of ‘a state of law’ enjoining the same rights and opportunities for ail citizens regardless of their ethnic, religious or sexual identity ; (ii) stipulations on transitional institutions (the presidency, government, parliament, courts), and a power sharing formula for the distribution of power among these institutions and between the main political factions ; (iii) procedures and plans for the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons which included a definition of land rights which advised that land which had not been reclaimed for ten years should no longer be considered as the property of the returnees ; (iv) a cease-fire and military reforms which provided for a reduction of approximately 60% in the total number of troops ; the inclusion of the RPF in a merged national army and gendarmerie (police) ; a force of about 600 RPF men to oversee the protection of RPF people in Kigali and a neutral international force (UN Blue Helmets) to take charge of the general protection of Kigali and supervise the inauguration of the enlarged transitional institutions, military reforms, demobilization and preparation for general elections. The pace of implementation was slow but the agreement created ‘great expectations’ as a model of reconciliation.

  • 2 According to the 1991 census, the total population of Rwanda was estimated at 7.15 million, with a (...)
  • 3 Time (16 May 1994).

5The Arusha Accords, however, was opposed by the Hutu hardliners in the Rwandan government. The death of Habyarimana in a plane crash in April 1994, gave the Hutu extremists a cause célèbre ; they blamed the Tutsi and the rebels of the RPF for the plane crash. Within minutes, soldiers of the Presidential Guard, backed by other troops and militia (Interhamwe) took to the streets, hunting down Tutsi and any other perceived opponents, including Hutu civilians, throughout the country, and killing them mercilessly. This wave of genocide intensified the war between the RPF and the Forces Armées Rwandaises (The Rwandan National Army). Caught between the crossfire arising from a breakdown of social order and a reactivated civil war, about a quarter of Rwanda’s total population,2 approximately two million people, fled across the borders into the neighbouring countries of Tanzania, Burundi, Zaire and Uganda. "Ail along Rwanda’s borders," observed a foreign journalist3 "they lined up to escape from the future."

1.2 Remote causes of ethnic violence

6The upsurge of violence that accompanied the death of Habyarimana has its roots in the history of Rwanda (and Burundi) and the relationship between the Hutu and the Tutsi, the two major ethnic groups. Mainstream sociological analysis tends to emphasize ethnicity as the source of confrontation. This interpretation has a distinct advantage. It brings to the fore a prominent feature of the conflict, diminishes other factors and simplifies the character of social reality. The crisis in Rwanda reflects a history of social relations between two ethnically mobilized groups, with circles of victimization and reprisals going back for decades, kept alive in the collective memory to prompt confrontation in episodic instalments.

  • 4 Kinyarwanda is the language of both the Hutu and the Tutsi of Rwanda. The people are known as the (...)

7This argument is persuasive ; but it is not complete. It has the merit of showing that the internal dynamics of Kinyarwanda4 society are largely a function of the social relations between the Tutsi and the Hutu, whose respective populations have been put at 14 per cent and 84 per cent. The Twa, a forest people, account for the remaining 2 per cent (1959 census figures).

8The ongoing conflict between the two groups has contributed to the declining authority of the State and sustains a vicious cycle in which the absence of civic-based forms of identity, such as common national goals and aspirations, continues to lend vigour to ethnic rivalry. However, this interpretation fails to explain how, when and why the social relations between the two ethnic groups became acerbic. The reasons for the intense rivalry between the groups must be taken into consideration before the present conflict can be resolved.

2. The Pre-colonial Period

  • 5 Luc de Heusch, Le Rwanda et la civilisation interlacustre. Etude d’anthropologie historique et str (...)

9The roots of the current refugee problem can be traced to the pre-colonial period. Historians generally agree that the first inhabitants of Rwanda were hunters and forest dwellers, whose descendants are the Twa. The Twa inhabited the country as early as 2000 B.C. ; they were primarily hunters, but they also made pottery and baskets.5 At about 1 000 A.D. a new migration of farmers, the Hutu, began to displace the Twa. Hutu migration was part of the general stream of Bantu expansion from the savannas of present day Cameroon into the Great Lakes Region. The immigrant Bantu agriculturalists cleared the forests and grew sorghum on the rich soil, tended livestock and kept bees. They also hunted and developed cottage industries.

  • 6 Marcel d’Hertefelt, ed. Les Ancien Royaumes de la Zone Interlacustrine Méridionale : Rwanda-Burund (...)

10The early Hutu were organized under the leadership of lineage heads or chiefs. They co-existed and interacted with the Twa, bartering salt and iron goods for skins and meat.22 By the 15th century, the Hutu were organized into small states comprised of different lineages under a ruling lineage, headed by a mwami, a king who presided both over land-use and rainmaking rituals.6

  • 7 d’Hertefelt, op. cit. ; See also Donald Weidner, A History of Africa South of the Sahara, Vintage (...)
  • 8 René Lemarchand, Power and stratification in Rwanda : A reconsideration. Cahiers d’Etudes Africain (...)
  • 9 Catherine Newbury, Ethnicity in Rwanda : The case of Kinyaga, International African Institute, 197 (...)

11Pastoralists migrating southwards into the Great Lakes Region came after the Hutu.7 These nilotic cattlemen known as the Tutsi came into the region between the 11th and 15th century. Whether their coming was gradual or sudden is a subject of dispute, but they soon emerged as a privileged class in the Great Lakes Region. The Tutsi interacted with the Hutu over two phases. The first phase was a process of peaceful infiltration whereby they exchanged cattle products for the agricultural produce of the Hutu. In the second phase, peaceful co-existence was supplanted by conquest and direct Tutsi military rule and administration.8 Tutsi took charge of the factors of production and gradually restricted access to land, cattle and labour.9

  • 10 Antoine Lema, Africa Divided : The creation of ethnic groups, Lund dissertations in sociology, vol (...)
  • 11 David Newbury, The clans of Rwanda : An historical hypothesis. Africa (1980) ; Catherine Newbury, (...)
  • 12 Lemarchand, 1970 ; d’Hertefelt, op. cit. ; Catherine Newbury, 1978 ; David Newbury, ibid.

12Over the next four hundred years, Hutu political units were reduced to administrative entities as the Tutsi fought their way into control of government and constituted themselves into an exclusive aristocracy that governed the Bantu masses.10 The driving force behind this dominance was one Tutsi clan, the Nyiginya, which, about twenty generations ago, assumed dominance in eastern Rwanda.11 Over the next few centuries, they formed the core of a state that expanded westward to cover modem day Rwanda, except the northern areas of Gisenyi and Ruhengeri prefectures and part of the southwest.12 Thus, some smaller Hutu states remained autonomous until 1910. This was particularly the case with the northern region around Ruhengeri, which was only incorporated into the Rwandan monarchy by German colonial rulers. The German Schutztruppe, assisted by Tutsi from central Rwanda, undertook several military expeditions between 1910 and 1912, before the northern Hutu — also known as the Kiga — were defeated leaving them with considerable bitterness against the Tutsi and the southern Hutu, also called the Banyanduga, who came with them. The consequence, naturally, was that to this day the northerners form a distinct subculture.

  • 13 David Newbury, ibid.
  • 14 Dorsey Learthen, op. cit. ; See also David Newbury, What role has kingship ? Africa Tervuren 2 (19 (...)

13The core Nyiginya state expanded through conquest and by providing protection. In turn it received tribute. Although the Nyiginya clan had become dominant, a series of institutions mediated social relations. The clan system, for instance, covered the entire Rwandan society. The Tutsi, Hutu and Twa comprised a total of nineteen clans — and some analysts maintain that up to the middle of the 19th century clan identities were more important than being a Tutsi, a Hutu or a Twa. Moreover, for the large part of the pre-colonial period up to the 19th century, the three groups (Tutsi/Hutu/Twa) corresponded roughly to occupational categories.13 The Tutsi were cattle rearers, soldiers and administrators while the Hutu were farmers. The Twa, a forest dwelling people, were largely marginalized in terms of social relations ; they were looked down upon and maltreated by others. The social distinction between Hutu and Tutsi was not fixed and a Hutu could move up the social ladder and become a Tutsi, if he was wealthy enough. Indeed, Newbury has shown that while the terms Tutsi and Hutu existed in pre-colonial times, they do not have the significance they have today ; the concept of ethnic identity was loose and varied from place to place and over time.14

  • 15 J.J. Maquet, The Premise of Inequality, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1961.

14Ethnic identity began to assume significance only during the second part of the 19th century under the reign of the reformer and warrior king, Mwami Kigeri Rwabugiri, whom some would regard as the founder of modem Rwanda. Rwabugiri reigned from 1860-1895, just before the advent of colonial rule. Rwabugiri imposed a harsh regime on the formerly autonomous Tutsi and Hutu lineages, confiscating their lands and destroying their political power. Henceforth, the mwami became the symbol and source of ail authority as Rwabugiri pursued two complementary policies : the centralization of state power and the extension of central political structures to the peripheral areas of Rwanda.15 This warrior king institutionalized the feudal labour system, especially the uburetwa, which emphasized the giving of labour in return for access to land. This system was applicable to the Hutu farmers, but exempted the Tutsi. Rwabugiri’s reign, therefore, manipulated social categories and heightened awareness of ethnic differentiation between the Tutsi and the Hutu based on social position. This period established a basis for polarization, as lines of distinction assumed hierarchical overtones associated with proximity to the royal court.

15Even so, the polarization was not extreme and the lines of distinction did not instigate violent antagonism or assume hostile dimensions. The institution of ubuhake, a highly personalized model of patron-client relationship between individuals of unequal status, kept the society together. It established reciprocal bonds of loyalty and an exchange of goods and services which guaranteed each person a place within a hierarchical system. Within this framework, one person could be both a patron and a client. However, the patrons were mainly Tutsi, with clients that were either Hutu or Tutsi of a lower social status. Tutsi patrons with Hutu clients, might in turn be clients to a higher ranking Tutsi. Theoretically, only the mwami could not be a client, as he held the highest position on the social ladder. Ubuhake institutionalized the differences between the Hutu agriculturists and Tutsi cattle herders, and served as an instrument of control which turned the Hutu into socio-economic and political clients of the Tutsi. In this way, it prompted a growth in ethnic solidarity among the Hutu which established clearly a model of ethnic Hutu/Tutsi dichotomy.

  • 16 See d’Hertefelt, op. cit. ; C. Vidal, op. cit. ; David Newbury, The Clans of Rwanda, 1980 ; and Ca (...)

16This notwithstanding, several historians insist that the effect of this patron-client relationship was moderated by the multi-class and multi-ethnic nature of Rwandan clans in the social formation.16 Both Tutsi and Hutu shared membership in the nineteen major clans of Rwanda. The Hutu were not in a position to perceive themselves as members of a distinct social group or identify as such ; lines of ethnic distinction were blurred by economic differentiation and stratification among various occupations.

  • 17 Napoleon Abdulai, ed. Genocide in Rwanda : Background and current situation, Africa Research and I (...)

17Indeed, historians such as Basil Davidson insist that pre-colonial society in Rwanda was made up of stable communities which enabled the Tutsi and Hutu to live side by side, without geographical separation, as mixed societies on the hills.17 The structure of authority was feudalistic. The pastoralist Tutsi were dominant and the agriculturist Hutu had to pay tribute to them in the form of labour or other products. This system of tribute was not confined to the Hutu, poorer Tutsi were also obliged to serve their affluent kinsmen as pages, escorts and in other similarly menial roles.

  • 18 Abdulai, ibid ; Watson, op. cit.

18Two major factors which unite the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa are custom and language ; indeed, the Hutu and the Tutsi intermingled with some intermarriage. There was no Chinese Wall between the groups. Their social interaction was governed more by economic factors than caste, as economic circumstances dictated the position of families and individuals within the client-patron network. A Hutu could become a Tutsi, if he acquired enough wealth or through a process of Kwituhura — shedding one’s Hutuness.18

  • 19 Pierre Gourou, Rwanda : Physical and social geography, Europa Publications, 1991.
  • 20 ibid.

19Intra and inter-group conflict within this milieu was primarily a function of economic competition, impelled by population pressure on land. Although the land supports a high population density, the physical conditions are not very favourable.19 Rwanda’s land mass is rugged and fragmented ; its physiognomy consists of a series of sharply defined hills, with steep slopes and flat ridges, which are intersected by deep valleys, the bottoms of which are marshy plains. Average annual rainfall (785 mm) is only barely sufficient for agricultural purposes.20

  • 21 Kassemba Assan, cited in Peter Wiles, ed. Rwandese Refugees and Migrants in the Great Lakes Région (...)

20Migration for economic purposes dates back as far as 1937, when the Banyarwanda Immigration Mission was established to organize immigration from Rwanda, with a declared aim of stabilizing the population of Rwanda. The Main d’Oeuvre Rwandaise was also formed in 1937 to recruit workers for plantations and mines in the Congo. Thus, about 40,000-50,000 families (between 200-240 000 people) emigrated to the Congo through spontaneous migration.21 Similarly, Banyarwandan labourers were recruited to work on the cotton farms of Uganda ; at the time of independence in 1962, about 350 000 Rwandan migrants resided in Uganda. The Belgian system of taxation and forced labour provoked further out-migration, aggravated by food shortages and periodic famine.

  • 22 Lemarchand, 1966.

21In the 20th century there were four major episodes of famine — 1905/1906, 1916, 1928/1929 and 1943. Lemarchand observed that approximately 50,000 people died in the famine of 1916 and 36,000 in 1943. An estimation of the death toll for 1928/1929 was about 35 000 ; another 70,000 people emigrated. The shortage of land for cultivation and livestock rearing continued to encourage migration from Rwanda after independence.22 Indeed, proposals for organized migration from Rwanda, which would have included the settlement of a million people in the Kagera region of Tanzania, were discussed by President Habyarimana in the mid-70s.

3. Colonial Rule : The politicization of ethnicity

  • 23 The precise figure for the Kinyarwandan speaking population, whose citizenship changed with the de (...)

22Rwanda was transferred to the Belgian mandate by the League of Nations in 1918 ; Belgium was permitted to administer Rwanda and Urundi (Burundi) as part of the Congo Colony. Prior to colonial rule, the Kingdom of Rwanda stretched across large areas of what is now the North Kivu province of Zaire (Goma, Masisi and Rutshuru), South West Uganda (Kigezi) and parts of Northwest Tanzania. Thus, hundreds of thousands of Kinyarwandan speaking people suddenly found themselves, without moving, outside the greatly reduced colonial territory of Ruanda-Urundi.23

23While access to land created difficulties in social relations, it was the weight of external political interests and colonial machinations that gave inter-group competition a bitter ethnic edge. The legal order that came with colonialism began by reducing the space available for development and distributing many Banyarwandans outside the confines of the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, which came under German (1899-1919) and subsequently, Belgian authority (1919-1962).

  • 24 Ian Linden, Church and Revolution in Rwanda, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1977 ; J. Ga (...)
  • 25 Linden. ibid.

24The Tutsi tradition of hierarchial administration readily lent itself to the organization of colonial districts. Moreover, the colonialists were influenced by the Hamitic thesis which attributed everything of value in Africa to the Hamites, a supposed branch of the Caucasian race. This racist theory supported the view that the Tutsi, being related to the Europeans, were born leaders with whom the Europeans could easily work.24 Thus, those who remained within the colonial domain were exposed to the politicization of ethnicity. The Belgian colonial authorities erected their power base on an ethnic analysis of society, control being exercised through the dominant Tutsi minority ; this ethnic difference was sharpened, by (among other things) the introduction of ethnic identity cards in 1930. Henceforth, ethnicity became a criterion for socio-political competition. The logical result was a heightening of Hutu consciousness. Hutu political awareness grew, with access to education (previously denied), through church seminaries,25 the growth of pro-independence aspirations and the formation of ethnically-based political parties.

25After 1945, the Belgian government initiated deliberate political reforms. Although the programme was gradual, its goal, ultimate independence, contrasted sharply with its previous vague policies for the Congo. The criteria for holding office, which had previously been the exclusive hereditary right of the Tutsi, was changed to include educational qualifications ; some Hutu, therefore, gained admission to the ruling class.

26Elections at the local level — by interview rather than ballot — were introduced in 1952. As the new plan for the Congo aimed at the rapid creation of egalitarian populism, the Belgian government began to ally itself with the majority Hutu peasant masses who launched their Bahutu manifesto in March 1957. This move by the Belgian civil and religious authorities, sensitive to the demographic political balance, completed the social conditions necessary for Hutu uprisings and the social upheavals which toppled the Tutsi monarchy and ensured Hutu political ascendancy.

27In July 1957, Mwami Charles Mutura Rudahigwa (the paramount traditional ruler in Rwanda) died suddenly at the âge of forty-seven. According to rumour he had been poisoned. A successor was quickly installed by the Batutsi Council of Ritual Chiefs and a reinforced colonial police force preserved order. The Bahutu formed the Association pour la Promotion des Masses (Aprosoma) and four months later, under the impression that the new Mwami would crush them, they revolted against the traditional government. By November 1959, several hundred were dead on both sides.

28Civil strife between the Bahutu and the Batutsi continued for the next three years, until Rwanda was allowed to declare its independence. The Belgian government was accused by many at the time of deliberately inflaming this conflict. When fighting broke out, the extra forces called in to keep the peace were often ordered to join the attacking Bahutu peasants. Much Batutsi property, including cattle, was looted or destroyed.

29Hutu political ascendancy, therefore, was marked by attacks on the Tutsi, forcing successive waves of refugees into neighbouring countries. In the local elections of July 1960, the Bahutu political parties won 84 per cent of the vote ; 211 out of 229 mayors (bourgmestres) were Hutu. In this situation and against the background of persisting interethnic clashes, Mwami Kigeri V, opted to leave, ostensibly to attend the Congo independence celebrations. He did not return.

30The transition from Tutsi to Hutu political domination was confirmed through the parliamentary elections of 25 September 1961, in which Hutu-led parties obtained a crushing victory, winning 78% of the vote and gaining 35 out of the 44 seats. A referendum, which was held simultaneously, rejected the monarchy in favour of a republican status, with an overwhelming majority. Subsequently, Grégoire Kayibanda was elected president by the new parliament on 26 October 1961.

4. The Post-Colonial Period 1962-1994

31By the time Rwanda obtained independence in July 1962, ethnic identity had become the main source of political division. The social revolution of 1959 and the succession of events that led to independence became a reference point in the political life of Rwanda, as the Hutu transformed de facto ethnic-demographic numbers into political reality. This political development led to violent Hutu-Tutsi confrontation because of the historical turning of tables.

  • 26 Catherine Newbury, 1988.

The salient fact was that virtually ail those who controlled the state (before 1959) — the chiefs and subchiefs — were Tutsi, and here is where the ethnic factors become important... An appeal to Hutu solidarity became, for Hutu leaders, the most effective rallying point of revolutionary activity.26

  • 27 Guichaoua, op. cit.

32The consequences were four-fold. First, the exile of a large number of Tutsi refugees who fled Rwanda in successive periods of crisis, especially 1959-1961, 1963-1964 and 1973. Guichaoua estimated that there were about 600,000 including descendants of the early refugees.27 Second, associated with this trend, Tutsi exiles constituted a source of structural insecurity for Rwanda, especially as Tutsi refugees and their offspring did not give up their Rwandan identity, or their right to return. Moreover, most of the refugees resided in the four contiguous states of the Great Lakes Region — Uganda, Burundi, Zaire and Tanzania — and this encouraged a series of military incursions by the so-called inyenzi (cockroaches). During the first republic (1962-73) the official position of the Rwandan government was that the exiles had been invited to return but they did not believe in the sincerity of the government. A pattern of challenge and response was established : military incursions by Tutsi refugees followed by severe reprisals on the Tutsi in Rwanda.

33Third, the decimation of the Tutsi population in Rwanda resulted from this. They were also virtually excluded from public life. During periods of political tension, the elimination of the Tutsi proceeded apace. The militarization of political life enabled the Rwandan government forces to hold off ten military invasions by Tutsi refugees. One notable instance was in December 1963, when insurgents were stopped by the Rwandan army only 20 kilometres south of the capital, Kigali. This inyenzi attack led to a great deal of violence. About 5 000-8 000 Tutsi were killed in the prefecture of Gikongoro alone, amounting to between 10-20% of the total Tutsi population in the prefecture. Most of the Tutsi leaders remaining in the country were executed without trial. Consequently, the two major Tutsi political parties in Rwanda — the National Rwandese Union (UNAR) and the Rwandese Democratic Assembly (RADER) — became extinct.

  • 28 See UN Human Rights Commission, 1972 ; Filip Reyntjens, Pouvoir et droit au Rwanda. Annales, Serie (...)

34Fourth, there was a concurrent process designed to undermine ail Hutu opposition, which was underscored by the rise of a mono-ethnic, but regionally based group of Hutu politicians from Gitarama, President Kayibanda’s home region in central Rwanda. The usurpation of power by these politicians of the central region aroused serious discontent, particularly among the top northern elements in political circles and the military. Faced with such discontent, Gregoire Kayibanda resorted to ‘ethnicity tactics’. The government tried to exploit the bloody events in Burundi in 1972,28 and saw the large-scale massacre of the Hutu as a means to rouse anti-Tutsi hysteria and divert attention. Accordingly, violence, initially of an ethnic nature, erupted in schools, public service establishments and business enterprises. However, the impulse directed at expelling any Tutsi still present in the centre of power boomeranged as attention shifted from the schools. The Hutu of the north began to attack, not just the Tutsi, but Hutu from the central region and those who were in the ministries and enterprises where the northerners felt marginalized.

35In the process, northern politicians, particularly the National Defence Minister, Major-General Juvenal Habyarimana, believed that they were in danger of physical elimination. They, therefore, used the army, in which the north was dominant, to intervene in the political process and seize control. Consequently, Kayibanda was overthrown in a military coup of 5 July 1973, which ushered in the second republic under Habyarimana (1973-1994).

  • 29 J. Bayo Adekanye, Structural adjustment, democratization and rising ethnic tensions in Africa. Dev (...)

36Habyarimana’s rule was a mixture of authoritarianism and paternalism. Though he favoured his own region and ethnic group, the Tutsi were treated more favourably under him. Part of the reason for this was that the threat of Tutsi political violence had diminished when he assumed power. Not surprisingly, he enjoyed a high degree of popularity with both ethnic groups until the late 1980s. The second republic was a period of modernization and opening up to the outside world. The pressure for liberal reforms and democratization grew ; however, the gap between the rich and poor also continued to widen. Economic changes occasioned the affirmation of class interests which accelerated social disparities. The situation was further aggravated by political and economic crises resulting from land scarcity and the dense population, a drop in marketed agricultural production, a dramatic decrease in the price of coffee, which accounted for more than two-thirds of Rwanda’s foreign revenue, and the social difficulties of a structural adjustment programme instigated by IMF and the World Bank to deal with a deteriorating balance of payments situation.29

37The main victims of the economic crises were the peasants ; the harsh economic conditions affecting them contrasted sharply with the affluence of the military, administrative, technocratic and commercial elite. Discontent was further fuelled by reports in the press of corruption in government circles ; general resentment grew, as criticism of the president and government grew even within his own party.

  • 30 Watson, op. cit. ; Prunier, 1995.

38More ominous, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) was created in Kampala in 1988. This highly motivated and trained military force was the creation of Tutsi refugees that had fled Rwanda between 1959 and 1966 and sought refuge in Uganda. Leading figures of the RPF such as General Fred Rwigyema and Major Paul Kagame, the current vice-president of Rwanda, also played a critical rôle in the insurgent activity of the National Résistance Army (NRA) which brought Yoweri Museveni to power in Uganda in 1986. The changes that took place in Uganda after 1986 and the crucial involvement of Tutsi elements in the consolidation process served as a good training ground for the planning and preparation of military invasion.30 Subsequently, the RPF launched the military invasion of 1990 that revived the challenge and response pattern of violent Tutsi/ Hutu confrontation that has characterized Rwandan political life since independence.

39The regional peace efforts that followed and produced the Arusha Accords of August 1993 were a bold attempt to stop the process. The assassination of President Habyarimana aborted this noble aspiration and set the stage for a reversal of the status quo by the RPF which is dominated by the Tutsi. This inspired the recent wave of refugees giving a different twist from the experience of the 1960s. The bulk of people that fled across the borders were Hutu, the preferred countries for the exodus were Tanzania, Zaire and Burundi rather than Uganda. The size of the refugee population was very large and the burden invariably high. The impact on the host countries was, therefore, tremendous, as the following chapters clearly reveal.

Figure2. Ngaza District, Tanzania

Notes

1 René Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi, Pall Mail Press, London, 1970 ; Catherine Watson, Exile from Rwanda : Background to an invasion, US Committee for Refugees, Washington, 1991 ; Randall Fegley, ed. Rwanda, Clio Press, Oxford, 1993 ; Rwanda, Death, Despair and Defiance, African Rights, London, 1994 ; Gérard Prunier, The Rwandese Crisis 1959-1994 : From cultural mythology to genocide, Christopher Hurst, London, 1995 ; J. Bayo Adekanye, Rwanda / Burundi : Uni-ethnic dominance and the cycle of armed ethnic formations, International Peace Research Institute (PRIO), Oslo, 1995 ; B.A. Ogot, The Great Lakes Region. In : General History of Africa Vol. IV. UNESCO, Heinemann Educational Books, London, 1984 ; Dorsey Learthen, Historical Dictionary of Rwanda, African Historical Dictionaries, The Scarecrow Press, London, 1994.

2 According to the 1991 census, the total population of Rwanda was estimated at 7.15 million, with an annual increase of 3.1 per cent. 90.4 per cent of the resident population (about 6.5 million) were Hutu, 8.2 per cent (0.6 million) were Tutsi and 0.4 per cent (approximately 30,000) were Twa. See David Waller, Rwanda : Which way now ? Oxfam Country Profile, Oxfam, Oxford, 1993.

3 Time (16 May 1994).

4 Kinyarwanda is the language of both the Hutu and the Tutsi of Rwanda. The people are known as the Bahutu, the Batutsi and the Batwa, or collectively as the Banyarwanda. The Banyarwanda are spread over the Great Lakes Region, which is commonly accepted to include Burundi (Lake Tanganyika) Rwanda (Lake Kivu), Uganda (Lakes Victoria, Edward and Mobutu), Tanzania (Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria) and Zaire (Lakes Mobutu, Edward, Kivu and Tanganyika).

5 Luc de Heusch, Le Rwanda et la civilisation interlacustre. Etude d’anthropologie historique et structurale, Institut de Sociologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, 1966 ; Jan Vansina, L’évolution du Royaume Rwanda, dès origines à 1900, Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-mer (ARSOM), Bruxelles, 1962. See also Alexis Kagame, Un abrégé de l’ethno-histoire du Rwanda précolonial, Editions Universitaire de Rwanda, Butare ; idem. 1975. Un abrégé de l’histoire du Rwanda de 1853 à 1972, Editions Universitaire de Rwanda, Butare.

6 Marcel d’Hertefelt, ed. Les Ancien Royaumes de la Zone Interlacustrine Méridionale : Rwanda-Burundi, Buha, 1962 ; see Vansina, op. cit.

7 d’Hertefelt, op. cit. ; See also Donald Weidner, A History of Africa South of the Sahara, Vintage Books, New York, 1963.

8 René Lemarchand, Power and stratification in Rwanda : A reconsideration. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 24 (1966) ; Vansina, op. cit

9 Catherine Newbury, Ethnicity in Rwanda : The case of Kinyaga, International African Institute, 1978 ; idem, The Cohésion of Oppression : Clientship and ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960, Columbia University Press, New York, 1988 ; C. Vidal, Le Rwanda des antropologues ou le fétichisme de la vache. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 35 : (1969).

10 Antoine Lema, Africa Divided : The creation of ethnic groups, Lund dissertations in sociology, vol. 6, Lund University Press, Sweden, 1993 ; Igor Kopytoff, ed. The African Frontier : The reproduction of traditional African societies, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1987.

11 David Newbury, The clans of Rwanda : An historical hypothesis. Africa (1980) ; Catherine Newbury, 1978 ; d’Hertefelt, op. cit.

12 Lemarchand, 1970 ; d’Hertefelt, op. cit. ; Catherine Newbury, 1978 ; David Newbury, ibid.

13 David Newbury, ibid.

14 Dorsey Learthen, op. cit. ; See also David Newbury, What role has kingship ? Africa Tervuren 2 (1980) ; Catherine Newbury, 1988.

15 J.J. Maquet, The Premise of Inequality, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1961.

16 See d’Hertefelt, op. cit. ; C. Vidal, op. cit. ; David Newbury, The Clans of Rwanda, 1980 ; and Catherine Newbury, 1978.

17 Napoleon Abdulai, ed. Genocide in Rwanda : Background and current situation, Africa Research and Information Centre, London, 1994 ; Weekly Insight, Accra (1994) ; Basil Davidson, On Rwanda. London Review of Books (1994) ; Lemarchand, 1970 ; J.K. Rennie, The pre-colonial kingdom of Rwanda : A reinterpretation. Trans African Journal of History 2 (1972).

18 Abdulai, ibid ; Watson, op. cit.

19 Pierre Gourou, Rwanda : Physical and social geography, Europa Publications, 1991.

20 ibid.

21 Kassemba Assan, cited in Peter Wiles, ed. Rwandese Refugees and Migrants in the Great Lakes Région of Central Africa, Oxfam Report, 1992 ; See also Françoise Kayiramirwa, Emigration au Rwanda-Burundi pendant les deux premières décades de l’administration Belge, mémoire de fin d’études, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgique, 1976.

22 Lemarchand, 1966.

23 The precise figure for the Kinyarwandan speaking population, whose citizenship changed with the demarcation of new borders, is hard to calculate, but it is variously estimated to be between 400,000 and 500,000 in Zaire and 200,000 in Uganda. André Guichaoua, The Problem of the Rwandese Refugee and the Banyarwandan Populations in the Great Lakes Region, UNHCR, Geneva, 1992. The estimate for economic migration was put at about 2 million.

24 Ian Linden, Church and Revolution in Rwanda, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1977 ; J. Garhama, Le Burundi sous administration belge, CRA-Karthala-ACCT, Paris, 1983 ; J. Bayo Adekanye, 1995, Burundi/Rwanda Uni-ethnic dominance-, E.R. Sanders, The Hamitic hypothesis : Its origin and function in time perspective. Journal of African History (1969) : 521-532.

25 Linden. ibid.

26 Catherine Newbury, 1988.

27 Guichaoua, op. cit.

28 See UN Human Rights Commission, 1972 ; Filip Reyntjens, Pouvoir et droit au Rwanda. Annales, Serie 80, Sciences Humaines, Musée Royale de l’Afrique Central, Tevuren (1985) ; idem, Rwanda, background to genocide. Bulletin des Seances., Academie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-mer, Bruxelles (1995).

29 J. Bayo Adekanye, Structural adjustment, democratization and rising ethnic tensions in Africa. Development and Change 26 (1995) : 355-374 ; Gérard Prunier, Eléments pour une histoire du front patriotique rwandais. Politique Africaine 51 (1993) : 47 ; Watson, op. cit.

30 Watson, op. cit. ; Prunier, 1995.

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