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Post genocide challenges and achievements in Rwanda
 

Post genocide challenges and achievements in Rwanda

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Presentation by Dr. Charles Murigande (Ambassador of Rwanda)

Presentation by Dr. Charles Murigande (Ambassador of Rwanda)

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    Post genocide challenges and achievements in Rwanda Post genocide challenges and achievements in Rwanda Presentation Transcript

      • POST-GENOCIDE CHALLENGES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
      • By Dr. Charles MURIGANDE
      • Ambassador of Rwanda to Japan
      • In 1994, Rwanda became suddenly known to the whole world, unfortunately
      • not because of
      • – a major scientific discovery, or
      • - a major sport achievements or
      • - a major economic performance, etc. –
      • but because
      • it was the scene of last genocide of the 20 th Century!
      • In just 100 days! :
      • Rwanda lost one million of her people (15% of her population) and their bodies thrown everywhere;
      • Hundreds of thousands became orphans, widows, widowers, disabled, etc;
      • Almost the entire surviving population became internally displaced or were made refugees in Zaire, Burundi, Tanzania;
      • The entire population was traumatized, both the survivors and the perpetrators!
      • All socio-economic infrastructures were destroyed (banks looted, schools and hospitals abandoned; etc.);
      • All state institutions collapsed (no central and/or local administration);
      • The entire genocidal army and its militias moved into Zaire/DRC, thanks to the French-led UN-sponsored Turquoise operation, and was camping at our borders regrouping, rearming, re-training and ready to attack.
      • Actually most people lost hope in the possibility of recreating the Rwandan nation and were even proposing the creation of a Hutu-land and a Tutsi-land as a solution.
      • In this lecture I will attempt to help you understand
      • a. How did Rwanda become the scene of the last genocide of the 20 th Century?
      • b. How did we recover and what did we do to recover from that immense tragedy?
      • Genocide was a result of the divide and rule policies of the colonial masters, unfortunately pursued and perfected by the Rwandan post-independence bankrupt leaders!
        • Unlike many current African countries, Rwanda is not a creation of the 1885 Berlin Conference.
        • Rwanda existed long before the Berlin Conference as a nation, well organized and well governed with a central administration headed by a King and a local administration headed by chiefs and sub-chiefs. It was a united and respected nation in the region.
        • The Rwandan people were organized into 3 social groups who lived inter-mingled and peacefully with each other: Tutsis – Cattle-keepers; Hutus – Farmers; and Twas – Hunters/Potters
        • Rwanda was first a German Colony up to the end of the First World War. After the defeat of Germany in the first World War, Rwanda became a colony of Belgium
      • The Belgians practiced a divide and rule policy;
      • They transformed the 3 social groups into separate ethnic groups;
      • Advised by the Catholic Church, the Belgian colonial administration replaced all the Hutus and Twas chiefs and sub-chiefs by Tutsis Chiefs and Sub-Chiefs and limited access to the colonial schools to children of Tutsi Chiefs and Sub-chiefs only;
      • Tutsis chiefs and sub-chiefs were then charged with the responsibility of implementing the colonial harsh policies, drawing resentment of the mass against them.
      • When in 1950s, the African elite started agitating for independence, the only people who had gone to school and could imitate their African peers were Tutsis, who also started asking for independence;
      • In an effort to destroy the independence movement, the Belgians mobilized the Hutus against the Tutsis and engineered, organized, coordinated and supported a Hutu uprising known as “the 1959 Hutu Revolution” which resulted in - the death of thousands of Tutsis, and - hundreds of thousands sent into exile as refugees in Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and D.R Congo;
      • Despite this violence to delay independence, Belgium was still obliged by the UN to hand over independence to Rwanda in July, 1962. Power was handed over to a racist/divisive party called MDR-PARMEHUTU headed by Gregoire KAYIBANDA, which:
        • openly preached hatred against Tutsis, calling them snakes, cockroaches, untrustworthy, foreigners who should be sent back where they supposedly came from (Abyssinia?) , etc;
        • organized cyclical killings of Tutsis (1963, 1967, 1973, etc.) sending waves of Tutsis into exile;
      • In 1973 President KAYIBANDA was deposed in a Coup by Gen. Juvenal HABYARIMANA and MDR party was replaced by MRND party, which pursued the same discriminatory policies against the Tutsis but also introduced regional discrimination against southerners.
      • These discriminatory policies of the first 2 post-independence governments and the lack of respect of democracy, basic human rights and rule of law that led to the formation of Rwanda Alliance for National Unity (RANU) later transformed into Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) with the intent to fight for democratic change in our Country;
      • After the failure of all peaceful means to reform the MRND regime, RPF eventually resorted to armed struggle in 1990. The MRND regime responded by organizing and committing acts of genocide against the Tutsis (which it identified with RPF) in 1990, 1991, 1992, which climaxed in the 1994 genocide (attempt to exterminate all Tutsis of Rwanda).
      • Genocide was organized by Hutu extremists to derail the implementation of the Arusha Peace Accords between RFP and the GoR which had been negotiated with the help of international community.
      • Where do you start when everything has collapsed?
      • Security
      • IDPs and Refugees
      • Justice
      • Reconciliation and unity
      • Governance
      • Social and economic reconstruction and development
      • International relations
      • The most important action that the RPF leadership took in the rebuilding of Rwanda is that it resisted the natural temptation of “ the winner takes it all”. Indeed, though it had just won the war and stopped the genocide, the RPF established a broad-based Government of National Unity, which included people from all walks of life (all political parties except those which spearheaded the genocide). A government that was truly representative of the Rwandan people and inspired confidence to the people of Rwanda.
      • This Government of National Unity became the corner-stone of the rebuilding process.
      • Challenge:
      • Though RPF/RPA had put in disarray the genocidal army (EX-FAR) and its militias (Interahamwe/Impuzamigambi) they were still roaming around the country and killing people; and beyond the border they were busy re-organizing and re-arming.
      • Actions and Achievements:
      • Combination of political, diplomatic and military actions were undertaken to address the situation:
      • Political actions : - Mobilization of Rwandan people for their security, - Reintegration of the defeated Ex-FAR, repatriation of refugees;
      • Diplomatic actions: - Sensitization of the International Community to disarm the defeated genocidal forces that camped at our borders and were launching daily attacks on Rwanda, (but to no avail!)
      • Military: intervention in then Zaire to disarm the genocidal EX-FAR and Militias
      • Achievements: Rwanda is the most secure and safe country of the region and has built a respected Army and Police, now contributing to UN and AU peacekeeping missions.
      • Challenge:
      • In the aftermath more than half of the population of Rwanda were either in IDPs or in Refugee camps (we had 38 IDP Camps containing more than 1.5 million people; more than 2.5 million new refugees had just crossed into Zaire/DRC, Burundi and Tanzania and almost a million of old case refugees, i.e. those who fled the anti-Tutsis pogroms of the end 1950s, the 60s, and the 70s were coming home1).
      • Actions and Achievements:
      • As peace and security was restored, all the IDPs returned to their villages and started rebuilding their lives;
      • To encourage repatriation of refugees:
      • High level delegations visited their camps
      • - Introduction of the “ Come and See and Go and Tell ” program
      • - Immediate restitution of refugees’ properties
      • - GoR guarantees the inalienable right to all Rwandans to live in Rwanda irrespective of their crimes
      • – intervention to liberate them from the hostage situation
      • Achievements: More that 95% refugees have returned home and UNHCR has invoked the Cession close.
      • Challenge:
      • The genocidal regime had managed to mobilize and involve hundreds of thousands of Rwandans in genocide.
      • We knew that the culture of impunity had contributed to this successful mobilization. Impunity was therefore not an option if we wanted to prevent a reoccurrence of genocide.
      • We had to organize the trial of hundreds of thousands of genocide suspects and yet the entire judiciary had collapsed!
      • Actions and Achievements:
      • Building a independent judiciary by putting in place the judiciary institutions: High Council of the Judiciary, Supreme Court, High Court, Intermediary courts, Primary Courts and the National Prosecution Authority
      • Train judiciary personnel
      • Legal reforms with in particular the introduction new approaches such as Gacaca courts and Abunzi (mediation courts);
      • Use various approaches to handle the genocide cases: International Justice, classical justice and Gacaca
      • Challenge:
      • After decades of the divisive policies as well as open discrimination and hatred policies that led to cyclical mass killings and culminated in a genocide against the Tutsis and a war to stop it, the foundations of the Country’s unity and cohesion had been completely undermined if not destroyed. We needed to reconcile the people of Rwanda and rebuild its unity and cohesion from the scratch!
      • Actions and achievements:
      • Abolition of ethnic ID Cards that were used by former regimes to implement their discrimination policies;
      • Give equal rights and opportunities to all Rwandans and creation of the National Human Rights to safeguard peoples’ rights;
      • Create the Unity and Reconciliation Commission to foster reconciliation and unity through grass roots debate on these issues and on our history
      •  Rwandans live in peace and unity and are slowly reconciling. This is by no means a real miracle!
      • Challenge:
      • Rwandans were accustomed to a centralized and dictatorial regime and followed its orders without questioning.
      • Actions and Achievements:
      • We put in place at all levels of the administration elected Executive Committees and Councils that responsive to the people;
      • Ensuring inclusive and wide participation of all the population in governance, especially the women, the youth and those living with disabilities;
      • Rwandans were encouraged and mobilized to contribute to everything that is done in their name, give their opinions and own the development processes in their communities;
      • Dialogue and consensus building became a mode of governance
      • Promotion of transparency and accountability in governance. As a result the country is known to have very low level of corruption;
      • Promulgation by referendum of a widely debated Constitution and organization of two pluralistic legislative and presidential elections in 2003, 2008, 2010.
      •  H.E. President Paul KAGAME and the Government of Rwanda has been collecting international prizes for good governance.
      • Challenge:
      • In the aftermath of genocide the economy had completely collapsed. The economic and social infrastructure had been destroyed (banks had been looted, school and hospitals destroyed, etc.)
      • Moreover people had lost confidence in themselves, in their neighbors, in their government and in the international community. The international Community had also lost confidence in Rwanda and was not interested in investing in it.
      • Actions and Achievements:
      • Adopted sound macro-economic policies leading macro-economic stability (stable currency, low inflation, etc.);
      • Sound management leading to debt cancellation in the framework of HIPC program;
      • Good development policies well articulated in documents such as Vision 2020, EDPRS, NIP, etc.
      • Priority Investment in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (Crop/land consolidation, massive use of inputs such as fertilizers and selected seeds, one cow per poor family, etc.);
      • Investment in infrastructure (Energy: Methane gas, Hydro-power; Roads; ICT, etc.)
      • Priority investment in the Human and Natural resources of Rwanda:
        • Human Resources (Education, Health and Social Protection);
        • Lands (fighting erosion, giving land ownership and effecting land registration, etc.);
        • Protection of environment;
      • Enacting good trade laws creating an enabling business environment (see good ranking on World Bank Doing business) attracting investors;
      •  Sustained good economic growth, increased FDI and ODA
      • Challenge:
      • - The defeat of the genocidal regime saw an end of a regime which had been in power for 32 years and had built powerful relations around world and had been supported even in its madness.
      • - The defeat of the genocidal regime was difficult to swallow for some its friends who undertook to fight the post genocide government to bring back their friends to power.
      • - Moreover genocide left an image of Rwanda that was not enviable if not repelling!
      • Achievements:
      • The New Government formulated a foreign policy which emphasized building relations with other countries that based on mutual respect and benefit; sovereign equality of nations; etc.
      • Rwanda became known in the international community by its frankness and as a country which, “does what it says” and is a predictable partner.
      • This earned the respect of many nations and as a result Rwanda became somehow a major player in the region and on the continent. Many Rwandans were either appointed or elected in leadership of international organizations (ADB, WTO, AU, UN, etc.)
      • As H.E. President Paul KAGAME likes to say: “We’ve come from far, we have walked or run a good distance, but we still have a long journey”. However our modest achievements are encouraging and give us good reasons to believe that we shall reach our destination.
      • Let me conclude saying the following three things:
      • The post-genocide story of Rwanda should send a message of hope and encouragement to countries emerging from conflicts.
      • It is true that Rwanda is not a paradise. In any case paradise is yet to be found anywhere on this earth. But Rwanda is definitely not the hell that is often described it to be by ill-motivated people and the nostalgic of the old order.
      • We thank all those who have extended a helping hand in this exciting endeavor.
      • I THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION