Officially: Repubulika y’u Rwanda; République du Rwanda; Republic of Rwanda.
Seat of government: Kigali.
Status: Not democratic.
Structure: Effectively a one-party state and largely autocratic under the current president. Theoretically, the president is elected directly, while parliament (Inteko Ishinga Amategeko) consists of an Umutwe w’Abadepite elected by proportional representation and provincial governments and a Sena chosen by provincial governments, the president, and other constituencies.
Governing party: Ishyaka FPR-Inkotanyi (Front Patriotique Rwandais).
Head of government: Kagame Paul, president.
Other parliamentary parties: Parti Social Démocrate; Ishyaka ry’Ukwishyira Ukizana (Parti Libéral).
Assessment: The replacement of an atrocious majoritarian Hutu régime with a better but still autocratic minority Tutsi régime. In pre-colonial times, a stratification between abaTutsi (herders) and abaHutu (farmers) already existed, with the ruling class predominantly Tutsi. Colonial powers Deutschland (prior to World War I) and Belgique maintained and further institutionalized the hierarchy; but immediately before independence (1962), Hutu rebellion brought a change in policy towards elections, and the numerically-greater abaHutu became the dominant class, and many abaTutsi went into exile, from which Tutsi armed groups launched occasional attacks into Rwanda. In 1973, army chief of staff Habyarimana Juvénal (1973-94) took power in a coup, establishing a one-party authoritarian state and cult of personality. The FPR, a mostly-Tutsi force containing many veterans of Yoweri Museveni’s war for power in Uganda, invaded in 1990; a temporary settlement was reached in 1993. But in 1994, Habyarimana and Burundi president Ntaryamira Cyprien were killed in a plane crash returning from peace talks in Tanzania, setting off a pre-planned genocide of abaTutsi and moderate abaHutu by Hutu extremists, in which 800,000-1,000,000 were killed. The FPR invaded again and took power, with Kagame becoming president. Many abaHutu fled to Zaïre (Congo-Kinsásá), where the war between the two groups continued; the FPR supported the overthrow of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and then his replacement, Laurent Kabila. Within Rwanda, elections have been held; but these elections have taken place under a new constitution that prohibits grassroots campaigning, limits majority rule, and bans “divisiveness”. Two presidential elections have been held (2003, 2010) since the FPR took power; Kagame has officially claimed at least 93% of the vote in each.
FH: 6-5, not free. Econ: 3.71 (121), authoritarian.
Updated: 2015 March 3.