After the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has been
rebuilt and is now considered a stable country. The
economy is in order, corruption is limited and almost
all children are allowed to attend school. But success
has a downside. Rwanda has evolved into what is, in
practice, a one-party state where the government's
critics are silenced.
Formally, Rwanda has been governed since 1994 by
unity governments between the majority Hutu and the
Tutsi minority. In fact, the country is led by the
former Tutsi guerrilla Rwanda's Patriotic Front (FPR),
which won the civil war and put a stop to the carnage
(see Modern History).
Country facts and history of Rwanda, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
The Hutus who, in the name of unity and
reconciliation, were given prominent posts during the
first days of the unifying government, have gradually
been marginalized. Nowadays, Tutsis have most important
assignments. This fact is obscured by the fact that the
ethnic issue is taboo and criticism of the Tutsi
dominance can lead to harsh penalties for "expression of
genocide ideology" (see Political system).
Tutsis' dominance was seriously reaffirmed when FPR
leader Paul Kagame was elected president by parliament
in 2000. He became the first head of Tuscan bureaus
since the kingdom was abolished before Rwanda's
independence in 1962. Since then, Kagame has been
re-elected in 2003, 2010 and 2017.
In 2003, the first general elections were held since
the genocide. Thereafter, parliamentary elections have
been held every five years. FPR has won all elections by
a large margin. The truly oppositional ones have found
themselves on the run or imprisoned, and the opposition
parties that have been allowed to stand with candidates
have had a hard time making themselves heard. FPR has
had almost total power over the media.
Ahead of the last presidential election in 2017, the
government took a series of measures to strengthen its
grip on the country. A nationwide collection of names
was made in 2015 with demands for a constitutional
change, so that Kagame could stand for re-election when
his last term expires. When more than 3.7 million
residents are said to have signed on the list, FPR
formally supported the requirement for a constitutional
amendment and passed a law on it in Parliament.
In October 2015, Rwanda's Supreme Court approved the
constitutional amendment. Subsequently, it was adopted
in a referendum in December of the same year, when 98.4
percent of the participants agreed to allow Kagame to
seek re-election several times.
In the August 2017 presidential election, Kagame was
re-elected with 98.8 percent of the vote. His two
opponents did not even reach up to 1 percent of the vote
In the September 2018 parliamentary elections, as in
the previous three elections, FPR won an overwhelming
majority of the mandate in the House of Commons. As the
only opposition party, the Democratic Green Party
entered the House.
Read about the ongoing development in the Calendar.
READING TIP - read more about Rwanda
in UI's web magazine The Foreign Magazine:
Reconciliation processes become global in the wake
of migration (2018-12-20)
FACTS - POLITICS
Republic of Rwanda / Republic of Rwanda
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Paul Kagame (2000–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente (2017–)
Most important parties with mandates in the
Rwanda's Patriotic Front (FPR / RPF) 40, Social
Democratic Party (PSD) 5, Liberal Party (PL) 4,
Democratic Green Party (DGP) 2, Social Party Imberakuri
Main parties with mandates in the second most
Rwanda's Patriotic Front (FPR / RPF) 41, Social
Democratic Party (PSD) 7, Liberal Party (PL) 5 (2013)
98% in the 2017 presidential election, 93% in the
2018 parliamentary elections
parliamentary elections 2023, presidential elections
Withdrawed Swedish budget support
Sweden withdraws its budget support to Rwanda of SEK 80 million after the UN
accused Rwanda of supporting the Tuscan militia in Congo-Kinshasa.
Key people in the genocide get life
Théoneste Bagosora, former Chief of Staff of the Department of Defense, is
sentenced by the War Criminal Court in Arusha to life imprisonment. He is
considered a leading force behind the genocide.
Kagame's protocol manager handed over to France
President Kagame's protocol manager Rose Kabuye is arrested in Germany and
extradited to France. Kabuye is one of nine high-ranking Rwandans who were
requested to be detained in France in 2006 for participation in the firing of
the 1994 Rwandan President's aircraft.
"Genocide ideologies" are prohibited
Parliament adopts a law that provides for 10 to 25 years in prison for
persons expressing "genocide ideologies". The vague wording of the law means
that it can be used to silence virtually all regime criticism.
English becomes a language of instruction
The government decides that all schooling should be in English instead of
French. It is officially justified by its accession to the English-speaking East
African Community EAC.
Parliament with female majority
The ruling party Rwanda's Patriotic Front (FPR) again wins big in
parliamentary elections. There is no real opposition. As the first country in
world history, Rwanda gets a female majority parliament.
French are accused of assisting genocide
The state commission that investigated France's role in the 1994 genocide
designates 33 leading French politicians and military at the time to assist the
Tutsis massacres. The accused are former President François Mitterrand and then
Prime Minister Edouard Balladur.