/ rəwɑːndə /
Množina reči Rwanda je Rwandas.
Ruanda · Rwanda · Rwandese Republic
Landlocked country in central Africa, bounded N by Uganda, E by Tanzania, S by Burundi, and W by Zaire.
The 1978 constitution, amended 1991, provides for a president and a single-chamber legislature, the 70-member National Development Council (CND), both elected by universal adult suffrage for a five-year term. The president appoints and leads a council of ministers.
For early history, see Africa. The population comprises two ethnic groups: the Hutu majority, dominated (until the late 1950s) by the Tutsi minority; there is also a pygmy minority, the Twa.
Rwanda was linked to the neighboring state of Burundi, 1891–1919, within the empire of German East Africa, then under Belgian administration as a League of Nations mandate, and then as a United Nations (UN) trust territory.
In 1961 the Tutsi monarchy was abolished, following a Hutu uprising, and Ruanda, as it was then called, became a republic. It achieved full independence 1962 as Rwanda, with Grégoire Kayibanda as its first president. Fighting between the Hutu and the Tutsi, which had broken out 1959, resulted in the loss of some 20,000 lives before an uneasy peace was agreed 1965.
Kayibanda was reelected president 1969, but by the end of 1972 the civil warfare had resumed, and in 1973 the head of the National Guard, Maj Gen Juvenal Habyarimana, led a bloodless coup, ousting Kayibanda and establishing a military government. Meetings of the legislature were suspended, and the Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) was formed as the only legally permitted political organization. A referendum held at the end of 1978 approved a new constitution, but military rule continued until 1980, when civilian rule was adopted.
In Oct 1990, a Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR), invaded from Uganda (where many Tutsis had fled after independence). Under pressure from the FPR, the government promised to reform the constitution, allowing other political parties to operate, and a power-sharing agreement was signed Sept 1992, but in Jan 1993 it was repudiated by the FPR. Talks resumed and in Aug 1993 a peace accord was formally signed. A UN mission was sent to monitor its implementation, which included the setting up of an interim government.
civil war escalates
In April 1994 President Habyarimana and Burundian president, Cyprien Ntaryamira, were both killed when their plane was shot down over the Rwandan capital, Kigali. With fears that the FPR were responsible, fighting renewed and within weeks hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, mostly civilians, had been killed and many thousands more had fled to neighboring countries. As FPR forces closed in on Kigali, the interim government fled the capital. Reports emerged of Hutu terror bands (machetti), which roamed areas of the countryside still controlled by government forces, shooting and hacking to death Tutsi civilians, in what appeared to be a coordinated attempt at genocide.
French troops were drafted in June 1994 as part of a humanitarian mission to protect civilians and a French-controlled “safe zone” was established in the southwest of the country. In July 1994 the FPR, now in control of most of the country, announced a cease-fire and (as it had pledged to do) established a transitional coalition government, including many moderate Hutus. Pasteur Bizimungu—a senior FPR member, although himself a Hutu—was appointed as interim head of state.
Prior to the cease-fire, a final Tutsi offensive in the northwest prompted a mass exodus of refugees, mainly Hutus fearing reprisals, into neighboring Zaire. As many as 2 million refugees were estimated to have crossed the border within the first week. Scarcity of water and poor sanitary conditions hampered aid workers' efforts to accommodate them and the refugee camp at Goma was hit by a cholera epidemic, in which thousands died. An international relief effort was subsequently launched, and efforts made to encourage the refugees to return to Rwanda.
A republic in central Africa; formerly a German colony; Also called: Ruanda.