Monday, March 9, 2015

No leader has succeeded another leader peacefully in Rwanda's history

By Yohani Mbera
March 9, 2015

In pre-colonial Rwanda, the unification process of Rwanda as we know it today was achieved by large through extermination of defeated hutu kings. To keep this memory of violent end for the former leaders, the Nyinginya royal drum (first Rwoga and then Karinga), symbolizing their power, was dressed with "ibikondo", the genitals of the defeated kings. Under the Nyiginya dynasty, a reigning Mwami had to die before a new one could be enthroned. Mwami Mibambwe Rutalindrwa was burnt with all his family and followers at Rucunshu.

In colonial Rwanda, Mwami Yuhi Musinga was deposed by the Belgian colonialists and sent into forced exile in Congo where he died. Mwami Mutara Rudahigwa died in office in controversial circumstances in Burundi. Mwami Kigeli Ndahindurwa was deposed by the people in a referendum while in forced exile where he still lives.

In post-colonial Rwanda, President Kayibanda was deposed by a military coup d'Etat and died of mistreatment under house arrest. President Habyarimana was assassinated when his plane was shot down by two missiles fired by an RPA squad. Interim President Sindikubwabo died in the Congolese jungles along with hundreds of thousands of hutu refugees exterminated by RPA invading forces there. President Bizimungu was forced to resign and was jailed.

In post-Cold War Rwanda, the incumbent President Kagame took power by force, rules by force and wants to rule for life in a system that blocks the Hutu majority from participating into national politics in the name of preventing genocide, since they are held globally responsible and are even expected to ask for forgiveness even for those who were not yet born when it happened.

Rwanda is poised to go through other painful times before that tradition of political violence is uprooted.


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