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Rwanda: Rwanda Government Profile

2013/08/17

Rwanda Government Profile globserver.cn

President Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame has been in control of Rwanda since his rebel army ended the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people in 1994.

He was sworn in as vice-president and defence minister in the new, post-genocide government in July 1994, but he was widely seen as the real power in Rwanda.

In 2000 parliament elected him as president. He won presidential elections in 2003 and again in 2010.

To his admirers he is an economic visionary and to his critics he is a despot who tolerates no opposition.

He has been praised by economists for striving to turn a land of subsistence farmers into a middle-income country by 2020. Rwanda was named the world's top reformer in the World Bank's Doing Business Report 2010.

At home Mr Kagame has been criticised for trampling on freedoms. He has enjoyed a free hand in Rwanda, building up the army to assert his authority and using anti-genocide legislation to clamp down on opponents.

Murder
The run-up to the 2010 presidential elections was marred by a gruesome murder of a senior member of an opposition party, an attack on his former army chief and the slaying of a critical journalist.

Mr Kagame, born in 1957, left the country as a young child when around half a million fellow Tutsis fled following a bloody Hutu-led revolution that sparked ethnic violence.

His family settled in Uganda, and Mr Kagame later helped Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni come to power.

From 1990 he led the military arm of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPF) in its war against Rwanda's Hutu-controlled government.

His rebel force ended the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu death squads killed some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The RPF seized control of Rwanda after driving the 40,000-strong Hutu army and more than 2 million civilian Hutus into exile in neighbouring countries.

Rwanda's subsequent involvement in the DR Congo is controversial, with the UN and rights groups accusing the country of backing rebel group in its neighbour. Rwanda rejects the accusation.

 

The constitution of December 1978 provided for a unitary republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The executive was headed by a president elected for a five-year term who presided over the council of ministers and was commander in chief of the armed forces. The secretary-general of the National Revolutionary Movement for Development, the sole legal political party, was empowered to act in the president's stead in the case of incapacity. The president shared legislative power with the country's unicameral legislature, the National Development Council, which consisted of 70 members.

A new constitution was adopted on 18 June 1991. It legalized independent parties. The executive branch consisted of an elected president and a prime minister and a Council of Ministers chosen from the legislature. The unicameral legislature continued the name, National Development Council.

The 4 August 1993 Peace Accord signed with the RPF called for a 22-month transition period leading to multiparty elections and the establishment of several new institutions. By 1994, the Rwandan patriotic Front had established control of the country, instituting a government of national unity, headed by President Pasteur Bizimungu, himself a Hutu.

In May 1995, the 70-seat transitional national assembly (TNA) created a new constitution. In early 2000 Bizimungu resigned, accusing the Tutsi-controlled parliament of unfairly investigating his allies on corruption charges. The vice president, Paul Kigame was inaugurated 22 April 2000, the country's first Tutsi president since independence from Belgium in 1962. In 2001 four additional seats—two for women and two for youth—were added to the TNA.

Government type: 

republic; presidential, multiparty system

Administrative divisions: 

4 provinces (in French - provinces, singular - province; in Kinyarwanda - intara for singular and plural) and 1 city* (in French - ville; in Kinyarwanda - umujyi); Est (Eastern), Kigali*, Nord (Northern), Ouest (Western), Sud (Southern)

Independence: 

1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday: 

Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

Constitution: 

new constitution passed by referendum 26 May 2003

Legal system: 

based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 

18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch: 

bicameral Parliament consists of Senate (26 seats; 12 members elected by local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 appointed by the Political Organizations Forum, 2 represent institutions of higher learning; members to serve eight-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies (80 seats; 53 members elected by popular vote, 24 women elected by local bodies, 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; members to serve five-year terms)

Judicial branch: 

Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees

Political parties and leaders : 

Centrist Democratic Party or PDC [Alfred MUKEZAMFURA]; Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda or UDPR [Adrien RANGIRA]; Democratic Republican Movement or MDR [Celestin KABANDA] (officially banned); Islamic Democratic Party or PDI [Andre BUMAYA]; Liberal Party or PL [Protais MITALI]; Party for Democratic Renewal (officially banned); Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]; Solidarity and Prosperity Party or PSP [Pheobe KANYANGE]

Political pressure groups and leaders: 

IBUKA (association of genocide survivors)

International organization participation: 

ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CEPGL, COMESA, EAC, EADB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description: 

three horizontal bands of sky blue (top, double width), yellow, and green, with a golden sun with 24 rays near the fly end of the blue band; blue represents happiness and peace, yellow economic development and mineral wealth, green hope of prosperity and natural resources; the sun symbolizes unity, as well as enlightenment and transparency from ignorance