This work has examined the political crisis and its impact on national integration in Africa with a focus on Rwanda. To achieve the aim of this study, we stated the following
i. Is there any relationship between colonial legacy and 1994 political conflict in Rwanda?
ii. Did the Rwandan crisis redress the prevailing political domination by the Tutsi?
iii. Has the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda enhanced national integration?
To investigate the hypotheses which were raised in line with the above questions, we anchored the analysis on the frustration aggression model and relied on secondary source of data collection. The study found that the crisis was caused by politics of tribalism and ethnicity in which the two major social groups were exposed to by the colonialist. The crisis undermined Rwandan economy and drew the attention of the United Nations which was meant to bring peace to Rwanda but did not because of the laisser-faire attitude of the world body on Africa. Again the failure of United Nations to restore peace in Rwanda undermined its national integration.
The Republic of Rwanda is a colonial creation having been subjected to the European domination and exploitation over the last sixty-five years. This country which is located in Central Africa has a population of about 8,154,933 people with an area of about 10,200 Square miles (Appiah 2008:48). According to James (in Appiah, 2008:52), the population is made of three distinct social groups namely: The Bahutus which constitutes about eighty-four percent of the population; the Batutsi constitute about fifteen percent of the population; while the third group is Batwa which is about one percent of the population. The Tutsi and the Hutus can only be differentiated based on class distinctions rather than physical differences.
Prior to the era of colonial domination, the three groups (the Hutus, Tutsi, and Twa) have been relating and living peacefully, movement to and from one group to the other was very common as they have been inter- marrying. It is thus, these alliance that blurred ethnic differences among these three groups.
However, the style of imposition of colonial rule on Rwanda and indeed other African States and subsequent adoption of divide and rule tactics by those colonial overlords destroyed the internal
cohesion as well as the social, political and economic development that have been attained by those groups, to be sure the Germans and latter Belgians used the ideology of racial superiority to divide the
people so that there would be no united opposition against colonial rule. This ideology was used to brainwash particular group into believing that they are racially superior to the other groups and hence
more naturally qualified to rule and dominate other groups.
In the same vain, just as the colonial Lords were massively exploiting the resources of the Rwandan for their own selfish interest, the minority Tutsi were placed over and above the majority Hutus who were now used as forced labour to develop infrastructures that will ensure further colonial exploitation and marginalization thereby sowing the seed of discord among once peaceful co-existing groups.
As a result of the demand for independence by the Tutsi in the 1950s, Hutus were used to replace Tutsi chiefs because for the colonialists, the Hutus will be easier to control .In other words, the Hutus were now used to play off the Tutsis and this ushered in freedom from colonial tutelage. Following the advent of independence in Rwanda on July 1, 1962, the Hutus were now in control of affairs while the Tutsi became the ones at the receiving end of the ladder.
Obviously, this did not go down well with the ethnic Tutsi who have been forced out of the political leadership as well as the ethnic rivalry between them and Tutsi, formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) to overthrow the ruling government dominated by Hutus class.
Consequently, the death of President J. Habuarimama in a plane crash was seen by the Hutus as an aggression, thus precipitating the ethnic pogrom in which about 800,000 ethnic Tutsi were massacred. As noted by the African Focus Bulletin (2004), the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) was instituted by the United Nations to aid the implementation of the Arusha Accord,
signed on August 4, 1993, which was meant to end the Rwanda Civil War. The mission lasted from October 1993 to March 1996. Its activities were meant to aid the peace process between the Hutus dominated Rwandan government and the Tutsi –dominated rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (PRF).
Today normalcy appears to have been restored in Rwanda but we cannot deny the fact that the wounds of the pogrom have not been healed. There are still thousands of ethnic Hutus in exile. This continued exilic sojourn which is the fallout or result of the ethnic sentiment generated by the event of the past few years continued to be a source of worry to concern mind. This account for the lack of success so far recorded in the quest for national integration in Rwanda and why the exercise seems a fruitless venture.
Based on the above, this study will critically assess the political crisis and regional integration in Africa with particular reference / emphasis on Rwanda.
Get Complete Material