served to fuel the Hutu's feeling of resentment against a
backdrop of rising nationalism and resentment across Africa
towards imposed powers. In 1959
the Hutu rebelled and sent the Tutsi King Kigeri V into exile
in Uganda proclaiming a Hutu republic in 1962 with Gregoire
Kayibanda, a young Hutu journalist and Chief Editor of the
Catholic newspaper Kinyamateka, as president.
Many Tutsi also
fled to Uganda as the Belgians failed to protect them from
Hutu violence however they did not settle and were often
treated cruelly by the regimes of Milton Obote and Idi
Amin as they watched events back home from the border. In neighbouring Burundi,
the opposite had taken place with the Tutsi suppressing the
Hutu upon independence and in 1963 attacking Rwanda from there, however in this
incursion many Tutsi were killed by Hutu Rwandans.
It is this symbiotic
relationship between Rwanda and Burundi and their Hutu and
Tutsi tribes that help to understand events from the late
1960s through to the genocide of 1994. In Rwanda in 1967 there
was yet another anti-Tutsi surge with Tutsi murdered and their
carcasses disposed of in rivers whilst in 1972 the Tutsi army
in Burundi wiped out nearly the entire educated Hutu class in
Burundi, some 200,000 people.
In 1973 President Kayibanda
of Rwanda was ousted in
military coup led by Juvenal Habyarimana, the defence minister
in his government, who held elections in
1978 under a new constitution in which Habyarimana was elected
president. Under the new regime suppression of the Tutsi
continued unabated. Simultaneously the oppression of Hutus in neighbouring Burundi
gathered pace and forces of the mainly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic
Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda from Uganda in 1990, however talks
ensued and Habyarimana signed an agreement with the Tutsis
signally a power sharing deal known as the Arusha Accords in an effort to bring some peace
between the warring factions.
However the relationship
between the two ran too deep with too much hatred. A collapse
in coffee prices in 1989 left hundreds of thousands of Rwandan
farmers destitute whilst the Tutsi populated RDF stepped up
its campaign against the Hutu Rwandan army the following year
whilst Burundi's own army continued to slaughter Burundi Hutu
many of who fled into southern Rwanada awaiting revenge on the
Tutsi. With relations on
edge it didn't take much for the full fury of racial hatred to
erupt and the trigger came when President Habyarimana of
Rwanda and the Burundian president,
Cyprien Ntaryamira, were assassinated when a rocket shot down
their plane over Kigali airport in 1994 triggering what is now
known as the Rwanda genocide.
In all likelihood this
assassination was carried out by Hutu extremists within Rwanda
who genuinely believed that the Tutsi wished to enslave them.
The extremists saw Habyarimana and others as collaborators
with the Tutsi and rather than accept reform they believed
that the only solution was to eradicate all Tutsi from Rwanda
like pest control. The genocide narrative is explored here.