World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hutu Power

Article Id: WHEBN0012748135
Reproduction Date:

Title: Hutu Power  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of people indicted in the International Criminal Court, Robert Kajuga (militiaman), Hutu Ten Commandments, Racism in Africa, Grégoire Ndahimana
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hutu Power

Hutu Power was an ideology propounded by the Hutu extremists in Rwanda. It contributed to the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 against the Tutsi and moderate Hutu. Hutu Power political parties and movements included the Akazu, the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic and its Impuzamugambi paramilitary militia, and the governing National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development and its Interahamwe paramilitary militia.


Hassan Ngeze in 1990 created the Hutu Ten Commandments that served as the basis of Hutu Power ideology.[1] The Commandments called for the supremacy of Hutus in Rwanda, calling for exclusive Hutu leadership over Rwanda's public institutions and public life, complete segregation of Hutus from Tutsis, and complete exclusion of Tutsis from public institutions and public life.[2] Hutu Power ideology reviled Tutsis as outsiders bent on restoring a Tutsi-dominated monarchy, and idealized all things Hutu.

The Commandments declared that any form of relationship between Hutus and Tutsi women was forbidden; and that any Hutu who "marries a Tutsi woman", "befriends a Tutsi woman", or "employs a Tutsi woman as a secretary or a concubine" was a "traitor" to the Hutu people.[2] It denounced Tutsis as "dishonest" in business whose "only aim is the supremacy of his ethnic group"; and declared that any Hutu who did business with a Tutsi was a traitor to the Hutu people.[2] The Commandments declared that "The Hutu should stop having mercy on the Tutsi" and referred to the Tutsis as "common Tutsi enemy".[2]



The Rwandan kingdom was traditionally ruled by a Tutsi mwami, or king; Historical evidence suggests that Hutu and Twa were included in government, although the Twa significantly less so than Hutu, who were more numerous. The Tutsi/Hutu divide has been referred to as a caste system. A Hutu could gain Tutsi status through marriage or through success. Tutsis, being primarily pastoralists, had a more valuable place in Rwandan society than the agriculturalist Hutu, and the hunter-gatherer and potter Twa.

The society created conceptions of social status based on the groups' traditional pursuits: the Twa, working most directly with the earth (through pottery), were considered impure; the Hutu, still working with the ground but less so than the Twa, were in turn less "pure" than the above-ground Tutsi.[3] When Germany, and later Belgium, colonized the kingdom, they reinterpreted the stratification as a division of races or ethnicity, perceived through the Hamitic hypothesis. European authors such as John Hanning Speke wrote of the Tutsi as being of 'Hamitic' origin, having constituted a Nilotic invasion from modern Ethiopia, bringing civilization to the Negroid 'race'.[4] As a result, the colonial administration favored the Tutsi at the expense of Hutu and Twa. In addition, they imposed a system of identity cards and ethnic classification in censuses, which reinforced an artificial ethnic division and contributed to tensions between groups.

Shift in Belgian colonial rule

Toward the end of Belgian rule, the government began to favor the Hutu, who were organizing for more influence. More significantly, the Belgian administration feared the rise of Communism and a Pan-African socialist regime led by Congo-Léopoldville's Patrice Lumumba. Then-Belgian High Resident Guy Logiest set up the first democratic elections in Rwanda to avoid more radical politics.[5] As the majority population, the Hutu elected their candidates to most positions in the new government.

Formation of Hutu Power

The first elected president Grégoire Kayibanda, an ethnic Hutu, used ethnic tensions to preserve his own power. Hutu radicals, working with his group (and later against it), co-opted the Hamitic hypothesis, portraying the Tutsi as outsiders, invaders, and oppressors of Rwanda. Some Hutu radicals called for the Tutsi to be "sent back to Abyssinia", a reference to their supposed homeland. This early concept of Hutu Power idealized a pre-'invasion' Rwanda: an "ethnically pure" territory dominated by the Hutu.

Under Habyarimana

In 1973, general and defense minister Juvénal Habyarimana, an ethnic Hutu supported by more radical northern Rwandans, overthrew Kayibanda and had him and his wife killed. Many of his supporters were from his district in the north, descendants of Hutu kingdoms that had been semi-autonomous before the colonial period. The resulting administration proved better for Tutsis, as government-sponsored violence was more sporadic than under Kayibanda.

With economic conditions difficult, and threatened by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invasion, Habyarimana turned to inflaming ethnic tensions.

Voices of Hutu Power

Hutu Power acquired a variety of spokesmen. Hassan Ngeze, an entrepreneur recruited by the government to combat the Tutsi publication Kanguka, created and edited Kangura, a radical Hutu Power newsletter. He published the "Hutu Ten Commandments", which included the following:

  • Hutu and Tutsi should not intermarry;
  • the education system must be composed of a Hutu majority (reflecting the population); and
  • the Rwandan armed forces should be exclusively Hutu.

Akazu.[6][7] Politician Léon Mugesera gave a speech in November, 1992, allegedly stating, "Do not be afraid, know that anyone whose neck you do not cut is the one who will cut your neck...Let them pack their bags, let them get going, so that no one will return here to talk and no one will bring scraps claiming to be flags!"[8] The radio programs frequently referred to the Tutsi as inyenzi, a Kinyarwanda word meaning 'cockroach', though the term had also been a self-description by members of the Rwanda Patriotic Front.[9]

Mobilization for genocide

During the attempted negotiations (Arusha Accords) between the Rwandan government and the RPF, radical Hutus began alleging that Habyarimana was being manipulated by Tutsis and non-radical Hutus. They maligned then-Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana.[10] Following Habyarimana's assassination, an act that at the time people speculated was done by Tutsi extremists, Hutu Power forces mobilized militia, most notably Interahamwe, and mobs to carry out the mass killings of the Rwandan Genocide. The Presidential Guard of the army killed Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana and several other leading moderate government officials.


The defeat of the government by the RPF ended the genocide, and the Hutu Power movement was utterly discredited and suppressed. Many Hutu Power spokesmen were arrested after the genocide, charged and put on trial. Ngeze was convicted and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment. In 2005, Mugesera was deported from Canada to Rwanda to stand trial for his role in the killings.[11]

See also

External links

  • RwandaFile: Primary sources from the Rwandan Genocide, including articles from Kangura and transcripts of broadcasts by RTLM

Notes and references

  1. ^ Ethnicity and sociopolitcal change in Africa and other developing countries: a constructive discourse in state building. Lexington Books, 2008. Pp. 92.
  2. ^ a b c d John A. Berry and Carol Pott Berry (eds.) (1999). Genocide in Rwanda: A Collective Memory (Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press) pp. 113–115.
  3. ^ Taylor, Christopher (2001). Sacrifice as Terror. Berg Publishers. 
  4. ^ Gourevitch, Philip (1999). We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. Picador. 
  5. ^ "Belgian residents", Rwanda, World Statesmen, accessed 15 Sep 2010
  6. ^ Joan and Dixon Kamukama (2000). "Kakwenzire", in The Path of a Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire, Howard Adelman and Astri Suhrke (eds). London: Transaction Publishers, p. 75
  7. ^ Chalk, Frank (2002). "Hate Radio in Rwanda", in The Path of a Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire, Howard Adelman and Astri Suhrke (eds). London: Transaction Publishers.
  8. ^ Mugesera v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)Supreme Court of Canada - Decisions -
  9. ^
  10. ^ Jones, Bruce (2000). "The Arusha Peace Process", in The Path of a Genocide: The Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire, Howard Adelman and Astri Suhrke (eds). London: Transaction Publishers. Page 146
  11. ^ | "Top court upholds Mugesera deportation order", CTV Canada
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.