- GeneralForum: 1General
- Unit :1 First and Second Republics of RwandaUnit :1 First and Second Republics of Rwanda
Key unit competence
Examine the achievements and failures of the First and the Second
Republics in Rwanda
This unit is about the history of Rwanda during the First and the
Second Republics. This period deals with the history of Rwanda
from 1962, the year during which the country of Rwanda regained
its independence up to 1990, the year that was marked by the
beginning of the Liberation War. This war opened a new era which
would be marked by many political and socio-economic changes
and would be won by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1994
after stopping the genocide that was perpetrated against the Tutsi.
This victory contributed to the collapse of the Second Republic and
Rwanda opened a new page of its history with the coming of RPF
This unit will examine various achievements of the First and the
Second Republics in Rwanda in political and socio-economic areas.
At the same time, it will focus on the failures of the two regimes
and factors that led to their collapse.
Links to other subjects
This unit can be linked to other subjects like General Studies and
Communication Skills and Economics.
Main points to be covered in this unit
Achievements and failures of the First Republic, 1962–1973
Political evolution: The new institutions of the Republic of Rwanda
From multipartism to monopartism
Management of the problem of Inyenzi incursions: the beginning
of genocide against the Tutsi.
Economic evolution: Perpetuation of the colonial economic model
Development of economic infrastructure
Socio-cultural evolution: Education and health systems
Failures and reasons for the fall of the First Republic
Achievements and failures of the Second Republic 1973–1990
Political evolution: New political institutions
Priority investment in infrastructure
Socio-cultural evolution: Health and education
Failures and reasons for the fall of the Second Republic
Achievements of the First Republic 1962–1973
1. What kind of regime was adopted at the time of the
independence of Rwanda?
2. Describe the political institutions that were established on
the eve of the acquisition of independence of Rwanda.
3. Explain the different means that the Mouvement
Démocratique Républicain–PARMEHUTU (MDR–
PARMEHUTU) used to eliminate opposition political parties.
4. Why was the Mouvement Démocratique Républicain–
PARMEHUTU (MDR-PARMEHUTU)–the only political party
which presented candidates for presidential and legislative
elections in 1965?
1. Account for the reactions of the First Republic towards the
problem of Rwandan refugees.
2. How were the Tutsi who lived in Rwanda treated during the
attacks of Inyenzi.
3. What happened to the leaders of the Rassemblement
Démocratique Rwandaise–RADER–and the Union
Nationale Rwandaise–UNAR–after the attack of the
Inyenzi on December 24th, 1963 in Bugesera?
Carry out research on the economic evolution of Rwanda during
the First Republic based on the perpetuation of the colonial
economic model and find answers to the following questions.
Present the results of your findings to the class.
1. Explain the major economic issues that Rwanda faced after
the acquisition of its independence.
2. Identify and evaluate the strategies and measures that the
government of President Grégoire Kayibanda adopted to
address these problems.
Carry out research on the development of economic infrastructure
planned and/or implemented by the First Republic of Rwanda
and answer the following questions. Present the results of your
study to the class.
1. What are the main achievements of the First Republic of
Rwanda in the area of banking?
2. In the framework of the Five-Year Development Plan (1966–
1971) some projects which aimed to macadamise the road
axes linking the country of Rwanda to the outside world had
been conceived. Priority was given to which roads?
3. Which infrastructures did the First Republic of Rwanda set
up and also inaugurate?
4. What were the achievements of the First Republic of
Rwanda in rural development?
Conduct research on the socio-cultural evolution during the First
Republic of Rwanda and answer the following questions. Present
the results of your findings to the class.
1. Assess the achievements of the First Republic of Rwanda
2. Evaluate the achievements of the First Republic of Rwanda
Conduct research on the failures and reasons for the fall of the
First Republic and answer the following questions. Present the
results of your findings to the class.
1. What were the major failures of the First Republic of
2. Identify the factors that contributed to the fall of the First
Republic of Rwanda.
Rwanda just after independence
At the time of recovering Rwanda’s independence, Grégoire
Kayibanda bullied his way into political prominence and was more
than willing to use ethnic terror and divisions to maintain his rule.
By independence day on July 1st, 1962, Rwanda had no constitution.
PARMEHUTU leaders had prepared a document to be used as a
constitution during the coup d’état of Gitarama. But this text was
not published in the official Gazette of Ruanda-Urundi. Moreover,
the colonial authority continued thereafter to dictate laws for the
The parliament had the power to supervise the actions of the
president of the republic and his government (Article 73). Under
the First Republic, three legislatures were elected: in 1961, 1965
and 1969, until the dissolution of the parliament following the July
5th, 1973 coup d’état.
From Multipartism to Monopartism
The 1962 constitution devoted its article 10 to a multiparty system.
However, the ruling party, MDR PARMEHUTU, turned itself into
a ‘state party’, behaving just like a single party from 1963 after
eliminating and assimilating other political parties.
MDR PARMEHUTU fused with the state and the two institutions
became one and the same at all administration levels. It means that
the president of the republic was at the same time the president
of MDR PARMEHUTU party. At the level of prefectures, the préfets
were leaders of PARMEHUTU. The same applied in communes
and the lower administrative levels.
MDR PARMEHUTU used different mechanisms to monopolise
political power. The party utilised intimidation tactics, arbitrary
arrests and violence against opponents. At times although not
often, it also tried to negotiate. In fact in such circumstances that
APROSOMA disappeared in 1961, after the defection of its leaders
to MDR PARMEHUTU. These included Aloys Munyangaju and
RADER and UNAR on the other disappeared
due to the killing of their leaders. These
included Prosper Bwanakweli, Ndazaro
Lazare and Karinda Callixte from RADER;
and Michel Rwagasana, Afrika, Burabyo,
Joseph Rutsindintwarane, Gisimba,
Mpirikanyi and Ndahiro Denis from UNAR
who were murdered in 1963. They were
executed in the prison of Ruhengeri when
Inyenzi had just launched major attacks
and had penetrated Bugesera up to
After recruiting some opposition leaders
in its ranks and killing others, MDR
PARMEHUTU transformed itself into a single party. In 1965, MDR
PARMEHUTU was the only party which presented candidates for
presidential and legislative elections.
The Inyenzi incursions
The first challenge faced by the First Republic was the problem
of refugees. The attitude of the government of the First Republic
varied with time.
At the beginning of the 1960s, the provisional government had
shown concern and established a state secretariat for refugees. But
after every Inyenzi attack, the Tutsi inside the country would be
killed. Survivors would seek asylum outside the country.
The major attacks of Inyenzi were the following:
The December 21st, 1961 attack from Uganda via Kinigi
targeting individuals in Ruhengeri, Kigali and Gitarama.
The April 1962, attack from Uganda targeting the eastern parts
of the country.
The July 3rd to 4th, 1962, attack from Goma by approximately
80 to 100 Inyenzi. Four of the captured Inyenzi, were executed
in Ruhengeri prison.
The December 24th, 1963 attack in Bugesera. Attackers came
from Burundi, via Kirundo and Nemba. After some successes,
the Inyenzi were stopped and defeated by the National Guard
commanded by two Belgian officers Dubois and Florquin. After
the Bugesera attacks (1963–1964), President Kayibanda warned the Inyenzi that: “If they try to conquer Kigali by
fighting, it would be the total and quick end of the Tutsi”.
The last main Inyenzi attacks took place in Cyangugu and
Gikongoro prefectures (Bugarama in 1964, Nshili in 1966 and
Bweyeye in 1966) and in Kibungo prefecture (Butama in 1966).
After the Bugesera attack, many Tutsi were killed at Gikongoro
prefecture and the deaths were estimated between 8,000 and
10,000. In the same period, Kayibanda ordered the execution of
27 leaders of UNAR and RADER who had been imprisoned in
Ruhengeri prison without any form of legal procedure whatsoever.
The attack on Rwanda launched in Bugesera was under the
command of François Rukeba, one of the main UNAR activists.
This ill-prepared attack failed, and many Tutsi fell victim to the
massacres which were organised in retaliation. The word Inyenzi,
which literally translates to cockroach, was first used in the 60s. It
was initially used to designate UNAR movements as they organised
incursions into Rwanda. Its meaning later extended to the entire
Rwandan Tutsi population. Occasional incursions into Rwandan
territory continued to occur in Rwanda until 1967. Between 1959
and 1967, nearly 20,000 Tutsis were killed during the repression
against UNAR, and 200,000 others fled the country.
At independence, many government offices were in Bujumbura
which had been the colonial capital of Ruanda-Urundi. Rwanda
was under-equipped. There were a few infrastructures. The country
did not have a radio, an airport, permanent roads, a telephone
system, hotels, a university or any other institution of higher
learning. Everything had to come through Bujumbura or through
In addition, Rwanda lacked the financial means. It had only one
donor: Belgium. As a result Rwanda was dependent on foreign
donors for most of her needs.
Another economic problem faced by Rwanda was the poor
functioning of the monetary and customs union between Rwanda
and Burundi. Moreover, the two countries did not have very good
relations because they had two different political regimes: Rwanda
was a republic while Burundi was a constitutional monarchy.
The country was going through an extremely difficult crisis including
the deficits in the balance of payments because in 1962 prices
rose by 50 per cent and by 1964, prices had risen by 300 per
cent. The Rwandan currency depreciated while agricultural and
mineral production declined. This resulted in a big fall in exports
and a big gap in foreign exchange.
To address this situation, Rwanda asked for assistance from
western countries and from international organisations like the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). Rwanda’s western donors were
mainly Belgium and United States of America (USA). Belgium and
IMF had just granted Rwanda a little more in terms of loans while
the USA had donated food and some money to buy equipment.
Besides external assistance, the government of Rwanda took other
measures to get the country out of the economic crisis. It reduced
expenses of all ministries including funds allocated to education.
Another proposed solution was the First five year economic
development plan of 1966–1971. The plan was based on an
analysis of the economic and social conditions, and challeges that
Rwanda had to face in order to define its economic development.
Plans were made to construct tarmac roads linking the country to
all her neighbours in the frame-work of the five-year development
plan (1966-1971). The following roads were to be built:
It is essential to note that before the coup d’état that brought the
First Republic in 1973 to an end, construction had only started
on the Kigali- Gatuna road in 1971. The construction of this road
was completed in 1977. In addition, the Rusumo bridge at the
Akagera River linking Rwanda and Tanzania and the bridge over
Nyabarongo River were constructed.
In rural development, the emphasis was placed on the reclamation
of marshlands in order to improve agricultural production and the
distribution of improved seeds and plants in some parts of the
country. New crops like rice were introduced. Some cattle dips
were put in place to fight ticks.
The First Republic made very few achievements in education and
health. The First Republic tried to give free education and health
At independence, Rwanda had a few secondary schools such as
Groupe Scolaire d’Astrida in Butare, Ecole Technique Officielle de
Kicukiro, College Sainte André in Kigali and College du Christ Roi
By 1962 there were 23 secondary schools and this number
increased to 63 schools in 1972. The number of pupils in primary
schools increased from 261,306 in 1962 to 425,000 pupils
in 1972 due to the double shift system. The budget allocated
to education also increased from 168,264,000 Frw in 1962 to
563,194,000 Frw in 1972.
The first national university was opened on November 3rd 1963
in Rwanda. It was started by a Canadian priest called Levesque
with 50 students distributed in three faculties: medicine, arts and
sciences. It was launched at Ruhande in Butare (Huye District
today) with the assistance of Switzerland and Canada. By 1971–
1972, the enrolment had reached 470. The Institut Pédagogique
National (IPN) was started in 1966. Despite these efforts in
education, no tangible fruits were evident as indicated by the small
numbers produced during this period.
In the health sector, the First Republic also tried to make some efforts.
The focus was put on the construction of new dispensaries whose
number increased from 67 to 142 in 1972. Steps were also taken
to address malnutrition and poor conditions of hygiene. As a remedy,
some medical centres were constructed to provide health education
in order to sensitise people on how to prevent certain diseases.
Breastfeeding mothers were provided with child care skills. The
government also set up nutrition centres for malnourished children.
To take care of disabled children, a centre for physically handicapped
children was built at Gatagara. A psychiatry centre for the mentally
handicapped was built at Ndera. This centre known as Caraes
Ndera was run by the Brothers of Charity. In preventive medicine,
vaccination campaigns were initiated between
1965 and 1970.
Reasons for the Fall of the First Republic
Institutionalisation of discrimination against Tutsi
From 1959 onwards, the Tutsi population was targeted, causing
hundreds of thousands of deaths. A population of almost two
million Rwandans were refugees for almost four decades. The First
Republic, under President Grégoire Kayibanda, institutionalised
discrimination against the Tutsi and periodically used massacres
against the Tutsi as a means of maintaining the status quo.
In 1965, Rwanda was declared a one-party state under MDR/
PARMEHUTU, which was the architect of the racist ideology. The
regime of Kayibanda did not manifest a good will to repatriate the
refugees. Instead, the state killed the Tutsi whenever the Inyenzi
attacked the country.
Transfer of ethnicism to regionalism
In 1965, PARMEHUTU won every seat in the National Assembly.
In spite of this achievement, this party experience had started
to internal tensions since 1963. These tensions fell into two
There were inter-personal rivalries and disagreements in the
distribution of jobs as the party organs and state structures came
closer and closer. There was increasing discontent among emerging
cadres, students and individuals with primary and secondary education. Very fierce local political competition was combined
with rivalries at national level. Bourgomasters and prefects
competed intensely. Whereas the former drew upon their clientele
networks and the legitimacy as elected officials, the latter used
state structures and party influence. Divisions emerged due to the
struggle for jobs. The state decided to expose ethnic divisions so as
to unify the regime.
The purges which began in February 26th 1973 were initially
provoked by students, but also encouraged and led by political
authorities. Along with PARMEHUTU, the authorities aimed at
uniting the regime by defining a common enemy. Northern soldiers
(particularly Lieutenant Colonel Alexis Kanyarengwe, the Chief of
Police, who was from Ruhengeri) who, planned to cause a political
crisis, also targeted the Tutsi population (“Mututsi mvira aha”).
The purges, initially involved the posting of lists of Tutsi students
and staff, asking them to leave universities and companies. This
problem later run out of control.
Consequently, Grégoire Kayibanda punished several northern
dignitaries by dismissing them from jobs and removing them
from locations associated with power: Lieutenant Colonel Alexis
Kanyarengwe was appointed director of the Nyundo Seminary while
Major Nsekalije was assigned to a tea cooperative in Byumba. All
the general secretaries of the government ministries were replaced,
as well as nine of the ten prefects. The divide between the south
and the north was firmly established.
From February–March 1973, purges were organised in schools
and in public administration against the Tutsi population. Tutsi
students appeared on lists posted in all secondary schools and at
the university of Rwanda and signed ‘Mouvement des Étudiants’
(‘Students’ Movement’) or ‘Comité de Salut Public’ (‘Committee
of Public Safety’). They felt threatened and had to flee from these
In mid-February, the movement reached the National University of
Rwanda in Butare and the secondary school of Kabgayi managed
by the Josephite brothers. This movement, which had started in
schools, spread to public administration and private companies.
In ministries, hospitals, banks and shops, the Committee of Public
Safety posted lists identifying the Tutsi. Private individuals were
requested to fire their Tutsi servants. From the towns, this spread
to the countryside. In the prefectures of Gitarama and Kibuye, the
houses of the Tutsi were burned down and they were told to leave.
Different explanations are given for the source of this turmoil.
Though orders were given through the administration, they may
have originated from people close to Grégoire Kayibanda. They
may also have come from Alexis Kanyarengwe, the Chief of Police,
who was from Ruhengeri.
Afterwards, the names of some ministers appeared on the lists
drawn up in Kigali. In Gitarama, several rich Hutu traders’ stores
were attacked and looted, as well as the residences of certain
politicians, including that of Rwasibo Jean Baptiste. On March 22,
Grégoire Kayibanda made a pacification speech and announced
the creation of a ministerial commission in charge of inspecting
Another cause of the rivalry between the north and the south was
that PARMEHUTU members of the south especially in Gitarama,
the home area of President Kayibanda tended to dominate
PARMEHUTU and government power at the expense of the northern
region. For example, in the last government formed by President
Grégoire Kayibanda in 1972, there were six ministers out of
eighteen. One third came from Gitarama, the region of Kayibanda.
Kayibanda was accused of behaving like a monarch who played
around, and causing misunderstanding in the government.
There was a failed coup attempt by Nyatanyi Pierre the chief of
cabinet under President Kayibanda and Muramutsa Joachim,
commandant of the Kanombe unit. Because these two officers were
from the north the coup was seen as a coup of the north against
the south. The two officers were imprisoned only to be pardoned
later by President Habyarimana when he took over power in the
coup d’état of 1973.
Towards the fall of the First Republic
The first signs of the decline of the First Republic appeared in October
1968, when a parliamentary commission of inquiry report on the
administration of the country was rejected by the majority of the
members of the parliament. This was because of interpersonal and
regional differences in the ranks of PARMEHUTU. The report had
serious accusations against President Kayibanda. The accusations
in the report included favouritism and nepotism, intimidation,
misuse of political power and impunity which characterised the
political and public life of the regime.
As a result of this report, members of parliament were divided into
two camps. Some supported the report while others opposed it. The
supporters of the report were suspended from the decision making
organs of the party. They were also prevented from contesting the
legislative elections of 1969.
Another factor that contributed to the reinforcement of regional
divisions was the constitutional amendment of May 18th, 1973 by
the National Assembly. This amendment increased the duration of
presidential terms of office from five to seven years, and allowed
Grégoire Kayibanda to stand for a third term. Although, the
National Assembly supported the amendment of the constitution,
the country was already divided according to the two main regions:
north and south. The north wanted to take power while the south
wanted to keep it.
In order to solve the problem of discontent in political and military
ranks that was linked to regionalism, President Kayibanda resorted
to violence and ethnic cleansing of the Tutsi. Kayibanda wanted
to hide the regional divisions in the country by turning public and
international attention to what had been considered as a lesser evil
or no evil at all.
In carrying out this plan, Tutsi children were chased out of schools
and the few Tutsi in minor administrative positions were dismissed,
and others murdered. These crimes were planned and carried out
by top ranking officials in the government.
This impunity degenerated into regional confrontation. The Hutu
of the north started to resent and fight the Hutu of the central
part of the country favoured by President Kayibanda. It was under
these circumstances that Habyarimana Juvenal, the minister of
defence decided to intervene militarily. He overthrew Kayibanda in
the coup d’état of 5th July 1973. Kayibanda and many officials in
his regime were thrown into prison. They faced court martial. They
were sentenced to death or given long prison sentences.
Achievements of the Second Republic(1973–1990)
Research on the political evolution of Rwanda during the Second
Republic and find answers to the following questions. Present the
results of your findings to the class.
1. Identify and explain the political and institutional changes
made after the coup d’état of July 5th, 1973.
2. What were the new political institutions set up by the
Research on the economic evolution of Rwanda during the Second
Republic and find answers to the following questions. Present the
results of your findings to the class.
1. Identify the benefits which Rwanda expected to gain from
regional integration during the Second Republic.
2. What were the causes of the economic crisis that hit
Rwanda from 1986?
3. What measures were adopted to address the above crisis?
4. Evaluate the achievements of the government of Rwanda in
economic infrastructure during the Second Republic.
Discuss the strategies adopted by the government of Rwanda
to reduce infant mortality, to promote and achieve curative care
and preventive education.
Conduct a study on the socio-cultural evolution of Rwanda
during the Second Republic and write an essay on one of the
following topics. Afterwards, read your essay to the class.
1. What were the reasons that led to the failure of the
1978/1979 education reform?
2. Comment on how the ethnic and regional balance was
applied by the Second Republic.
Write an essay on reasons for the fall of the Second Republic.
On July 5th, 1973, President Kayibanda was overthrown in a
coup d’état led by Major General Habyarimana Juvenal. The latter
was assisted by the following senior military officers: Lieutenant
Colonel Alexis Kanyarengwe, Majors Aloys Nsekarije, Benda Sabin,
Ruhashya Epimaque, Gahimano Fabien, Jean Népomuscéne
Munyandekwe, Bonaventure Ntibitura, Serubuga Laurent, Buregeya
Bonaventure and Simba Aloys.
The coup leaders dissolved the National
Assembly, suspended the 1962 constitution and
banned all political activity. They at the same
time put in place what they called a National
Peace and Unity Committee composed of 11
senior officers to replace the ousted government.
Given the state of insecurity the country was
going through before the coup d’état of 5th July
1973, this committee was greeted with a lot
of hope, even among the Rwandan refugees.
In President Habyarimana’s declaration on July
5th, 1974, much was said about national peace
and unity. He castigated regionalism, public
immorality, and corruption.
On July 5th 1975, Major General Juvénal Habyarimana etablished
Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement
(MRND). The Party’s main objective was to unify, encourage and
intensify efforts of all Rwandans to enhance economic, social and
cultural development in an atmosphere of national peace and unity.
In 1977, the Commission for Administration and Institutional Affairs
of Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement
(MRND) prepared a new constitution. In October 1978, the
constitution was adopted by government and the MRND Central
On the December 20th 1978, the new constitution was adopted by
the population in a referendum with a reported 89 per cent of the
votes. At the same time Habyarimana was elected through universal
suffrage as president of Rwanda with a 99 per cent majority.
Article 7 of the constitution declared Rwanda a single party
state under the MRND where every citizen was a member right
from birth. In reality, this was the establishment of a one party
political system. The president of the MRND party had to be the
sole presidential candidate. The new constitution abolished the
National Assembly and replaced it with The National Development
Council (NDC). The first National Development Council or Conseil
National pour le Développement( CND) was elected in 1983.
At the diplomatic level, the Second Republic made international
openness and cooperation one of its main priorities. Rwanda
therefore increased the number of its diplomatic representatives
On December 19th, 1983 Juvénal Habyarimana was re-elected
president of Rwanda with 99.98 per cent of the votes. After five
years, on December 19th, 1988 Juvénal Habyarimana was reelected again for five years winning 99.8 per cent of the votes.
In June 1990, French President François Mitterrand gave a speech
at La Baule in France in which he announced that French aid
would be conditional upon democratisation in Africa. Following
this speech, Rwanda experienced a slight opening up towards a
Thus, on July 5, 1990, during his
traditional July 5 speech, the day of
the Second Republic’s 17th anniversary,
Juvénal Habyarimana was in position
to announce these political changes:
the separation of the party bodies
from state structures, and the possible
implementation of a multi-party system,
though he remained very vague about the
details of how this would be implemented.
On September 1st 1990, thirty-three
Rwandan intellectuals published a
manifesto ‘for a multi-party system and
On September 25th, 1990 Juvénal Habyarimana named the
Commission Nationale de Synthèse CNS or (National Synthesis
Committee), in charge of developing the first draft for a constitution
allowing many political parties.
Under the Second Republic, the Second Five-year period of the
economic, social and cultural development plan which covered
the period from 1977 up to 1981 was implemented. This plan had
Ensuring food security of the population and address the
population growth rate.
Promotion of human resource management.
Improvement of the social conditions of individuals and the
et Artisanal Integré (CERAI). These professional schools admitted
students who had missed secondary school enrollment for 3 years.
In such schools, students could learn professional skills such as
woodwork, electricity, masonry and plumbing.
From 1982 to 1986, the Third Five-year period of the economic,
social and cultural development plan was also adopted with the
To improve food security for the population in terms of both
quality and quantity.
To promote jobs at sustainable wage levels that cover the basic
needs while emphasising training programmes in order to
increase labour productivity.
To improve the population’s health conditions, promote access
to shelter and produce goods for mass consumption.
To develop external relations and encourage the fairness of
international trade conditions.
The Rwandan diplomatic representation in foreign countries
increased. In 1979, Rwanda had hosted the Sixth Franco – African
Conference. In 1976, Rwanda had just been a co-founder of the
Communauté Economique des Pays des Grand Lacs (CEPGL).
It was also host to the headquarters of the Kagera River Basin
The Second Republic made a great effort in agriculture. Cash crops
especially tea, coffee and pyrethrum were promoted by the increase
in acrage cultivated and the creation of factories. These include
the tea factories of Shagasha, Mata, Gisovu, and Nyabihu, and the
pyrethrum factory processing in Ruhengeri.
The government of the Second Republic focused a particular
attention on food crops like maize, rice, soya beans, sugarcane,
etc. Some factories were also set up to process these crops like the
Maïserie de Mukamira, Sucrerie de Kabuye, and others.
Emphasis was also put on the creation of agricultural projects.
In almost all former prefectures, there were such projects like
Développement Global de Butare (DGB), Projet Agricole de
Gitarama(PAG), Développement Rural de Byumba (DRB) and Crête
Regarding animal husbandry, the accent was placed on rearing one
cow in a cowshed and planting reeds and other kinds of grasses to
feed the cows. To improve the existing breeds of cows, strategies
such as the importation of bulls, artificial insemination, research,
fighting cattle diseases, etc were adopted.
Concerning infrastructural development, the following infrastructure
were put in place by the Second Republic:
Asphalting of the following routes:
Construction of several buildings to serve as offices, for different
ministries and hospitals; for example King Faisal Hospital,
Extension of electricity network
Construction of Kanombe Airport
Construction of Amahoro National Stadium
From 1980 to 1986, the country enjoyed economic growth due
to a combination of positive external and internal factors. This
included good climate high prices of coffee, tea and minerals, and
a considerable flow of external capital into the country.
However, from the end of 1986, the situation deteriorated and the
economy of Rwanda gradually declined. The causes of the economic
crisis in Rwanda during this period included the following:
The drastic fall of the world coffee and tin prices
The over devaluation of the Rwandan franc
The poor management of public funds
The demographic explosion prevailing in Rwanda since 1940,
hence the reduced yields from land.
To address this economic crisis, the government of Rwanda applied
the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) dictated by the Bretton
Woods Institutions (International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World
Bank) with a view to stabilising the economy and benefiting from
financial support of those institutions.
Under the Second Republic, many attempts were made to expand
the health sector. The dispensaries were transformed into health
centres and more medical personnel were trained.
The government also put in place a policy which aimed at creating
nutrition centres in order to educate parents on nutrition and
Government improved hygiene conditions by putting emphasis on
the most vulnerable groups such as women and children. In order
to find a solution to hygiene related-problems, the government
established nutritional centres at health centres. Thus it achieved
curative care and preventive education, including vaccination,
nutrition, maternal and child protection.
In 1979 the government established the Broad-Based Vaccination
Programme (PEV/BVP) whose objective was to reduce infant
mortality through vaccination against certain targeted diseases
which included tuberculosis, whooping cough, tetanus, polio,
measles and diphtheria.
In 1987, the government established the Programme National de Lutte
contre le SIDA (PNLS) or National Programme for the Fight against
AIDS whose objective was to control, prevent, reduce and conduct
research on AIDS. In the same year, the government launched the
Programme National de Lutte contre le Paludisme (PNLP)or National
Programme for Fight against Malaria. In 1989 the Programme for
Acceleration of Primary Health Care (PASSP) was also put in place.
This programme aimed at encouraging community participation in
self-reliance and management of health services at their health
In this sector, the following were the achievements of the Second
Many reforms were made at all levels of education in Rwanda.
Among these was the construction of new primary and secondary
During the school year of 1978–1979, primary education was
revised. The primary cycle changed from 6 years to 8 years. Training
in professional skills was introduced in Primary 7 and Primary 8,
and Kinyarwanda became a language of instruction from P 1 up
to P 8.
At the secondary education level, the Ordinary Level was reduced
and specialisations sections introduced in the second year of
secondary education. But this reform failed due to lack of:
qualified teachers in the newly introduced subjects
appropriate evaluation methods for the reform.
So, in 1991, these reforms were revised, the primary education
cycle was brought back to 6 years.
At university level, the Institut Pédagogique National (IPN) was
fused with some departments of the National University of Rwanda.
The new campus of Nyakinama was created in 1980–1981 as
the result of this fusion. Besides, the duration of studies in most
faculties was reduced from 5 to 4 years.
Reasons for the Fall of the Second Republic
The imprisonment and killing of the politicians of the First Republic
During the two years that followed the coup, the former ‘leaders’
of the First Republic were assassinated or imprisoned. From
1974 – 1977, 58 people — individuals who were either close to
Grégoire Kayibanda and public figures of the First Republic — were
assassinated upon orders from Théoneste Lizinde, chief of security
at the interior ministry. According to some sources, the repression
affected up to 700 people.
Lack of freedom of speech and press
The Second Republic was against multipartism. Whoever attempted
to criticise the regime was intimidated or imprisoned. For instance,
on September 18th, 1990 the trial of the priest André Sibomana,
who was the director of the bi-monthly publication Kinyamateka,
and three of his journalists opened in Kigali after the publication of
articles denouncing corruption in the government. On July 3th and
6th, 1990 the Cour de Sûreté de l’État (State Security Court) had
Vincent Rwabukwisi, the editor-in-chief of Kanguka arrested. He
was accused of having interviewed King Kigeri V Ndahindurwa in
exile in Nairobi and of plotting with refugees.
Beside these cases, other examples of violation of human rights are
the murder of the former chief editor of Kinyamateka newspaper,
Father Sylvio Sindambiwe and Nyiramutarambirwa Felicula, a
former member of parliament.
By the end of the 1980s, the regime was becoming ineffective.
The falling price of coffee caused a severe crisis in the country and
From 1986, there was a fall in the prices of coffee and tin. Coffee
represented 75 per cent of the national economy.
In January 1988, one-sixth of the Rwandan population was
affected by a famine which killed 250 people.
In 1989, coffee prices decreased by 50 per cent. There was an
increase in credits from 189 million US dollars up to 941 million
and reduction of foreign currency reserves from 144 million US
dollars up to 30 million.
The Rwandan Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 330 US dollars
fell to 200 US dollars in 1990. In 1989, the national social budget
was reduced to 40 per cent.
In 1991, Rwanda signed an agreement with the World Bank to
implement a Structural Adjustment Plan (SAP) which led to the
devaluation of the Rwandan franc on two occasions: its value fell
by 40 per cent in November 1990, then again by 15 per cent
in June 1992. Though the SAP was only partially implemented,
the main effect of the devaluation was inflation, which reached
19.2 per cent in 1991 and an increase in demand because of the
Institutionalisation of ethnic and regional balance or quota system
The regime of Habyrimana was not a model of democracy as its
leaders claimed. The regime forced people into a single party system
and partisan politics based on ethnic and regional segregation.
The regime led to growth of the Rukiga-Nduga conflict which was
characterised by the exclusion of Tutsi and Hutu of Nduga from
schools and key posts in national leadership positions like during
This discrimination which was institutionalised by the Second
Republic from 1981 was known as “ethnic and regional balance
or quota system”. The system saw Tutsi children excluded from
secondary and tertiary education. This policy also tended to
discriminate against the Hutu from all other parts of the country,
especially the south. These areas were allocated fewer places
in secondary schools and in university, in the national army,
administration and diplomatic service on the basis of ethnic and
regional belonging. The best and numerous positions in all fields
were reserved for the Hutu from the north.
This policy applied in all government institutions was a serious
violation of, especially, the right to education. This culminated into
the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The policy excluded bright
and gifted children just because they were Tutsi.
Enrollment in Public Secondary schools in September 1989 by
In the table above, only three prefectures had their places increased.
These were Gisenyi with + 396 places, Kigali with + 35 places
and Ruhengeri with + 10 places. Other prefectures lost their
available places like Butare which lost 140 places. That shows the
unfairness in the distribution of places in secondary schools and
university due to regionalism and ethnieism. The places reserved
for Tutsi were effectively reduced in each prefecture.
Centralisation of power in the hands of a small group of people
Between 1985 and 1990 most of the leadership positions were
reserved for Hutus. Power was held by elites from the north-west
of the country, in contrast with the pro-southern orientation of the
First Republic. One-third of the 85 most important governmental
positions were given to persons born in the prefecture of Gisenyi.
After ten years of economic growth, the economic crisis and
regional favouritism destabilised the government. Rivalry for posts
increased, power struggles became more fierce, and mafia-type
behaviour and structures thrived. One of the main power centres
was known as the Akazu. It was organised around Agathe Kanziga
— Juvénal Habyarimana’s wife—and her brothers. In April 1988,
the assassination of Colonel Stanislas Mayuya, who was considered
the likely successor of the president, was carried out by this power
Division among Rwandans from the north-west began in the
1980s. It started when two highly regarded senior military officers,
Colonel Alexis Kanyarengwe and Major Théoneste Lizinde were
accused of plotting a coup d’état. Lizinde was accused of killing
some politicians who had served in the First Republic from the
south. This misunderstanding divided the politicians and people
from the north. As a result, political power was monopolised by a
small part of the north-west from Bushiru in the ex-commune of
Karago. Finally, power was concentrated in the hands of President
Habyarimana, his immediate family, and his in-laws. This was
termed Akazu meaning “from one single household”.
Glorification of Habyarimana and dictatorship
As years went by, President Habyarimana started developing a
personality cult. This was done through political mobilisation and
glorification of the President by his political party using animation
and his portrait which appeared everywhere in public and private
In addition to this personality cult, President Habyarimana set up a
dictatorship. There was a single party, the Revolutionary National
Democratic Movement (MRND), and power was concentrated in
the hands of a small group of President Habyarimana’s family. No
single decision could be made whatsoever without the dictator’s
Opposing the return of refugees
In June–July 1986, the Central Committee of MRND, the highest
decision-making body in the Habyarimana regime, examined
the problem of Rwandan refugees scattered around the world,
especially in the neighbouring countries. As a solution, the Central
Committee resolved that the refugees were not to return into the
country. The Central Committee strongly advocated that refugees
should find a way of integrating into their countries of asylum.
According to the Central Committee, Rwanda was overpopulated
and incapable of receiving and accommodating her own people
back. Only those who had the capacity to cater for themselves, it
was decided, should apply individually for consideration to return
It was in that context that they declared that any refugee who
wished to return should show proof of his or her financial capacity
to support himself/herself once allowed to repatriate to Rwanda.
Habyarimana himself advocated that a child of a refugee should
not be called a refugee and so he started negotiations with Uganda
to reintegrate Rwandan refugees. In February 1989, President
Habyarimana established a special commission for refugees’
problems and met Uganda government officials.
This position of President Habyarimana and his government
prompted the refugees to call for an international conference in
Washington in August 1988 in which they rejected this position
and reaffirmed their inalienable right to return to their homeland.
This was one of the causes of the National Liberation War which
sarted on October 1st, 1990.
The year 1962 was marked by the recovery of Rwanda’s
independence. This was preceded by ethnic turmoil from 1959 that
led thousands of Rwandans to become refugees in neighbouring
countries. The First Republic that replaced Belgian colonial rule
failed to reunite Rwandans who had been divided by the colonisers.
Instead, the regimes of Kayibanda and Habyarimana perpetuated
the colonial policy which relied on divisionism.
After the establishment of the First Republic, Rwanda was faced
with many problems. The country was insecure due to the incursions
launched by Inyenzi from neighbouring countries. The response of
Rwandan leaders was the killing of thousands of Tutsi who had
remained in the country. Another major issue was the economic
crisis. At independence, Rwanda had no adequate resources to
insure its financial self-reliance.
Despite these financial limitations, some economic and social
infrastructures such as banks, roads, bridges, schools, and
hospitals were set up by the First Republic. However, due to a
number of factors including the divisions between the Rwandans
from the north and those from south, the domination of the
main administrative posts by the people from Gitarama in the
government of Kayibanda, and insecurity caused by the killing of
the Tutsi who had become the scapegoat in the rivalries between
the Bakiga and Banyenduga, the First Republic was deposed by
Juvénal Habyarimana who set up the Second Republic in 1973.
This regime was not different from that of Kayibanda in the approach
to social relations. Although, it supported unity of the Banyarwanda
in the beginning, later it introduced the policy of ethnic and regional
balance or quota system. This aimed at excluding Tutsi and Hutu
of Nduga from schools and main administrative posts.
The Second Republic registered some achievements. Infrastructure
like roads, football stadiums, bridges, administrative offices, and
Kanombe airport, were built and rehabilitated. Schools, health
centres, and hospitals were also built.
However, the Habyarimana regime was characterised by bad
governance. There was corruption, dictatorship, nepotism,
mismanagement and embezzlement of the public funds, violence
against the opposition and journalists, arbitrary imprisonments, and political assassinations. There was an economic crisis from
1987 onwards, and unwillingness to address the problem of
For all the above problems, the Habyarimana regime was fought
by Rwandan people from both outside and inside the country. The
Rwanda Patriotic Front launched the October 1990 Liberation War
which ended in the removal of the Habyarimana regime in July
Diaspora: the dispersion or spreading of something
that was originally localised (as a people or
language or culture)
Embezzlement: the fraudulent appropriation of funds or
property entrusted to your care but actually
owned by someone else
Intrigues: a crafty and involved plot to achieve your
(usually sinister) ends
Manipulate: influence or control shrewdly or deviously
Nepotism: favouritism shown to relatives or close friends
by those in power (as by giving them jobs)
Quota: a proportional share assigned to each participant
Rift: a personal or social separation (as between
opposing factions, e.g. “they hoped to avoid a
rift in relations”
Scapegoat: someone who is punished for the errors of others
Scattered: occurring or distributed over widely spaced
and irregular intervals in time or space
Status quo: the existing state of affairs
Turmoil: disturbance usually in protest or violent
A. Multiple Choice Questions
1. Before her independence Rwanda was colonised by
c) Germany and Belgium
d) None of these
2. Two senior officers planned a coup d’état against President
Kayibanda but it aborted
a) Biseruka and Kanyarengwe
b) Nsekarije and Simba
c) Nyatanyi and Muramutsa
d) None of these
3. The National University of Rwanda was established in
4. MRND was founded in
5. The quota system was introduced in Rwanda by
a) Lizinde Theoneste
b) President Habyarimana
c) President Kayibanda
d) None of these
B. Fill in the Blanks
1. The post of the president of republic of Rwanda was first given
2. On July 5th 1973, ......................... was overthrown from power in
a coup d’état led by Major General Habyarimana Juvenal.
3. In 1965, the PARMEHUTU won every seat in the National ....
4. Alexis Kanyarengwe was appointed director of the Nyundo .....
5. In 1991, Rwanda signed an agreement with the World Bank to
implement a .................. which led to the devaluation of the
C. Answer True or False
1. President Kayibanda was elected by the parliament for all the
mandates during which he ruled Rwanda.
2. Inyenzi was a name given to an army that attacked Buganda
from Rwanda in 1960s.
3. Rwanda recovered its independence on July 24th, 1961.
4. President Kayibanda was elected for the second mandate in
5. The following roads; Kigali-Gatuna, Kigali-Rusumo, KigaliButare, Ruhengeri-Cyanika were constructed by the First
1. Describe the new political institutions put in place in Rwanda
on the eve of her independence.
2. Evaluate the socio-economic achievements of the First Republic.
3. Account for the methods used by Kayibanda to fight against the
4. Explain why Grégoire Kayibanda failed to unify the Rwandan
5. Assess the economic and social infrastructures built by the
6. Identify the advantages that Rwanda expected from the regional
7. Identify and explain the causes of the economic crisis that hit
the Second Republic of Rwanda from 1987.
8. Explain reasons for the failure of the 1978/1979 education
9. Outline the features of the ethnic and regional balance policy
during the Second Republic?
10.Evaluate the failures of the first and second republics.
11.Examine the factors that led to the downfall of the Kayibanda
and Habyarimana regimes.Unit :1 First and Second Republics of Rwanda
- Unit 2 Genocide Denial and Ideology in Rwanda and AbroadUnit 2 Genocide Denial and Ideology in Rwanda and Abroad
Key unit competence
Explain measures of preventing genocide from happening again in
Rwanda and elsewhere
In 1994, a genocide was perpetrated against the Tutsi. Before,
during and after that genocide, its perpetrators set up ways of
denying it. Even the international community hesitated to consider
the massive killing of the Tutsi as genocide.
Three forms of the denial of genocide against the Tutsi have been
identified: literal genocide denial, interpretative and implicatory
genocide denial. Literal genocide denial consisted of refusal to
accept that Rwanda genocide had taken place. The interpretative
genocide denial aims at saying that in Rwanda there had been
a double genocide. The implicatory genocide denial supports the
opinion that the Rwanda Patriotic Army also participated in the
Genocide denial and genocide ideology are unbearable. The
government of Rwanda set up different strategies to combat it
including law n°18/2008 of 23/07/2008 relating to the punishment of the crime of genocide ideology. At the international level, different
conferences were organised and the problem of genocide, its denial
and ideology were examined in order to search for ways of fighting
Links to other subjects
Conflict transformation in General Studies and Communication
Main points to be covered in this unit
Forms and channels of genocide denial and ideology of genocide
Ways of fighting against different forms and channels of genocide
denial and ideology
Forms and channels of Genocide Denial and Ideology
Define the following concepts: ideology, genocide ideology and
genocide denial. Present the results of your findings to the class.
Carry out research on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and
then discuss different ways used to deny this genocide. Present
the results of your discussion to the class.
Carry out research on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and
then explain the three forms of denial of that genocide. Present
the results of your findings to the class.
Carry out research on the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and
analyse how the banal denial was manifested in Rwanda and
abroad. Present the results of your study to the class.
Conduct a study on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and
demonstrate with examples how the literal genocide denial was
manifested in Rwanda and abroad. Present the results of your
study to the class.
Conduct a research on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi
and show how the interpretative form of genocide denial was
manifested in Rwanda and abroad. Present the results of your
study to the class.
Carry out research on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and
show how the implicatory form of genocide denial manifested
in Rwanda and abroad. Present the results of your findings to
Definition of Concepts
Definition of the terms “ideology”, “genocide ideology” and
Definition of the concept “ideology”
An ideology is an organised collection of ideas. The word ideology
was used in the late 18th century to define a “science of ideas”.
An ideology is a comprehensive vision, or a set of ideas proposed by
the dominant class to all members of a society. The main purpose
behind an ideology is to introduce change in society through a
normative thought process. Ideologies tend to be abstract thoughts
applied to reality and, thus, make this concept unique to politics.
Ideologies are very common in the world of politics and have been
used; for example, to provide guidance and to persuade.
Definition of the concept “genocide ideology”
Genocide ideology is a collection of thoughts characterised
by conduct, speeches, documents and other acts aiming at
exterminating or inciting others to exterminate people basing on
ethnic group, origin, nationality, region, colour, physical appearance,
sex, language, religion or political opinion, committed in normal
periods or during war.
Definition of the term “genocide denial” in Rwanda
Genocide denial is an attempt to deny or minimise statements of
the scale and severity of an incidence of genocide for instance the
denial of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and the holocaust.
Where there is near universal agreement that genocide occurred,
genocide denial is usually considered as a form of illegitimate
historical revisionism. However, in circumstances where the
generally accepted facts do not clearly support the occurrence of
genocide, the use of the term may be an argument by those who
argue that genocide occurred.
Some ways used to deny the 1994 genocide against Tutsi
The minimisation of genocide in any behaviour exhibited publicly
and intentionally in order to reduce the weight or consequences
of the genocide against Tutsi.
Minimising how the genocide was committed.
Altering the truth about the genocide against the Tutsi in order
to hide the truth from the people.
Asserting that there were two genocides in Rwanda: one
committed against the Tutsi and the other against Hutu or
saying there had been acts of mutual killing, etc.
Forms of Genocide Denial and its manifestation
in Rwandan Ssociety and Abroad
In 1994, the Hutu extremists in Rwanda’s government then in
power, planned, organised for and guided through public institutions
genocide against the Tutsi and Hutu opposed to the genocide plan.
Simultaneously, they also organised how after committing it they
could deny it as it happens in all the cases of genocide. This is the
last stage (8th) in the process of genocide. To deny here means
to deny something that was collectively organised and involved
targeted, deliberate killings of specific groups of unarmed civilians
identified on the basis of origin, and usually targeting those with
suspect political loyalties and their relatives.
The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi was committed according
to ‘home-made’ Rwandan plans already underway by as early as
1992 as it has been suggested by the historical and legal record,
of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and of numerous
studies. Since 1994, the genocide denial has taken three main
forms: Literal genocide denial, interpretative and implicatory
genocide denial. In the case of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi,
all these three forms of genocide denial are more or less linked to
Literal genocide denial involves negating the facts of genocide,
silencing talk of genocidal plans and killings. Literal denial becomes
harder to sustain once evidence emerges that genocide plans
were made and executed right across Rwanda. Following this,
interpretative genocide denial reframes or relabels, the events of
the genocide, viewing them as part and parcel of civil war, rather
than genocide. Subsequently, implicatory genocide denial becomes
prevalent, and involves explicit counter-accusations that genocide
was planned by those previously viewed as saving the victims. The
Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) government is thus accused of
planning genocide, not only in Rwanda but also in eastern Congo,
now Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A double genocide
thesis is part of both the interpretative and implicatory forms of
genocide denial. All the three forms of denial tend to reinforce two
parallel and mutually incompatible accounts of the 1994 genocide
against the Tutsi, of the past, and tend to further polarise political
and public opinion, reinforcing divisions over the past, present and
future direction of the country.
This kind of denial is manifested through the films in which French
soldiers seen rescuing, Belgian or French missionaries refuse to do
so towards the thousands of Tutsi that were being killed. These
powerful film sequences convey one key quality of everyday denial
in the sense that rescuing the expatriates while abandoning the
Tutsi to their killers constitutes one of the very flagrant aspects of
the genocide denial.
Some researchers like Freud have demonstrated that some forms
of silence or fantasy serve to protect an individual’s ego from
deep-rooted fears and memories, including from memories of
trauma. Denial in this every day, individual sense signals the failure
to accept reality, but also has a certain logic since it makes escape
during a psychologically impossible situation possible. Some
interpersonal forms of denial thus appear normal psychological
responses to abnormal situations.
The soldier’s turning up the music is an example of banal denial;
his being under orders to save only non-Rwandans, and white
expatriates in particular, is something else; it is collective denial.
In a wider sense, the term ‘denial’ refers to something societywide, something organised. In collective forms of denial, like
genocide denial, individual, more banal responses through denial
may also be instrumentalised.
Another scholar, Cohen, focuses rather on how to analyse social and
collectively organised forms of denial, of which genocide denial is
a prime example. He suggests that when entire societies, including
governments, and social groups, move to ignore past atrocities, to
minimise the significance of human suffering, then this constitutes
collective denial, and can even involve official denial by the state.
Collective genocide denial has serious long-term consequences for
criminal justice which cannot be equated with more banal forms of
individual denial, analysed by Freud as coping mechanisms. Whilst
genocide denial has both individual and collective manifestations
even before the genocide became reality, denial of its true purpose
can be shown to be part and parcel of the logic of extremist Hutu
power political ideology, at least from 1990, and perhaps even
from the time of the first attacks on the Tutsi in 1959,with Belgian
Through a set of historical spirals of conflicting claims about which
group is the original, real or ultimate victim, these three broad
forms of genocide denial can however be roughly equated with
three broad phases of recent Rwandan history.
Although literal denial was predominant in the early post-genocide
years in Rwanda, it has not yet disappeared. Literal denial involves
either the full intention to deceive or forms of self-deception that
result in disbelief, silence or claiming not to know.
Knowledge may be directly denied, sometimes even in the face of
clear evidence to the contrary. Silence, indifference and treating
evidence as if it does not merit serious consideration, are all
strategies of literal genocide denial.
Literal genocide denial was mainly confined to the private sphere
during the early post-genocide years. It still appears in some
research, in internet blogs, and among the lawyers of those accused
of genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Arguably, this becomes the dominant form of genocide
denial in post-genocide Rwanda. Interpretative genocide
denial involves re-categorising evidence that is established,
and goes beyond negating, ignoring or silencing talk of
genocide. Higher moral goals are often invoked in cases
of interpretative denial, such as: revolutionary struggle,
ethnic purity, western civilisation’, or in the case of Rwanda,
legitimate self-defence and a striving for ethnic-based selfdetermination.
Interpretative genocide denial involves use of euphemisms, and the
relativising of atrocities by one’s own side as an understandable
response to the threat of the ‘other side.’ Like literal genocide
denial, interpretative genocide denial can form part of international
scholarly discourse, or be part of public popular opinion. In the
media, the most common expression of interpretative denial was
to present the genocide of Tutsi as simply part of a wider ‘civil war’
of all against all, rather than a targeted genocide.
This third form of genocide denial consists of retaliatory counteraccusations, and explicit justification for one’s position, through
anticipatory counter–accusation against the other party.
Implicatory genocide denial has been aimed at restoring a sense of
self-worth among those accused of genocide crimes. By claiming,
for example, that the Rwanda Patriotic Front really started the
genocide themselves, by shooting down the plane carrying the
presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on 6 April 1994, implicatory
genocide denial tries to prove that if genocide was committed, it
was not by those accused but by the ‘other side’ in a civil war.
The aim is also to exonerate all atrocities and lay the blame on
others. In implicatory denial, the other side is always guilty of lies,
propaganda, ideology, disinformation or prejudice, and thus of
triggering the genocide.
Those accusing the RPF in this way seek to exonerate themselves
from any responsibility for genocide themselves. Implicatory denial
has arisen mainly since 2003, and mainly through legal institutions
in France and Spain, and on internet sites of the political opposition
to the Rwanda Patriotic Front. In more details, each of these three
basic forms of genocide denial can be presented.
Literal denial 1994–1998
At first, silence was the most common form of literal genocide
denial. Silence remains salient well after the initial post-genocide
years, sometimes in a surprising crude fashion. At a conference organised at the Peace Palace in The Hague, on Peace and Stability
in the Great Lakes Region, silence of this kind was evident.
Up to the late 1994s, during scholarly conferences, in various
academic journals, in the media, and elsewhere, the events of April
to July 1994 were still called a civil war, ethnic massacres or other
terms that avoided use of the of the word “genocide”. Those who
termed it genocide were still in a minority at that time, and were
even claimed to be propagating a genocide myth.
Transitional government members mostly stuck to the literal denial
narrative of the April–July 1994 period. They even claimed to have
done nothing wrong, and that most of those killed were Hutu, killed
by the ‘ethnic’ enemy, the Rwanda Patriotic Army.
This literal genocide denial was in line with the ideology that
Hutu power ideologies represented the heroic little men against
a cunning enemy, the Tutsi, who it was claimed were determined
to slaughter every last Hutu man, woman and child. Killings
were presented as mostly spontaneous, to centuries of feudal
oppression by Tutsi overlords. Literal denial was evident during the
early years of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in the
accounts used by defence lawyers. Genocide was thus transformed
into something else—killings based on mutual and long-standing
ethnic hatred, or ancient rivalries of clans and castes. The fact that
genocide had been planned well in advance was denied, and so
it could be claimed that the killings were just killings, and not a
deliberate genocide of a minority, the Tutsi.
In 1997 one organisation, called Africa Direct, organised a
conference in London entitled ‘The Great Genocide Debate’.
The programme and presenters suggested that since there were
massacres on ‘all sides’ in Rwanda in 1994, this was a civil war
and not genocide. Aidan Campbell, in the now defunct Trotskyist
magazine, Living Marxism, claimed this too.
At the same time Luc de Temmerman, the Belgian defence lawyer
of some leading genocide suspects at the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda, simply claimed: “…there was no genocide.
It was a situation of mass killings in a state of war, everyone was
killing their enemies”.
This civil war thesis was common in the media too, especially
in the early post-genocide years. The situation changed when the former minister Jean Kambanda set a historical precedent being
the first accused person to acknowledge and affirm his guilt for
the crime of genocide before an international criminal tribunal. He
therefore became the first political leader to take responsibility for
the deliberate planning of genocide, and for its implementation.
Although he much later appealed, this was a turning point and
marked an end to widespread individual literal denial among
perpetrators, who would now find it much harder to sustain
silence in the face of such a senior administrators’ admissions of
responsibility. As head of the provisional government, his guilty
plea departed from the prevalence of literal genocide denial among
the others appearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda at that time.
Through the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, a
broadly-shared legal and academic consensus emerged that
genocide had indeed taken place in Rwanda, and was targeted
against the Tutsi population and those who supported them. The
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda proceedings, from each
region of the country, witness and expert testimony soon filtered
into academic research, and literal genocide denial started to be
challenged and gradually gave way to more subtle, interpretative
forms of genocide denial after 1998 or so. Since then, it was
obvious to most impartial observers, to most legal experts and to
emerging historians of the genocide period to conclude that what
happened in Rwanda in 1994 was the intent to destroy the Tutsi
as a people.
The historical evidence of genocide was thus overwhelming, and
the one-sided killings of April 6–July 1994 within Rwanda started
to be widely referred to as genocide.
In response, a gradual shift took place from literal to more
interpretative forms of genocide denial. These started with the
familiar argument that this was not one-sided genocide but twosided civil war,
an argument later developed into the so-called double genocide thesis.
Interpretative denial 1998–2003
Civil war in Rwanda as elsewhere provides a convenient cover for
one-sided genocide to be planned and implemented. In the case
of Rwanda, the evidence is that the machinery of genocide was geared around targeted killings well before 6 April 1994, when
killings started, triggered by the shooting down of the president’s
Interpretative denial involves distancing, and sometimes even
victim-blaming, as in this statement to an African Rights
researcher: “It wasn’t genocide, but rather a civil war. The people
defended themselves. It was bad luck if you were Tutsi because it
meant certain death, and therefore you were eliminated”.
Several key elements of interpretative denial appear in this single
statement. First, the speaker regards genocide as simply part of
war and claims those who died were not targeted but were simply
The general effect of his words is to suggest that perpetrators were
not responsible for the outcome of the killings of the unfortunate
victims. Interpretative genocide denial can thus appear to
render victims responsible for their own deaths.
The statement shows how literal denial says it was not genocide.
For instance, Rene Lemarchand has claimed that the genocide
against the Tutsi was a retributive genocide, a punishment for past
atrocities committed by the Tutsi elsewhere. However, in that case,
he is viewing motivations for genocide as somehow genuine causes.
The double genocide thesis goes further than the civil war argument,
and moves from interpretative towards more implicatory forms
of genocide denial. The double genocide thesis is not supported
by empirical evidence about patterns of killings inside Rwanda
between April and July 1994. Verwimp’s study, for example,
confirms that killings in Rwanda during this period fitted with
the definition of genocide as an organised, systematic attempt to
eliminate a specific and targeted population.
Interpreting data in order to ‘prove’ the double genocide thesis is part
of interpretative genocide denial, therefore. And such accusations
of double genocide started even before the genocide began. In fact,
there is no doubt that genocide denial has been a political weapon
of perpetrators even before the genocide against the Tutsi took place
in 1994. Legal instruments alone are not enough to tackle genocide
denial, and yet such instruments also can be instrumentalised
in a highly polarised political climate when open criticism and
implicatory denial may, from some angles, look surprisingly similar.
Some scholars suggest that marked social conflicts between classes
and castes were not invented by European colonisers, and were
already firmly embedded into Rwanda’s pre-colonial social fabric.
Implicatory denial: 2003 onwards
Implicatory denial explicitly accuses the other of being behind
the genocide all along and thus seeks to lay the blame on others
instead of those already accused of genocide. Implicatory denial
turns around the existing legal and political accusations of victims,
prosecutors and researchers, and suggests that those who claimed
to end the genocide and to support victims of genocide are in reality
perpetrators of genocide themselves.
The general message is that things are not always what they seem,
a message conveyed by theories that the Rwanda Patriotic Front
was involved in a conspiracy at the start of the genocide. At an
individual level, a perpetrator engaged in this kind of implicatory
denial claims the survivors associations only exist to persecute the
Hutu in general, and the prisoners in particular.
Implicatory denial thus involves accusing victims in some cases,
and the Rwanda Patriotic Front government in other cases, of being
the real perpetrators behind the scenes.
Ways of Fighting Against Different Forms and channels
of Genocide Denial and Ideology
Conduct research on the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and
discuss different ways that have been proposed to fight against
the different forms and channels of genocide denial and ideology
at the African level. Present the results of your discussion to the
Conduct research on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and
debate the different ways that had been proposed to fight
against the different forms and channels of genocide denial and
ideology at national level. Present the results of your findings
to the class.
At African level
Before speaking of the strategies or ways of fighting against the
different forms and channels of genocide denial and ideology, it is
essential to reflect on the real or perceived causes of genocide. In
fact, the perceived or real causes of genocide provide the foundation
for the peddling of genocide ideology by extremists in our society.
What then is genocide ideology? Whether genocide is an actual
ideology or not is debatable but it is certainly a developing stream
of ideas rooted in fear and thirst for power usually in the context
of a history where the people are of different origin. Genocide is
an extermination or destruction of the other who has been part
of a whole but is now being separated and targeted as an enemy
(and man’s spontaneous reaction to the enemy, as we have learnt
through history, is to eliminate the enemy).
So the genocide ideology begins with the process of identification
and stigmatisation of the ‘other’ that is, labelling of the ‘other’
and eventually the separation of the ‘other’ from the rest of ‘us’.
The cumulative process of segregation of the ‘other’ is initiated
by the political leadership and disseminated through various
means including addressing the public at political rallies, teaching
students at schools, universities and other institutions of learning
and indoctrinating the general public including party militants
through the radio and television broadcasts and dissemination of
disinformation and propaganda through print and electronic media.
The ‘other’ is presented by ‘us’ as dangerous, unreliable, and, like
a dangerous virus, must be destroyed.
The separation of ‘us’ from the ‘other’ or ‘them’ is through racial or
ethnic segregation which may then result in internment, lynching,
proscription or exile. The process of separation begins when political
leaders start to brand a section of their own population as the
‘other’, ‘these people’, ‘enemy of the state’, ‘enemy of the people’, ‘security risk’, ‘rebel sympathiser’, ‘accomplice’, ‘cockroaches’
‘Inyenzi’, or similar derogatory remarks. Cultural or racial branding
like ‘atheist’, ‘communist’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Christian’ or ‘white’, ‘black’ or
‘Arab’ have also been known to have been used. The result of the
separation of ‘us’ from the ‘other’ by the political leadership is the
process through which genocide ideology evolves.
These examples of the early warning signals at the formative
stages of genocide ideology are not exhaustive. Extremists are very
resourceful people and are constantly inventing new ways and
vocabularies for identifying, stigmatising and dehumanising the
‘other’. Once the ‘other’ is sufficiently stigmatised and dehumanised,
it becomes easy, and even necessary for ‘us’ to massacre ‘them’
without any sense of guilt or remorse. Every African will recognise
some or all of these processes either in their own national histories
Yet, it is not possible to construct the ‘other’ before establishing the
identity of the ‘us’. The political leadership ensures that the public
understands that the ‘us’ is more superior, intelligent and deserving
of a better life, with higher dignity and respect than the useless and
backward ‘others’. How can the law then deal with such situations
and discourage or prevent the use of political demagoguery?
It is important to understand how the ‘ideology’ of genocide becomes
part of the dominant discourse of a society where the ‘other’ is
terrorised by the ‘us’ into silence. The hand of the state is never
far from any genocide or mass killings. The state plays a major
role, either as active participant or silent supporter, accomplice
or collaborator. To commit the crime of genocide, considering the
scope and magnitude of mass murder that is required for it, also
needs a monopoly of arms, of propaganda, of terror, of resources
and of power. Only the state in modern history possesses such
resources. To that extent, without the participation, complicity,
collaboration or corroboration of the state, it is most unlikely
that any group of individuals can commit the crime of genocide.
Crimes of genocide have, in the past, been committed when the
state refuses, declines or fails to meet its responsibility under both
national and international law.
The first duty of the state is to protect its entire citizenry without
discrimination. Genocide or mass killing is either a failure of
the state in the sense of an omission to protect or it is an act of the state as in commission of genocide and other crimes
against humanity. However, as demonstrated at the International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, the participating citizenry
is not entirely blameless either. The active participation of the
Interahamwe (comprised not of drunken ill-disciplined men but
of highly politicised, well-trained, armed youth responsive to the
interim government’s demands) in the Rwanda genocide is well
The challenge of the law must be the establishment, through
active parliamentary law or judicial law making, of laws and
decisions that address the complex circumstances that permit
ordinary people to turn against each other in mass killing sprees,
and to identify mechanisms for acting on early warning signals
to emerging discrimination and discriminatory practices of the
state and its functionaries as well as the people themselves. Good
governance demands that states’ have a ‘Best Practice’ standard
operating procedure to which all member states of the African
Union must comply with the possibility of effective sanctions for
After the Second World War the international community
recognised the dangers of these practices and adopted laws to
prevent the development of a genocide ideology. However, after
Europe’s pogroms, genocides and holocausts against each other
and against the people they had colonised, they adopted the 1948
Genocide Convention but not much appeared to have changed as
is demonstrated by mass killings in the former Yugoslavia.
For Africa, if the experiences of Rwanda, Darfur, Liberia, Sierra
Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo or Somalia are anything
to go by, then Africa has a long way to go notwithstanding that the
law has a definition for genocide.
Africans must also sit down and agree to stop killing one other. At
the street level, the discourse on the subject by ordinary citizens
is at a different level. It is wrapped in the grasp of ‘victimhood’,
packaged by the finery of racial, ethnic, religious and geographical
trimmings. It is propelled by talk of ‘marginalisation’, ‘ethnic, racial
or religious discrimination’, of ‘lack of equal access to the national
cake’. It speaks the language of power and counter-force, through
legal as well as undemocratic and unlawful means. It is this arena
of discourse that the state must seriously address.
What politicians say to the people, what professional and civil
society leaders interpret from the actions of political leaders, what
idioms and sound-bytes the media exploits and what language
religious and cultural leaders utilise in sensitising people about
the dangers of targeting and segregation of the ‘other’ should be
the stuff of concern to African leaders – both political and civic.
The lessons of Rwanda relate to ensuring that all Africans do not
have to undergo pogroms in order to emerge from the fire of sociopolitical change.
Besides, countries have to adopt the good governance and anticorruption principles. What socio-legal, political and cultural
mechanisms should also be adopted to further promote unity a life
that is, at the very least, in consonance with human dignity.
Ethnicity will not disappear anytime soon in Africa given our racist
colonial history, and the selective rewarding of a few against the
interests of the majority.
There is an on-going challenge with privatisation, globalisation,
and death of socialism and shunning of socialist ideals, the
marginalisation of egalitarian ideas rooted in social worth and
equity and the rejection of most African customs, values and family
structures. These factors have exacerbated or halted prompt and
effective response to genocide ideology.
These differences, including focusing on individual rather than
group rights, have been taken to an extreme length, resulting in
breeding segregationist ideals leading to power struggles, coups,
election rigging and denial of political space to the ‘other’ as the
‘us’ continues to monopolise state power and the means of inflicting
violence on the ‘other’.
Continued control of state power using all means necessary
often results in an acute politicisation of ethnicity and the rise of
repression on the one hand and resistance on the other. The signs
are always there for the keen observer to notice. When political
and military leaders begin to address a section of society as
cockroaches, pigs, criminals, backward elements, and biological
substance, it is important that these utterances are taken seriously
as warning signs suggesting that part of the population is being
classified as the ‘other’.
These express classifications are a prelude to genocide, signifying
that genocide is being gradually implanted in the minds of the
unsuspecting population. Left to continue unabated, unchallenged
and unrestrained, this behaviour will snowball into a fully-fledged
In view of the human rights jurisprudence read together with the
jurisprudence developed at the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda, International Criminal Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia and
Special Court for Sierra Leone, the courts should take greater
liberty in interpretation of social policies, read into legislation the
requirement for social justice and re-interpret law in consonance
with social equity and fair distribution of natural and other resources
in order to counter the development of genocidal ideologies.
Efficient nation building and the treatment of citizens on an equal,
fair and non discriminatory basis, the essence of good governance,
is a positive counter mechanism to the rise of segregationist ideas.
All ethnic groups in a state should in theory and practice feel
represented in government and other state institutions. Loyalty
must be to the state and not to particular ethnic groups or only
to governments of the day simply because the leadership of that
government is military. Leaders must therefore treat their citizens
in a manner that they themselves would wish to be treated after
they have left office.
Abuse of judicial process by prosecuting the ‘other’, or opposition
leaders or former heads of state without sufficient evidence or
reasonable cause undermine efforts to fight genocide ideology.
Governments have to make efforts to eradicate such bad practice.
It is also important and necessary to domesticate decisions and
judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In
fact, knowledge of conditions that lead to genocide is helpful
and can be used to fight genocide ideology. It is our collective
responsibility to ensure that at the national level, the jurisprudence
of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is understood and
used as one of the tools for effectively fighting genocide ideology.
African governments must recognise the state’s internal propensity
for abuse of the monopoly of power and its use against the people.
To counter this inherent difficulty, it is suggested that constitutions
of different countries and their laws establish adequate and selfmanaging monitoring and checking mechanisms that act as an
early warning system to the rise of a genocidal ideology or any
other tendency that can lead to crimes against humanity. Such
a system, with the assistance and support of the African Union
for example, should incorporate within it independent institutions
through which the citizens can intervene to raise the alarm against
segregation and targeting of a section of the population as the
The African judiciary must be equipped with additional powers
to interpret and restrain actual or potential mischief brewing in
the society. African states would benefit by creating propaganda
mechanism aimed at warning the people that state functionaries
can also become monsters.
Such self-governing mechanisms arouse citizen consciousness
to remain vigilant against the self as well as against others who
profit from death and destruction. Domesticating international
jurisprudence taken from African situations like Rwanda, Sudan,
Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone, to name but
a few, and establishing national and regional policies, with laws
against hate speech, anti-discriminatory behaviour, for equitable
measures in resource allocations, checking of abuse of power,
controlling ethnic, religious or other segregationist mass social
arrangements is perhaps one of the best ways of telling ourselves
At national level
The law related to the punishment of the crime of genocide ideology
has to be applied not only to punish but also to discourage all
the persons in Rwanda found guilty with the crime of genocide
Apart from punishing, a campaign of sensitisation has to be led
to educate the Rwandans about the evils of the genocide ideology
and denial and the negative impact on the policy of the unity and
reconciliation, the pillar of the development of the country.
Rwandan and foreign scholars have also to write to combat
genocide ideology and denial spread in different written documents
like the media of different types, books, and internet.
The decent conservation of existent genocide memorials of the
genocide against the Tutsi and the construction of others will
constitute a permanent evidence to challenge the revisionists of
the genocide against Tutsi.
Recognising the massive killing of the Tutsi as genocide was not
easy. Main perpetrators of the genocide planned before hand how
to deny that they had prepared for a genocide against the Tutsi.
Three forms of genocide denial had been used in most cases.
The first form, the literal genocide denial involved negating the facts
of genocide, silencing talk of genocidal plans and killings. Literal
denial has been combated by showing evidence which proved that
genocide had been planned and was executed right across Rwanda.
The second form, interpretative genocide denial viewed the
events of the genocide as a civil war, rather than genocide,
whereas the implicatory genocide denial advanced the idea that
the genocide was planned by those previously seen as saving the
victims. Therefore, the Rwanda Patriotic Front government was
accused of having planned the genocide, not only in Rwanda but
also in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The thesis of a
double genocide was also part of the interpretative and implicatory
forms of genocide denial.
All these forms of the genocide denial were fought and the
international community finally accepted that in Rwanda a genocide
had been committed against the Tutsi in 1994. Testimonies given
and confessions made by the prisoners at the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda at Arusha played a great role in this struggle
against genocide denial.
However, even if the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi has been
recognised as such, there are still many people who still deny
it. Different ways of fighting genocide denial and ideology have
been proposed at the African and national levels. These include
the respect of international conventions, adoption of the good
governance and anti-corruption principles and establishment of
related institutions, and the punishment of the crime of genocide
Banal: repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
Discourse: extended verbal expression in speech or writing
Fantasy: fiction with a large amount of imagination in it
Inconsonance: a state which is characterised by the absence
Indoctrinating: teach doctrines (a belief or system of beliefs)
accepted as authoritative by some group or
school; teach uncritically
Internment: the act of confining someone in a prison (or as
if in a prison)
Labelling: assign a label to; designate with a label (mark)
Lynching: putting a person to death by mob action
without due process of law
Plea: (law) a defendant’s answer by a factual matter
Pogrom: organised persecution of an ethnic group
Spree: a brief indulgence of your impulses, a period of
activity, especially a criminal activity
Trigger: put in motion or move to act
1. Define the following terms: genocide denial, genocide ideology
2. Describe different forms of genocide denial that have been
manifested in Rwanda and outside the country.
3. What are the strategies adopted by the government of Rwanda
to fight the genocide denial and ideology.
4. Find out, what the African community has already done to
prevent genocide denial and ideology from spreading.Unit 2 Genocide Denial and Ideology in Rwanda and Abroad
- Unit 3: Origin of Islam and its Impact in West AfricaUnit 3: Origin of Islam and its Impact in West Africa
Key unit competence
Explain the origin of Islam, its role in the expansion of West African
empires and its impact
Islam was founded by Muhammad Ibn Abdullah in Saudi Arabia in
622 ad. Islam is a monotheist religion and its followers are called
Muslims. This religion has five pillars: charity to the poor, fasting
during Ramadhan, making a pilgrimage to Mecca, praying five
times a day, and cleanliness.
Islam was spread in Asia before being imposed on the people of
North Africa by Arabs between 639 and 708 ad. From this region,
Islam spread to West Africa. Different methods were used to spread
Islam. These included the Trans Saharan Trade and jihads. The
spread of Islam was influenced by religious fanatics and commercial
In West Africa, jihads mainly aimed at purifying Islam and
converting the pagans. At the end of the jihads, immense regions
of West Africa were transformed into Muslim empires and were
ruled according to the Sharia.
Links to other subjects
Migration in Geography, wars and conflicts in General Studies and
Communication Skills, commercial relations in Economics
Main points to be covered in this unit
Origin of Islam
Role of Islam in the expansion of empires of West Africa
Spread of Islamic civilisation and its effects
Causes and consequences of Jihad movements
Role of Islam in the expansion of empires in West Africa
Spread of Islamic civilisation and its effects
Causes of jihad movements
Examples of jihad leaders
Consequences of jihad movements
Birth of Islam and its Spread in West Africa
Carry out research on the origins of Islam and answer the
following questions. Present results of your findings to the class.
1. Locate on a map the two main cities of Medina and Mecca.
2. Explain the following terms: Islam and Muslim.
3. Who is the founder of Islam?
4. Describe the childhood of the founder of Islam.
Carry out research on the founding of Islam and answer the
following questions. Present the results of your findings to the
1. Who was Khadijah?
2. Describe the main events in the founding of Islam.
3. Explain the following terms: Hegira, Kaaba and Caliph.
Carry out research on the Koran and pillars of faith and answer
the following questions. Present the results of your findings to
1. Explain each of the five pillars of Islam.
2. List down the other obligations of Muslims.
3. Explain the following terms; Koran, Sura.
4. Identify the role played by angel Gabriel in the founding of
Carry out research on the spread of Islam and answer the
following questions. Present the results of your study to the
1. Which methods did the followers of Muhammad use to
2. List down the regions that were conquered by Muslims up
to the 15th century.
Examine the factors that favoured the Arabs in their conquests.
Present the results of your findings to the class.
Conduct research on the spread of Islam in West Africa. Present
the results of your findings to the class.
Conduct research on the first five methods that were used in
the spread of Islam in West Africa. Present the results of your
findings to the class.
Conduct research on the effects of the spread of Islam in West
Africa. Present the results of your findings to the class.
Origin of Islam
The religion of Islam started in Saudi Arabia in the Middle East
in 622 ad. The word Islam means the act of submitting, or giving
oneself over, to God (Allah); the followers of Islam are called
Muslims, which means believers.
Islam was founded by an Arab merchant named Muhammad Ibn
Abdullah. He came to be known as the Prophet of Allah or God.
Muhammad the founder of Islam
In 571 ad, a child named Muhammad was born to a poor widow
in Mecca. When he was six, his mother died and he went to live
with his poor uncle. He worked as a camel driver when he reached
his teens. At the age of 25, he married a rich 40 year old widow
named Khadijah, who ran a rich caravan.
According to Islam, the prophet Muhammad received many divine
revelations during his life. These revelations were written down and
together make up the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.
Muhammad was very successful in the caravan business. Then
he became troubled by the drinking, gambling and corruption in
Mecca. He began to spend a lot of time alone in a cave on a hillside
outside the city. There, he thought and fasted and he decided that
all the Meccans had been led to evil by their belief in false gods.
He concluded that there was only one God, Allah, the same God as
the God of the Jews and Christians.
In 610 ad, when he was about 39 years old, Muhammad had
a revelation or vision. In 613 he began to preach to the people
of Mecca, telling them that the only God was the all-powerful
Allah before whom all believers were equal. In 620, Muhammad
preached to a group of pilgrims from Yatrib. They invited him to
come to Yatrib and be their leader.
The al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, holds the holiest
shrine of Islam, the Kaaba. As the birthplace of Islam’s founder,
the Prophet Muhammad, Mecca is considered as a holy city. It is
a pilgrimage point for Muslims worldwide, who are expected to
visit the city at least once in there life if they are able to do so.
During the summer of 622 several hundred of Muhammad’s
followers fled from Mecca to Yatrib. The year 622, called Anno
Hegira or “The year of the Flight”, became the first year of the
Muslim calendar. Yatrib became Medina al Munawara, the City of
the Prophet. From Medina, Muslims launched attacks on Meccan
caravans and defeated the Meccans in battle. Finally, in 630,
Muhammad returned in triumph to Mecca where he destroyed the
idols in the Kaaba and dedicated the black stone to Allah.
Medina, in western Saudi Arabia, is a sacred city that only Muslims
are permitted to visit. The Prophet Muhammad took refuge in
Medina after fleeing Mecca in 622 ad, and the city’s numerous
mosques remain a destination for large numbers of Muslims on
their annual pilgrimage. The income derived from visiting pilgrims
forms the basis of Medina’s economy.
In 632 ad, after 10 years, Muhammad fell ill and died. He was
succeeded by a leader called Khalifa or Caliph, successor. The first
Khalifa was Abu Bakar, Muhammad’s father – in-law. The Khalifa ruled
from Medina. Mecca in Saudi Arabia became the holy city of Islam.
Koran and Pillars of faith
The heart of Islam is the Koran (Qur’an) or Muslim holy scriptures.
Muslims believe it was directly revealed to Muslims by Allah. The
Koran is written in Arabic, and consists of 114 chapter, called
Suras. Each chapter is divided into verses called Ayat (singular Aya
which means sign or proof). It contains stories, legends, philosophy,
and the advice given to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel.
This beautifully decorated page comes from a Qur’an of the late
8th Century or early 9th Century. Muslims believe that the Qur’an
is an infallible transcription of God’s message to Muhammad.
As the messenger of God and seal of the prophets, Muhammad
was charged with the responsibility of relaying this message to
all believers. Divided into 114 suras, or chapters, the Qur’an is
meant to be recited or chanted as part of Islamic worship.
The Koran identifies the basic beliefs of Islam and tells how good
Muslims should live. It describes the pillars of faith, or the five
duties all Muslims must fulfill.
1. The confession of faith (shahada), “There is no god but God,
Muhammad is the messenger of God, Allah” (La ilala illa Allah;
Muhammadun rasulu Allah).
2. To pray five times a day while facing Mecca at dawn, noon, late
afternoon, sunset and evening (salat).
3. To give charity to the poor (zakat)
4. To fast from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of
5. To do pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca two months after Ramadhan.
Every able bodied Muslim is obliged to make pilgrimage to
Mecca, at least once in their lifetime.
Spread of Islam
When Muhammad died in 632, his followers needed a new leader.
A group of Muslims chose a new leader whom they called Khalifa.
The first Khalifa was Abu Bakar and the next three Khalifas were
elected for life. They kept in close touch with the people and took
advice from their most trusted friends.
For this reason, they were called the Rightly Guided Caliphs. They
honoured Muhammad’s wish to carry the word of God to other people.
They did this by fighting jihads or holy wars, against infidels or non
believers. They sent Muslims warriors into Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia,
Egypt, North Africa and south Europe; and conquered them.
In the 7th and 8th centuries, the religion of Islam spread through
conversion and military conquest throughout the Middle East and
North Africa. By 733, just 100 years after the death of Muhammad,
the Islamic state stretched from India in the east to Spain in the
Their conquest of Spain brought them into Europe. They advanced
into France where they were defeated at Tours in 732 by
Charlemagne, the king of the Franks.
In Spain, the Muslims established their own society at Cordoba and
Granada. But these communities were conquered by Christians in
The Arabs were successful in their conquests for many reasons:
Islam, as their religion, united them.
They believed those who died while fighting infidels went to
paradise, which encouraged them to fight so hard.
The Arabs were fearless fighters and were led by strong leaders.
Their leaders planned and carried out surprise attacks on their
They were skilled in fighting using camels and horses.
They promised protection to the people who surrendered without
a fight and allowed them to keep their land.
Spread of Islam in West Africa
Carry out research on the methods used to spread Islam in
West Africa. Present the results of your discussion to the class.
Analyse the first five effects of the spread of Islam in West
Africa. Present the results of your analysis to the class.
Analyse the last five effects of the spread of Islam in West
Africa. Present the results of your analysis to the class.
Carry out research on jihad movements in West Africa and
answer the following questions. Present the results of your
research to the class.
1. What is a jihad?
2. Which regions of West Africa experienced jihads?
3. Who were the main jihad leaders in West Africa?
4. Discuss the main causes of the jihad movements in West
Examine the reasons why Uthman Dan Fodio declared a jihad in
Hausaland. Present the results of your study to the class.
Conduct research on the jihad movements in West Africa and
describe the course of the jihad fought by Uthman Dan Fodio
in Hausaland. Present the results of your findings to the class.
Conduct research on jihad movements in West Africa and
comment on the life of Al Hajj Umar before his jihads. Present
the results of your research to the class.
Conduct research on jihad movements in West Africa and
analyse the reasons that encouraged Al Hajj Umar to declare
a jihad on infidels in the Sudan. Present the results of your
research to the class.
Conduct research on the reasons for the success of jihads in
West Africa. Present the results of your findings to the class.
Carry out research on the consequences of jihads in West
Africa. Present the results of your findings to the class.
Islam started slowly in Arabia and later spread to other parts of
the world including the African continent. It first spread in North
Africa by about the 14th century. By 1850, it had spread to most parts of West Africa through the early trade contacts between the
Arabs and the Berbers and the Turkish occupation of North and
Methods used in the spread of Islam in West Africa
Islam spread in West Africa in the 19th century through both
peaceful means and by force (jihads). The following methods were
Commercial activities: Trade between North Africa and West
Africa involved the Berbers who were Muslims. They converted
the West Africans to Islam. This trade is also known as the
Trans Saharan Trade. Sahara refers to Dar-Al-Islam, meaning
the country of Islam.
Migration: Due to hot climate, some communities from North
Africa and the Sahara migrated to western Sudan and the forest
region of West Africa e.g. the Berbers, the Wolof, the Serere and
the Fulani who were mainly Muslims. They integrated with the
people of West Africa who also joined Islam.
Muslim missionaries: Muslim fanatics came to West Africa
to convert people to Islam through preaching and building
mosques. For example, a Creole missionary Muhammad Shita
converted many people and built mosques in Freetown, Furah
Bay and Lagos.
Education: Muslim schools were built in West Africa and many
Arab scholars arrived to teach Islamic principles to the children
of West Africa who eventually converted to the faith.
Conversion of local leaders: Some African kings and chiefs who
joined Islam encouraged their subjects to convert. Those who
got interested in leadership joined Islam as a symbol of loyalty.
Jihads: Muslim fanatics declared a holy war in order to reform
Islam which was declining in the region e.g. the Fulani jihads in
Hausaland, Macina, Tukolar, and the Mandika Empire etc.
Prestige: Those who made pilgrimages to Mecca came back
with wealth, and new ideas. They were considered heroes in
their communities. This inspired others to convert in order to
enjoy such status.
Muslim solidarity: Islam was based on the simple theology of
brotherhood which won the admiration of other non-Muslims
who joined in order to be integrated into the society by sharing
the brotherhood in problems and happiness.
Similarity with African culture: Islam tolerated similar African
practices. It accepted polygamy, discourage immorality and it
also tolerated traditional African religion.
Oppression from African leaders: People from the Hausa states
faced a lot of oppression and brutality from their leaders. They
decided to join the jihad movements, hence they voluntarily
accepted Islam faith.
Effects of the spread of Islam in West Africa
The spread of Islam affected West Africa as follows:
The rulers who undertook pilgrimages to Mecca brought with
them technology and scholars from the Muslim world. These
influenced and changed the political, economic and social life
in West Africa.
Many people abandoned their traditional ways and adopted
Islamic practices such as attending Juma prayers, fasting and
pilgrimages to Mecca.
Islam introduced literacy as well as Islamic education; for
example, Arabic language and scripts were taught. As a result
the cities of the Niger became great centres of learning, e.g.
Islam helped to unite empires with different tribes, culture,
language and customs. Different ethnic groups united under one
The leaders employed educated Muslims such as secretaries,
administrators and judges. These were conversant with Arabic
writing and reading.
The coming of Islam increased and strengthened trade links
between West and North Africa; the Arab World and Europe.
Islam gave rise to the growth of small states which developed
into large empires which used the Islamic system of government
The Sharia was law introduced into West African states.
It discouraged slave trade among Muslims in West African states
though in western Sudan it encouraged slavery.
It affected African culture by eroding African traditional cultural
practices like taking alcohol, taming dogs, etc. So many Africans
abandoned their traditional ways.
Jihad Movements in West Africa
A jihad is an Islamic religious movement or a holy war that is
fought by fanatic Muslims against those who do not believe in their
faith. It aims at spreading, purifying and strengthening Islam.
The 19th century saw a wave of jihads or Islamic movements in
northern Sudan. Although, the causes were religious, they had a
mixture of political, economic and intellectual causes.
The first jihads in West Africa took place in Guinea in Futa Jallon in
1720s. They were led by Ibrahim Musa. In the 1770s there was
yet another jihad in Senegal in Futa Toro led by Sulayman Bal. In
1808, Uthman Dan Fadio started holy wars in the Hausa states
(Daura, Kano, Katsina, Zaria, Rano, Gobir and Hiram). Other West
African jihadists were Seku Ahmadu of Macina, Al Hajj Umar of
Tukolor and Ahmed Bello.
Causes of Jihads in West Africa
To purify Islam: After the decline of Mali and Songhai, there
was a decline in Islam in western Sudan. Islam was mixed with
pagan practices. Therefore, there was a need to revive Islam.
To stop unfair judgments in courts of law: There was a lot of
corruption and bribery in the courts which were against the
teaching of Islam.
Local political competition: The Fulani were discriminated.
The Fulani leaders of the jihads aimed at overthrowing the
government of the Hausa people and to establish a government
favourable to their people.
Widespread belief in the Mahdi (Saviour): According to the
Muslims, a Madhi was supposed to emerge during the 13th
century of the Islamic calendar. This started from 1785 to 1882.
To overthrow pagan governments: The jihadists wanted to
establish governments based on Islamic rule. Strict Muslims in
West Africa could not tolerate rule by pagans. Muslims were also
forced to go to war against fellow Muslims which was contrary
to Islamic practice.
To spread Islam: This was aimed at the people who had resisted
conversion to Islam. Thus they would be forced to join Islam.
Desire to spread Islamic education: Through the conversion of
pagans who were against Islamic education, the jihadists hoped
to build an ideal Islamic society through education.
Overtaxation: Governments in western Sudan imposed heavy
taxes on the Fulani town merchants while the Fulani pastoralists
or nomads were opposed to the heavy taxation.
Methods used to collect taxes: The tax collectors were harsh.
They whiped and imprisoned the people who failed to pay.
Some of the property was confiscated. This is why the people
Defence of African independence: The West Africans joined
jihads in order to protect their independence and fight against
slave trade. This was because according to Sharia, no Muslim is
supposed to enslave or sell another Muslim.
Therefore, the time was right for a revolution that only needed
someone to start it. This was provided by the arrival of men filled
with religious zeal and reformist ideas and with the ability to lead
and organise. For example, Uthman Dan Fodio, Al Hajji Umar,
Seku Ahmadu among others.
Uthman Dan Fodio
The first jihad in western Sudan took place in Hausaland in 1804.
This jihad was led by Uthman Dan Fodio. He was a Fulani and a
scholar. He was born in 1754 at Martha in Gobir.
He received Islamic education from various teachers but finally he
ended up in Agades under the famous Islamic teacher Jibril Ibn
Umar. At the age of 20, he started his career as a writer and teacher
in Senegal. From here, he started missionary tours in Hausaland,
especially Zamfara, Kebbi and Daura.
In his preaching and writing, he attacked all unreligious tendencies.
He condemned corrupt and unjust governments, and illegal
taxation. He insisted on complete acceptance of the spiritual and
moral values of Islam.
He soon mobilised a large number of followers. Most of these
believed that he was the Mahdi or the saviour. His fame attracted
the administration of Sultan Bawa, the leader of Gobir. He was
employed as the tutor of the Sultan’s son. All these increased
Fodio’s influence.Because of this influence, he successfully negotiated with Sultan
Bawa of Gobir to release all Muslim prisoners. He also requested
the king to grant freedom of worship and also exempt Muslims
from un-Islamic taxes.
Unfortunately, Bawa was succeeded by Sultan Nafata and later
Yunfa who did not support Uthman Dan Fodio. Because of Uthman’s
growing influence, Yunfa arranged the assassination of Fodio but
he managed to escape.
Along with his brother Abdullah and son Mohammed Bello, Fodio
escaped to Gudu outside Gobir.
At Gudu, many Fulani tribesmen joined him and he was elected
commander of the faithful, Amir Al Munimin. He then, declared a
jihad on the non believers in 1804 and confronted Yunfa’s army.
After a prolonged fight, Yunfa’s army was defeated and he was
killed at Akolawa. Serious resistance against Fodio’s army collapsed
in 1809. Immediately, Fodio declared the Sokoto Caliphate and he
became the undisputed caliph.
Once the conquest period was over, Fodio returned to his work of
writing books since he was basically an Islamic scholar.
He divided the empire between his son and his brother. Mohammed
Bello his son was in charge of the eastern region and Abdullah
his brother the western region. Fodio died in 1817 and his son
Mohammed Bello was recognised as the caliph of the Sokoto
Al Hajj Umar was born in 1794 in Futa Toro. His father was a
Tukolor scholar. Umar belonged to the Tijaniyya brotherhood and
his first teacher was Abd Al Karim. Umar was also a disciple of
Uthman Dan Fodio.
In 1825, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Tijani authorities
were impressed with the works of Umar and he was appointed
the Khalifa or religious leader of the Tijaniyya in western Sudan
in 1831. He was charged with the duty of reviving and spreading
Islam in the region.
While away, he was impressed by the reformist ideas of the day.
He witnessed Mohammed Ali’s revolution in Egypt. He also spent
sometime in Bornu, Sokoto.
In Sokoto, he was impressed by the leadership possibilities opened
by jihad. He married the daughters of both Alkanem of Bornu and
Mohammed of Sokoto.
He witnessed the expansion and spread of Islam through a jihad.
He was also convinced that the revival and purification and spread
of Islam would be possible through embracing Tijaniyya ideas.
In 1838, he returned home with even greater inspiration and
determination to purify and spread Islam.
He settled at a place called Fouta Djalon. From here he made
extensive tours, teaching, preaching and converting.
In his book “Rinah”, he attacked evil and illegal tendencies. He
condemned mixed Islam. He appealed to the masses, assuring
them of favoured treatment on the day of judgement as members
of the Tijaniyya. His teachings were well received by the ordinary
persons. These had been alienated by the Quadiriyya. His fame as
a scholar and teacher attracted a large following. He was regarded
as the Mujahidin (soldiers fighting in support of their strong Muslim
His growing fame and influence alarmed the Quadiriyya scholars
and Fouta Djalon political authorities. In 1851, he fled to Dinguiray.
Here, he established an armed camp with his faithful disciples as
well as students attracted from West Africa. These were mainly
from the lower classes.
He equipped the army with European weapons bought from the
coastal towns of West Africa. He even established a workshop of
gun smiths who could repair guns. At a later stage, Al Hajj Umar
was able to manufacture some of these arms, thus supplying his
In 1852, Umar declared a holy war on infidels in the Sudan. In
1854, he conquered the Wangara states. By 1857, he was ready
to attack the Bambara of Segu. Nevertheless, this brought him into
conflict with the Muslim state of Massina.
After this, Umar diverted his attention against French imperialists.
This was a mistake that he would regret later. By 1863, the Tukolor
Empire extended from Futa Djalon to Timbuktu.
In February 1863, Al Hajj Umar was killed in the famous Massina
uprising. This was spear-headed by the Quadiriyya leaders who
were opposed to his Tijaniyya principles. But the empire under his
eldest son and successor Ahmadi Bin Sheikh, survived till it was
over-run by the French in 1893.
Umar strengthened Islam expanded the borders of the Tukolar
Empire, and promoted Islamic literacy. For example, he set up new
centres of Islamic education in western Sudan.
Lastly, in his efforts he made the Tijaniyya sect more popular than
the Quadiriyya. Today, the Tijaniyya is more dominant in West
Success of Jihads in West Africa
The jihad leaders succeeded in their holy wars due to the
Disunity among non-Islamic states in West Africa against fanatic
Jihad movement in West Africa enjoyed good leadership.
These jihads were led by elites who had very convincing rhetoric
or persuasive speech that won then big numbers of followers.
The possession of fire arms by the jihadists.
The hope to gain economic achievements. The non-Muslims
who were poor supported the jihads with hope of raiding for
Consequences of Jihads in West Africa
The jihads led to closer contacts with the outside world. This was
true with Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. In fact a pilgrimage
made by Al Hajji Umar to Mecca in 1825 further exposed the
Sudan to the outside world.
They led to the spread and revival of Islamic culture for example
the way of dressing with items such as the veil, the turban and
the daily prayers and the hijja.
Literate Muslim officials were employed by kings and emperors
as clerks, secretaries, judges, auditors, inspectors and teachers.
This strengthened Islamic way of life.
Large and powerful Islamic states were formed under Muslim
rulers like Uthman Dan Fodio of Sokoto, Muhammad Bello of
Sokoto, Seku Ahmad of Macina, Al Hajji Umar of Tokolar and Al
Kanemi of Dinguiray.
They caused clashes and conflicts between the pagans and the
Muslims. For example there was enslavement of non-Muslims as
permitted by the Koran. This led to tribal wars and antagonism.
Strong states emerged to resist European infiltration. Jihads
united the masses and their leaders against French colonialists.
A centralised system of administration was introduced and
managed according to the Koran.
There was the stabilisation and efficient management of the
economy in the Islamic states. They abolished unlawful taxes
and levied taxes as stipulated in the holy Koran.
They led to the decline of the African traditional religions. This
is because leaders of traditional religion and people who refused
to change to Islam were executed.
The jihads, checked the spread of Christianity in West Africa.
This is because the Christian Missionaries were not allowed to
enter Muslim lands.
Islam is a monotheist religion that was founded by Mohammed in
Saudi Arabia in 622 ad. After his return to Mecca from Medina,
Mohammed was occupied with the spread of Islam within the
neighboring countries. After his death, his successors called caliphs
continued to expand Islam and conquered almost the whole part
of the Middle East.
With the occupation and conversion of the Ottomans or Turks,
Islam had found the dynamic people who contributed later to its
expansion to North Africa and Europe.
Once Islam was adopted by North Africans namely the Berbers, it
then spread to West Africa through firstly, the Trans Saharan Trade
and secondly, the jihad movements. The jihads aimed at purifying
Islam, stopping unfair judgments in courts of law, spreading
Islamic education, overthrowing pagan governments. The main
jihad leaders were Uthman Dan Fadio in the Hausa States, Seku
Ahmadu of Macina, Al Hajj Umar of Tukolor and Ahmed Bello.
The spread of Islam to West Africa led to the spread and revival
of Islamic culture. Other effects include, the decline of African
traditional religions, the creation of a new order of administration
known as a centralised system of administration and administration
in accordance to the requirement of Koran, large and powerful
political states were formed as Islamic were.
Antagonism: the relations between opposing principles,
forces or factors, e.g. the inherent antagonism
of capitalism and socialism
Bribery: the practice of offering something (usually
money) in order to gain an illicit advantage
Creole: of or relating to a language that arises from
contact between two other languages and has
features of both or a person whose parents
have different races
Elitism: the attitude that society should be governed by
an elite group of individuals
Enslavement: the act of making slaves of your captives or the
state of being a slave
Gunsmith: someone who makes or repairs guns
Hegira: the flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in
622 which marked the beginning of the Muslim
era; the Muslim calendar begins in that year
Infidel: a person who does not acknowledge your god
Retrieving: get or get back; recover the use of or go for and
Tutor: a person who gives private instruction
Zeal: excessive fervour to do something or accomplish
A. Multiple Choice Questions
1. The following are the pillars of Islam except:
a) Confession of faith (shahada
b) Praying five times a day at down, noon, late afternoon,
sunset and evening; they pray facing Mecca (salat)
c) Giving charity to the poor (zakat)
d) Fasting from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of
e) Fighting a jihad war
2. The following are Hausa States except:
3. The success of Jihads in West Africa was due to the following
a) Disunity among non-Islamic States in West Africa against
b) Jihad movement in West Africa enjoyed good leadership;
c) These jihads were led by elites who had very convincing
rhetoric or persuasive speech that won then big numbers
d) The possession of fire arms by the jihadists
e) All of them.
4. The causes of jihads in West Africa are the following
a) To purify Islam
b) Methods used to collect taxes
c) Defence of African independence
d) Over taxation
e) Methods used to collect taxes
f) All of them
5. The Arabs were successful in their conquests for many reasons
except the following:
a) They believed those who fought infidels went to paradise,
which encouraged fighting.
b) The Arabs were fearless fighters and were led by strong
c) Their leaders planned and carried out attacks on their
enemies completely by surprise.
d) They were skilled in fighting using camels and horses.
e) They ensured the protection to the people who gave in
without a fight and allowed them to keep their land.
f) The possession of nuclear bombs.
B. Fill in the Blanks:
1. In 610 ad, when he was about 39 years old, Muhammad had
a revelation or__________.
2. The Muslims call their God with the name of __________.
3. In Saudi Arabia, the holiest shrine of Islam is called __________.
4. Finally, in 630, Muhammad returned in triumph to Mecca;
where he destroyed the idols in the Kaaba and dedicated the
black stone to__________.
5. The first Khalifa was Abu Bakar, Muhammad’s __________.
6. Jihads were launched to stop unfair judgments in courts of law.
These courts were full of __________and __________ which
were against the teaching of Islam.
7. Uthman Dan Fodio went on missionary tours through out
Hausaland especially __________, __________and __________.
C. Answer True or False
1. Islam has five pillars including fighting a holy, a jihad war
2. Eating pork is not forbidden by Islam Religion.
3. The successors of Muhammad have the title of caliph.
4. Only two jihad leaders existed in West Africa.
5. Yatrib was the former name of Medina.
6. In West Africa two brotherhoods were in a great antagonism:
Quadiriyya and Tijaniyya.
1. Describe the birth and spread of Islam.
2. Account for the means used in the spread of Islam in West
3. Analyse the factors for the success of jihadists in West Africa.
4. Examine the causes of the outbreak of the jihad movements in
5. Evaluate the achievements of the jihad leaders: Uthman Dan
Fodio and Al Hajj Umar.
6. Examine the effects of the jihad movements in West Africa.Unit 3: Origin of Islam and its Impact in West Africa
- Unit 4: European Domination and Exploitation of Africa in the 19th CenturyUnit 4: European Domination and Exploitation of Africa in the 19th Century
Key unit competence
Describe European domination, exploitation in Africa and its
consequences in the 19th century.
In the 19th century, due to a number of factors many European
countries conquered and began to control the African continent.
After the occupation of the so-called dark continent, European
countries used different methods to exploit their colonies. This
included taxation, forced cash crop growing, forced labour, land
alienation, development of legitimate trade, and discouraging of
Such European practices negatively affected African countries in
diverse ways. Economically, the European colonial methods led
to the following effects: forced labour, migration of labour force,
resettlement of Africans, over exploitation of Africans and over
dependence of the African economy on Europeans.
At the socio-political level, the domination of Africa by European
masters also negatively affected African countries. Colonisation led
to the disruption of the traditional African cultures and introduction
of Christianity, the creation of new political and administrative
entities and the authoritarian rule.
Links to other subjects
Migration in Geography, wars and conflicts in General Studies and
Communication Skills, commercial relations in Economics.
Main points to be covered in this unit
European domination in the 19th century
Colonial methods of African exploitation
Consequences of European domination and exploitation of Africa
in the19th century
European Colonial Methods used in the Economic Exploitation of African Countries
Carry out research on the colonial conquest and domination of
Africa and answer the following questions. Then, present the
results of your findings to the class.
1. What are the main factors that motivated European
imperialists to come to Africa?
2. Explain the different reasons that led Otto von Bismarck
to convene a diplomatic summit of European powers in
the late nineteenth Century.
Explain the European colonial methods of taxation and forced
cash crop growing in the economic exploitation of Africa.
Present the results of your discussion to the class.
Analyse the European colonial methods of forced labour and
land alienation in the economic exploitation of the African
countries. Present the results of your discussion to the class.
Examine the use of legitimate trade in the economic exploitation
of African countries. Present the results of your discussion to
Discuss the colonial method of discouraging industrialisation
in the economic exploitation of African countries. Present the
results of your discussion to the class.
Describe the colonial transport policy in the economic
exploitation of Africa. Present the results of your discussion to
Discuss the colonial education policies in the economic
exploitation of the African countries. Present the results of your
discussion to the class.
The Colonial Conquest and Domination of theAfrican continent
Between the 1870s and 1900, Africa faced European imperialist
aggression, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, and eventual
conquest and colonisation. At the same time, African societies put
up various forms of resistance against the attempt to colonise their
countries and impose foreign domination.
By the early twentieth century, however, much of Africa, except
Ethiopia and Liberia, had been colonised by European powers.
European imperialists push into Africa was motivated by three
main factors: economic, political, and social.
Colonisation developed in the nineteenth century following the
collapse of the profitability of the slave trade, its abolition and
suppression, as well as the expansion of the European capitalist
The imperatives of capitalist industrialisation—including the
demand for assured sources of raw materials, the search for
guaranteed markets and profitable investment outlets—spurred
the European scramble and the partition and eventual conquest
of Africa. Thus the primary motivation for European intrusion was
The Scramble for Africa
But other factors played an important role in the process. Britain,
France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were competing
for power within European power politics. One way to demonstrate
a country’s power was through the acquisition of territories around
the world, including Africa. The social factor was the third major
element. As a result of industrialisation, major social problems
emerged in Europe: unemployment, poverty, homelessness, social
displacement from rural areas, and so on. These social problems
developed partly because not all people could be absorbed by the
new capitalist industries. One way to resolve this problem was
to acquire colonies and export this “surplus population.” This led
to the establishment of settler-colonies in Algeria, Tunisia, South
Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, and central African areas
like Zimbabwe and Zambia. Eventually the overriding economic
factors led to the colonisation of other parts of Africa.
Thus it was the economic, political, and social factors and forces
that led to the scramble for Africa and the attempts by European
commercial, military, and political agents to declare and establish
control in different parts of Africa through commercial competition,
the declaration of exclusive claims to particular territories for
trade, the imposition of tariffs against other European traders, and
claims to exclusive control of waterways and commercial routes in
different parts of Africa.
This scramble was so intense that there were fears that it could
lead to inter-imperialist conflicts and even wars. To prevent this,
the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck convened a diplomatic
summit of European powers in the late nineteenth century. This
was the Berlin Conference, held from November 1884 to February
1885. The conference produced a treaty known as the Berlin
Act, with provisions to guide the conduct of the European interimperialist competition in Africa. Some of its major articles were
Notification (notifying) other powers of a territorial annexation
Freedom of trade in the Congo basin
Freedom of navigation on the Niger and Congo Rivers
Freedom of trade to all nations
Suppression of slave trade by land and sea
This treaty, drawn up without African participation, provided the
basis for the subsequent partition, invasion, and colonisation of
Africa by various European powers.
Causes of scramble and partition
Need for raw materials for European industries
There was need for raw materials to supply European industries
which had grown as a result of industrial revolution. The raw
materials included gold, diamonds, copper, iron ore, cotton, coffee,
cacoa, tea and palm oil.
Market for the manufactured goods
There was mass production of goods by European industries and
European countries could not provide market to all the commodities.
European countries were also practicing protectionism in order to
protect their markets. They thus came to Africa to get markets; e.g.
the occupation of Senegal by the French.
Need for areas where to invest their surplus capital
European countries had accumulated a lot of capital from their
industrial products; they had to look for areas outside Europe
where they could invest their surplus capital.
Need to control economically strategic areas to improve trade
In order to be sure of their improvement of trade, the European
countries were ambitious to control the economically strategic
areas. For example, the occupation of Egypt by the British was for
Discovery of minerals in most parts of Africa
This encouraged the Europeans to come and control some parts of
Africa in order to be the masters of those areas rich in minerals.
There was gold in Ghana, diamonds and gold in South Africa,
copper and diamonds in Congo.
To give protection to European traders and trading companies
European traders asked their home governments to come and
occupy areas in Africa where they operated in order to protect them
from hostile tribes and chiefs who had created insecurity to their
To resettle high population from Europe and provide them with jobs
The need to settle the unemployed, criminals and people who
were suffering from chronic diseases and undesirable in Europe
forced European countries to get lands to settle them in Africa.
E.g. Occupation of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and South Africa
respectively by the French and the British.
To control strategic areas
European countries got involved in occupying strategic areas for
their defense; e.g the occupation of the Suez Canal and the straight
of Gibraltar by Britain.
British occupation of Egypt in 1882
Britain got interested in controlling the Suez Canal in 1882 after
pushing France out. The French decided to avenge against the
British by occupying the Upper Nile and the land from Senegal to
Djibouti in the east. To pre-empt this plan, the British took over
Kenya, Uganda and Sudan before the French could come in.
French occupation of Tunisia and Morocco
The French occupation of Tunisia and Morocco due to their
proximity to Europe, astride the Mediterranean Sea and the straight
of Gibraltar encouraged other powers to join the race for colonies.
Growth of nationalism and jingoism
Colonisation was a sign of prestige and glory for the Europeans and
in order to show their power, Europeans had to occupy large areas
as colonies. This was why the great European powers got large
lands in Africa.
Compensation for major losses
Britain had lost America after the American war of independence in
1776. Their pride, prestige and major source of their raw materials
and wealth was lost. France lost Alsace and Lorraine to Prussia in
1871 after the 1870 – 1871 Franco-Prussian war. After achieving
some degree of stability, the French Prime Minister Jules Ferry
began to look for colonies in Africa as compensation.
Activities of King Leopold II of Belgium in Congo
He took over Congo for himself and not for Belgium his country.
As means of counteracting Leopold’s activities, the French took
over Gabon and Congo (Brazzaville) while British also declared the
lower Niger regions as their protectorate.
The activities of Pierre Savrogna de Brazza in Congo and Ivory Coast
He was a French explorer who signed colonial treaties with African
local leaders. This forced other European powers to also look for
colonies in Africa.
The influence of the 1884–1885 Berlin Conference
It had given a green light to colonisation by outlining procedures for
the partition of Africa.
Humanitarians in Europe urged their countries to occupy territory in
Africa to stop slave trade and improve the way of living for Africans.
Colonial Methods of African Exploitation
It was the main method of generating revenue for supporting
colonial administration. The commonest were the hut and gun
taxes. The method of collection was brutal and harsh, and often
caused resistance wars. For instance, the Hut Tax War of 1898 in
Taxation was also important to force or condition Africans either to
grow cash crops or to work on European farms. This was because
in order to get money for paying taxes these were the only possible
alternatives. In some areas like the Congo Free State and Angola,
taxes were paid in form of natural products and animals. Failure to
pay taxes in these areas would lead to confiscation of property and
Forced cash crop growing
To meet the primary demand for colonisation of Africa, cash crop
growing had to be boosted. Some crops like rubber were grown
traditionally, some were grown such as pyrethrum by Europeans
while others like coffee and cotton were grown by Africans under
the supervision of Europeans. These cash crops were needed to
supply raw material to industries in Europe.
Europeans did not encourage the production of food. Forced labour
undermined the production of food crops. This led to famine in
African societies which had been traditionally self sufficient in
food. The African economies were developed as producers of raw
materials in form of cash crops and minerals, and as consumers of
European manufactured goods.
Africans were forced to work on European farms, mines and
construction sites of colonial offices and roads. Their labour was
either paid cheaply or not paid at all. In the Portuguese colonies of
Angola and Mozambique there was a unique form of forced labour
called contract labour. Africans were rounded up and taken to
Principle and Sao Tome to work in sugar cane plantations.
Due to this forced labour, African societies experienced famine. A
lot of time was spent on work for Europeans.
This was the most evil form of exploitation of natural resources.
Africans in settler colonies were hit hardest by this practice, for
example in Kenya, South Africa, Rhodesia, Algeria, Angola and
Mozambique. In some areas of Africa, Africans were forced to settle
in reserve camps leaving fertile and mineralised plots of lands to
Europeans. This policy caused resistance in many areas of Africa.
In Rwanda, the church alienated huge chunks of land to build
churches, schools and people were forced out of their land.
Development of legitimate trade
After realising the benefits of slave trade and its abolition, they
introduced legitimate trade. This form of trade is said to have
brought peace and stability as it eliminated the raids and suffering
caused by slave trade.
Legitimate trade was monopolised by Europeans who transferred
all the profits to their countries. They paid low prices for African
products and highly priced their exports to Africa. Worse still,
the legitimate trade involved the exchange of high valued African
products like gold, copper, diamonds, cotton, coffee, rubber, and
palm oil among others. Exports to Africa included beads, used
clothes, bangles, spices and glassware.
In Rwanda, the European trader named Borgrave d’Altena purchased
cows at very low prices so as to supply beef to the colonialists.
To control the monopoly for trade in raw materials and market
for their manufactured goods in Africa, Europeans extremely
discouraged manufacturing industries. In Egypt, Lord Cromer
established processing plants for cotton lint while cotton cloth
production was done in Britain.
Cromer also set up tariffs on locally manufactured foods and on
imported coal. He also set up heavy fines on smokers to kill the
In Senegal, the French never set up any industries to the extent
that even groundnuts were exported in the shells. Only primary
processing industries were set up to reduce the volume of raw
materials. The prices for raw materials were very low while the
manufactured goods from Europe were sold at high prices. This
was a clear indication of colonial exploitation.
Development of road and railway transport
To support legitimate trade, road and railway transport networks
were established. These networks connected the interior of African
colonies to the coast.
Roads were mainly established in areas rich in resources where
colonialists had direct gains. The main purpose was to facilitate
the effective exploitation of raw materials.
In Togo, Germany constructed railway lines and named them
according to the produce they were meant to carry such as Cotton
line, Palm oil line and Iron line.
In Rwanda, the railway project planned by the Germans from Dares-Salaam via Tabora to Rusumo stopped because of World War I.
The colonial education system was controlled by Christian
missionaries. In the colonial schools, Africans were trained to
serve as lower cadres, known as “colonial auxiliaries”. The main
products of these schools best suited the posts of houseboys, house
girls and clerks. They could not make engineers, doctors and other
The colonial education system produced people who liked European
ways of life. As a result they exploited fellow Africans. In Rwanda,
education was exclusively given to the sons of chiefs. In French,
Portuguese and Italian colonies education was used for assimilation
Liberal subjects such as, political science, literature and history
were neglected in order to keep Africans away from forming
revolutionary movements against colonialists. To colonialists, the
best subjects fit for Africans were bible study, reading and writing
Consequences of European domination and exploitation of African countries
Organise a debate on the consequences of migration as a result
of the colonial economy. Present the results of your debate to
Organise a debate on the following consequences of the
colonial economy: exploitation of Africans and dependence of
the African economy on Europeans. Present the results of your
debate to the class.
Discuss the consequences of colonial infrastructures. Thereafter,
present the results of your debate to the class.
Carry out research on the disruption of the traditional African
cultures and introduction of Christianity as a consequence of
colonial domination. Present the results of your debate to the class.
Debate on the creation of new political and administrative
entities. Present the results of your debate to the class.
Debate on the introduction of authoritarian rule. Present the
results of your debate to the class.
Consequences of colonial economy
The colonial powers used forced labour in the exploitation of Africa.
This economic policy was introduced in order to exploit Africa.
All adults were subjected to forced labour. Those who failed to
accomplish it were punished. Africans were also beaten or had
their properties confiscated.
As result of this forced labour, some Africans resisted European
colonialists. Others preferred to migrate to the neighbouring
countries where the situation was quite different. E.g. Some
Rwandans migrated to Uganda which was under British control.
Others were forced to migrate to Democratic Republic of Congo as
workers in mines.
Resettlement of Africans
Another consequence of colonial economic policies was the
resettlement of Africans due to land alienation. They were displaced
from their fertile soils to provide space for colonial economic
projects such as infrastructure.
Exploitation of Africans
All colonial economic policies resulted in the exploitation of
Africans. Examples include taxation and labour policies.
Dependence of African economy on Europeans
The over dependence of the African economy was due to poor
colonial economic policy. This policy discouraged industralisation
and also destroyed local African industry. The African economy
was reduced to a market for European goods. The Europeans got
the raw materials at low prices while their manufactured goods
were sold at high prices in Africa.
Development of infrastructure
Europeans colonialists succeeded in the development of
communication lines. Railways were constructed in many parts of
Africa to connect the interior of Africa to the coast. The aim was to
facilitate the economic exploitation of Africa. Communication lines
only extended to areas rich in resources; for example, minerals.
Consequences of European domination in Africa
Disruption of traditional African cultures and introduction of Christianity
Colonialism affected African societies in various ways. It disrupted
the traditional tribal cultures and religions and introduced
Christianity and subjugated Africans to European rule.
The introduction of Christianity led to suppression of many ancient
practices, although some survived. Some had already been
introduced to the Caribbean islands by African slaves. Tribes often
competed for colonial industrial products. In some cases, tribes
still warred among each other as before colonialism. An aristocratic
class of European managers and directors sprang up to operate
the colonies. Like the American Indians, many African tribes lost
their lands, were mistreated, or became second-class citizens in a
Creation of new political and administrative entities
European colonisation of Africa led to the demise of old African
kingdoms and empires and the emergence of new political entities.
Some of the old societies were reconstructed and new African
societies were founded on different ideological and social premises.
Consequently, African societies were in a state of flux, and many
were organisationally weak and politically unstable. They were
therefore too weak to resist the European invaders.
As a result of poor technology, Africans were defeated by colonalists.
African forces in general fought with bows, arrows, spears, swords,
old rifles, and cavalries while the European forces, fought with
more deadly firearms, machines guns, new rifles, and artillery
guns. Thus in direct encounters European forces often won the day.
However Africans put up the best resistance with the resources
By 1900 most of Africa had been colonised by European powers.
After the conquest of African states, the European powers set about
establishing colonial state systems.
The introduction of authoritarian rule
The colonial state was established to facilitate effective control and
exploitation of the colonised societies. As a result of their origins
in military conquest and because of the racist ideology of the
colonialists, the colonial states were authoritarian. Because they
were imposed and maintained by force, without the consent of
the governed, the colonial states never had the effective legitimacy
of normal governments. Second, they were authoritarian because
they were administered by military officers and civil servants
appointed by the colonial power. While they were all authoritarian,
bureaucratic state systems, their forms of administration varied,
partly due to the different national administrative traditions and
specific imperialist ideologies of the colonisers and partly because
of the political conditions in the various territories that they
During the 19th century, some European countries were interested
in the colonisation of Africa. The main reason for their scramble for
African continent was the search for raw material and market for
their manufactured products. In order to exploit African countries,
Europeans used different methods including taxation, forced cash
crop growing, forced labour, land alienation, development of
legitimate trade, discouraging of industrialisation, development of
road and railway transport, and the education system.
The activities of Europeans in Africa had a great impact on African
societies. The dimensions of that impact are both socio-political
and economic. This includes migration of labour force, resettlement
of Africans, development of communication infrastructures, the
introduction of authoritarian rule, disruption of the traditional
African cultures and introduction of Christianity.
Bangle: jewelry worn around the wrist for decoration
Disparity: inequality or difference in some respect
Frenzied: 1. affected with or marked by frenzy or mania
uncontrolled by reason.
2. excessively agitated; distraught with fear or
other violent emotion
Interplay: reciprocal action and reaction or interaction
Intrusion: 1. entry to another’s property without right or
2. entrance by force or without permission or
Mutilation: an injury that causes disfigurement or that
deprives you of a limb or other important body
Rubber: an elastic material obtained from the latex sap
of trees (especially trees of the genera hevea
and ficus) that can be vulcanised and finished
into a variety of products
Scramble: to move hurriedly
Stake: put at risk or place a bet on
1. What are the main reasons for European colonisation of Africa?
2. Explain the term “scramble”.
3. Describe the features of the colonial economy.
4. The colonial African economy was said to be unfair. Explain
how true this assertion is.
5. The colonial activities in Africa were only profitable to Africans
to a small extent. Discuss.Unit 4: European Domination and Exploitation of Africa in the 19th Century
- Unit 5: Impact of Colonial Rule on African SocietiesUnit 5: Impact of Colonial Rule on African Societies
Key unit competence
Assess the political, economic and social transformations brought
about by colonial rule in Africa
The 19th and 20th centuries have been marked by the domination
and exploitation of Africa by European countries. The coming of
Europeans to Africa was aimed at the economic gains they expected
to obtain from selling their manufactured commodities and the raw
materials they intended to get from African countries.
Europeans had to establish their control in order to achieve their
economic objectives. This resulted in European domination of
Africans. In most cases, the colonial activities benefited Europeans
and not the Africans. Consequently, this impacted African societies
Links to other subjects
Wars and conflict in General Studies and Communication Skills
and migration in Geography
Main points to be covered in this unit
Colonial activities in Africa
Impact of colonial rule in Africa
Colonialism and Capitalism
Define the terms colonialism and capitalism and then present
your work to the class.
With examples discuss the different types of colonialism and
present the results of your discussion to the class.
Examine the following negative effects of Colonisation on
African societies: loss of independence and division of African
peoples. Present the results of your discussion to the class.
Evaluate the following negative effects of Colonisation on the
African societies: loss of political power, killings, and sexual
abuse. Present the results of your discussion to the class.
Assess the following negative effect of Colonisation on African
societies: Change of African ways of life. Present the results of
your discussion to the class.
Organise a debate on the following negative effect of Colonisation
on African societies: Exploitation of African resources. Present
the results of your discussion to the class.
Discuss the following negative effect of Colonisation on the
African societies. Introduction of taxes and forced labour.
Present the results of your discussion to the class.
Explain the following negative effect of Colonisation on the
African societies: extraversion of the African economy. Present
the results of your discussion to the class.
Account for the following negative effect of Colonisation on the
African societies: colonialism retarded development. Present
the results of your discussion to the class.
During the 19th century and early 20th century, imperialism started
in Europe as a result of industrialisation in order to sustain economic
prosperity. Protectionist policies in many countries limited the
markets and the demand for manufactured products.
Therefore, the European powers considered imperialism as a
means to secure foreign markets and guarantee consumption
for their products by monopolising trade with their colonies.
Additionally, the rapid industrialisation made it necessary to seek
cheap sources of raw materials to supply their businesses at home.
These economic interests, and nationalism, called for the building
of huge worldwide empires, where imperial powers established
their control over vast territories, including most of Asia, Africa,
Polynesia, and the Americas.
Colonialism aimed at the economic exploitation of colonised nations
to benefit the mother country. As colonial states began controlling
the economy of the colonised territory, the economic interests of the
colonised were ignored. Instead, colonialists wanted to maximise
their profits and gains, regardless of the consequences on the
colonised areas. In most cases, the colonial economic policies had
In order to have a common understanding of the aims of colonial powers
in Africa, the definitions colonialism and capitalism are essential.
Definition of the Concepts: Colonialism and Capitalism
Colonialism and capitalism cannot be understood separately
especially when it is a matter of finding answers to the impact that
the two practices had on African society.
Colonialism is the policy and practice of a power in extending
control over weaker people or areas. Colonialism is also defined
as a relationship of domination between an indigenous (or forcibly
imported) majority and a minority of foreign invaders.
The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of the colonised
people are made and implemented by the colonial rulers in pursuit
of interests that are often defined in a distant capital. Rejecting
cultural compromises with the colonised population, the colonisers
are convinced of their own superiority and of their mandate to rule.
Capitalism is defined as the possession of capital or wealth; a
system in which private capital or wealth is used in the production
or distribution of goods; the dominance of private owners of capital
and of production for profit.
This definition shows that capitalism is a system in which only
those with the rights to capital and machinery can produce for the
whole society while the rest of the people who have no business
skills or interests remain dependent on the owners of capital who
decide on the fate of the lives of the masses. This is the same as colonialism whereby the political, social and economic powers are
in the hands of the minority colonial administrators.
Types of Colonialism
Historians often distinguish between two overlapping forms of
Settler colonialism involves large-scale immigration, often motivated
by religious, political, or economic reasons.
Exploitation colonialism involves fewer colonists and focuses
on access to resources for export, typically to the mother
country. This category includes trading posts as well as larger
colonies where colonists would constitute much of the political
and economic administration. However they rely on indigenous
resources for labour and material. Prior to the end of the slave
trade and widespread abolition, when indigenous labour was
unavailable, slaves were often imported to the Americas, first by
the Portuguese Empire, and later by the Spanish, Dutch, French
Plantation colonies would be considered exploitation colonialism.
However, colonising powers would utilise either type for different
territories depending on various social and economic factors as
well as climate and geographic conditions.
Surrogate colonialism involves a settlement project supported by
a colonial power, in which most of the settlers do not come from
the ruling power.
Internal colonialism refers to inequalities in power between areas of
a nation state. The source of exploitation comes from within the state.
Negative Effects of Colonisation on African Societies
Loss of African independence
African communities lost their independence because they ceased
to be self-governing states. They were brought under colonial
administration either through peaceful signing of agreements or
Division of African tribes
People from the same tribes were divided by colonial boundaries
drawn arbitrarily. They lived under different political, economic and
social systems. For instance, a big group of Banyarwanda lives in
the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Europeans caused conflicts among social groups. For example, the
Belgian rulers of Rwanda-Urundi provided identity cards indicating
In addition, the partitioning of colonies of imperial powers created
territories that encompassed numerous ethnic, linguistic, and
religious groups into single political entities. The partitioning did
not correspond to the historical, cultural, or ethnic boundaries
of pre-colonial African societies. Such states had diverse ethnic
populations which were forced to join single political entities.
The artificially-formed states had no historic or cultural similarities
to legitimatise their existence. This has led to political
instability based on ethnic, religious, and linguistic differences.
Countries deeply divided among ethnic lines, a result of imperialism,
not only led to the political instability of the former colonies, but
also, in some cases, led to serious violence. In Kenya the
competition of two different ethnic groups for the control of the
government has led to a situation comparable to a civil war.
Change of African lifestyle
The arrival of Europeans in Africa introduced radical change in African
societies. History has proven that the changes that Europeans brought
did not do any good to Africans. The environment became that of
“survival of the fittest” which the indigenous people were not used to.
The colonial conquest had a twofold impact: it forcibly seized rural
means of production, and it pursued agrarian commercialisation.
African communal life has suddenly turned out to be individualistic.
The people had to adapt to the changes although not all societies
could completely transform successfully. Most of the land was
taken by Europeans through tricky treaties that illiterate chiefs and
kings blindly signed. For example, some Nama and Herero Chiefs
like Samuel Maherero signed treaties and entered into land sale
business that in the end resulted in the loss of huge chunks of land.
Exploitation of African resources
The long-term well-being of the colonised nation was of no interest
for the imperial state. Any form of sustainable development
was unnecessary for colonialists. This is the reason why deforestation is a serious problem for many nations which had
been under colonial rule.
Colonial powers, in their quest for economic prosperity,
disregarded the need for the sustainable management of forest
areas and established minimally-regulated lumber industries. These
sought only short-term profits for colonialists and their mother
country. Thus, unsustainable overexploitation of natural resources
followed. The effects are clear. The environmental degradation
caused by the self-interest of colonialists is now difficult to reverse.
It is connected with the rampant poverty and hunger in former
Introduction of taxes and forced labour
Africans were forced to pay taxes like hut tax, gun tax and later on
poll tax was introduced by the colonial government to force Africans
to provide labour for colonial governments and for European settlers
and to make their colonies financially self-reliant.
Africans were frequently forced to provide labour for European
settlers and for government building and agricultural programmes.
Forced labour resulted in widespread African discontent and
migration to areas where the Africans hoped to get paid work.
Distortion of the African economy
Colonial investment and construction focused on the development
and construction of communication lines, railways, plantations
and mines. However, these investments did not contribute to the
economic transformation of the colonies into industrialised nations.
These investments were only intended to support the exploitation
of natural resources and agricultural capacities. Colonialists
established an economy which depended on the export of a few
selected natural resources and agricultural products. This exposed
the economy to market price fluctuations.
The unwillingness of imperial powers to reinvest the profits
gained from their colonies in colonial industrial development
kept colonies under a weak agricultural economy. This also deprived
them of their natural resources.
Retarding of development
In colonies with centralised states and white settlement colonialism
retarted development. In centralised states colonialism not only
blocked further political development, but also indirect rule made
local elites less accountable to their citizens.
After independence, these states were ruled by selfish rulers. These
states suffered from racism, stereotypes and misconceptions which
have caused problems, especially in Burundi and Rwanda.
In settler colonies, there was exploitation of the people and loss of
land. This caused the impoverishment of Africans. The evolution
and spread of technology plus the absence of slavery makes it likely
that, without colonialism, African ways of life would have slowly
improved. Increase in inequality and the racial and ethnic conflicts
intensified by colonialism, show that African countries would be
better off today if they had not been colonised.
All in all, there is no country today in sub-Saharan Africa that is
more developed because it was colonised by Europeans.
Positive Effects of Colonisation on the African Societies
Discuss the following positive effect of Colonisation on African
societies: development of the education system. Present the
results of your discussion to the class.
Organise a debate on the following positive effect of Colonisation
on African societies: development of modern transport
infrastructures. Present the results of your discussion to the
Assess the following positive effects of Colonisation on the
African societies: Introduction of new crops and agricultural
methods. Present the results of your discussion to the class.
Find out the benefits of the modern medicine introduced in
Africa by Europeans. Present your findings to the class.
Positive Effects of Colonisation on AfricanSocieties
Development of education system
The colonial governments supported education services which
were mainly managed by missionaries. The missionaries founded
the first primary and secondary schools which still play leading
role in development. The colonial governments carried the financial
burden of supporting mission schools.
Development of modern transport infrastructure
The modern transport and communication network and facilities
were developed in many parts of Africa. Railway networks and
roads, and bridges were built. Motor vehicles, bicycles, steamers
and air planes were introduced.
Introduction of new crops
New cash crops were introduced and promoted. They included
cotton, tea, coffee, sisal, rubber, pyrethrum and wheat. Experiments
were made on new species of both crops and livestock which were
adapted to the local conditions.
Africans adopted the new agricultural methods introduced by
the colonial governments such as plantation farming, cash crop
growing and terracing, etc.
Development of the health system
Europeans introduced modern medicine in Africa. They constructed
hospitals, health centres and dispensaries. They also organised
programmes to fight against killer diseases by vaccination. These
diseases include polio, pneumonia, measles, tuberculosis, leprosy
and small pox.
The colonisation of Africa by European countries during the 19th
and 20th centuries led to negative and positive consequences.
These effects resulted from the activities of European colonial
masters. The few positive colonial effects on African societies
include the introduction of new agricultural methods and new crops
in Africa, development of modern transport and communication
lines, introduction of modern education and the development of the
modern health system.
It should be noted that colonisation was generally marked by
the preoccupation of serving European interest, leaving aside the
African cause. Thus, the European relations with Africans during the
colonial period were at a large scale negative. The latter comprised
the extraversion of the African economy, introduction of forced
labour, introduction of taxes, over exploitation of African resources,
loss of land, loss of Africans’ judicial power, disruption of African
governments, loss of African identity and the disappearance of
African civilisations, etc.
Cluster: a group of similar things
Predatory: living by or given to victimising others for
Plausible: reasonable, valid, and truthful
Surrogate: providing or receiving parental care though not
related by blood or legal ties
Modus Vivendi: a temporary accommodation of a disagreement
between parties pending a permanent
settlement or a manner of living that reflects
the person’s values and attitudes
1. Define the concepts of colonialism and imperialism and find
out the differences.
2. Describe the types of colonialism.
3. In what way was the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi a result
4. Demonstrate how the modus Vivendi of Africans was far
different on eve of the colonial period from that of after the
arrival of Europeans.
5. Explain at least ten negative effects of colonisation on African
6. Find out and explain at least six positive effects of colonisation
on African societies.URLs: 2Unit 5: Impact of Colonial Rule on African Societies
- Unit 6 Major European Events: 1836 – 1878Unit 6 Major European Events: 1836 – 1878
Key unit competence
Evaluate the major events that took place in Europe between 1836
and 1878, their causes, course and effects.
The history of Europe from 1836 up to 1878 was characterised
by many revolutions and wars. Congresses were organised and
treaties signed to address the conflicts.
The 1848 revolutions affected diplomatic relations in Europe. The
congress system was weakened. It had been formed as an alliance
to maintain the peace in Europe. The success of these revolutions
inspired other people for example Italians, Germans and Greeks
who were under foreign domination to fight for their independence.
The weakness and collapse of the Congress system in Europe led to
conflicts between the European powers as a result of disagreement
on the Eastern question of 1815–1878. During the Berlin Congress
of 1878, organised by the German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck,
European powers redefined the diplomatic principles and revised
their diplomacy. As a result of this congress, Bismarck maintained
peace in Europe until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
Links to other subjects
This unit can be linked to other units like Wars and conflicts in
General Studies and Communication and Skills.
Main points to be covered in this unit
Causes and effects of the 1848 European revolutions
Reasons for the success and the failure of the 1848 European
Reasons why the 1848 European revolutions did not take place
in some countries
The 1848 European Revolutions
Carry out research on the possible reasons for the outbreak
of the 1848 revolutions in Europe. Present the results of your
research to the class.
The 1848 European revolutions were a series of uprisings in Europe.
The revolutions were started by the middle class and nobility who
demanded constitutional and representative governments, and by
workers and peasants who revolted against capitalist practices that
were responsible for poverty.
The revolutions broke out in France, Austria, and the Italian and
German states. People rose against conservative governments
and demanded for political, social and economic reforms. Those
revolutions were also against the negative consequences of the
Vienna settlement and Metternich system.
Despite the violent efforts of governments to crash the revolutions,
new revolutionary ideas such as democracy, liberalism, nationalism
and socialism gained popularity.
Causes of the 1848 Revolutions
The need to end the unfair decisions of the Vienna Settlement
The Vienna Settlement aimed at safeguarding against future French
aggression and formed buffer states by bringing the Italian and
German states under the control of Austria. This did not respect the
principle of nationalism. For this reason the Italians and Germans
revolted in 1848.
The oppressive regime of Metternich
Metternich the chancellor of Austria used a harsh-spy network that
terrorised people. This forced, the Germans and Italians to rise up
The collapse of the Congress System
The success of the 1830 Belgian revolution marked the end of the
Congress System. This provided an opportunity for the oppressed
people to revolt against their leaders.
The growth of nationalism
Because of nationalistic feelings, the German and Italian states
rose up to demand for respective national unifications. Elsewhere
in Europe people demanded for constitutional rule and an end to
The rise of new personalities in European politics
They included Mazzini and Garibaldi of Italy, Louis Kossuth of
Hungary, Von Bismarck and Stephen Baron of Prussia and Louis
Blanc and Lamartine in France. New personalities mobilised
support against the oppressive rulers of Austria.
The effects of epidemic diseases
The poor people were affected by diseases like cholera, typhoid
and tuberculosis and died in large numbers. The leaders provided
no solution to the situation. They became unpopular leading to the
outbreak of the 1848 revolutions.
The negative effects of the rapid population growth
In eastern and central Europe the rapid population growth led to
urban congestion, food shortage and unemployment. The masses
blamed this on their respective governments. This led to the
revolutions of 1848.
The corruption and inefficiency of the rulers
In many states of eastern and central Europe, the rulers were
corrupt and inefficient. This compelled the masses to revolt against
Louis Philippe for instance in 1848.
The influence of socialist ideas
Socialist ideas were initiated by Karl Marx. Socialists argued
that capitalism was responsible for unemployment, inflation and exploitation of the employees. This encouraged the people to join
the 1848 revolutions.
The success of the previous revolutions
The French revolution of 1789 and the 1830 Belgian revolution
encouraged the outbreak of the 1848 revolutions. The oppressed
people believed their struggle would be successful like in France
and in Belgium.
The negative impact of industrialisation
The spread of industrialisation to many European countries created
many economic and social problems like unemployment, low
wages, long hours of work, poor accommodation, rural-urban
migration, inflation, and starvation. These problems forced the
poor populations in urban areas to join the 1848 revolutions.
The long term effects of the 1789 French revolution
The French revolution had left behind strong ideas of liberty,
equality and fraternity. It had also overthrown dictatorship and
bad governance in France. Therefore, people in different European
states in 1848 were guided by those ideas and wanted to achieve
what the French had witnessed in 1789.
The Common Characteristics of the 1848
Examine the characteristics of the 1848 European
revolutions. Present your work to the class.
All the 1848 revolutions were urban based, meaning that they were
concentrated in cities and towns, while the countryside remained
Many of the 1848 revolutions were led by educated people like
professors, doctors, lecturers, lawyers, journalists and even teachers
who understood the weaknesses of their home governments. E.g. Mazzini in Italy, Louis Blanc and Lamartine in France and Kossuth
The revolutions of 1848 lacked foreign assistance because they
occurred at the same time and each country was busy suppressing
its own revolution. This also explains why they were defeated.
Almost all the revolutions of 1848, except in France, were against
the unfairness of the Vienna Settlement which restored bad
leaders, neglected the principles of nationalism, and encouraged
domination of small countries by the big powers.
The 1848 revolutions took place at the same time: from January
to March 1848.
The revolutions took place in less industrialised and agricultural
states like Italy, German, Hungary and France.
All of them had an element of the French revolution of 1789: the
demand for constitutional changes.
All the revolutions failed, except in France where King Louis
Philippe was removed.
The revolutions, except the revolution in France, were organised
and carried out against the common enemy: Metternich of Austria
and his spy network system.
The revolutions were partly caused by the effects of natural
disasters like bad weather, epidemics, starvation and scarcity.
This explains why there were no revolutions in Britain where these
natural disasters did not occur.
The revolutions except in France lacked the support of the
national armies. For instance in Germany, Italy and Hungary the
revolutionaries were not supported by their national armies. This
was due to the ignorance of revolutionaries about the use of the
army. In Italy, and Austria the soldiers feared to participate because
their kings were dictators.
The revolutions had similar effects such as loss of lives, destruction
of property and exiling of the leading politicians except in France.
The Effects of the 1848 Revolutions
Analyse the effects of the 1848 revolutions in Europe. Present
the result of your analysis to the class.
The 1848 revolutions which occurred mainly in central and eastern
Europe resulted in positive and negative effects:
The 1848 revolutions caused loss of lives on a large scale. More
than 500 people were killed in France. In Berlin over 300 and
3000–5000 in Austria. In Hungary 13 generals and 1000 other
politicians were killed.
The 1848 revolutions caused many demonstrations against
Metternich who fled to exile in London. This led to the decline and
collapse of his system.
Apart from Metternich, many other people were forced into exile.
These included Louis Philippe, Mazzini, Kossuth, Garibaldi, Prince
Metternich and Charles Albert. In addtion, ordinary people rose to
The 1848 revolutionary movements contributed to the Italian and
German unification in 1871 because the Metternich system which
posed obstacles to the unification had collapsed. In addition the
revolutions led to the rise of new men who provided able leadership
that led to the unifications. These included Otto Von Bismarck
and Stephen in Germany, and Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont,
Gavainag and Louis Blanc in France.
The revolutions ended feudalism and serfdom. In September 1848,
Emperor Francis I of Austria passed the Emancipation Act under which
peasants were permitted to own land. Serfdom was also brought to
an end in Hungary. This improved lives of peasants in Europe.
This marked the end of privileges for the nobles and clergy in many
parts of Europe.
The 1848 revolutions taught revolutionaries a lesson that for any
revolution to be successful it should be militarily strong instead of
relying solely on intellectual ideas.
The 1848 revolutions were successful for a short time in some
states. For example in Hungary, Lajos Kossuth established the
Hungarian republic and a parliament at Budapest in March 1849;
the Frankfurt Assembly was established in May 1848 for the
German states; in Italy, Garibaldi and Mazzini set up a Roman
republic in 1849. However, these republics were shortly lived.
The 1848 revolutions in central Europe marked the awakening of
various peoples to national consciousness. In that year the Germans
and the Italians started their movements for the unification and
creation of nation-states.
Although the attempts at revolution failed in 1848, the movements
gathered strength in subsequent years. After a long struggle, an
Italian kingdom was created in 1861 and a German empire in 1871.
Other European peoples who agitated for national independence
in 1848 include the Poles, the Czechs, the Hungarians, and the
Christian peoples in the Balkans under the rule of the Ottoman
The 1848 revolutions led to the success of socialism in Europe.
The socialists successfully organised the workers and peasants
to fight against capitalism. Although socialism was suppressed,
it later dominated eastern Europe, divided Europe into the two
ideologies of communism and capitalism up to 1989 and beyond.
The 1848 revolutions also led to the rise of dictatorial governments
and the politics of revenge in the countries where they failed. For
example in Hungary and Austria, the constitutional reforms were
canceled. General Haynau forced Kossuth into exile and killed
many Hungarians. In Bohemia Winschgratz killed many Czech
rebels as revenge.
The Success of the 1848 Revolutions
Debate the different factors which made the 1848 revolutions
successful in some European countries. Consider France as a
case study. Present the outcome of your debate to the class.
Factors for the success of the 1848 Revolutions in France
Good leadership: Louis Blanc and Alphonse Marie Lamartine were
good leaders who mobilised the masses and demanded for change
during the 1848 revolution in France.
Support from the army: Like during the previous revolution of
1789, the revolutionaries in France were supported by the army.
This support encouraged the revolutionaries to succeed.
War experience: Most of the revolutionaries who fought in the
February revolution in France had also participated in the 1789
revolution where they got experience in fighting. This enabled them
to be successful in the 1848 revolution.
Support from the masses: Due to the poor social conditions, effects
of the bad weather and outbreak of epidemic diseases, the masses
supported the revolutionaries who promised them rapid reforms.
Nationalism and unity: Like in 1789, the people were strongly
united. They were determined to overthrow Louis Philippe who had
Financial support from the middle class: Due to the economic
problems France was facing which included unemployment, low
wages, inflation, corruption and embezzlement of public funds, the
middle class preferred to support the revolutionaries who promised
Failure of the 1848 Revolutions
While the 1848 revolutions succeeded in France, they failed in
other countries. Analyse the reasons for the failure and present
the summary of your assessment to the class.
The 1848 revolutions failed in most of the European states like
Austria, Hungary, Italian and German states, except in France. The
failure of these revolutions was due to the following factors:
The revolutions were not supported by the peasants and lacked
foreign support because most countries were facing the same
As a result of economic hardships, the revolutionary leaders and
their supporters were very poor and could not finance a prolonged
struggle or afford to purchase fire arms.
Ideological conflicts and lack of proper common strategy weakened
the revolutions. For example in Germany the northern states wanted
a little Germany under Prussia while the southern states wanted a
big Germany under Austria.
Austria had a song army led by efficient army commanders like
General Windschgratz who defeated revolutionaries in Vienna and
Hungary, and Raditsky who defeated the Italian revolutionaries at
Novaro and Custozza.
The revolutionaries failed to fulfill the promise made to their
supporters. They concentrated on talking and failed to deliver what
they had promised, for example in the German and Italian states.
Poor mass mobilisation also contributed to the failure of the
revolutions. They were urban centred and failed to involve people
in rural areas.
Religious differences among the revolutionaries weakened the
revolutions. In Germany the southern states supported Austria,
a fellow Catholic state, while the northern states which were Protestant supported Prussia. Charles Albert, a Catholic did not
want to attack Austria while Pope Pius IX supported Austria against
The dismissal of liberal ministers in September 1848 by King
Fredrick William IV also played a role in the failure of the revolution
Unfair representation in the constituent assembly mainly in Prussia
also contributed to the failure of the revolutions in the German
Why the 1848 European Revolutions did not
take Place in some Countries
Analyse why some countries did not experience the 1848
revolutions. Present the results to the class.
The 1848 revolutions mainly affected the central areas of Europe
which were under the control of Metternich and did not extend to
all European countries. Britain, Belgium, Holland and Russia did
not experience revolutions due to the following reasons:
In Belgium, a revolution was not possible because of the
constitutional arrangements achieved as a result of the 1830
revolution. For instance, the right to vote was already extended to
include members of the middle class. There was also improvement
in public works.
Britain and Belgium had already established the parliamentary
system. Many constitutional changes had taken place and they
were also easily implemented by parliament without the use of
force like in other countries.
In Britain the parliamentary system had focused on improving
working conditions. The working day was already shortened. The
working conditions of women and children were also addressed.
In 1834, the British parliament passed a law to improve the living
conditions of the poor.
Britain was a more advanced industrialised society. It was able to
meet the needs of the growing population, especially employment,
compared to other European countries where the effects of
industrialisation caused political instability.
By 1846 Britain had a law to improve the living conditions in
slums. Improvements in sanitation, drainage, street lighting and
medical services led to better conditions of living in comparison to
Britain was also never affected by the Vienna settlement which
created a lot of political dissatisfaction in Europe. This helped
Britain to escape the revolutions of 1848.
The Italian Unification
Analyse the political situation in Italy before 1815 and prepare
an essay to present to the class.
Italian unification refers to the amalgamation or union of various
Italian states to form one Italian kingdom in 1871. The various
states that formed a united Italy include Piedmont, Lombardy,
central states of Parma, Modena and Tuscany, Naples and Sicily,
Nice, Venetia, Savoy and the papal states.
Before 1815, Italians were under the control of Austria. In 1805,
Napoleon I forced Austria out of Italy in the famous “Italian
Campaign”. He divided the Italian states in three parts: the kingdom
of Italy in the north, kingdom of Naples in the south and central
Italian states. Many Italians had admired Napoleon for his victories
over the Austrians, and for the republican ideas that took root in
the parts of Italy under French control during the Napoleonic wars.
After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, the Italian states
had high hopes for regaining their independence and freedom.
However, by the Vienna Settlement these Italian states were put
under foreign domination as follows:
Lombardy, Venetia, Parma, Modena and Tuscany under Austria.
Papal states under Pope Pius IX.
Naples and Sicily under the Spanish King.
Piedmont and Sardinia were left under the Italian King Victor
The Italian nationals hated foreign domination and they started
several nationalistic movements. In 1820, a secret society called
Carbonari Movement was formed by Giuseppe Mazzini. He believed
that Italy should not only be independent, but also a united republic.
However, due to the lack of massive mobilisation, the movement
failed to unify Italy before 1850. Even the 1848 revolutionaries
failed to unify the Italian states until 1871.
Factors that had Delayed the Italian Unification before 1850
Examine the obstacles to Italian unification. Present your work
to the class.
Several obstacles explain why the Italian unification failed before
Economic backwardness: The Italian economy lacked industries,
it was poor, and transport and communication networks were not
well developed. Therefore, without a strong economic base, Italian
unification was always frustrated.
Austria and Metternich system: Austria had a very large, well
trained, organised and equipped army which was effectively
commanded. Metternich had established a strong spy network,
and used a policy of divide and rule. The Italians were not militarily
strong by 1848 and that is why the Carbonari Movement and the
Young Italian Movement failed to unify Italy.
The Vienna Settlement of 1815: The Vienna settlement negatively
affected the unification of Italy, because the peacemakers enlarged
the Italian states and again put them under foreign control. This
made unification difficult.
Lack of strong leaders: Italian unification delayed because of lack
of capable leaders. The leaders who had tried like Mazzini and
Garibaldi did not get support from the nobles and clergy because
they were from peasant families.
Problem of Pope Pius IX: Pope Pius IX did not have the vision of
a united Italy. He was greatly opposed to the unification of Italy
because he did not want the two Catholic countries to go to war.
However, he had encouraged liberalism and nationalism to grow
throughout the Italian peninsula.
Foreign interference: In 1848 Mazzini and Garibaldi attacked the
papal states and formed the Roman republic. But in 1849, France
under Napoleon III intervened and the pope was restored by the
French troops under General Cudinol.
Geographical terrain: The Italian terrain made movement and
communication difficult. Communication across the rivers
was impossible as they freeze in winter. So, the movements of
nationalists spreading the ideas of unification were hindered.
High level of illiteracy: About 90 per cent of Italians were not
educated and therefore had no political ideas which made it difficult for the masses to understand the struggle for unification. This is
why, the struggle for unification only took place around urban areas
as the rural people were not actively involved.
Ideological differences: Many Italians lacked a common stand
while others served in the army. They had no common language
which made it hard to criticise and mobilise other Italian states for
Divisions among Italian nationalists: The Italians in piedmont
supported monarchism and used French as their language, while
Garibaldi and Mazzini who spoke Italian supported republicanism.
As a result they did not unite in their struggle and they were
Lack of secrecy: As a result of Metternich’s spy network, the Austrian
police penetrated the secret societies by pretending to support the
Italian cause. The Austrian Secret Police was so effective that it
leaked the plans and activities of the Italian movements before
hand and as a result they were suppressed.
Military weaknesses: The Italians were militarily weak; they lacked
good weapons, military leaders, military bases and good military
Anti-reform leaders: The leaders who led the different stages
during the early days of the unification never wanted to support
the struggle for the unification. In addition, some Italian kings
collaborated with Austrian rulers to persecute Italian nationalists
who wanted unification.
Negative attitude of European powers: Some European powers
had a negative attitude towards the Italian unification. France
feared an independent Italy as her neighbour. Austria never wanted
to allow Italians to get independence because Italy was her colony,
while Britain was indifferent about Italian unification.
Violet methods: The leaders of the unification process used a lot
of force to achieve their goal. This forced Austrian rulers to also
react violently. The use of violence scared away many Italians
who supported the unification struggle. This weakened the Italian
Factors that Facilitated the Italian Unification Process of 1850–1870
Analyse the factors that favoured Italian unification by 1871.
Present the results of your analysis to the class.
The unification of Italy which was finally completed in 1871 was
as a result of a number of factors. These factors include:
Collapse of the Congress system: After 1856, there were no more
congresses in Europe because the big powers fought each other
during the Crimean War. Therefore, the revolutionary struggles in
Italy could not easily be suppressed due to the lack of unity among
Downfall of Metternich: As a leader of the Austrian Empire,
Metternich had used Austrian spies and army to stop Italian
unification. However, in 1848 he was overthrown and exiled to
London. The collapse of Metternich’s system enabled Italian
freedom fighters to succeed.
Eatablishment of an internal base in Italy: Before 1848, there was
lack of an internal base for the unification struggle. However, after
1849, Piedmont was used as an internal base to coordinate the
unification activities. Therefore, the return of the nationalists from
exile to operate from Italy allowed unification activities to move
Support from foreign countries: During the Italian unification
process, the foreign powers supported Italy in the following ways:
France: The Italians received direct assistance from France in
1859 by which Lombardy was liberated from Austria. However,
Garibaldi disliked this because Italy lost Nice to France.
Britain: Britain extended loans which helped Piedmont to
overcome the economic crisis. Britain also maintained the
policy of non-intervention which helped Garibaldi to liberate
Naples and Sicily in 1860.
Belgium: Like Britain, Belgium had financially supported the
struggle for Italian Unification.
Prussia: In 1866 Prussia assisted in the liberation of Venetia
Emergence of capable leaders after 1848: Before 1850, Italian
leaders failed to lead unification. After 1850 new leaders who
provided strong leadership emerged. Victor Emmanuel and Cavour
strengthened the army and the economy and secured foreign
assistance. In addition Charles Albert helped emancipate Venitia
Change of government in Britain: This favoured the unification in
Italy because the coming to power of Gladstone as prime minister
of Britain and Lord John Russell helped the Italians as they assisted
them in the liberation of Parma, Modena and Tuscany through a
referendum in 1860.
Activities of the Carbonari and the Young Italian Movement:
The Carbonari and Young Italian Movement established a strong
foundation for the unification of Italy. They encouraged the growth of
nationalism, unity and the idea for independence. They mobilised
Italians against Austrian foreign rule. Those activities united
Italians, prepared them for the struggle and reduced ostacles to
The 1870 – 1871 Franco-Prussian war: During this war, Napoleon
III was forced to withdraw the French troops from Rome in 1870.
This enabled the Italian patriots to take over Rome and this marked
the completion of the Italian unification in 1871.
Role of the Italian scholars: The Italian philosophers, lecturers,
teachers and writers wrote publications which encouraged
nationalism, they condemned Austrian domination and revealed
atrocities committed against the Italians. This created the spirit
of nationalism and Italian nationalists decided to fight against the
Role of Pope Pius IX: Pope Pius IX rose to power in 1848 and
unlike Pope Grégoire he was a liberal. He supported libralism
and nationalism and liked the idea of Italian unification. It also
weakened Metternich who was an obstacle to unification.
Role of press: The Risogrimento which was a newspaper
introduced by Cavour exposed Austrian atrocities against Italians
and sensitised Italians about the importance of unity.
Reform of Piedmont’s economy: By 1860, the economy of Piedmont
had been reformed and grown to the level of competing with the
Austrian economy and to challenge Austria. It became possible to
access adequate resources to support unification. Piedmont also
became strong enough to lead the unification process.
Reduction of the powers of the Catholic Church in Italy: The
Catholic Church was a big barrier in the unification of Italy because
it was opposed to fighting Austria a fellow Catholic country. In
1850, Camillo Benso di Cavour brought to an end the powers of the
Catholic Church. He stopped church control of politics, education,
and land. Thus, this allowed many liberal Catholics to fight against
Austria without condemnation from the Catholic Church.
Outbreak of the Franco–Prussian war of 1870–1: It was fought
between France and Prussia. Due to this war, France was forced
to withdraw her soldiers from Rome to go and fight in Prussia in
1870. This provided an opportunity for liberation forces to take
over control of Rome. This marked the completion of the Italian
unification in 1871.
The Role Played by Giuseppe Mazzini in Italian Unification
Evaluate the role played by Giuseppe Mazzini during the
struggle for Italian unification from 1850 up to 1870. Present
your work to the class.
Giuseppe Mazzini (22 June 1805 10 March 1872), nicknamed
“The Beating Heart of Italy”, was an Italian politician, journalist
and activist for the unification of Italy.
His efforts helped create the independent and unified Italy
composed of several separate states, that had been dominated by
Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian revolutionary who fought to oust
the Italian nobles and expel the Austrians from his country. He lived in France where he organised uprisings in Italy. While in exile
he was sentenced to death in absentia in 1832.
He helped define the modern European movement for popular
democracy in a republican state.
He bitterly resented the absorption of his native republic of Genoa
into the kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1815.
In 1827 he joined the revolutionary Carbonari Movement, but
after his imprisonment at Savona (1830-31) he abandoned that
organisation as ineffective.
Exiled, he founded the Young Italy Movement (La Giovine Italia) in
Marseille, France, in July 1831. It established branches in many
Italian cities. Mazzini argued that through coordinated uprisings,
the people could drive the Italian princes from their thrones and
oust the Austrians from the Italian peninsula.
He used propaganda to mobilise and sensitise the Italians. This
is why they called him a “Prophet of the Italian unification”. By
1833 his movement had about 60,000 members.
On March 8,1848, Mazzini launched a new political
association, the Associazione Nazionale Italiana in Paris.
The high point of Mazzini’s career was the revolutions of 1848-49,
when he returned to Italy and was elected one of the leaders of the
new Roman republic. But when the republic fell in July 1849 to an
invading French army, Mazzini once again had to flee.
His efforts to spark republican uprisings in Mantua (Mantova)
(1852) and Milan in 1853 were unsuccessful. The leadership
of the Italian nationalist movement was taken over by Camillo di
Cavour of Sardinia-Piedmont who supported a liberal monarchy.
Mazzini came back to Italy during the wars of 1859 and 1860 but
took no pleasure in seeing the establishment in 1861 of a unified
Italian kingdom rather than a republic.
In 1862 he again joined Garibaldi during his failed attempt to free
Rome. In 1866 Venetia was ceded by France, which had obtained
it from Austria at the end of the Austro-Prussian war, to the new
kingdom of Italy, which had been created in 1861 under the Savoy
monarchy. In 1867 he refused a seat in the Italian Chamber of
Deputies. He was still plotting to gain Venice and Rome when he
was jailed in Gaeta from August to October 1870 at the time King
Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was seizing Rome.
In failing health, Mazzini retired to Pisa, where he died on March
The Role Played by Giuseppe Garibaldi in Italian Unification
Evaluate the role played by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the
struggle for Italian unification from 1850 up to 1870. Present
your work to the class.
Garibaldi was a central figure in the Italian Risorgimento. He
personally commanded and fought in many military campaigns
that led eventually to the formation of a unified Italy. He generally
tried to act on behalf of a legitimate power, which does not make
him exactly a revolutionary. He joined the Young Italian Movement
in 1833 and become a follower of Mazzini.
In 1848, after a long period in exile in Tunisia, Brazil, Cuba, Uruguay
and USA, Garibaldi returned to Italy. Together with Mazzini they
participated in the 1848 revolution in the papal states, leading
to the formation of the Roman republic where he was appointed
general by the provisional government of Milan in 1848.
Emmanuel defeated Garibaldi at the battle of Aspromonte on
August 29, 1862. Garibaldi was wounded and captured in that
battle but was soon pardoned and released.
Despite the Aspromonte incident, the government went to Garibaldi
again in 1866. Italy had made an alliance with Prussia to defeat the
Austrians. Italy was promised Venice if the alliance was victorious.
Garibaldi successfully invaded Tyrol with a volunteer force.
This was one of the few Italian victories in a war won primarily on the
strength of the Prussian army. Venice became part of Italy in 1866.
In 1867 Garibaldi again raised a volunteer force with the aim of
annexing the papal states to the kingdom of Italy. After a number
of initial engagements, he was defeated by combined papal and
French forces at the battle of Mentana on November 3, 1867. He
was taken prisoner to Varignano, near La Spezia but was held for
only a short time.
In 1870 he offered his services to the French government and
fought with his two sons in the Franco-Prussian war. Rome was
annexed to Italy in October 1870, and Garibaldi was elected a
member of the Italian parliament in 1874. In his last years he
sympathized with the developing socialist movement in Italy
and other countries. Garibaldi’s autobiography, Autobiography of
Giuseppe Garibaldi, was published in 1887.
In 1879 he founded the League of Democracy, which advocated
universal suffrage, abolition of ecclesiastical property, emancipation
of women, and maintenance of a standing army.
The Role Played by Camillo Benso di Cavour in Italian Unification
Evaluate the role played by Benso di Cavour during the struggle
for Italian unification from 1850 up to 1870. Present your
work to the class.
Sardinia, a position he maintained (except for a six-month
resignation) throughout the second Italian war of independence
and Garibaldi’s campaigns to unite Italy.
Between 1838 and 1842 Cavour began several initiatives in
attempts to solve economic problems in his area. Firstly he
experimented with different agricultural techniques on his estate,
such as the use of sugar beet, and was one of the first Italian
landowners to use chemical fertilisers. He also founded the
Piedmontese Agricultural Society.
Cavour’s long term goal was to expel Austrian power from Italy
and expand Italy by annexing Lombardy and Venetia to Sardinia. In
1858, he negotiated a secret deal with Napoleon III who promised
to support Sardinia in case it faced a war with Austria.
A year later, he provoked that war. With the French help, Piedmont
- Sardinia defeated Austria and annexed Lombardy.
After his death on June 6, 1861, his successors completed his
dream by negotiating with Bismarck and Italy acquired Venetia in
a Peace Treaty that ended the Austro-Prussian war in 1866.
He is remembered for the following contributions during Italian
He founded a newspaper called Risorgimento which means
“resurrection” or “renewal”. In his newspaper, he published the
need for constitutional and parliamentary democracy. He also
exposed the oppressive administration of Austrian rulers. This
created nationalism and attracted support for independence from
He solicited for funds from foreign powers especially from Britain
He improved the economy of Piedmont by signing commercial
treaties with Britain, France and Belgium which made it easy for
Piedmont to benefit from free trade with European countries.
He carried out military reforms in Piedmont which strengthened the
military base of Piedmont. This helped address military obstacles
to Italian unification.
He abolished the powers of the pope and Catholic Church in Italy
by stopping the church from controlling politics, education and
land. This encouraged the liberal Catholics to support the idea of
He reconciled revolutionary fighters like Mazzini, Garibaldi and
King Victor Emmanuel II.
He introduced political reforms like drafting of the constitution
for Piedmont which created a political base that favoured the
unification of Italy.
He fought against illiteracy and ignorance in Italy by introducing
learning centres in Piedmont. These schools acted as mobilisation
centres for supporting the unification struggle.
He improved the economy, trade and transport of Piedmont by
encouraging agriculture, industrialisation, building of roads,
railways, telegraph lines and canals. This partly solved economic
backwardness and supported the movement of nationalists and
He is credited for introducing civil reforms in land, education and
finance in the state of Piedmont which reduced the power and
influence of the church.
Cavour engaged European powers to provide diplomatic support
for the unification. He supported the allies against Russia in the
crimean war. He also supported France and Prussia against Austria.
This helped him get support against Austria which was an obstacle
to Italian unification.
The Role Played by Victor Emanuel II in Italian Unification
Examine the role played by King Victor Emmanuel II in the
struggle for Italian unification from 1850 up to 1870. Present
your work to the class.
King Victor Emanuel II (14 March 1820 – 9 January 1878) was
the eldest son of Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano and Maria
Theresa of Austria. His father succeeded a distant cousin as king
of Sardinia in 1831.
Lastly, he continued with the struggle for the unification of Italy
after the death of Cavour in 1861. His role led to the liberation of
Rome and Venetia which completed the unification. He is credited
for the following contributions:
He accepted leadership of the struggle for Italian unification as
proposed by Cavour.
He appointed Cavour to various ministerial positions which enabled
Cavour to introduce economic and political reforms that helped the
Italians to attain their independence.
He accepted to use Piedmont as the centre of the unification; hence
he solved the problem of lack of an internal base from which the
Italians achieved their unification.
His foreign policy won for Piedmont foreign support and prestige.
He allied with Bismarck in 1866, and agreed to remain neutral
when Bismarck fought Austria and in return he would be supported
to liberate Venetia.
After the withdrawal of Cavour from the struggle in 1859, Victor
Emmanuel maintained the gains of the struggle. This encouraged
the central states to join Piedmont.
He marched his troops to occupy Rome after France had withdrawn
her soldiers to go and fight in the Franco - Prussian war of 1870– 1871.
Roles of Foreign Powers
Assess the role of the foreign powers in the Italian unification.
Present the results of your assessment to the class.
Besides the roles played by Italian nationalists to attain the Italian
unification, foreign powers also supported the Italians during their
struggle for their unification.
They inspired the Italians as united monarchies like Britain and
France among others.
Britain and France supported the Piedmontees to annex the central
duchies of the Italian states i.e. Parma, Modena and Tuscany in
France provided military support of 200 000 troops to Piedmont in
the liberation of Lombardy from Austria in 1859.
Britain remained neutral during the liberation of Lombardy in 1859,
Venetia in 1866 and Rome in 1870. This allowed the Italians to
carry out the liberation.
Prussia assisted the Italians in the liberation of Venetia in 1866
when Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussian war.
Disagreement between the great powers served the interests of the
Italians. These included Russia vs. Austria from 1820 onwards,
Britain, France and Turkey vs. Russia in the Crimean War of 1854–
1856, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871.
Foreign powers provided financial support. Britain and Prussia
financed some of the expeditions of Piedmont.
France, Britain and Switzerland provided asylum to Italian
revolutionaries and patriots.
There was neutrality of the foreign powers following the invasion
and the annexation of the papal states (Rome).
Some European powers like France, Britain and Belgium concluded
economic ties and exchange of technology with Piedmont.
Different Stages in the Italian Unification
Describe the different stages taken to achieve the Italian
unification by 1871. Present your work to the class.
The Prombières pact and liberation of Lombardy
After the 1856 Paris treaty, France delayed to assist Italians.
However an attempt by an Italian patriot called Felice Orsini to
assassinate Napoleon III, forced Napoleon III to form a military
alliance with Cavour.
In 1858, Cavour and Napoleon III of France signed a secret military
agreement at Prombières known as the Pact of Plombières. Cavour
and Napoleon III agreed to a joint war against Austria. Piedmont
would gain the Austrian territories of Lombardy and Venetia and
some territories of the former Venetian Commonwealth in the
Adriatic, as well as the duchies of Parma and Modena, while
France would be rewarded with Piedmont’s territories in Savoy and
Nice. Central and southern Italy, being largely under-developed and
of little interest to the wealthier north, would remain largely as it
was, although it was suggested that the emperor’s cousin Prince
Napoleon would replace the Habsburgs in Tuscany. To allow the
French to intervene without appearing as aggressors, Cavour was
to provoke the Austrians by encouraging revolutionary activity in
By this first stage, Austrian troops under Emperor Francis Joseph
I had been defeated by the French forces led by Napoleon III
at the battle of Solferino on June 24th, 1859. The Piedmontese
forces commanded by Victor Emmanuel II later had the better of
the Austrians at San Martino. The Austrians accepted to sign the
armistice of Villafranca on July 12th 1859 and Piedmont annexed
Milan and Lombardy. Austria left the peninsula and there was a
creation of a confederation of seven states of northern Italy.
The revolt of the central states and their annexation to Piedmont
In December 1859, Tuscany, Parma, Modena, and the papal
states were unified into the United Provinces of Central Italy,
and, encouraged by the British, began seeking annexation by the
kingdom of Sardinia. Cavour, who triumphantly returned to power
in January 1860, wished to annex the territories, but realised that
French cooperation was necessary. Napoleon III agreed to recognise
the Piedmontese annexation in exchange for Savoy and Nice. On
March 20, 1860, the annexations occurred. Now the kingdom of
Sardinia controlled most of northern and central Italy.
Liberation of Naples and Sicily and annexation to Piedmont
Garibaldi, a native of Nice, was deeply resentful of the French
annexation of his home city. He hoped to use his supporters to
regain the territory. Cavour, terrified of Garibaldi provoking a war
with France, persuaded Garibaldi to instead concentrate his forces
on the Sicilian rebellions. On May 6, 1860, Garibaldi and his force
of about a thousand Italian volunteers landed near Marsala on the
west coast of Sicily.
Garibaldi’s army attracted bands of rebels, and the combined
forces defeated the opposing army at Calatafimi on May 13. Within
three days, the invading force increased to 4,000 men. On May
14, Garibaldi proclaimed himself dictator of Sicily, in the name of
Victor Emmanuel. With the support of the population he captured
Palermo, the capital of sicily at the end of May.
Garibaldi then crossed over to the mainland and entered Naples
where he declared himself dictator of the two sicilies, a territory
that covered Italy and the Island of sicily.
After organising a plebiscite in both southern Italy and Naples,
Garibaldi handed over the territory to Victor Emmanuel whom he
gave the title of king of Italy.
Garibaldi then retired to the Island of Caprera, while the remaining
work of unifying the peninsula was left to Victor Emmanuel.
Liberation of Venetia
In the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 known as The Seven Weeks
War, Austria contested with Prussia the position of leadership among
the German states. The kingdom of Italy seized the opportunity to
capture Venetia from Austrian rule and allied itself with Prussia.
Austria tried to persuade the Italian government to accept Venetia
in exchange for non-intervention. However, on April 8, 1866 Italy
and Prussia signed an agreement that supported Italy’s acquisition
of Venetia, and on June 20, 1866 Italy declared war on Austria.
Victor Emmanuel led the Italian army but it was defeated by the
Austrian army at the battle of Custrea on June 24. Garibaldi’s
volunteers defeated an Austrian force in the battle of Bezzecca,
and moved toward Trento.
Meanwhile, Prussian Prime Minister Bismarck saw that his own
ends in the war had been achieved, and signed an armistice with
Austria on July 27, 1866. Italy officially laid down its arms on
August 12, 1866.
Prussia’s success on the northern front obliged Austria to cede
Venetia. Under the terms of a Peace Treaty signed in Vienna on
October 12, 1866, Emperor Franz Joseph had already agreed
to cede Venetia to Napoleon III in exchange for non-intervention
in the Austro-Prussian war and thus Napoleon III ceded Venetia
to Italy on October 19, 1866 in exchange for the earlier Italian
acquiescence to the French annexation of Savoy and Nice.
Annexation of Rome
Victor Emmanuel negotiated the removal of the French troops from
Rome through a treaty, with Napoleon III in September 1864, by
which the emperor agreed to withdraw his troops within two years.
The pope was to expand his own army during that time so as
to be self-sufficient. In December 1866, the last of the French
troops departed from Rome. After their withdrawal, Italy excluding
Venetia and Savoy, was freed from the presence of foreign soldiers.
In July 1870, the Franco-Prussian war began. Napoleon III recalled
his army from Rome.
In September Victor Emmanuel took over control of Rome after the
French withdrawal. A plebisute was held that supported annexation
of Rome by the kingdom of Italy. This marked the completion of the
unification of Italy.
The German Empire and Otto Von Bismarck
Examine the contributions of Otto Von Bismarck to the rise and
consolidation of the German Empire. Present your work to the
The German Empire was born in 1871 after the defeat of France
during the Franco-Prussian war. It was proclaimed at the Hall of
Mirrors in France by Emperor William I and survived for 47 years
under the three emperors. These include William I who reigned
from 1871 up to 1888, Emperor Fredrick William III in 1888 and
Kaiser William II who reigned from 1888 up to 1918. Bismarck
was chancellor from 1871 until 1890.
Otto von Bismarck was born in 1815, in a wealthy family in the
Prussian province of Saxony. His father, was a junker estate owner
and a former Prussian military officer. Bismarck was well educated
and fluent in English, French, Italian, Polish, and Russian.
He was a conservative German statesman who dominated European
affairs from the 1860s to 1890. After a series of short victorious
wars he unified numerous German states into a powerful German
Empire under Prussian leadership, and then created a “balance of
power” that preserved peace in Europe from 1871 until 1914.
In 1871, Otto von Bismarck was chancellor of the German Empire,
but retained his Prussian offices (including those of ministerPresident and Foreign Minister).
Bismarck’s domestic and foreign policies 1871–1890
Bismarck’s internal policy had the following features:
The policy against Catholics: The Catholics were not in good
relationship with the new German Empire because it was led by
Protestant Prussia. They wanted to teach the dogma of papal
infallibility in schools while Bismarck could not accept this.
To solve this problem, Bismarck introduced the May Law in 1873
by which he expelled stubborn Catholics from Germany, imprisoned
and killed some Catholic bishops, took over the authority to appoint
priests and bishops, withdrew the German ambassador from the
Vatican, and forced Catholic schools to sit examinations set by the
However, this law caused much criticism from socialists so that he
was forced to repeal it.
The constitution of 1871: Bismarck introduced a new constitution
which guaranteed the freedoms and rights for all the Germans and
provided for two assemblies in the parliament, i.e. the Bundesrat
(lawmaking body) and the Reichstag (for debating and suggesting
amendments to the laws).
The policy against socialists: The socialists were another problem
in the new empire of Germany. They demanded the abolition of
capitalism, introduction of state socialism and for more powers to
vote in the parliament.
To solve this problem, Bismarck introduced the exceptional laws in
which he exiled the stubborn socialists, arrested and killed some of
them, and banned socialist meetings and newspapers.
However, these laws failed and Bismarck was forced to withdraw
them. He introduced sickness insurance in industries, old age
insurance for workers, laws against child labour and the public
employment board to supervise the working conditions.
Military reorganisation: Bismarck introduced compulsory military
service and built new military industries to produce new military
equipment. He also nominated able military commanders. This
strengthened the German army which helped him to prevent a war
of revenge from France.
Administrative policy: Bismarck introduced a federal government
in which he allowed states to control their own local affairs in
education, religion and culture among others. The central
government controlled taxation, army, trade and foreign affairs
After the German unification with the defeat of France during the
Franco-Prussian war, the main aim of Bismarck’s foreign policy
was to focus on the isolation of France and prevent her from getting
allies and preventing a war of revenge. To do so, he implemented
the following policies:
Maintaining an occupation army in France: After the defeat of
France in 1871, Otto Von Bismarck sent an army to occupy France
with the purpose of ensuring that France paid the war reparation
and to intimidate France so that she did not fight the war of
revenge. In 1873, he withdrew this army which showed that he
was a peacemaker in Europe.
Formation of the Dreikaiserbund in 1872: This was a league based
on agreement of the three emperors of Austria, Russia and Germany
formed in 1872. This term Drei Kaiser bund is a German term that
means the three (drei) emperors (kaiser) and league (bund).
The objective of this agreement was to allow Bismarck capture the
friendship of Austria and Russia in order to isolate France. In this
agreement, all members accepted to support one another in case
of a war from a non-member. It was to be renewed every year. By
this league, Bismarck succeeded in keeping France isolated and
therefore prevented the French war of revenge.
Maintaining good relationship with Britain: In order to keep good
terms with Britain, Bismarck sent his son Herbert Bismarck to
London as an ambassador. This way he won the attention of Britain
and ensured that Britain could not ally with France, leading to the
isolation of France.
Calling of the 1878 Berlin Congress: In 1878, there was a crisis
in the Balkans resulting into potential conflicts between Britain and
Austria on one side and Russia on the other side. Bismarck who
now never wanted to lose friendship with both sides got involved
and called the Berlin congress to settle the conflict.
In this congress, Bismarck tried to support British interests in the
region, he supported Austrian control in Bosnia and Herzegovina
and also supported France in Tunisia.
Consequently, Bismarck succeeded in preventing war between
Britain, Austria and Russia but he was under the risk of losing
Russia because he never supported her. He also succeeded in
diverting French attention in Tunisia and prevented any war of
revenge from France.
Formation of the Dual alliance in 1879: After the 1878 Berlin
Congress, Bismarck feared the possible alliance between Russia
and France. He concluded an agreement with Austria in 1879
known as the dual alliance.
In this alliance, Austria agreed to support Germany if France,
Russia and any other power attacked her. In case France alone
attacked Germany, Austria would remain neutral. Equally, Germany
accepted to support Austria if Russia and France and any other
power attacked her, while in case Austria was attacked by Russia
alone, Germany would remain neutral. This alliance enabled
Germany to maintain a strong relationship with Austria up to 1914.
The formation of the Triple alliance in 1882: This alliance was an
agreement between Germany, Austria and Italy. The triple alliance
was signed because Bismarck never wanted France to ally with
Italy and he wanted to convince Italy to abandon Tunisia for France
as one way to divert French attention from the war of revenge.
In this triple alliance, Germany, Austria and Italy accepted to
support one another in case of war from a non-member. Again,
Bismarck succeeded in isolating France in Europe.
Renewal of the Dreikaiserbund in 1883: Attempts to renew this
agreement had been failing since 1878 due to misunderstandings
between Russia and Germany in the 1878 Berlin Congress. However,
Tsar Alexander II who had refused to renew the Dreikaiserbund
died and was replaced by Tsar Alexander III who accepted to renew
the Dreikaiserbund with Bismarck.
As a result, Tsar Alexander III promised to support Germany in case
of war with France. Bismarck also promised to assist Alexander III to
recover Bulgaria. By this renewal of the Dreikaiserbund, Bismarck
succeeded in winning back Russia to his side hence leaving France
Calling of the Berlin Conference (1884–1885): This conference
was called by Bismarck in order to prevent any war between
European powers during the partition of Africa. He also called this
conference to announce that Germany had intentions of occupying
some territories in Africa like other European powers. But
strategically, he called the conference to divert French attention to
her colonies through the principle of effective occupation.
Factors that Delayed German Unification
Examine the factors that delayed German unification. Present
your work to the class.
Attempts to form the German-speaking populations into a federation
lasted for nearly a century. Unification exposed religious, linguistic,
social, and cultural differences between and among the inhabitants
of the new nation.
After the Napoleonic era, the Vienna settlement created The
German Confederation of States. States like Bohemia, Moravia,
Württemberg, Saxony, Hanover, Holstein, Schleswig, Baden,
Hesse, Silesia and Posen among others were subjected to foreign
rule except Prussia which remained under the control of the German
King Frederick William I.
The German states that were under Austrian foreign rule, were
brought together to form a single German state in 1871. However,
before attaining this unification, the Germans had encountered the
Economic hardships: The Germans were poor with no industries,
low income and low levels of education. Such an economic status
could not challenge Austria.
Role of Prince Metternich of Austria: Metternich had spies in
Germany and in 1819 he passed The Carlsbad Decrees that
stopped political activities in German universities. This made it
impossible for the Germans to unify themselves. Germans were not
willing to identify with in the revolutionary movement in order to
liberate Germany and this was because of the fear of Austrian spies.
Effect of the Reformation: The reformation which was championed
by Martin Luther in 1517 led to the breakup of the Catholic
Church and, consequently, the Protestant Church. This divided
the Germans. The northern Germans were Protestants. While the
southern states were Catholic. These religious differences were a
hindrance to German unification.
Lack of strong army: Germany didn’t have a well trained single
army for all states to fight Austria. All states except Prussia never
had an army and even the Prussian army was too weak to challenge
Austrians. This delayed German’s unification.
Lack of foreign support: The Germans did not get external support
like the Italians and this made it difficult for them to address the
major obstacle which was Austrian military strength.
Social class differences: The difference between the poor working
class and the middle class undermined the success of the German
unification. On December 15, 1848 the middle class supported
Austria against the Frankfurt parliament members who wanted a
Poor mass mobilisation: Before the year 1860, majority of the
Germans were not informed about the importance of the German
unification because of poor mobilisation due to the lack of mass
media to sensitise the people.
Opposition from the conservatives: The conservative Prussian
junkers and liberals at the May 1848 Frankfurt Assembly ignored
the establishment of a strong army against Austria and concentrated
more on patriotic issues.
Lack of good leadership: The German states agreed to unite
but lacked strong leaders who would challenge Metternich and
Austria. Frederick William IV believed in unification but he was a
supporter of Austria while leaders of other states wanted to remain
Factors that enabled German unification
Discuss the factors that enabled the Germans to achieve their
unification in 1871. Present the outcomes of your discussion
to the class.
The collapse of the Congress system by 1830 left Austria with no
foreign assistance to check German nationalism.
The downfall of Metternich and his system which were the greatest
obstacles in 1848 favoured unification because his successors
were weak. They were not strong enough to maintain Metterich’s
Military reforms like increasing the Prussian army from 500,000
to 750 000 under the effective command of Von Roon and Von
Moltke provided military power to challenge Austrian control of
Improvements in the Prussian education system greatly solved the
problem of ignorance and disunity that had hindered the unification
among the Germans.
Prussia introduced reforms in industry, transport and military
theology from 1860 onwards. This enabled her to finance the
unification activities and also get modern weapons of war.
Improvements in transport, trade, agriculture, industry and
military technology strengthened Prussia’s economy and army
which helped support unification activities, especially wars with
Denmark, Austria and France.
The rise of King William I in 1855 in Prussia. He appointed
Bismarck a minister president in 1861 who used his position to
fight for German unification. William also strengthened the army
and the economy and this supported unification efforts.
The 1848 revolutions exposed the weaknesses of the army and
disunity as obstacles to unification. This enabled the Germans to
address the obstacles to unification.
Foreign support enabled unification efforts because in 1863
Bismarck allied with Austria and Russia to defeat Denmark.
With Napoleon III of France and Alexander II of Russia, Bismarck
defeated Austria in 1866. With Belgium and the southern German
states Bismarck defeated France in 1871.
Mistakes and military weakness of the German enemies favoured
unification. For example, the annexation of Schleswig by Denmark
violated the 1852 London Treaty and left Denmark isolated in
international affairs making it easy to defeat Denmark.
Role of Field Marshal Von Roon and Von Maltke who commanded
the Prussian army that defeated Denmark in 1864, Austria in
1866 and France in 1871 contributed to success of the German
Improvements in the transport and communication network like
the construction of roads, railways and bridges facilitated the
movements of Germans patriots from one place or state to another
while spreading the propaganda and message of unification. This
also explains the success of German unification.
Role Played by Otto Von Bismarck in German Unification
Evaluate the role played by Otto Von Bismarck in the struggle
for German unification, from 1850s to 1871. Present your
work to the class.
To achieve the German unification, Bismarck played the following
He advised King William I of Prussia not to resign and encouraged
him to implement fundamental reforms in Prussia.
He suppressed the Prussian liberals from the Frankfurt parliament.
They had spent much time in making speeches and opposed the
coalition of a strong army.
He carried out fundamental reforms in the Prussian educational
system which reduced on the illiteracy levels that had hindered
He increased the Prussian army from 500,000 to 750,000 under
the efficient command of Field Marshal Von Moltke and Von Roon.
He won diplomatic relations with European statesmen and states
like Benjamin Disraeli of Britain in 1861 and in 1863 with Russia
which enabled Prussia to defeat her enemies without Russia and
He prepared Germany for the 1866 Austro-Prussian war through the
Biarritz treaty with Napoleon III by which France promised neutrality
hence facilitated the German unification in 1871.
In 1864 he defeated Denmark in an attempt to liberate Schleswig
which was added to Prussia in 1865 following the August 1865
Through his efforts, Prussia defeated Austria at Sadowa in 1866
and this resulted into the liberation of Holstein.
In 1869 he completed the unification of the northern German
states and, as a result, a new constitution was promulgated which
eliminated Austria from German affairs.
In the 1870 – 1871 Franco-Prussian war was led by Von Bismarck,
Prussia defeated France at Sedan and the German unification was
officially proclaimed at Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors.
Stages in the German Unification
Describe the different stages taken by the Germans to attain
their unification in 1871. Present your work the class.
Defeat of Denmark and annexation of Schleswig
From the late 15th century, Schleswig-Holstein was controlled
by Denmark. In 1852, the great powers had agreed to continue
this status, but in 1863 the Danish king, Christian IX, annexed
Schleswig-Holstein and integrated it more closely into Denmark.
Bismarck feared the Schleswig-Holstein question would unite
German nationalists and also strengthen liberal and parliamentary
forces in Prussia. He also had a conflict between Prussia and
Austria, that would allow foreigners to intervene and determine the
fate of the German states. Bismarck took the lead in denouncing
Denmark’s behaviour. He also turned to Austria and stressed the
merits of Austrian-Prussian cooperation both to pre-empt the
German nationalists and to forestall possible action by Britain,
France, and Russia.
Austria was convinced by Bismarck’s arguments and issued a joint
demand with Prussia in January 1864 that Denmark restore the
status quo. When Denmark refused, a joint Austrian-Prussian force
occupied Holstein, and then invaded Schleswig. The Danish army
was easily crushed by the combined Austrian and Prussian forces.
Denmark’s refusal to compromise, combined with the fact that its
position was not legal, kept the rest of Europe from intervening.
By midsummer 1864 the fighting was over. By the Gerstein
Convention, of August 1865, Holstein was given to Austria as a
reward while Schleswig was added to Prussia.
Defeat of Austria and annexation of Holstein
In 1866, Bismarck planned a war against Austria by forming the
German Confederation which eliminated Austria. He had asked
the Italians to unite with Germany against a common enemy and
promised that at the end of the war he would hand over Venetia
Besides, Bismarck secretly met Napoleon III and requested him to
remain neutral in case war broke out between Austria and Prussia.
Napoleon was promised territories along River Rhine but with no
written document. Russia had insured Bismarck support because
he had chased the Russian rebels who were in Prussia.
In June 1866, Austria declared war on Prussia. Prussia defeated
Austria at the battle of Königgrätz. The king and his generals
wanted to push on, conquer Bohemia and march to Vienna, but
Bismarck, worried that Prussia might be defeated or that France
might intervene on Austria’s side, decided to make peace with
By the Peace of Prague of 1866, the German Confederation
was dissolved; Prussia annexed Schleswig, Holstein, Frankfurt,
Hanover, Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), and Nassau; and Austria
promised not to intervene in German affairs.
To strengthen Prussian influence, Prussia and several other north
German states joined the North German Confederation in 1867. King
Wilhelm I served as its president, and Bismarck as its chancellor.
Annexation of south German states
After the victory in Austro-Prussian war and creation of North
Rhine Confederation, Bismarck planned for the annexation of
German states south of Rhine River. He had disappointed and
humiliated Napoleon III by refusing to respect the agreement of
1865. Napoleon III requested Bismarck to support him to annex
Belgium and Luxembourg. However, his request was rejected.
Bismarck used this opportunity to publicise French intentions to
the German states. As a result he won the economic and military
alliance with southern German states.
At this stage, the unification of Germany was almost completed
because all German states were now under a single administration
Isolation and defeat of France in the Franco – Prussian war
A suitable situation for war arose in 1870, when the German Prince
Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was offered the Spanish
throne, which had been vacant since 1868. France blocked the
candidacy and demanded assurances that no members of the House
of Hohenzollern become king of Spain. To provoke France into
declaring war with Prussia, Bismarck published the Ems Telegram, a
carefully edited version of a conversation between King Wilhelm and
the French ambassador to Prussia. This conversation had been edited
so that each nation felt that its ambassador had been disrespected,
thus provoking anger on both sides in favour of war.
France mobilised and declared war on 19 July. The German states
saw France as the aggressor. Swept up by nationalism and patriotic
fanaticism, they rallied to Prussia’s side and provided troops. The
Franco-Prussian war (1870) was a great success for Prussia. The
German army under the command of the king but controlled by
Helmuth von Moltke, won victory. France was defeated at the
battle of Sedan.
By the Frankfurt Treaty, all the southern states and the French
provinces of Alsace and Loraine were annexed to the northern
German states to form the United German Empire. King William of
Prussia was proclaimed German emperor on 18 January 1871 in
the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.
Similarities and Differences in Italian and German Unification
Compare and contrast the Italian unification to the German
unification. Present the results of your work to the class.
Both unifications had Austria as a common obstacle in their
Both unifications had the Franco-Prussian war as the final event
after which they concluded the unification.
Both unification struggles were an attempt to overthrow the
arrangement of the 1815 Vienna Settlement which had put both
German and Italian states under foreign domination.
Both unifications used force and violence to accomplish the goal.
Both unifications were held and delayed by the Metternich system
where it was not possible to organise revolutions.
In both unifications, there was one state that led the struggle. That
was Piedmont in Italy and Prussia in German.
In both unifications there was one outstanding leader who played
a big role, Cavour in Italy and Bismarck in Germany.
Both unifications were frustrated by their kings, Charles Albert of
Piedmont and Frederick William I of Prussia.
To some extent, all the unifications used diplomacy by their leaders;
Bismarck and Cavour.
Both unifications were achieved in the same year: 1871.
While the unification of Italy was achieved mainly through foreign
assistance, that of Germany was achieved by the military strength
of the Prussian army.
The unification of Germany was supported by the economic unity
of the German states as a result of the customs union which was
established by 1844. This was not the case in Italy.
The sensitivity of the pope’s position, which was an obstacle in the
Italian unification was absent in the German unification.
The Italian unification struggle took a long time (1859 – 1871)
while the German unification struggle took a shorter time (1864
The Italian unification was achieved at the expense of some Italian
states like Nice which was given to France while no German state
was lost during unification efforts.
In the German unification, the capital of Prussia, Berlin, remained
the capital of the united Germany while the capital of Piedmont
Turino was changed and Rome became the capital of united Italy.
The Eastern Question
Analyse the factors that led to decline of the Ottoman Empire
in 1820s. Present your work to the class.
The Eastern Question was a term by European powers to refer to
the problems in the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) from 1815 to 1878.
During this period various European powers struggled to control
From the 14th century, Turkey became aggressive and conquered a
large area that included part of north Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco,
Algeria and Libya), and eastern Europe (such as Romania, Bulgaria,
Serbia, Greece and Crete). It further expanded to cover Walachia,
Moldavia and Arabian states up to Mesopotamia and the Indian Ocean.
Within these boundaries, Turkey had many nationalities including
Serbs, Bulgarians, Romanians, and Africans. This made Turkey a
very heterogeneous nation with many races.
Most of these were Christians under Muslim rule. They took
advantage of internal administrative problems to demand for their
The Eastern Question started with the decline of the Ottoman
Empire and this decline was due to the following factors:
Big size: The Ottoman Empire had become too large to be effectively
controlled by one administration based at Constantinople. This
encouraged the captured states to break away and get their
Growth of nationalism: This was prompted by the desire of
different nationalities to struggle for independence from Turkey. For example, Serbia and Egypt became independent in 1805, Algeria
in 1807, and Greece in 1832.
Financial crises: The Turkish administrators were corrupt and
embezzled funds which led to a financial crisis, and the decline of
Decline of military strength: The empire had lost its military
strength by the end of the 18th century. That was why revolts like
the 1821 Greek war of independence were successful.
Religious differences: The Muslims leaders exposed Christians to
a lot of suffering and discrimination in education, administration
and unfair taxation. Most of the revolts against Turkey were caused
by the persecution of Christians. Revolts of Christians in Greece
and Bulgaria weakened Turkey. The persecutions attracted the
attention of the Christian countries of Russia, Austria and France.
Their intervention worsened the problem leading to the success of
the revolts in Greek and Bulgaria.
Influence of French revolutionary ideas: The states under the
Turkish domination took advantage of the success of the French
revolution to also demand for their independence.
Presence of powerful rival states: The interests of the big powers
also contributed to the collapse of the Turkish Empire. Britain
competed with Turkey in international trade while Austria and
France were opposed to the influence of Turkey over the many
states that it controlled.
Weak leaders: After its expansion to the Middle East, the Ottoman
empire was ruled by weak sultans such as Muhammad and Abdul
Rise of influential personalities: Popular leaders in Greece like
Prince Alexander Hypslant and Capdistrious who challenged the
sultans of the Ottoman Empire led to conflicts.
European selfish interests: European major powers like Britain,
France and Russia aimed to break up the Ottoman Empire so as to
expand their influence.
Russia constantly attacked Turkey and even exaggerated the
problems in Turkey to the extent of referring to Turkey as “the
sick man of Europe”. This was because of the various political,
economic, military and administrative weaknesses. Russia and other foreign powers incited and supported the Greeks, the Wallachians,
Moldavians, Bosnians and Bulgarians to revolt against Turkey.
The Greek War of Independence
Examine the reasons for the Greek war of independence against
Turkey. Present your work to the class.
Nationalism: The Greeks were part of the Ottoman Empire since
the 14th century when the Turks conquered and colonised them. By
the beginning of the 19th century, nationalism had grown in Greece.
In 1821 the Greeks started demanding for their independence in
one of the districts called Morea where the Christians started killing
Muslims and Muslims reacted by killing Christians. This led to the
war for Greek independence.
The Greeks revolted against Turkish administration because of the
desire for self rule and liberation from Turkish domination.
Greek ancient glory: The Greeks are credited with the beginning
of modern civilisation. They believed in their superiority over the
Turkish colonial masters. They revolted against Turkey in order to
revive their ancient glory.
Level of literacy: Greece was the most civilised of Turkey’s colonies.
The Greeks were well educated. Because of their education, they
were able to organise a rebellion against the Turkey.
Religious persecutions: The Ottoman Empire consisted of different
religious groups that often turned against one another and the
Muslim leaders of the empire did not respect other religions. There
was no freedom of worship and many Christians were killed by the
Muslims. The Greeks rose up in 1821 in order to get freedom of
Influence of the French revolution of 1789: The success of the
French revolution and the spread of revolutionary ideas in the
empire inspired the Greeks to revolt. The Greek nationalists used
the revolutionary ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity to mobilise
the Greeks to fight for their independence.
Foreign assistance: The Greeks were supported by other European
countries like France, Britain and Russia which inspired them to
fight Turkey for their independence.
Collapse of the Congress System: The Congress System which was
formed in 1815 as an association to fight the forces of nationalism
and liberalism, had by 1821 started to collapse. The Greeks took
advantage of this demand for their independence.
Unfair taxation: The Muslims imposed unfair taxation on Greeks.
Greeks paid a lot of taxes and Muslims benefited at the expense
of taxpayers. The Greeks rose up to get their independence and to
stop unfair taxation.
Weaknesses of Turkey: In the 19th century, the Turkish military and
political control weakened. This encouraged the Greeks to revolt
against Turkish domination. The Greeks had also acquired naval
supremacy over the Ottoman Empire and this encouraged them to
go in for war to gain their independence.
Birth of a secret society: This was known as Heteria Philika, or
the association/society of friends, lead by Alexandros Ypsilantis
and Capodistrous. It was founded in 1814 with the major aim
of driving the Turkish administration from Greece. By 1821, the
society had become the official mouthpiece of the Greek war of
independence with over 20,000 members.
Course of the Greek War of Independence
Describe the course of the Greek war of independence and
present the result of your work to the class.
In March 1821, Ypsilantis organised a revolt in Moldavia and
Wallachia against the Turkish Ottoman Empire. His aim was to
first liberate the two islands before embarking on Greece. He also
wanted to divert Turkish attention to the two islands and give the
Greeks chance to declare their independence. They massacred
many Turkish officials and nationals.
However, this revolt failed due to poor organisation and lack of
full support from Wallachia. The result was that Ypsilantis was
defeated and fled to Austria where he was imprisoned for seven
years by Metternich. Meanwhile, the Greeks massacred about 25
000 Muslims. The sultan of Turkey retaliated by massacring about
30 000 Greeks and hanged Bishop Gregorios in Constantinople on
In 1825, Tsar Alexander I of Russia called the Saint Petersburg
Congress which was only attended by four powers over the Greek
crisis and therefore failed to solve the crisis. The failure of the Saint
Petersburg Congress to settle the Greek revolt and the continued
massacring of Christians by Muhammad Ali gave Russia chance to
openly assist the Greeks. Britain and France which were against
this idea later joined Russia to assist the Greeks because they did
not want to see Russia acting alone and increase her influence in
the Balkan region to their disadvantage.
Despite protests from Austria and Prussia which sympathised with
Turkey, Britain, France and Russia signed a treaty with Turkey
in which Greece was granted self rule, but under the Turkish
overlordship. This treaty, however, insured that force had to be
applied if Turkey failed to accept the terms. Turkey refused to
accept these terms expecting support from Prussia and Austria.
As a result, the French sent troops to Greece, the Russians marched
an army to Turkey, and the British fleet sailed to Alexandria, Egypt.
However, hostilities did not end until Russia and the Ottomans
signed the treaty of Adrianople on September 14, 1829, and the
Ottomans agreed to give up control of Greece. Britain, France, and
Russia proclaimed Greece’s independence in the London Protocol,
signed in February 1830. In treaty of Constantinople in 1832, the
powers formalised their protection of Greece. This treaty included
only southern mainland Greece and the Peloponnesus, excluding
vast areas that are now part of Greece, but its signing was of
Effects of the Greek War of Independence
Evaluate the consequences of the Greek war of independence.
Present your work to the class.
The Greek war of independence led to massive loss of life as it led
to the death of soldiers and civilians.
The Greeks got their independence in 1832. The Greeks together
with the French and the British defeated the Turks at the battle
of Navarino Bay in 1827 and in 1832 Greek independence was
The war forced the sultan of Turkey to get conditional support from
Egypt. It was agreed that at the end of the war Egypt was to be
rewarded with Syria.
It contributed to the decline of Turkey and that was why Tsar
Nicholas of Russia referred to Turkey as “a sick man of Europe”.
It led to the Syrian question which was a result of sultan’s failure to
reward Mohamed Ali of Egypt for his assistance against the Greeks.
This forced Mohamed Ali to occupy Syria by force. This led to war
between Turkey and Egypt.
The Greek war increased the rise of nationalism in Turkey. The
success of the Greek war of independence encouraged other small
states in the Ottoman Empire to demand for independence like in
Wallachia, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Bosnia.
The war led to the collapse of the Congress system. When the
European powers met at Verona in 1822 and at Saint Petersburg
in 1825, they were divided over the Greek war. Russia, France and
Britain supported the Greeks while Austria and Prussia supported
The war increased Russian influence in the Balkans through
different treaties signed with Turkey like the treaty of Adrianople
in 1829 and the Unkiaar Skelessi treaty in 1833 in which Russia
gained military control of some Turkish territories.
The Greek war of independence led to hostility between European
powers against Russia. Britain and France were not happy with the
increase of Russian influence in the Balkans. Russian interests in
Turkey also threatened the British and French economic interests
in Turkey. Later this led to the Crimean war.
The Syrian Question
Examine the causes of the Syrian question in 1832–1841.
Present your work to the class.
The Syrian question or the Second Egyptian–Ottoman War or
Second Turco-Egyptian War lasted from 1832 until 1841 and was
fought mainly in Syria. This is why it is called the (second) Syrian
war. It was a conflict between the Sultan Mahmud II of Ottoman
Turkey and Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt over the control of Syria,
Morea and Damascus from 1832 to 1841. This war was caused
by the following factors:
The Greek war of independence: This war forced the sultan
of Turkey, Mahmud II to request Egypt in 1822 to support him
to suppress the Greek revolt in Morea. He promised him some
territories as reward for this assistance. This is how Muhammad
Ali Pasha of Egypt got involved in the Balkan affairs, leading to
conflicts with sultan in Syria.
The failure of Sultan Mahmud II of Turkey to honour his promise to
Muhammad: Muhammad accepted to help the sultan in return for
the territories of Morea, Damascus, Syria and Palestine. However,
after the war with the Greeks, the sultan of Turkey failed to fulfill
his promise. This caused the war between him and Muhammad
resulting in the Syria question.
The military weaknesses of Turkey: Turkey had become militarily
weak and this encouraged the sultan of Egypt to send his army to
occupy Syria. This resulted in the Syrian question.
The economic strength of Egypt: Egypt was economically stronger
than Turkey and this enabled her to arm her soldiers and capture
Syria. Egypt also wanted to use Syria as her economic base in Turkey.
The success of the Greek war of independence: The Greeks
achieved their independence after defeating combined forces of the
Turkey and Egypt. So, the sultan of Turkey did not see any reason
to reward Egypt. This forced Egypt to capture Syria, leading to the
The London treaty of 1827: This granted self-governance to
Greece which meant that Muhammad Ali had not fully assisted
the sultan to defeat the Greeks. The sultan of Turkey therefore
refused to give Syria to Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt, leading to
misunderstanding between them.
Course of the Syrian Question
Describe the course of the Syrian question. Present your work
to the class.
The Syrian question was caused by the failure of the sultan to
Turkey respect the promise that he had made to Muhammad Ali
after the Greek war of independence. He had promised Egypt the
territories of Syria and Damascus as a reward for Egyptian military
support against the Greeks.
Muhammad Ali decided to occupy Syria by force. In 1832 Egyptian
troops overran Syria. The Egyptian invasion forced Mahmud II to
seek Russian assistance. Russian forces poured into the Balkans
and this worried Austria, Britain and France. The three powers
fearing Russian expansion were forced to put pressure on the
sultan Mahmud II to surrender Syria to Muhammad Ali, which the
Sultan did in April 1833.
This was confirmed by the treaty of Unkiar Skellessi of July
1833. This treaty placed the Ottoman Empire under the exclusive
protection of the Russians. This allowed them to dominate the
straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles. Britain, wanted to nullify any
Russian gains, by seeking to internationalise the straits.
Russia influenced the sultan to include a secret clause in the treaty
which stated that the straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles would
be closed in times of war to all ships except those of Russia. Thus
Russia militarily and politically benefited to the disappointment of
other European powers.
On June 29, 1839 an invading Ottoman army was again destroyed
in Syria by Muhammad’s general, Ibrahim Pasha at the battle
of Nezib, putting him in possession of the whole of Syria. This
threatened to place Istanbul and the entire eastern Mediterranean
under his control. After the battle, the Ottoman fleet defected to
Muhammad Ali. Britain, Russia and Austria promised to support
the Ottoman Empire and to force Muhammad Ali (who had the
support of France and Spain) to withdraw from Syria. Britain,
Russia, France and Prussia signed the Straits Convention of London
in 1841 by which the Syrian question was settled.
Muhammad Ali was forced to denounce his claims in Syria. He was
confirmed as the hereditary ruler of Egypt and Turkey recovered
Crete and Arabia. This convention also forced Russia to denounce
the treaty of Unkiar Skellessi of 1833. Turkey would close the
straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles to the warships of all nations
including Russia so that no state threatened her. This was a great
diplomatic victory for the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerstone.
Russia and France lost in the Syrian question and they were not
to disturb Europe again. The situation remained calm and there
was no war in the region up to 1853 when the Crimean war
broke out in the Balkan region.
Effects of the Syrian Question
Assess the impact of the Syrian question. Present the outcomes
of your assessment to the class.
It increased Russian imperialism in the Balkans: After taking Syria
by force, Egypt threatened Constantinople and in order to save the
city, Turkey requested for help from Russia. This enabled Russia to
intervene in the Balkans.
It led to the unpopularity of Louis Philippe in France: Philippe had
achieved glory by helping Muhammad Ali of Egypt to control Syria.
However, he later withdrew his troops from Egypt and this made
the glory seekers unhappy with Louis Philippe and discredited him
Big powers intervention in the Balkans: This was when those
big powers come as saviors, because Russia wanted to protect
Constantinople while France and Britain wanted to stop Russia
from dominating the Balkans.
Rivalry and suspicion between European powers: Russian influence
increased in the Balkans as a result of the Syrian question through
the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi which allowed Russia to intervene in
Balkan affairs. As a result, up to the 1870s, Britain and Austria
threatened to declare war on Russia.
Poor relations between Egypt, France and Britain, Russia, Austria
and Prussia: The expulsion of France and Egypt by big powers from
Syria in 1841 after signing the Straits Convention, caused tension
among European powers.
It worsened the conditions of the Ottoman Empire: It was another
blow to the empire after the Greek war of independence which had
hit the life of the empire. It weakened the Ottoman Empire because
many small states also demanded for independence.
Hatred between Egypt and Turkey: The two countries never
reconciled until Turkey totally disintegrated in 1914.
The Crimean War
Examine the causes of the Crimean war of 1854–1856. Present
the result of your work to the class.
The Crimean war was fought between Russia and the allied forces
of the United Kingdom, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia.
It began on the Crimean peninsula in 1853. The allies objected to
expanding Russian power in the Black Sea area and to the seizing
of land from the Ottoman Empire. Russia was defeated in 1856.
The war was part of a long-running contest between the major
European powers for influence over territories of the declining
Ottoman Empire. Most of the conflict took place in the Crimean
peninsula, but there were smaller campaigns in western Anatolia,
Caucasus, the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the White Sea.
The Crimean War is known for the logistical and tactical errors
during the land campaign on both sides (the naval side saw a
successful allied campaign which eliminated most of the ships of
the Russian navy in the Black Sea). Nonetheless, it is sometimes
considered to be one of the first modern wars as it “introduced
technical changes which affected the future course of warfare,”
including the first tactical use of railways and the electric telegraph.
It is also famous for the work of Florence Nightingale and Mary
Seacole, who pioneered modern nursing practices while caring for
wounded British soldiers.
Causes of the war
Many factors contributed to the outbreak of the Crimean war.
The violation of 1841 Straits Convention: Russia had violated
this convention by capturing Wallachia and Moldavia which were
Guardianship of the holy places of Jerusalem and Bethlehem:
France and Russia were struggling to control the holy places of
Jerusalem and Bethlehem which made the outbreak of the Crimean
war inevitable. The sultan of Turkey Abd al-Madjid refused to give
the control of the holy lands to Russia, and gave them to France.
This prompted Russia to invade the Turkish territories of Wallachia
and Moldavia, leading to the Crimean war.
Napoleon III of France: He wanted to revenge for his uncle’s defeat
in the 1812 Moscow campaign and this led to the Crimean war
where France got a chance of fighting with Russia in 1854.
The refusal of Tsar Nicholas of Russia to recognise Napoleon III as
an emperor: Napoleon III greatly detested the idea of Tsar Nicholas
referring to him as “My friend” instead of “My dear brother” as was
the norm of saluting fellow emperors in Europe. This worsened the
conflict between them and lead to the war.
The collapse of the Congress system: The idea of the congress
system was promoted by Metternich. However, the 1830 and
1848 revolutions led to the fall of Metternich and eventually
the collapse of the congress system. European matters could no
longer be diplomatically solved and that is why the conflict among
European powers ended in war.
Protection of British commercial interests: This forced the British
ambassador in Constantinople to encourage the sultan of Turkey to
stand firm in his decision to give the right to protect the holy places
to France and not Russia. This forced Russia to occupy Turkish
territories, leading to the war.
The weakness of Turkey as the “sick man of Europe”: Turkey
mistreated her subjects and this led to revolts. Those revolts
attracted the attention of the big powers who intervened in the
empire’s affairs. Besides, at the end of the 18th century the captured
states of Turkey began breaking away. This encouraged Russia to
occupy Wallachia and Moldavia leading to war in 1854.
The Russian occupation of Wallachia in July 1853: Moldavia
and Wallachia were semi independent provinces of the Ottoman
Empire under the sultan of Turkey. Russia occupied them to force
the sultan to accept her claim of protecting the holy places. The
sultan protested Russian occupation and declared war against
Russia in October 1853. France and Britain joined Turkey and they
shifted the war from Wallachia and Moldavia to the Crimean Island
The role of some personalities: Strafford the British Ambassador in
Constantinople encouraged the sultan of Turkey to give holy places to
France and not Russia and this led to the war.
The Sinope massacre 1853: It was the most immediate event
that led to the Crimean war. When Turkey declared war on Russia,
she reacted by bombing a Turkish warship at Sinope, a Turkish
province, in the Black Sea, killing many Turks on board. This
attracted France and Britain to help Turkey by declaring war on
Russia in March 1854.
Course of the Crimean War
Describe the course of the Crimean war, and then present your
work to the class.
The war in the Danubian provinces: March – August 1854
The Danube campaign was opened when the Russians occupied
the Danubian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in May
1853, bringing their forces to the north bank of the river Danube.
In response, the Ottoman Empire also moved their forces up to the
river. This established monopolies at Vidin in the west, and Silistra,
in the east, near the mouth of the Danube.
An Anglo-French naval expedition went to the Baltic in August but
this was not effective and the area was in any case irrelevant to the
causes of the war. Troops were also sent to Gallipoli to make a thrust
into the Balkans. However, in August the Russians withdrew from
Moldavia and Wallachia because Austria threatened to intervene, but never actually intervened because she was internally too weak
to risk war. Austria remained neutral in the Crimean war.
The war in the Crimea: September 1854–January 1855
The Crimean campaign opened in September 1854 with the
landing of the allied force of 50,000 soldiers at Eupatoria, north of
Sevastopol. After crossing the Alma River on September 30, 1854,
the allies under the command of the British and French generals,
Raglan and Saint Arnauld moved on to invade Sevastopol. The
Russian army retreated to the interior. A Russian assault on the
allied supply base at Balaclava was repulsed on October 25, 1854.
The failure of the British and French to follow up the battle of
Balaclava led directly to another and much more bloody battle—
the battle of Inkerman. On November 5, 1854, the Russians
attempted to raise the siege at Sevastopol with an attack against
the allies near the town of Inkerman which resulted in another
victory for the allies.
Meanwhile, at Sevastopol, the allies had surrounded the city
with entrenchments and, in October 1854, unleashed an all–
out bombardment (the first of many) against the city’s defenses.
Winter, and a deteriorating supply situation on both sides, led to
a halt in ground operations. Sevastopol remained invested by the
allies, while the allied armies were hemmed in by the Russian
army in the interior.
The war in the Crimea: January–September 1855
In February 1855 the Russians attacked the allied base at Eupatoria,
where an Ottoman army had camped and was threatening Russian
supply routes. The battle saw the Russians defeated, and led to
a change in command. On the allied side the emphasis of the
siege shifted to the right-hand sector of the lines, against the
fortifications on Malakoff hill. In March there was fighting over
the fort at Mamelon, located on a hill in front of the Malakoff.
Several weeks of fighting saw little change in the front line, and the
Mamelon remained in Russian hands.
In April the allies staged a second all-out bombardment, leading
to an artillery duel with the Russian guns, but no ground assault
followed. In May the allies landed a force at Kerch, to the east,
opening another front in the Crimea in an attempt to outflank the Russian army. The landings were successful, but the force made
little progress thereafter. In June a third bombardment was followed
by a successful attack on the Mamelon, but a follow-up assault on
the Malakoff failed with heavy losses. During this time the garrison
commander, Admiral Nakhimov, suffered a fatal bullet wound and
died on 30 June 1855.
In August the Russians again attacked the base at Balaclava. The
resulting battle of Tchernaya was a defeat for the Russians, who
suffered heavy casualties. September saw the final assault. On 5th
September another bombardment was followed by an assault on 8th
September resulting in the capture of Malakoff by the French, and
the collapse of the Russian defenses. The city fell on 9th September
1855, after about a year-long siege.
At this point both sides were exhausted, and there were no further
military operations in the Crimea before the onset of winter. In
1856, the Crimean war ended with the signing of the Paris Peace
Treaty between Russia and the allied powers.
Effects of the Crimean War
Analyse the effects of the Crimean war in European politics.
Present the results of your work to the class.
The war and the treaty had political, social and economic effects
The war marked the highest loss of lives and massive destruction
of property in the history of Europe, 300,000 – 375,000 on the
side of the allied powers and 220,000 troops dead on the side of
It marked the foundation of the nursing profession by English nurses,
Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, and the establishment of
the Red Cross Society 1864. This improved on medical services.
During the Crimean war, from 1853 to 1856, many British
soldiers died from wounds and disease. Florence Nightingale set
up a hospital near the battlefront and helped reduce the death rate
among the sick and wounded.
The Russian revolution of 1917 broke out because the Tsar’s
regime became unpopular due to the defeat.
The war led Alexander II the successor of Nicholas I to start off
efforts to overcome Russia’s backwardness so as to achieve high
levels of development like other European powers, especially in
agriculture and industry.
The Italian unification efforts were boosted because Cavour was
able to get assistance from France that helped in the liberation of
Napoleon III’s prestige and popularity increased in France because
of victory over Russia, their traditional enemy.
The Orthodox Christians in the Balkans were exposed to harsh
treatment under Turkish rule.
The war marked the final collapse of the Congress System since the
powers in the alliance fought against each other.
Free navigation on big waters like Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea
and Danube River was guaranteed as a result of this war.
The independence of Turkey was guaranteed and was temporarily
saved from Russian imperialism.
Tsar Nicholas I of Russia was forced to resort to fundamental
reforms mainly in agriculture and industry.
The war led to the manufacture and use of more sophisticated
weapons that were to be used during the world war II.
Because of siding with Russia, Austria lost the support of France
and Britian and this paved the way for the unification of Germany
The war attracted visitors from different parts of Europe. This
changed the outlook towards political and social life in Turkey.
The 1856 Paris Treaty and its Impact on Europe
Assess the impact of the 1856 Paris Peace Treaty on European
politics. Present your work to the class.
The Paris Peace Treaty of 1856 was a document that concluded
the Crimean war of 1854–1856. It was signed by France, Britain,
Turkey and Russia under the chairmanship of Napoleon III of
France. It had the following impact on Europe.
The Paris Peace Treaty ensured the integrity and independence of
the Turkish Empire and admitted Turkey to the concert of Europe.
This treaty forced the sultan of Turkey to grant fair treatment to
his Orthodox Christian subjects and temporarily checked Russian
ambitions in the Balkans.
The Paris Peace Treaty also revised the Straits Convention of 1841
declaring the Black Sea neutral. It also made territorial adjustments
by giving Bessarabia to Moldavia from Russia.
The treaty internationalised the navigation of Danube River and
increased Napoleon III’s prestige and popularity both in France and
The treaty recognised Italy and Italy got support for her unification.
The treaty humiliated Russia following her territorial losses and
worsened relations between the European powers with Russia.
Finally, the treaty led to the disintegration of the Turkish Empire by
granting self governance to Moldavia and Wallachia.
The the Berlin Congress of 1878
Evaluate the reasons that led to the calling of the 1878 Berlin
congress. Present your work to the class.
The congress of Berlin, which lasted from June 13, 1878 to July
13, 1878, was an assembly of representatives from Germany,
Russia, Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Italy, and the Ottoman
Empire. Delegates from Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro
attended the sessions concerning their states, but were not
members of the congress. It was presided over by the German
chancellor Otto Von Bismarck and called to resolve the problem
of the Eastern Question by renegotiating the treaty of San Stefano.
That treaty, which had concluded the Russo-Turkish war in 1878,
imposed extremely harsh terms on the Ottoman Empire. The other
European powers objected.
After winning the Russo-Turkish war, Russia by the San Stefano
treaty of 1878 imposed extremely severe terms on the Ottoman
Empire. Other European powers, notably Austria-Hungary and
Britain, were alarmed at the growth of Russia’s power and of the
independent states created in the Balkans by the treaty. Concerned
for their own interests in the Middle East, they insisted that the
treaty be modified. Count Gyula Andrássy, foreign minister of
Austria-Hungary, invited the European powers concerned to meet
Reasons for the calling of Berlin Congress
The failure of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1856 to settle revolts
within the Balkans forced Otto Von Bismarck to organise the Berlin
Congress in 1878.
Sultan Abd al-Madjid of Turkey failed to treat Christians fairly as
promised during the Paris Peace Treaty of 1856.
Russian interests in the Ottoman Empire and the signing of the
treaty of San Stefano in 1878 contributed to the calling of the
There was need to settle territorial disputes among the European
powers; for example, those between Russia, Turkey and Austria in
The congress was aimed at saving the Ottoman Empire from
disintegrating as a result of Russia’s imperialism.
The congress was also called to address the commercial rivalry
between Russia, Britain and Russian imperialism which threatened
Rebellions like in Bosnia and Herzegovina which were crashed
with extreme brutality attracted the attention of the great powers.
This led to the calling of the congress.
There was need to address the complaints of different states which
were struggling for independence. These included Serbia, Romania
and Bulgaria which had been subjected to the oppressive rule of
the Ottoman Turks for a long time.
Bismarck wanted to maintain good relations with Austria-Hungary
and Russia so as to maintain the balance of power in Europe.
Bismarck’s desire to promote German supremacy and glory after
unification in Europe also contributed to the calling of Berlin
Congress in 1878.
Impact of the Berlin Congress on Europe
Assess the impact of the Berlin congress on European affairs.
Present your work to the class.
France was given Tunisia in North Africa to compensate her for
the loss of Alsace and Loraine during the 1870–1871 Franco –
The congress forced the Turkish sultan to promise better treatment
to his Christian subjects.
The San Stefano treaty which was imposed on Turkey by Russia in
March 1878 was brought to an end in order to save the Ottoman
Empire from disintegrating.
Otto Von Bismarck who chaired the Berlin Congress gained
international influence as a peace loving figure.
Italy lost her territory of Tunisia in North Africa which was handed
over to France.
Russia lost control over Bosnia, Herzegovina and Bulgaria.
The congress ignored and suppressed nationalism in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. This increased the conflicts in the Balkans in later
The relationship between Russia and Germany became worse as
Russia refused to the renew the Dreikaiserbund League of 1872–
1873 between Russia, Germany and Austria because Russia felt
that Germany and Austria were not true friends.
It greatly led to the outbreak of the 1912–1913 Balkan wars which
left a lot of damages in central Europe.
The Balkan wars broke out in two phases; the first in 1912 and the
second in 1913. The first were organised by the Balkan Christians
in mainly Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece against the
oppressive policies of the Turkish Sultan. The second broke out
mainly due to conflicts among the Christian states over sharing the
disintegrating Ottoman Empire.
There was peace in Europe for about 30 years, from 1878 to 1914
when world war I broke out.
The period 1836–1878 was marked by great events in the history
of Europe. It was a period dominated by revolutions, where almost
all European countries were affected. Other major events were the
unifications achieved by the Italians and the Germans in 1871 after
defeating Austria. This inspired other oppressed people to demand
for their independence. This led to the outbreak of a series of wars
in the Balkans. For example, the Greek war of independence.
Abdicate: to give up the position of being king or queen.
Absorption: the process of a smaller country, group, etc.
becoming part of a larger country or group.
Activist: a person who works to achieve political or
social change, especially as a member of an
organisation with particular aims.
Armistice: a formal agreement during a war to stop
fighting and discuss making peace.
Atrocity: a cruel and violent act, especially in a war.
Bankruptcy: the state of being bankrupt; without enough
money to pay what you owe.
Buffer state: a small country between two powerful states
that helps keep peace between them.
Capitulation: act of agreeing to do something that you have
been refusing to do for a long time. Act of
ending resistance or accepting defeat.
Claim: to demand or ask for something because you
believe it is your legal right to own or to have it.
Complain: to say that you are annoyed, unhappy or not
satisfied with somebody/something.
Confederation: an organisation consisting of countries,
businesses, etc. that have joined together in order to help each other.
Conservative: opposed to great or sudden change; showing
that you prefer traditional styles and values.
Convince: to make somebody/yourself believe something is true
to persuade somebody to do something
Dissatisfaction: a feeling that you are not pleased and satisfied.
Divert: to make somebody/something change direction
To take somebody’s thoughts or attention away
Entrenchment: the fact of something being firmly established.
Extravagancy: state of being extravagant; spending a lot more
money or using a lot more of something than
you can afford or than is necessary.
Federation: a country consisting of a group of individual
states that have control over their own affairs
but are controlled by a central government for
national decisions, etc.
Forestall: to prevent something from happening or
somebody from doing something by doing
Infallibility: act of never being wrong, never making mistakes
or always doing what it is supposed to do.
Interference: act of helping people by addressing problems
Nation-state: group of people with the same culture, language,
etc. who have formed an independent country.
Peacemaker: a person who tries to encourage people or
countries to stop arguing or fighting and to
Peninsula: an area of land that is almost surrounded by
water but is joined to a larger piece of land.
Persecution: act of treating somebody in a cruel and unfair
way, especially because of their race, religion
or political beliefs.
Plebiscite: a vote by the people of a country or a region on
an issue that is very important.
Resign: to officially tell somebody that you are leaving
your job, an organisation, etc.
Slum: an area of a city that is very poor and where
the settlements are dirty and in bad condition.
Supremacy: a position in which you have more power,
authority or status than anyone else.
Unification: act of unity; to join people, things, parts of a
country, etc. together so that they form a single
unit or country.
Uprising: a situation in which a group of people join
together in order to fight against the people
who are in power.
1. Account for the outbreak of the 1848 revolutions.
2. What were the effects of the 1848 revolutions?
3. What were the common characteristics of the 1848
4. Explain why Britain escaped the 1848 revolutions.
5. All the 1848 revolutions in Europe failed with the exception
of France. Why?
6. Explain the factors which delayed the Italian unification.
7. Why was the struggle for Italian unification successful between
1850 and 1871?
8. Explain the contribution of Camillo Benso di Cavour in the
9. Examine the role played by foreign powers in the unification
10. Assess the role of King Victor Emmanuel II in the unification
11. Explain the obstacles to the German unification before 1860.
12. Account for the success of the unification of Germany.
13. Describe the role played by the Prince Otto von Bismarck in
the German unification.
14. Compare and contrast the Italian unification with German
15. Why did Tsar Nicholas II of Russia describe the Turkish Empire
as the ‘sick man of Europe’?
16. Account for the outbreak of the Greek war of independence
17. Assess the impact of the 1821–1832 Greek war of
independence on Europe.
18. What were the causes of the Crimean war of 1854–1856?
19. What were the effects of the 1854–1856 Crimean war?
20. Assess the significance of the 1856 Paris Peace Treaty in
21. What were the reasons for summoning the Berlin Congress in
22. Assess the impact of the Berlin Congress of 1878 on Europe.Unit 6 Major European Events: 1836 – 1878
- Unit 7: National Duties and ObligationsUnit 7: National Duties and Obligations
Key unit competence
Analyse the national duties and obligations
National Itorero Commission, Imihigo contract performances,
umuganda community activities and community policing are
some of the several other home-grown solutions chosen by the
government of Rwanda to overcome problems in its recent history.
After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the government of
Rwanda decided to rebuild Rwanda and her economy using
Rwandan cultural values and practices.
It is in this regard that Itorero was restored in 2007 whereas
Imihigo was initiated in 2006. To these two national duties
and obligations, umuganda has also been added to enhance
socio-economic development by using the Rwandan culture of
volunteerism. Since peace is a major order of development, the
government has introduced community policing which engages the
community in ensuring peace.
All these home-grown solutions have already helped the country
to make tremendous achievements even if some challenges
encountered in carrying out these policies are yet to be overcome.
Links to other subjects
This unit can be linked to other subjects like General Studies and
Main points to be covered in this unit
Background of national duties and obligations
Structure of national duties and obligations
Role played by national duties and obligations in the development
of the country
Contributions of Rwandan citizens and non-citizens towards
national duties and obligations (Itorero, community policing,
Imihigo and Umuganda)
Challenges faced during the implementation of national duties
Carry out research on national duties and describe the historical
background of Itorero ry’Igihugu (National Itorero Commission).
Thereafter, present the results of your findings to the class.
1. Define the term “Itorero ry’Igihugu”.
2. Describe the background of Itorero ry’Igihugu.
Analyse the specific objectives of Itorero ry’Igihugu. Present the
results of your findings to the class.
Research on national duties and explain the vision and the
mission of National Itorero Commission and evaluate the
achievements of the National Itorero Commission. Present the
results of your study to the class.
Conduct research on national duties and obligations and explain
Rwanda’s national taboos. Present the results of your findings
to the class.
Carry out a study on national duties and obligations and
describe the background of Umuganda. Present the results of
your findings to the class.
Evaluate the achievements of Umuganda activities. Present the
results of your findings to the class.
Define the concept of Imihigo and describe its background.
Present the results of your findings to the class.
Evaluate the impact of Imihigo. Present the results of your
findings to the class.
Examine Imihigo challenges. Present the results of your findings
to the class.
Assess the implementation of Imihigo. Thereafter, present the
results of your findings to the class.
Describe the structure of the community policing and evaluate
its contribution in ensuring security.
Explain the day-to-day activities of community policing
In precolonial Rwanda, the Itorero was a cultural school. It was
also the channel through which the nation conveyed messages
on national culture to the people. This included information on
language, patriotism, social relations, sports, dances and songs,
and defence of the nation. It also played the role of a national
forum for grooming leaders. Itorero trainees would delve deeply in
discussions relating to national programmes and Rwanda’s cultural
values with the aim of reaching a common vision and instilling in
themselves the virtues of humility, good conduct, and common
understanding of what the country would expect of them, and the
role of interdependence in the building of healthy socio-economic
Today, the Itorero is a Rwandan civic education institution which
teaches Rwandese to preserve their culture by believing in national
unity, social solidarity, patriotism, integrity, bravery, tolerance,
and the dos and don’ts of the society. Through Itorero Rwandans
are also informed of government policies and programmes. This
strengthens ownership of government programmes and promotes
the role of the population in their implementation.
Historical background of Itorero ry’Igihugu
Itorero ry’Igihugu was a school in which a sense of patriotism,
voluntarism and commitment to service was developed. Its
activities included, military training, sports, and artistic expression
which reflected patience, patriotism, heroism, and keeping secrets,
recitals and music. Consequently, young people grew up with a
good understanding and attachment to their culture. It was also
through Itorero ry’Igihugu that future leaders were trained. They
were taught cultural taboos, virtues of hard work, voluntarism,
mutual aid and collaboration with others. It was through the
activities of Itorero ry’Igihugu that Rwanda as a nation expanded
and developed. Itorero was for boys. Girls were educated in
urubohero where they learned to perform household activities like
the art of making mats. During colonial rule these institutions were
suppressed, and replaced by schools which exclusively focused
on the cultural aspects of music and dancing. The suppression of
institutions such as Itorero ry’Igihugu which brought Rwandans
together in a non-discriminatory manner led to the development
of divisions that partly led to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Between May 1998 and March 1999, the consultative meetings
in Urugwiro recommended the revival of cultural values to promote
good behaviours of citizens. It is in this spirit that the Rwanda
government decided to draw from the Rwandan culture some home
grown solutions to address challenges in governance, the economy
and social welfare.
The idea of re-establishing Itorero ry’Igihugu was adopted during
the leadership retreat that took place in Akagera in February 2007.
It is in this perspective that the cabinet meeting of 12th November
2007 decided to revive Itorero ry’Igihugu and use it to instill a
new mindset among Rwandans for speedy achievement of the
development goals enshrined in Vision 2020.
Itorero ry’Igihugu was later revived at the official launch presided
upon by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda on
16/11/2007 in the parliament buildings.
Rationale behind Itorero ry’Igihugu
Before colonialism, Itorero ry’ Igihugu functioned as a school in
which Rwandans would be mentored in Rwandan culture, and the
values and taboos involved. This encouraged mutual respect, soc
cohesion, national unity, patriotism, integrity, harmony and other
virtues. These teachings were intended to help the young people
to understand and uphold their culture. Intore, would be mainly
trained in debating matters of national interest and in Rwandan
Itorero ry’Igihugu has the objective of training self-respecting
citizens who are identified by their national values, and are eager
to quickly embrace innovations that have positive impact on their
social welfare. Itorero ry’Igihugu also aims at cultivating visionary,
patriotic, and exemplary leaders who promote the well-being
of people at all levels of governance. A culture of selflessness
and volunteerism is also being revived and entrenched among
Rwandans. The mediation committees, Gacaca’s people of
integrity, community health counselors, the National Youth Council
members, Women Council members and counselors at various
administrative levels constitute groups of volunteers in the service
of the nation.
What the Itorero ry’igihugu teaches is unique because it is based
on principles and values of Rwandan culture. On the other hand,
Urugerero (National Service) has much in common with what takes
place in other countries. Participating in Itorero is the obligation of
every Rwandan, regardless of status and social group. Participants
include children from the age of seven years and the youth from
18 to 35 years. For the latter age group, participating in Urugerero
Specific objectives of Itorero ry’Igihugu
Equip Rwandans with the capacity to analyse their problems in
order to find solutions.
Promote the Kinyarwanda language.
Mentor Rwandans in collective action, team spirit and promotion
of innovation and performance contracts.
Mentor Rwandans to understand and participate in the
implementation of national programmes.
Educate Rwandans to be physically fit, clean in their homes,
protect the environment, strengthen democracy, engage in
constructive debate, enforce the law, and fight corruption and
Educate Rwandans in building and promoting the culture
of peace based on mutual trust, respect, humility, respect
of human rights, and protection against discrimination and
Educate Rwandans to be efficient in service delivery, courageous,
and to deliver goods and efficient services.
Have a shared mindset and values to promote their unity and
Be aware of the goals of the country, ways to achieve them and
their contribution in implementing them.
Be self confident in solving their problems.
Have a shared vision to strive for self development and pride to
develop their country.
To mentor Intore with:
Values based on Rwandan culture.
Motivation for positive change.
A desire to promote opportunities for development using
Rwandan cultural values; identify taboos that inhibit the
development of the country; fight violence and corruption;
eradicate the culture of impunity; strengthen the culture of
peace, tolerance, unity and reconciliation; and eradicate
genocide ideology and all its roots.
Respect for dignity (ishema) and the heroic aspects (ibigwi) of
Rwandan culture and Rwanda’s national values.
Speed and respect for time: A country in hurry.
Customer service mentality: Constant improvement and
Quality of delivery: High standards, spirit of excellence, efficiency.
Completion or aiming at results: we finish what we start.
Self respect: National pride.
Rwanda’s national taboos
Inattention to results: status and ego.
Avoidance of accountability: missed deadlines.
Lack of commitment: ambiguity.
Fear of conflict: artificial harmony.
Lack of trust: invulnerability.
Achievements of the National Itorero Commission
From November 19th, 2007, Itorero ry’Igihugu was launched in
all the districts. In December 2007, a ceremony to present Intore
regiments at district level to the president of the republic of Rwanda
and other senior government officials took place at Amahoro
stadium. Each district’s regiment presented their performance
contract at that colorful ceremony which was marked by cultural
festivals. Each district’s Intore regiment publically announced its
identification name. At the national level, all the 30 district intore
regiments constitute one national Itorero, but each district regiment
has its Identification Name. Each district regiment may have an
affiliate sub-division which can also carry a different identification
The Itorero for Rwandan diaspora has the authority to develop its
affiliated sub-division. From November 7th 2007 up to the end of
2012, Itorero ry’ Igihugu trained 284,209 Intore.
In order to enable each Intore to benefit and experience change
of mindset, each group chooses its identification name and sets
objectives it must achieve. Those projected objectives must be
achieved during or after training, and this is confirmed by the
performance contracts that have to be accomplished. With this
obligation in mind, each individual also sets personal objective that
in turn contributes to the success of the corporate objectives.
The number of Intore who have been trained at the village level is
814,587. Those mentored at the national level carry out mentoring
in villages, schools, and at work places. In total, 1,098, 599
Rwandans have been mentored.
Achievements made through Urugerero Programme
Plans to implement Urugerero (National Service) started toward the
end of 2012 and the actual implementation started in 2013. Despite
this short time however, Urugerero programme has started to yield
impressive results. Students who completed secondary school in
2012 went through Itorero mentorship between 30/11 and 17/12/
2012. Upon completion of the prescribed course, participants
were given certificates. Later, they had to join Urugerero where
they participated in various activities designed to promote social
cohesion, community wellness and national development. Intore
mentored at that time totalled 40,730. Among them, 19,285
were female, while 21,445 were male. However, those who joined
Urugerero were 37,660, with 18,675 female participants.
According to the policy of Itorero ry’ Igihugu, volunteerism refers to
any unpaid communal work, voluntarily undertaken in the service
of the nation. Volunteerism is reflected in various community works
such as Umuganda, Ubudehe and contributions to a common
cause. Other voluntary activities are from community mediators,
various councils, community health workers, Community Policing
Committees/CPCs, and Red Cross volunteers.
Actual Urugerero activities started on 17/1/2013, but they were
officially launched on 22/1/2013. The activities included general
community sensitisation, collection of essential data base, and
community work in support of vulnerable groups.
The pioneer group of Urugerero achieved the following:
Sensitising Rwandans on the eradication of genocide and its
ideology and encouraging them to participate in activities
organised to commemorate the genocide committed against
Tutsi in 1994.
Sensitising the community on the importance of mutual health
insurance, adult literacy, fighting against drug abuse, legalising
marriages especially for families that are cohabitating, and
Organising meetings at village levels aimed at educating the
community on Rwandan cultural values, unity, patriotism, and
Educating the population on personal hygiene and cleanliness
of their environment.
Collecting data on different categories of people for example,
the illiterate, those who had not yet registered for mutual health
insurance, and those legible for paying tax . Making inventories of
the districts’ property, school dropouts, children of school going
age who are not yet in school, and illegal marriages.
Some groups of Intore in Urugerero opted to demonstrate how
speedy and exceptional service could be rendered while working
with various public offices. This was done in health centres, cell
offices, and District offices, especially in the issuing of documents,
data entry in computers and customer care.
Activities relating to manual community work include vegetable
gardening for family consumption, construction of shelters for
vulnerable families, participation in the construction of cell offices
and landscaping of their compounds.
In environmental protection, Intore constructed terraces and
planted trees as a measure of preventing soil erosion.
Activities relating to the promotion of the volunteer services
in National Development Programmes: In Rwandan culture,
“volunteerism” means rendering a sacrificial and selfless service
out of love either to a national cause or to a needy neighbour.
Below, we look at the outcome, outputs and activities relating to
fraternity, national identity and participation in national programmes
As part of efforts to reconstruct Rwanda and nurture a shared
national identity, the government of Rwanda drew on aspects of
Rwandan culture and traditional practices to enrich and adapt
its development programmes to the country’s needs and context.
The result is a set of home grown solutions from culturally owned
practices translated into sustainable development programmes.
One of these home grown solutions is Umuganda.
Modern day Umuganda can be described as community work.
On the last Saturday of each month, communities come together
to do a variety of public works. This often includes infrastructure
development and environmental protection. Rwandans between
18 and 65 years of age are obliged to participate in Umuganda.
Expatriates living in Rwanda are encouraged to take part. Today
close to 80 per cent of Rwandans take part in monthly community
As part of Vision 2020 development programme, the government
implemented Umuganda a community service policy. It was
designed to help supplement the national budget in construction
and the repair of basic infrastructure. The work done is organised by
community members and is done voluntarily and without pay. The
projects completed through Umuganda include, the construction
of schools, feeder roads, road repair, terracing, reforestation, home
construction for vulnerable people, erosion control, and water
The goals of Umuganda:
Supplement national resources by doing specific activities.
Instill a culture of collective effort in the population.
Resolve problems faced by the population using locally available
Restore the dignity of manual labour.
Planning for Umuganda is done in council meetings at the cell level.
It is the responsibility of local leaders as well as national leaders to
mobilise the population to participate in Umuganda. Community
members meet and agree on the date (usually a weekend) and
the activity. Participation in Umuganda is compulsory for all ablebodied citizens. This policy is expected to lead to a more cohesive
society as all the members come together to complete a project that
benefits the community. The word Umuganda can be translated as
‘coming together for common purpose to achieve an outcome’. In
traditional Rwandan culture, members of the community would call
upon their family, friends and neighbours to help them complete a
Successful projects include the building of schools, medical
centres and hydro electric plants as well as rehabilitating wetlands
and creating highly productive agricultural plots. The value of
Umuganda to the country’s development since 2007 has been
estimated at more than US $60 million.
Professionals in the public and private sectors also contribute to
umuganda. They include engineers, medics, IT specialists, and
statisticians, among others.
The military personnel also participate in social activities like the
building of schools and hospitals. This inspires the population to
be very active as well.
Umuganda value has increased from Rwf12 billion in 2012 to
Rwf17 billion in 2015 and Rwf19 billion in 2016. With the increase
in monetary activities, Umuganda has seen Rwandans build over
400 offices of micro finance institutions commonly known as
Umurenge Sacco, and 11,000 classrooms for the country’s ‘twelve
year basic education’ which has increased school enrolment to
over 95 per cent of children in Primary Schools.
Imihigo is the plural Kinyarwanda word of Umuhigo, which means
to vow to deliver. Imihigo also includes the concept of Guhiganwa,
which means to compete. Imihigo describes the pre-colonial
cultural practice in Rwanda where an individual sets targets or
goals to be achieved within a specific period of time. The person
must complete these objectives by following guiding principles and
be determined to overcome any possible challenges that arise.
Imihigo is one of the home grown solutions. In 2000, a shift in
the responsibilities at all levels of government as a result of a
decentralisation programme required a new approach to monitoring
and evaluation. Local levels of government were now responsible
for implementing development programmes which meant that the
central government and people of Rwanda needed a way to ensure
In 2006, Imihigo (also known as performance contracts) was
introduced to address this need. Since its introduction, Imihigo has been credited with improving accountability and quickening the
pace of citizen centred development activities and programmes.
The practice of Imihigo has now been extended to ministries,
embassies and public service staff.
In the application of Imihigo, the districts are responsible for
implementing programmes under this broad agenda while
central government assumes the task of planning and facilitation.
Planning ensures that the national objectives of growth and
poverty reduction are achieved. The decentralisation policy is
also designed to deepen and sustain grassroots-based democratic
governance. It promotes equitable local development by enhancing
participation and strengthening the local government system,
while maintaining effective functional and mutually accountable
linkages between central and local governments. This entails
enhancing participation, promoting the culture of accountability,
and fast-tracking and sustaining equitable local development as
a mechanism to enhance local fiscal autonomy. It also means
employment and poverty reduction and enhancing effectiveness
and efficiency in the planning, monitoring, and delivery of services.
The principle of subsidiary underpins the decentralisation policy,
which is designed to ensure transparency and accountability for
local service delivery through participation in planning. This also
applies to civil society, faith-based organisations, the private sector,
and development partners.
Impact of Imihigo
Rwanda has made tremendous progress in socio-economic
advancement in the last decade. Over the Economic Development
and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) 1 period, the average
real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate was 8.2 per cent
and poverty was reduced from 56.7 per cent to 44.9 per cent
between 2006 and 2011. Access to education and health services
has become universal with 96 per cent of school-aged children
now enrolled in primary schools, and 90 per cent coverage of
health insurance. These achievements illustrate the impact of
development policies on the framework of a vision resting on
home-grown solutions. This diverse set of instruments embraces
participation and consensus based on culture and national identity,
as guiding principles.
Within the commitment of evidence-based policy making,
the impact, scope and documentation of Home-Grown
Initiatives/ Solutions (HGI/S) is systematically pursued. It
is against this background that the Rwanda Governance
Board (RGB) was mandated by the cabinet meeting held on
4th November 2011 to conduct monitoring, research and
policy dialogues on the home-grown initiatives and solutions.
One of the most prominent HGI/S has been the Imihigo, or
performance contract policy in public administration reform.
Imihigo has been implemented since 2006 as a tool to accelerate
national development. Over the years, the practice has evolved
into a tool for effective planning, implementation, performance
evaluation and accountability for all public institutions and staff.
More specifically, findings from Imihigo are used to inform the
government of Rwanda about the following:
Performance: Provide feedback on the delivery of outputs and the
impact on the beneficiaries.
Accountability: Whether public spending is addressing the
appropriate priorities and making a difference in the lives of citizens.
Knowledge: Increasing knowledge about what policies and
programmes work, enabling the government at central and local
levels to build an evidence base for future policy development and
the identification of ways to improve effectiveness.
Decision-making: Providing evidence to enable policy-makers,
planners and finance departments to agree on the need for
Co-ordination: Identifying key stakeholders expected to be involved
in specific areas/programmes/projects, extent of participation and
Beneficiaries’ satisfaction: The extent to which beneficiaries are
happy with government interventions and the level of consultation.
Problems of measurements
There is no standard for measuring the value of Umuganda. The
first issue has to do with the output on increasing the value and participation in Umuganda. For instance, some districts measure
its value based on the number of people participating on the day
multiplied by the daily labour (mostly farming) rate applicable in
that district. Other districts attempt to estimate the financial cost of
achievements on the day of Umuganda. In both cases Umuganda
lasts only three hours. A key defect in the first approach is that
calculations are based on a full day’s work rate when Umuganda only
lasts an average of three hours. The output can be overestimated.
Budget versus needs
There is a clear discrepancy between allocated budget and the
magnitude of citizen needs at the local administrative level.
Harmonising citizen’s needs with the available budget is the key
challenge. While there are always several competing needs for a
limited budget, appropriate apportionment implies that the limited
resources should respond to the most pressing demands.
There are competing agendas between the central and local
government. Urgent assignments from line ministries and other
central government agencies interfere with local planning. Despite
efforts for joint planning meetings between the central and local
levels, unplanned for requests from the central government
consume local resources (finances and time) particularly when the
demands are not accompanied with implementing funds. In some
instances, money to implement an inserted item will be promised
but not delivered when it comes to the implementation phase or
local authorities are told to insert items and are then told to get
resources from private sources.
Low ownership of Imihigo
Imihigo should be based on the needs of citizens at the local level
and national development priorities. However, Imihigo ownership
is relatively low among the intended beneficiaries. There is a
“dependency syndrome” where citizens depend on government to
provide them with free or subsidised goods. Citizens also compete
for lower categories of Ubudehe in order to become eligible for free
healthcare and Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP). These
programmes are responsible for low ownership of Imihigo.
Understaffing and low capacity
Lack of staff, insufficient financial means, lack of data base to
facilitate planning, monitoring, and evaluation and heavy workload
constitute major challenges in local governments. Many districts
posts are occupied by staff without the required skills. There are
also challenges in staff recruitment and low staff retention in
sectors and the cells.
These shortages affect the implementation of Imihigo. District staff
is overloaded and they may not have enough time to implement
Imihigo targets. Local government staff also lack skills in monitoring
and evaluation. This is necessary for Imihingo to be effective.
Delays in funds disbursement
Some of the key challenges to Imihigo are delays in funds
disbursement, be it from the central government or from development
partners. Delays in funds disbursement are the most important
factor affecting service delivery at local government level, equally
important as insufficient staff. There are two related issues that
make it difficult to implement Imihigo targets in a timely manner.
First, there is a discrepancy between the fiscal year and the period
of Imihigo signing. This challenge comes from the relationship
with stakeholders most of whom use the calendar which starts in
January against the district’s fiscal year which starts in July. As a
result time is lost before Imihigo can be effectively implemented.
More specifically, Imihigo are usually signed 2-3 months after the
fiscal year has started. This means that almost a quarter is lost.
Issues in implementation of Imihigo
The lag between the passing of the budget and the Imihigo
translates to a loss of the first quarter in implementation.
Most Imihigo are implemented in the last quarter due to delays
in either the transfer of financial resources to the districts or
delays on the part of the district to request for disbursement.
Shifting priorities take away resources (time, finances) from
Some targets are included in Imihigo without adequate control
of the sources of funds for implementation.
In some situations, Imihigo without proper local contextualisation
are difficult to implement. A good example was when the evaluators found farmers in some hilly parts of the country using
land tillers on terraces in efforts that were clearly designed to
reach the target of agricultural mechanisation. The tool was not
appropriate for the terrain.
Some targets were not achieved due to a third party such as
those in charge of water, electricity and road construction where
delays in implementation were related to lack of control over the
operations of Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA)
and Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA).
There are challenges in establishing measurement standards
from one district to another. An output that requires building
households for the vulnerable may have a house value ranging
between 2m and 15 million. There is an assumption that an
implemented item meets requisite standards and yet these
may not be in place. Guidance from the central government for
standard setting should be strengthened as well as a team for
quality assurance to ensure implemented items meet the quality
Some achievements were inflated. A good example is an output
for building a house claimed to be 60 per cent complete when
a site visit would place it at a far less per centage.
There are challenges in common planning for district transboundary items such as feeder road construction.
Understaffing and high turnover at the local administration level
calls for improved capacity building and need to improve the
environment for service delivery.
When Rwanda National Police (RNP) was established in 2000,
it adopted the community policing strategy to build ties and work
closely with members of the community to fight crime. Since then,
the department for community policy has reduced crime throughout
the country. The department is run on a philosophy that promotes
proactive partnerships with the public to address public safety
issues such as social disorder and insecurity.
Traditionally, the police respond to crime after it occurs. On top of
that, the police cannot be everywhere at all times and, therefore,
relies on routine patrols, rapid response to calls for service, arrests
and follow-up investigations.
Community policing, therefore, was adopted to encourage citizens
to participate in crime-solving.
It is focused on the prevention of crime and disorder, by partnering
with the public to increase police visibility in all communities so as
to solve, prevent and reduce crime.
Community policing enables the police to engage citizens in
reporting incidents or to use volunteers to provide timely reports
that help in anti-crime operations.
Before and during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, citizens
were always scared and full of mistrust for law enforcing agencies.
Law enforcers were used by politicians to intimidate citizens and
this gave them a bad reputation because citizens saw them as part
of the problem, rather than protectors.
This negative view of the police had to be quickly addressed by
providing services professionally and being open and approachable.
This strategy has improved police response to crime, because many
reports are now provided by community members. This shows that
they trust the police.
Unlike the previous law enforcers who served the criminal desires of
a genocidal regime, the police now serve the citizens professionally
and ensure that they have a say in the security of their communities.
The Rwanda Governance Scorecard produced by the Rwanda
Governance Board in 2016, presented results from a nationwide
survey, which indicated that 92 per cent of the citizens trust the
Police. This is an indicator of professional services, discipline and
It is when the community and the police work together for their
common good that citizens will trust the police.
Once the citizens trust the officers, they will provide them with
information to help prevent or solve crimes and to arrest criminals.
This has enabled the police to serve communities better and to
fulfill its mission of making the people living in Rwanda feel safe
The day-to-day activities of community policing initiatives
Conducting investigations has always been paramount in police
missions. For this reason, the police have used community policing
to build strong investigative activities countrywide so as to get
credible information from citizens.
The police also work with groups such as Community Policing
Committees (CPCs), Youth Volunteers in Crime Prevention, as well
as individual citizens in general.
CPCs were introduced in 2007 and they are made up of ordinary
citizens chosen by the community. They operate in cells and sectors
to collect information that helps in crime prevention. They also
sensitise residents about the need to collectively overcome crime.
The Youth Volunteers in Crime Prevention is an organisation that
has over 7,000 young men and women spread throughout the
country. They aim at promoting security and participating in crime
prevention. They have been influential in aiding Police operations
and also in sensitising fellow youth against crime.
On a regular basis, they partner with Police District Community
Liaison Officers (DCLOS) to immediately respond to information
about criminality and to lay strategies for approaching the
challenges in society.
The DCLOs are heavily involved in community issues in order to
make policing more effective.
The police also work together with motorists’ associations to ensure
that road safety is respected. They also link with the business
community to protect the country against economic crimes.
Community policing programmes
The police have an understanding with authorities of all the 30
districts of Rwanda. One of their mandates under this agreement is
to ensure that all strategies, including that of community policing,
are fully operational.
The police also work with the Ombudsman’s office, prosecution and
other public entities to ensure that cases are properly documented
and information on justice is properly shared. Through such
initiatives, citizens gain more trust in the ability of the police to
maintain law and order and to follow up on the information they
provide with professionalism.
Community policing helps the police to address problems such
as drug abuse, human trafficking and gender-based violence.
Every district faces its unique challenges, but through community
policing the police identify the root causes of these challenges and
In cases involving drug abuse and gender based violence, police
get information from responsible members of society and use it in
operations to raid homes.
The issue of human trafficking is not intense in Rwanda, but the
police is always aware of this threat. Citizens across the country
volunteer information whenever such cases occur and police acts
immediately to rescue victims.
On top of that, the police reach out to citizens during social events like
Umuganda and sensitisation campaigns to discuss crime prevention.
During these events, real problems are dissected and solutions are
Community policing has become so popular in Rwanda that citizens
are always willing to contribute ideas on how to maintain public
The National Itorero Commission has helped Rwandans to
strengthen their unity and also initiated the youth and adult persons
into the culture of volunteerism. The community activities carried
out in umuganda have also added value to the achievements of the
The Imihigo performance contracts have also played a great role
in boosting the implementation of governmental programmes.
Community policing has helped to improve the keeping of law and
Accountability: 1. responsibility to someone or for some activity
2. a list of matters to be taken up (as at a meeting)
Agenda: a plan for matters to be attended to
Disbursement: 1. the act of spending or disbursing money
2. amounts paid for goods and services that may
be currently tax deductible (as opposed to
Ombudsman: a government official who investigates
complaints by private persons against the
Overloaded: fill to excess so that the function is impaired
Taboo: 1. behaviour or action that is not allowed in a
2. a prejudice (especially in Polynesia and other
South Pacific islands) that prohibits the use or
mention of something because of its sacred
1. Describe the background of the following national duties and
a) Itorero ry’Igihugu.
d) Community policing.
2. Evaluate the achievements of the National Itorero Commission.
3. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of Imihigo performance
4. What is the role played by community policing in the security
5. Assess the role played by umuganda in the socio-economic
development of Rwanda.Unit 7: National Duties and Obligations
- Unit 8: National and International Judicial Systems and InstrumentsUnit 8: National and International Judicial Systems and Instruments
Key unit competence
Analyse the national, international judicial systems and instruments
and how justice has been delayed and denied in Rwandan society
The international judicial system is dominated by the international
Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In Rwanda, the judicial system is divided into ordinary and
specialised courts. The ordinary courts are headed by the high
council of the judiciary. This was established by the Rwandan
Constitution of 4/06/2003, article 157 and 158, as amended. It is
the supreme organ of the judiciary.
Links to other subjects
This unit can be linked to justice and democracy in General Studies
and Communication Skills
Main points to be covered in this unit
Concepts of judicial systems
National and international judicial systems and instruments.
Structure and organisation of national and international judicial
systems and instruments
Different ways in which justice in Rwanda has been delayed
Concepts of Judicial Systems
Explain the concepts of the judicial systems, and then present
your work to the class.
The judicial or court system interprets and applies the law on
behalf of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for
the resolution of disputes.
In some nations, under the doctrine of separation of powers,
the judiciary does not make law (which is the responsibility of
the legislature) or enforce law (which is the responsibility of the
executive), but rather interprets law and applies it to the facts of
In other nations, the judiciary can make law, known as common
law, by setting precedent for other judges to follow, as opposed
to statutory law made by the legislature. The judiciary is often
tasked with ensuring equal justice under the law.
In many jurisdictions, the judiciary has the power to change laws
through judicial review. Courts with judicial review power may
annul the laws and rules of the state which are incompatible
with a higher norm, such as primary legislation, the provisions of
the constitution or international law. Judges are responsible for the
interpretation and implementation of a constitution, thus charged
with creating the body of constitutional lawin common law countries.
In some countries the judiciary includes legal professionals and
institutions such as prosecutors, state attorneys, ombudsmen, public
notaries, judicial police service and legal aid officers. These
institutions are sometimes governed by the same administration
that governs courts. In some cases the judiciary also administers
private legal professions such as lawyers and private notary offices.
National Judicial Systems and Instruments
Analyse the Rwanda national judicial systems. Thereafter,
present the outcomes of your work to the class.
After the High Council of the Judiciary, there is the Supreme Court
as the coordinating organ of justice in Rwanda. It was instituted
for the first time by the constitution of January 28th, 1962. It
was composed of five members appointed by the president of
the republic. It was also composed of five sections: Department
of Courts and Tribunals, the Court of Appeals, the Constitutional
Court, the Council of State and the Audit Office.
According to the constitution of December 28th, 1978, the Supreme
Court with five sections was replaced by four high jurisdictions
which were separated from each other. These included the Court
of Appeals, the Constitutional Court (composed of the Court of
Appeals and the Council of State) and the Audit Office.
During the post-genocide period (from 1994 to 2003) the
Fundamental Law established the Supreme Court which consisted
of five sections: the Department of Courts and Tribunals, the
Court of Appeals, the Constitutional Court, the Council of State
and the Auditor’s Office. With the April 18th 2000 reform to the
Fundamental Law, it was provided with the sixth section named
Department of “Gacaca jurisdictions”.
Apart from the Supreme Court, there is a High Court with the
chamber of international crimes, the chamber of Nyanza in
southern province, the chamber of Rusizi in western province, the
chamber of Rwamagana in the eastern province and the chamber
of Musanze in northern province. There are intermediate and
primary courts in the districts of Nyarugenge, Gasabo, Nyagatare,
Ngoma, Muhanga, Huye, Nyamagabe, Rusizi, Karongi, Rubavu,
Gicumbi and Musanze.
The specialised courts include the Commercial High Court at
Nyamirambo with its branches at Musanze and Huye, and the
International Judicial Systems and Instruments
Analyse the international judicial systems and their instruments.
Present your work to the class.
The ICJ was established in 1945 by the UN Charter. The court
started its work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court
of International Justice. The statute of the International Court of
Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional
document constituting and regulating the court.
The court covers a wide range of judicial activity. Chapter XIV of
the United Nations Charter authorises the UN Security Council to
enforce the court’s rulings. However, such enforcement is subject
to the veto power of the five permanent members of the council.
The International Criminal Court (ICC orICCt) is an intergovernmental
organisation and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in
the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute
individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against
humanity, and war crimes The ICC is intended to complement
The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC’s
foundational and governing document. The states which become
party to the Rome Statute are member states of the ICC. Currently,
there are 124 states which are party to the Rome Statute and
therefore members of the ICC.
The establishment of an international tribunal to judge political
leaders accused of international crimes was first proposed
during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 following the First
World War by the Commission of Responsibilities. The issue
was addressed again at a conference held in Geneva under the
auspices of the League of Nations in 1937. This resulted in the
conclusion of the first convention stipulating the establishment of a
permanent international court to try acts of international terrorism.
The convention was signed by 13 states, but none ratified it and it
never entered into force.
Following the Second World War, the allied powers established
two ad hoc tribunals to prosecute axis power leaders accused of war
crimes. The International Military Tribunal, which sat in Nuremberg,
prosecuted German leaders while the International Military Tribunal
for the Far East in Tokyo prosecuted Japanese leaders. In 1948
the United Nations General Assembly first recognised the need
for a permanent international court to deal with atrocities of the
kind prosecuted after the Second World War. At the request of the
General Assembly, the International Law Commission (ILC) drafted
two statutes by the early 1950s. These were abandoned during
the Cold War which made the establishment of an international
criminal court politically unrealistic.
In 1994, the ILC presented its final draft statute for the International
Criminal Court to the General Assembly and recommended that a
conference be convened to negotiate a treaty that would serve as
the Court’s statute. To consider major substantive issues in the draft
statute, the General Assembly established the Ad Hoc Committee
on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, which
met twice in 1995. After considering the committee’s report,
the General Assembly created the Preparatory Committee on the
Establishment of the ICC to prepare a consolidated draft text.
From 1996 to 1998, six sessions of the Preparatory Committee
were held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City,
during which NGOs provided input and attended meetings under
the umbrella organisation of the Coalition for an ICC (CICC). In
January 1998, the Bureau and coordinators of the Preparatory
Committee convened for an Inter-Sessional meeting in Zutphen in
the Netherlands to technically consolidate and restructure the draft
articles into a draft.
Finally, the General Assembly convened a conference in Rome
in June 1998, with the aim of finalising the treaty to serve as
the court’s statute. On 17 July 1998, the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court was adopted by a vote of 120 to
7, with 21 countries abstaining. The seven countries that voted
against the treaty were China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, the United
States, and Yemen. Following 60 ratifications, the Rome Statute
entered into force on 1 July 2002 and the International Criminal
Court was formally established. The first bench of 18 judges was
elected by the Assembly of States Parties in February 2003. They
were sworn in at the inaugural session of the court on 11 March
The court issued its first arrest warrants on 8 July 2005, and the
first pre-trial hearings were held in 2006. The court issued its first
judgment in 2012 when it found Congolese rebel leader Thomas
Lubanga Dyilo guilty of war crimes related to using child soldiers.
Structure and Organisation of the International
Describe the structure and organisation of the international
judiacial systems. Thereafter, present your work to the class.
The structure and organisation of the International Court of Justice
The ICJ is composed of fifteen judges elected to nine-year terms
by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council from a
list of people nominated by the national groups in the Permanent
Court of Arbitration. The election process is set out in Articles 4–19
of the ICJ statute. Five judges are elected every three years to
ensure continuity within the court. Should a judge die in office, the
practice has generally been to elect a judge in a special election to
complete the term.
No two judges may be nationals of the same country. According
to Article 9, the membership of the court is supposed to represent
the “main forms of civilisation and of the principal legal systems
of the world”. Essentially, that has meant common law, civil
law and socialist law (now post-communist law).
There is an informal understanding that the seats will be distributedby
geographic regions so that there are five seats for western countries,
three for African states (including one judge of Francophone civil
law, one of Anglophone common law and one Arab), two
for eastern European states, three for Asian states and two for Latin
American and Caribbean states. The five permanent members
of the United Nations Security Council (France, Russia, China,
the United Kingdom, and the United States) always have a judge
on the court, thereby occupying three of the western seats, one
of the Asian seats and one of the eastern European seats. The
exception was China, which did not have a judge on the court from
1967 to 1985 because it did not put forward a candidate
Article 6 of the statute provides that all judges should be
“elected regardless of their nationality among persons of high
moral character” who are either qualified for the highest judicial
office in their home states or known as lawyers with sufficient
competence in international law. Judicial independence is dealt
with specifically in articles 16–18. Judges of the ICJ are not able
to hold any other post or act as counsel. In practice, members of
the court have their own interpretation of these rules and allow
them to be involved in outside arbitration, hold professional
posts as long as there is no conflict of interest. A judge can be
dismissed only by a unanimous vote of the other members of the
court. Despite these provisions, the independence of ICJ judges
has been questioned. For example, during the Nicaragua Case, the
United States issued a communiqué suggesting that it could not
present sensitive material to the court because of the presence of
judges from eastern bloc states.
Judges may deliver joint judgments or give their own separate
opinions. Decisions and advisory opinions are by majority. In the
event of an equal division, the President’s vote becomes decisive.
Judges may also deliver separate dissenting opinions.
Generally, the court sits as full bench, but in the last fifteen years,
it has on occasion sat as a chamber. Articles 26–29 of the statute
allow the court to form smaller chambers, usually of 3 or 5 judges,
to hear cases. Two types of chambers are provided for in article
26. These are chambers for special categories of cases, and ad
hoc chambers to hear particular disputes. In 1993, a special
chamber was established, under Article 26(1) of the ICJ statute, to
deal specifically with environmental matters.
Organisation of the International Criminal Court
The ICC is governed by an assembly of states parties, which is
made up of the states which are party to the Rome Statute. The
assembly elects officials of the court, approves its budget, and
adopts amendments to the Rome Statute. The court itself, however,
is composed of four organs: the Presidency, the judicial divisions,
the Office of the Prosecutor, and the registry.
The presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the
court (apart from the Office of the Prosecutor). It comprises the
president and the first and second vice-presidents—three judges of
the court who are elected to the presidency by their fellow judges
for a maximum of two three-year terms.
The judicial divisions consist of the 18 judges of the court,
organised into three chambers; the pre-trial chamber, trial chamber
and appeals chamber which carry out the judicial functions of the
court. Judges are elected to the court by the Assembly of States
Parties. They serve nine-year terms and are not generally eligible
for re-election. All judges must be nationals of states party to the
Rome Statute, and no two judges may be nationals of the same
state. They must be “persons of high moral character, impartiality
and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their
respective states for appointment to the highest judicial offices”.
The Office of the Prosecutor is responsible for conducting
investigations and prosecutions. It is headed by the chief
prosecutor, who is assisted by one or more deputy prosecutors. The
Rome Statute provides that the Office of the Prosecutor shall
act independently. No member of the office may seek or act on
instructions from any external source, such as states, international
organisations, non-governmental organisations or individuals.
The Registry is responsible for the non-judicial aspects of the
administration and servicing of the court. This includes, among other
things, the administration of legal aid matters, court management,
victims and witnesses matters, defence counsel, detention unit, and
the traditional services provided by administrations in international
organisations, such as finance, translation, building management,
procurement and personnel. The Registry is headed by the registrar,
who is elected by the judges to a five-year term.
Ways in which justice has been denied and delayed in Rwanda
Discuss different ways in which justice has been denied and
delayed in Rwanda. Thereafter, present the results of your
discussion to the class.
During the First and the Second Republics, the culture of impunity
was prevailing in Rwanda. The Tutsi were targeted and killed and
the perpetrators of these crimes were not punished. Moreover, the
properties of the Tutsi were either destroyed or confiscated. For
instance in 1963, more than 8,000 Tutsi were killed in Gikingoro.
In the same period, Kayibanda ordered the execution of 27 leaders
of UNAR and RADER who had been imprisoned in Ruhengeri
without any form of legal procedure. In 1973, a big number of
Tutsi were chased from their jobs and schools. Their killers however
During the Liberation War which started on October 1st, 1990,
the Tutsi were attacked by government soldiers and Interahamwe.
Many Tutsi in Bugesera, Kibuye, Ngororero, Murambi in Byumba,
the Bagogwe in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi and the Bahima of Mutara
were killed. The people who committed these crimes did not face
After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, justice faced the problem
of delay due to the following reasons:
Absence of laws punishing the crime of genocide:
There was lack of competent judiciary tribunals and judges
because many of them had either been killed during the 1994
genocide against the Tutsi or had fled the country. In addition,
the few judges who remained were not skilled enough.
The situation was complicated by the big number of genocide
prisoners. It was difficult to judge all the criminals in a
short time. This is why in 2005 the government of Rwanda
introduced the Gacaca courts to judge the perpetrators of the
1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Many countries which host the genocide criminals refuse to
judge them or to send them to Rwanda; for example, France.
The judicial system interprets and applies the law in the name of
the state. This system also provides a mechanism for the resolution
In countries which apply the doctrine of separation of powers,
the judiciary does not make laws. It rather interprets the law and
applies it to the facts of each case.
The international judicial system is controlled by the International
Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In Rwanda, the judicial system is divided into two kinds of courts:
ordinary and specialised courts. The ordinary courts are headed
by the High Council of the Judiciary. This is established by the
Rwandan Constitution of 4/06/2003 in article 157 and 158. It is
the supreme organ of the judiciary.
Dispute: an argument or a disagreement between two
people, groups or countries; a discussion about
a subject where there is disagreement.
Doctrine: a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a
religion, political party, etc.
Guilty: being responsible for something bad or illegal.
Jurisdiction: the authority that an official organisation has
to make legal decisions about somebody/something.
Substantive: dealing with real, important or serious matters.
Unanimous: a decision or an opinion agreed or shared by
everyone in a group.
Veto: the right to refuse to allow something to be
done, especially the right to stop a law from
being passed or decision from being taken.
Workload: the amount of work that has to be done by a
particular person or organisation.
1. Analyse the ways in which justice has been denied and delayed
2. Explain the organisation of the International Court of Justice.Unit 8: National and International Judicial Systems and Instruments
- Unit 9: Dignity and Self - RelianceUnit 9: Dignity and Self - Reliance
Key unit competence
Identify lessons that can be learnt from successful self-reliance
policies of African leaders.
Dignity means receiving respect from people and an individual’s
belief in his ability to do what is good. Self-reliance means making
personal choices, rather than allowing other people to decide
for you. It also means being independent. People have to avoid
expecting foreign assistance from developed countries.
Dignity and self-reliance are the two ways suggested by the
government in order to address socio-economic and political
problems. This does not mean opposing international cooperation
Rwandans, just do not want to be dependant on foreign aid.
Self-reliance provides self-confidence and pride. This leads to
sustainable and durable development.
With the concept of dignity and self-reliance. Rwandans can make
individual choices. This means that Rwanda is on the right course
Links to other subjects
Nationalism in General Studies
Main points to be covered in this unit
Examples of African leaders whose self-reliance policies succeeded
Factors for the success of self-reliance policies of some African
Lessons learnt from successful self-reliance policies of African leaders
Examples of African Leaders whose SelfReliance Policies Succeeded
Carry out research on African self-reliance and then analyse
the success of some African leaders. Present your work to the
Self-reliance in Kenya under Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya
Following Kenya’s independence in 1963, the first prime minister,
and later first president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta adopted
“Harambee” as a concept of pulling the country together to build
the new nation. He encouraged communities to work together
to raise funds for all sorts of local projects, pledging that the
government would provide their startup costs. Under this system,
wealthy individuals wishing to get into politics could donate large
amounts of money to local harambee activities, thereby gaining
legitimacy. However, such practices were never institutionalised
during Kenyatta’s presidency.
Ujamaa policy in Tanzania
Ujamaa (‘familyhood’ in Swahili) was the concept that formed the
basis of Julius Nyerere’s social and economic development policies
in Tanzania after it gained independence from Britain in 1961.
The creation of a one-party system under the leadership of
the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in order to
consolidate the cohesion of the newly independent Tanzania.
The institutionalisation of social, economic, and political equality
through the creation of a central democracy.
The abolition of discrimination based on ascribed status.
The nationalisation of the economy’s key sectors.
The villagisation of production, which essentially collectivised
all forms of local productive capacity.
The fostering of Tanzanian self-reliance through two dimensions:
the transformation of economic and cultural attitudes.
Economically, everyone would work for both the group and for
him/herself; culturally, Tanzanians had to free themselves from
dependence on developed countries. For Nyerere, this included
Tanzanians learning to do things for themselves and learning to be
satisfied with what they could achieve as an independent state.
The implementation of free and compulsory education for
all Tanzanians in order to sensitise them on the principles of
The creation of a Tanzanian rather than tribal identity through
the use of Swahili.
Julius Nyerere’s leadership of Tanzania commanded international
attention and attracted worldwide respect for his consistent
emphasis on ethical principles as the basis of practical policies.
Tanzania under Nyerere made great strides in vital areas of social
development. Infant mortality was reduced from 138 per 1000
live births in 1965 to 110 in 1985; life expectancy at birth rose
from 37 in 1960 to 52 in 1984; primary school enrolment was
raised from 25per cent (only 16per cent of females) in 1960 to
72per cent (85per cent of females) in 1985 (despite the rapidly
increasing population); adult literacy rate rose from 17per cent in
1960 to 63per cent by 1975 (much higher than in other African
countries) and continued to rise.
A major change in the structure of
Zambia’s economy came with the Mulungushi Reforms of April
1968 where Kaunda declared his intention to acquire an equity
holding (usually 51per cent or more) in a number of key foreignowned firms, to be controlled by his Industrial Development
By January 1970, Zambia had acquired majority holding in the
Zambian operations of the two major foreign mining interests,
the Anglo American Corporation and the Rhodesian Selection
Trust (RST). The two became the Nchanga Consolidated Copper
Mines (NCCM) and Roan Consolidated Mines (RCM), respectively.
Kaunda also announced the creation of a new parastatal body,
the Mining Development Corporation (MINDECO), while the Finance
and Development Corporation (FINDECO) enabled the Zambian
government to gain control of insurance companies and building
societies. Major foreign-owned banks, such as Barclays, Standard
Chartered and Grindlays Bank successfully resisted takeover. In
1971, INDECO, MINDECO, and FINDECO were brought together
under an omnibus parastatal, the Zambia Industrial and Mining
Corporation (ZIMCO), to create one of the largest companies in
sub-Saharan Africa, with Francis Kaunda as chairman of the board.
The management contracts under which day-to-day operations of
the mines had been carried out by Anglo American and RST were
terminated in 1973. In 1982, NCCM and RCM were merged into
the giant Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Ltd (ZCCM).
Mandela’s administration inherited a country with a huge disparity in wealth and services between white and black communities.
In a population of 40 million, around 23 million lacked electricity or adequate sanitation; 12 million lacked clean water supplies, with 2 million children not in school and a third of the population illiterate.
There was 33 per cent unemployment, and just under half of the population lived below the poverty line.
Government financial reserves were nearly depleted, with a fifth
of the national budget being spent on debt repayment, meaning
that the extent of the promised Reconstruction and Development
Programme (RDP) was scaled back, with none of the proposed
nationalisation or job creation. Instead, the government adopted
liberal economic policies designed to promote foreign investment,
adhering to the “Washington consensus” advocated by the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Under Mandela’s presidency, welfare spending increased by 13
per cent in 1996/97, 13 per cent in 1997/98, and 7 per cent
in 1998/99. The government introduced parity in grants for
communities, including disability grants, child maintenance
grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at
different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups. In 1994,
free healthcare was introduced for children under six and pregnant
women. The provision extended to all those using primary level
public sector health care services in 1996. By the 1999 election,
the ANC could boast that due to their policies, 3 million people were
connected to telephone lines, 1.5 million children were brought into
the education system, 500 clinics were upgraded or constructed, 2
million people were connected to the electricity grid, water access
was extended to 3 million people, and 750,000 houses were
constructed, housing nearly 3 million people.
The Land Restitution Act of 1994 enabled people who had lost their
property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their
land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims.
The Land Reform Act 3 of 1996 safeguarded the rights of labour
tenants who live and grow crops or graze livestock on farms. This
legislation ensured that such tenants could not be evicted without a
court order or if they were over the age of 65. The Skills Development
Act of 1998 provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance
and promote skills development at the workplace.
The Labour Relations Act of 1995 promoted workplace democracy,
orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour
disputes. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 improved
enforcement mechanisms while extending a “floor” of rights to all
workers. The Employment Equity Act of 1998 was passed to put an
end to discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative
action in the workplace.
He reformed the education system by constructing several
primary, secondary and tertiary institutions such as Ghana
He introduced scientific methods of farming like irrigation,
mechanised farming, use of fertilisers and pesticides.
He Africanised the civil service by replacing European expatriates
He emphasised the need to respect African culture and supported
local artists to compose African songs and plays.
He ended sectarian and regional tendencies by defeating all the
sectarian parties in the 1954 and 1956 elections. After winning
them, he called for unity.
Factors for Success of Self-Reliance Policies of some African Leaders
Account for the success of self-reliance policies of some African
leaders. Afterwards, present your findings to the class.
Some African leaders were successful in their self-reliance policies
due to many factors including:
Favourable population mindset: In many countries, the African
leaders took advantage of the situation because it was immediately
after the achievement of African independence. The Africans
massively supported their new African leaders, leading to the
success of their policies.
Negative effects of colonialism: Africans had for long suffered
from colonial constraints. This is why self-reliance policies were
successful in many African countries.
Economic crisis after the independence: The economic crisis was
among the immediate problems faced by Africans. Self-reliance
was seen as solution to these problems. This led to their success
because they were supported by the population.
Recovery of African identity: During colonisation, all African
initiatives were undermined by Europeans. When Africans
recovered their independence, their leaders wanted also to
recover the African identity by implementing internal solutions to
their problems. It was due to this that they found these policies
Sign of obedience to their own leaders: Another factor for the
success of the self-reliance policies is that Africans accepted them
as one way to express their obedience to their new leaders.
Lessons Learnt from Successful Self-Reliance
Policies of African Leaders
Analyse lessons from the success of the self-reliance as initiated
and achieved by some African leaders. In the classroom, present
the results of your analysis.
The success of self-reliance in some African countries inspires
other developing countries and especially other African countries.
We also learn about the importance of dignity. The need to
encourage Africans to be proud of our continent, our culture and
We appreciate the importance of home growth solutions. It is a
testimony that only Africans can find solutions to their problems.
The success of self-reliance supports respect of human rights
and the campaign against racial discrimination. During European
colonial rule, Africans were denied their rights. They were
considered unable to manage their own affairs.
On the dawn of independence African leaders initiated policies
aiming at achieving self-reliance. For instance, the first president
of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta adopted harambee as a concept of pulling
the country together to build the nation while Julius Nyerere used
ujamaa to achieve social and economic development in Tanzania.
Rwanda emphasised home grown solutions in order to address
socio-economic and political problems. The two concepts of dignity
and self-reliance guide the implementation of home grown solutions.
Home grown solutions such as umuganda, ubudehe, Gacaca, and
Agaciro development funds have been used to address problems
Grid: a pattern of regularly spaced horizontal and
Pledging: promise solemnly and formally or give as a
Takeover: a sudden and decisive change of government
illegally or by force
1. Identify three African leaders and explain their self-reliance
2. Describe factors for the success of self-reliance policies of some
3. What are the lessons from successful self-reliance policies of
African leaders?Unit 9: Dignity and Self - Reliance
- Topic 10Topic 10Topic 10