Topic outline

  • General



    In the post-colonial period, the government of Rwanda was led by two republics

    which successively replaced one another. The first was led by Grégoire Kayibanda

    whereas Major General Juvénal Habyarimana was the head chief of the second

    one. The two regimes had the common feature of poor governance, the main

    root of the 1990 Liberation War. This war fought by Rwanda Patriotic Front against

    the Habyarimana’s regime had had very negative effects such as loss of lives and

    destruction of properties, decline of the Rwandan economy, displacement and exile

    of many people,etc. When this armed conflict was about to be peacefully settled, the

    peace process was however broken by the former Government of Rwanda which

    prepared and implemented the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The genocide was

    stopped by the RPF troops and this action simultaneously marked the end of the

    Liberation War.

    In the after math of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the country of Rwanda

    faced a number of challenges including lack of shelter for refugees and other

    vulnerable people, a broken judicial system, suspicion and mistrust among the

    Rwandan population, political and administrative vacuum, problems of insecurity,

    economic challenges, etc. The Government of National Unity set up in July 1994

    tirelessly strived to take different strategies so as to find appropriate remedies

    to these challenges. In so doing, security was safeguarded and unity and

    reconciliation were strengthened. Besides, the rule of law was established and the

    democratisation process was emphasised. Many other actions were also initiated

    such as the implementation of decentralisation, politico-administrative reforms

    and fight against injustice, reconstruction of the national economy through

    the planning, human resource development, privatisation of the government

    enterprises, construction of infrastructures such as roads, water, electricity,

    promotion of education, health and gender equality, environment protection,

    assistance to the most vulnerable people and promotion of agriculture and animal


    Key unit competence

    Assess the causes, course and consequences of the Liberation War (1990-1994),

    the achievements and challenges of the Government of Rwanda after the Genocide

    against the Tutsi.

    Learning outcomes

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Explain the causes, course and effects of the Liberation War;

    Propose some solutions to Rwanda’s problems after the Genocide against

    the Tutsi.

    Introductory activity

    “A world congress of Rwandese refugees had been held in Washington DC in

    August 1988 and it had passed very strong resolutions about the ‘Right of Return’;

    these had been transmitted to the Rwandese government which had remained

    undaunted, as usual in such cases” (Prunier, 1995).

    a. What do you think about the above statement?

    b. Do you think that the refugee problem was at the origin of the Liberation


    Explain your statement.

    1.1 The causes of the Liberation War (1990-1994)

    Activity 1

    Explain in not more than ten lines different causes of the Liberation War (1990-


    1.1.1 The long exile

    The first group of refugees fled Rwanda since 1959 after the unrest period marked

    by violence and massacres of the members of the political party Union Nationale

    Rwandaise (UNAR). The violence against the Tutsi was committed by some leaders

    of the Parti du Mouvement de l’Emancipation Hutu (PARMEHUTU) supported by

    Belgian authorities. The resistance organised by refugees’ groups called Inyenzi and

    their efforts to return home were in vain. Consequently refugees were desperate

    and lost hope to one day recover their dignity as Rwandans. In exile, refugees had

    different living conditions. Some of them acquired academic skills. But, in general,

    those living in refugee camps and single young adults struggled to get a better life.

    Such bad living conditions coupled with lack of employment and good education

    in hosting countries pushed them to think of a solution to return home. Those in

    Uganda were affected by political repression which occurred after the fall of the

    President Idi Amin Dada (1970-1979). A series of organisations were created by

    refugees with first the purpose of helping the victims of the mentioned violence

    and also with the aim of returning to Rwanda.

    Among the institutions set up as vehicles to address the challenges of education

    were the Rwandese Refugees Welfare Foundation (RRWF) in Uganda and College

    Saint Albert in Kivu transferred to Bujumbura. Later these institutions provided a

    large number of leaders to political movement like Rwandese Alliance of National

    Unity (RANU), created in Nairobi in June 1979.

    1.1.2 The refusal of return for Rwandan refugees

    From 1959, the Tutsi never run away from democracy as PARMEHUTU propagandists

    used to say, but they did so because they had to save their lives. Generally, they

    run towards church missions, schools and other places considered as safe to protect

    them from danger. Others decided to leave the country as soon as possible to look

    for asylum in neighbouring countries.

    Although the Government of Rwanda had since 1964 requested that refugees

    be settled in their countries of asylum, it did almost nothing to help them. On

    the contrary, its policy consisted of making life for refugees very difficult in those

    countries. The Rwandan embassies watched refugees closely in their countries of


    In 1973, the Second Republic put in place a joint ministerial commission between

    Rwanda and Uganda for the repatriation of Rwandan refugees living in Uganda. The

    refugees had to express in writing their desire to return home. The request had to be

    addressed to the country of origin through the High Commission for Refugees and

    the hosting governments. Any refugee whose request was rejected stayed in the

    country of exile or looked for another hosting country. 

    Only few refugees managed to return to Rwanda after facing many challenges

    created by security agents. It was the Préfet’s prerogative to issue him or her a

    provisional identity card and where to settle. The returnee could not leave his or

    her commune without a prior authorisation of the Préfet. A monthly report on the

    returnees was sent to the minister of local affairs and the Minister of Defence and

    Police because they were suspected of spying for refugees.

    In addition to this suspicion and hindrances to return to Rwanda, Tutsi who had

    stayed in the country faced a range of challenges. For instance, those who were

    displaced during the 1959 violence could not recuperate their properties. Most of

    the time, their properties were illegally taken by bourgmestres and their friends

    and this is why they were a source of trials. In 1966, President Kayibanda prevented

    refugees to claim their properties. In 1975, President Habyarimana put in place a

    decree stating that Tutsi refugees’ assets should become public properties. This

    decision was due to the refusal of political leaders who did not want to return the

    land to its owners. 


                         Figure 1.1: Refugees aspiring to return home

    Until 1990, the political class did not consider refugees as Rwandans. The

    Government complicated their return and destabilised them where they were living

    in refugee camps. It was the protocol on refugees signed in 1993 during the Arusha

    negotiations between the then Rwandan regime and the RPF that recognized 

    refugees’ rights. Despite the refugees’ challenges, some of them continued to have

    good relationship with their former friends who had stayed in Rwanda.

    1.1.3 The regionalism and ethnic based divisionism

    Both the First (1962-1973) and the Second (1973-1994) Republics maintained and

    institutionalised “ethnic” labels (Hutu, Tutsi, Twa) in identity cards and the quota

    system. As a result, ethnic, regional and gender equilibrium had to be respected

    in different sectors such as administration, enrolment in secondary and tertiary

    schools and in the army.

    Day after day, the dictatorship led Kayibanda’s regime to trust few people. Thus, since

    the late 1960s the power was in the hands of few people from some communes

    of Gitarama. The same situation was observed under the Second Republic where

    again few people from some parts of the former Ruhengeri and Gisenyi préfectures

    occupied key positions in the country. As far as the political plan was concerned,

    both Republics were characterized by identity based ideology.

    During the First and Second republics, hatred against the Tutsi was reinforced. Every

    political crisis was blamed on Tutsi who were treated as scapegoats. This case was

    raised when refugees’ troops called Inyenzi attacked Rwanda in 1963 and later

    before the 1973 Habyarimana’s coup d’Etat.

    1.1.4 The intimidation and killing of opponents

    The Second republic did not accept and tolerate any opposition. Any person who

    tried to oppose it was jailed. Even if political assassinations were not frequent

    they existed. For instance, the deaths of the former Chief Editor of Kinyamateka

    newspaper, Father Sylvio Sindambiwe and Felicula Nyiramutarambirwa, former

    member of the Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement

    (MRND) Central Committee are believed to have been planned by the regime.

    1.1.5 The increase of dictatorship in Rwanda

    During the Second Republic, only a single political party (MRND) was allowed to

    operate as it was stipulated by the 1978 constitution. In practice, the powers were

    concentrated in the hands of a small group of people from the President’s family and

    his family in-law called Akazu. No single important decision could be made without

    prior approval of the President and his MRND.

    Application activities

    1. Show how the First and Second Republics imposed difficult conditions

    for individual repatriation of the Rwandan refugees.

    2. Discuss how the long exile of the Rwandan refugees contributed to the

    outbreak of the Liberation War (1990-1994).

    3. To what extent did the ‘‘ethnic’’ and “regional” divisions contributed to

    the outbreak of the Liberation War?

    4. Carry out a short interview with a returnee from exile in your village. Ask

    him or her about their living conditions while in exile. There after write

    down a simple one page report about your findings.

    1.2.The course of the Liberation War (1990-1994)

    Activity 1.2

    By searching on internet or in your school library, write a short text of not more

    than 150 words explaining the course of the Liberation War (1990-1994).

    1.2.1 The foundation of the RANU and birth of the RPF Inkotanyi

    Many Rwandan refugees had lost hope and were reluctant to join any political

    organisation due to the past failures of the early attempts to return to their home

    country, spearheaded by Inyenzi. Later on, refugees in Nairobi founded the RANU in


    RANU objectives

    RANU aimed at:

    Fighting against ethnic divisions and the ideology of divisionism by the

    Habyarimana regime

    Fighting against grabbing Rwanda’s wealth by a small group of people

    Instilling into the Rwandans a sense of consciousness as far as their rights were


    Finding an appropriate solution to the refugee problem

    Fighting the Habyarimana dictatorial regime

    Uniting all Rwandans including those living inside the country and in the

    Diaspora in order to restore national unity.

    The main organs of RANU were the Congress that met after every two years, the

    General Assembly that held annual meetings and regional committees from local,

    regional and central levels. During RANU’s recruitments, members had to take an

    oath (kurahira). RANU operated on democratic principles i.e. decisions were taken

    by the majority. The organs of expression and mobilisation were: Alliance which

    was replaced by Vanguard in 1987. It was published at Kampala in English. Later on,

    another newspaper, called Inkotanyi was also created in 1989 in order to mobilise

    Kinyarwanda speaking readers. In 1990 with the Liberation War (1990-1994), the

    Vanguard disappeared and Inkotanyi relocated to Burundi and took the name of


    RANU insisted very much on the involvement of individuals and rejected any

    attempt to integrate groups. Apart from undertaking to mobilise the Rwandans,

    RANU was involved in a discrete action towards some embassies first, and then

    sending petitions to the Organisation for African Unity (OAU). It intended to attract

    the attention of the international community to the problem of the Rwandan

    refugees who, except for being mentioned in different circumstances, were

    practically forgotten. These efforts were relatively mitigated as far as concrete aid

    was concerned. But on the other hand, they were very important because these

    contacts allowed better understanding of the reasons for the beginning of the war

    launched on October 1, 1990.

    On December 26, 1987, a congress of RANU representatives met in Kampala

    (Uganda) and decided to replace RANU with the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF)

    under the influence of Rwandans who had joined the National Resistance Army

    (NRA) in Uganda. The RPF Inkotanyi was led by a charismatic leader Major General

    Fred Gisa Rwigema.

    Eight points programme of RPF

    1. Restoration of unity among Rwandans.

    2. Defending the sovereignty of the country and ensure the security of

    people and property.

    3. Establishment of democratic leadership.

    4. Promoting the economy based on the country’s natural resources.

    5. Elimination of corruption, favouritism and embezzlement of national


    6. Promoting social welfare.

    7. Eliminating all causes for fleeing the country and returning Rwandan

    refugees back into the country.

    8. Promoting international relations based on mutual respect, cooperation

    and mutually beneficial economic exchange.

    1.2.2 The military option

    At the outset, RANU mainly targeted Rwandan intellectuals living in the Diaspora

    and inside Rwanda. RANU statute included a principle called Option Zero aiming

    at liberating Rwanda by force. But RANU could not achieve this objective because it

    was composed of intellectuals without a military wing. In the meanwhile, Rwandan

    refugees benefited from Ugandan crisis of the 1980s. Three young Rwandans

    namely Fred Gisa Rwigema, Paul Kagame and Sam Byaruhanga joined Yoweri

    Kaguta Museveni’s guerrilla with an idea of using a military option to liberate

    Rwanda. Due to the persecution of Kinyarwanda-speaking people living in Uganda

    and their expulsion by Milton Obote’s regime in the 1980s, other young Rwandans

    decided to join the Museveni’s guerrilla war in order to acquire experience that

    would help them to wage an armed struggle to force their return to Rwanda. The

    guerrilla war and Museveni’s final victory constituted the essential turning point in

    the life of the movement

    1.2.3 The beginning of the Liberation War

    After benefiting from their participation in the NRA guerilla warfare and the victory

    achieved by the latter,the Rwandan military officers observed the structures of the

    Ugandan army, which they later used to recruit and train a number of Rwandan

    soldiers. When the war started in 1990, the RPF could count on about 3,000 well

    trained soldiers of various grades. The Liberation War was launched by RPF Inkotanyi

    and its armed wing, the Rwandese Patriotic Army on October 1, 1990 led by late

    Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema. This army was composed of not only male but

    also female combatants.


    The RPF first launched an attack in Umutara at the beginning of October, 1990;

    but this attack was not successful because of the death of Late Major General Fred

    Rwigema on October 2, 1990. After being pushed from Umutara, the RPF resorted to

    using guerrilla tactics in the northern region of Rwanda. 


    The then government alleged that it was surprised by that attack, even when the

    ordinary people were aware of an imminent attack by refugees. The discriminative

    ideology against the Tutsi reappeared in speeches and the national media. The

    subject of discussion was that RPF was a reincarnation of the Inyenzi of the 1960s

    and that it was made up of Tutsi feudal monarchists who did not accept the “1959

    Hutu revolution”.

    The RPF raid also allowed the Habyarimana regime to launch a vast operation to

    eliminate the political opposition after gunshot fire in Kigali in the night of October

    4-5, 1990. The regime made people to believe that it was an attempt by the rebels to

    attack the capital whereas it was a false attack meant to allow a presidential move to

    justify a massive cleansing operation against the Tutsi and other opponents of the

    regime. Between 7,000 and 10,000 people were arrested and imprisoned arbitrarily.

    Large scale massacres took place throughout the country, especially in Kibiriria,

    Mutara, Mukingo, Murambi and Bugesera where Tutsi were molested, imprisoned

    or killed together with those who dared to criticize the regime. They were called

    ibyitso, traitors or accomplices.

    1.2.4 Attack on Ruhengeri (January 1991)

    On the morning of January 23, 1991, the RPA attacked the Town of Ruhengeri. The

    Rwandan forces in the area were taken by surprise and were mostly unable to defend

    themselves against the invasion. One of the principal RPA targets in Ruhengeri was

    Ruhengeri prison. The RPA stormed the buildings, and the prisoners were rescued

    and several of them were recruited into the RPA. Some political prisoners such as

    Théoneste Lizinde, Stanislas Biseruka and Brother Jean Damascène Ndayambaje

    were also released from prison.

    1.2.5 Extension of guerrilla war (1991-1992)

    Following the attack on Ruhengeri, the RPA began to carry out a classic hit-and

    run a guerrilla war tactic. The RPA attacked the Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR)

    repeatedly and frequently and made some territorial gains composed of a small

    territory alongside the border. The conquered territory was extended following

    other gains until the setting up of Ruhengeri, Mutara and Byumba fronts. In 1992,

    RPF/RPA headquarters was set up at Mulindi in the then Byumba préfecture.

    1.2.6 Peace process (1991-1993)

    A series of meetings were held in order to find a solution to the war between the

    RPF and the then government. At the beginning, RPF was not accepted at the table

    of negotiations. The first meeting was held at Mwanza in Tanzania on October

    17, 1990, in this meeting, the Government of Rwanda accepted a dialogue with

    internal and external opposition. However, this was not immediately respected by

    the Government. Other meetings were also held at Gbadolite on October 26, 1990;

    Zanzibar on February 17, 1991 and Dar-es-Salaam on February 19, 1991. 

    In all these negotiations, RPF was not directly negotiating with the Government of

    Rwanda. For the first time, RPF directly negotiated with the Government of Rwanda

    at N’sele on March 25, 1991. The RPF and the then Government of Rwanda signed

    the N’sele Cease-fire Agreement and a political settlement which provided for,

    among other things, cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of foreign troops, exchange

    of prisoners of war and finally, serious political negotiations to end the conflict.

    This agreement remained a dead settlement because soonafter the Government of

    Rwanda and RPF accused each other of violating the cease-fire.

    Military pressure from RPF, pressure from the international community and internal

    opposition led to a serious peace process negotiations. In June 1992, the Arusha

    peace negotiations started. Peace talks pursued at a very high level in the region,

    drawing in heads of state and foreign ministers.

    The core negotiations on a future peace agreement had participants and observers

    from five African states: Burundi, Zaïre, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania; four Western

    countries: France, Belgium, Germany and the USA with the presence of the OAU

    delegates. The United Nations Organisation (UNO) was brought in at the intervention

    of the OAU and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

    attended as observers. Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and European Union closely

    monitored the process from their local embassies. Nigeria was represented at the

    Arusha- linked Joint Political Military Committee.

    The Arusha process represented a multi-prolonged strategy of conflict resolution.

    The preliminary phase was designed to obtain a cease-fire. In July 12, 1992, a

    cease-fire was decided between RPF and the then government. OAU force known

    as Neutral Military Group of Observers (GOMN: Groupe d’Observateurs Militaires

    Neutres) was put in place to observe the cease-fire. 


    Figure 1.4: The Arusha International Conference Centre :Venue for peace talks to end the war.



    During the negotiations process, the then regime did its best to make the country

    ungovernable. In this regard, Rwanda experienced massacres of Tutsi and moderate

    Hutu. Moreover, insecurity affected some public places due to some attacks by

    means of grenades. In the same manner, a divisive propaganda aimed at uniting

    the Hutu was intensified and the Coalition pour la Défense de la République (CDR)

    was created and utilised to block the Arusha peace process. Due to this violence

    and insecurity the RPF Inkotanyi launched an attack on February 8, 1993. In fact, the

    RPF was nearing the gates of the capital, Kigali, because they had reached Tumba

    commune. But soon after, due to the international pressure to resume negotiations,

    the RPF returned to its positions before February 8, 1993. 


    Figure 1.5: RPA offensive, February 1993


    TerritoryAfterFebruary 1993.png

    The Arusha Peace Agreement was preceded by the signing of the agreement on a

    new cease-fire, as well as parties agreeing on the following principles:

    That there was neither democracy nor the practice of the rule of law in


    That a broad-based government of national unity, including parties of

    different political persuasions was necessary to oversee the transition to


    That the FAR was not national in character and that it was necessary to set up a

    truly national army from among members of the two existing armies;

    The Rwandan refugees had a legitimate inalienable right to return home. 

    The agreement was structured around five pillars:

    The establishment of the rule of law;


    Repatriation and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced people;

    The integration of armed forces;

    Other miscellaneous provisions. 


    Figure 1.6: The delegates of the Republic of Rwanda during the signing of Arusha Peace agreements on August 4, 1993

    Source: RPF Archives.


    Figure 1.7: The delegates of RPF during the signing of Arusha Peace Accord on August 4, 1993 (Major

    General Paul Kagame on the left and RPF Chairperson Alexis Kanyarengwe on the right)

    Source: RPF Archives

    The Arusha Peace Agreement was supposed to have been implemented within 37

    days, beginning with the establishment of the institutions of the presidency, the

    cabinet and the National Assembly. This Agreement was not implemented, however

    its principal provisions now constitute the Fundamental Law of the Republic of


    After the signing of Arusha Agreement in December 1993, the French military

    detachment that was in Rwanda left and a UN intervention force arrived. The UN

    peacekeeping force was known as United Nations Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR).

    Its mission was to supervise the implementation of the Arusha Peace Agreement of

    August 4, 1993.

    On December 28, 1993, 600 soldiers of the third battalion of RPF arrived at the

    Centre National de Développement (CND) and had a mission to ensure security of

    the RPF future ministers and members of the Parliament in the new Broad-based

    Transitional Government.

    On January 5, 1994, President Habyarimana was sworn in as President in accordance

    with the Arusha Peace Agreement, but blocked the swearing in of other members of

    the Broad-based Transitional Government.

    On April 6, 1994 at 20:30, the Presidential airplane, the mystère Falcon 50 from

     Dar-es-Salaam was hit by two missiles and Presidents Habyarimana of Rwanda and

    Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi were killed. The long-planned Genocide against

    the Tutsi immediately started and boycotted the implementation of Arusha Peace

    Agreement and other peaceful ways.

    1.2.7 The involvement of foreign countries in the Liberation War (1990-1994)

    Uganda which was considered as an aggressor or unwavering supporter of RPF

    rejected these accusations. It especially avoided verbal and military provocations

    on Kigali. It made so many gestures of good will by responding to initiatives of

    mediation. Uganda also accepted the UN mission of military observers at its border

    with Rwanda. It received a mission of the European Parliament whose conclusions

    exonerated Uganda from all accusations made against it by Rwanda. During the

    entire period of the war, Museveni’s attitude remained unclear. On the occasion of

    the 10th anniversary of the Genocide, President Museveni declared that despite

    controls of the international community, Uganda intervened on the side of RPF in

    order to stop the Genocide.

    Zaïre immediately sent soldiers to help the Kigali regime. For unclear reasons, the

    Zaïrian army did not stay in Kigali for long. The Zaïrian soldiers who were arrested

    were among those who portrayed a very positive image of RPF after their release.

    They referred to RPA as an army that was convinced about the cause it was

    defending, much disciplined and very organised. The commander of the Zaïrian

    contingent hailed the RPF continuously because even when he was in the enemy

    camp, he was treated with all honours due to his military rank. It seems that the

    information made President Mobutu to have a different view of RPF.

    Belgium sent to Rwanda a contingent with a mission of repatriating its citizens who

    wished to leave the country. Their stay in Rwanda aroused vibrant debates which

    led to their departure at the end of October 1990. But on the other hand, Belgium

    sent several high level missions which made sensible suggestions which disturbed

    the Kigali regime. According to Belgium, overcoming the crisis depended on the

    Rwandans themselves and mediation efforts had to be entrusted with Rwanda’s

    neighbours and the OAU, supported by the international community. In the end,

    it was that approach that was pursued. 

    France was at the beginning of the conflict requested by President Habyarimana

    to help a French-speaking country that had been attacked by a foreign country

    supported by English-speaking countries. France sent a contingent to Rwanda

    named Opération Noroit whose numerical strength was difficult to estimate. The

    contingent stayed officially in Rwanda until December 1993. It was an additional

    military force intended to back up French soldiers who were already in Rwanda

    in the name of military cooperation. 


    Figure 1.8: The French troops deployed in Rwanda during Opération Turquoise

    Source: © Hocine Zaourar, AFP (archives). Militaires français déployés au Rwanda, en

    1994, dans le cadre de l’opération Turquoise

    The French military agents stayed in Rwanda until the beginning of the Genocide.

    Moreover, the French government sent again her troops in Rwanda through

    Opération Turquoise. Then from June 23 up to August 1994, the French government

    established a humanitarian zone, known as Zone Turquoise in western part of

    Rwanda. It covered ancient prefectures of Cyangugu, Gikongoro and Kibuye. The

    mission saved few civilians in South West Rwanda. However, French soldiers were

    also aware of killings against Tutsi in Bisesero. Opération Turquoise also allowed

    soldiers, officials and militiamen involved in the genocide to flee Rwanda through

    the areas under their control.

    1.2.8 The end of the Liberation War and the campaign to stop the Genocide

    On April 6, 1994, the deaths of the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in a plane

    crash ignited several weeks of intense and systematic massacres in which over

    one million Tutsi perished. Less than half an hour after the plane crash, roadblocks

    manned by Hutu militiamen often assisted by gendarmerie (paramilitary police) or

    military personnel were set up to identify Tutsi and supposed RPF accomplices.

    On April 7, Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) aired a broadcast

    attributing the plane crash to the RPF and a contingent of UN soldiers, as well as

    incitements to eliminate the ‘Tutsi cockroaches’. Later that day the Prime Minister,

    Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers assigned to protect her were

    brutally murdered by Rwandan government soldiers at her home and Camp Kigali

    respectively. Other moderate Hutu leaders were similarly assassinated. After the

    massacre of its troops, Belgium withdrew the rest of its force. In the meanwhile, on

    April 8, 1994, Major General Paul Kagame, the RPF commander launched a campaign

    to stop the Genocide and restore peace and security in the country.

    As the international community reduced its forces and on April 9, the FAR rejected

    RPF’s idea to form a joint operation to save civilians, RPF started moving its troops to

    defend its battalion blocked in CND. At the same time, it mobilised its troops to stop

    the massacres. RPF forces attacked by three axes: the East, West and Central axes

    (towards Kigali). During the fights, Byumba was occupied by the central axis troops.

    The two other axes joined the battalion that was in CND headquarters, three days

    after resuming the fights.

    Due to RPF forces numeric inferiority (25,000 people) and FAR weaponry, RPF

    minimised losses by using a range of strategies in order to avoid direct confrontation

    with the FAR. For instance, RPA-RPF forces infiltrated the FAR lines and disorganised

    them with mortar fire. In addition, they occupied supply routes and left a place for

    withdrawing. The FAR were attacked by many sides and their morale weakened. As

    a result, RPA-RPF forces managed to save some Tutsi.

    In the meanwhile, a diplomatic action allowed RPF envoys to counterattack the

    Interim Government (called Abatabazi) campaign saying that the war by RPF was an

    invasion which was unjustly imposed on Rwanda by Uganda under the sponsorship

    of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Moreover, the then Government’s diplomatic

    campaign alleged that the killings were spontaneous due to anger and blind

    obedience of the population caused by the death of President Habyarimana.

    However, it was Government’s attempt to hide its responsibility in the killings.

    On April 21, the UNAMIR force was reduced from an initial number of 2,165 soldiers

    to 270 with no clear mandate to use force to save the lives of targeted people. Thus

    UNAMIR’s contribution to save the Tutsi can be considered as a failure.

    Between April and June 1994, an RPF delegation concentrated its efforts at the

    UN headquarters in New York and Washington. In fierce competition with the

    representatives of the Interim Government, they pleaded for recognition of

    the massacres as genocide. The RPF delegation pleaded for the creation of an

    International Criminal Tribunal in charge of trying crimes against humanity and the

    Genocide committed in Rwanda. Later on, they also campaigned against ambiguous

    French military intervention, known as Operation Turquoise.

    This French military intervention had been authorised by the Security Council on

    June 22 for humanitarian purposes. 


    Figure 1.9:Map showing the advance of the RPF in 1994


    On July 4, 1994, Kigali fell into the hands of the RPA. The members of the so-called

    Interim Government (called Abatabazi), members of the FAR, the armed groups, and

    many people who were involved in the Genocide and the general population, fled

    mainly to Zaïre, current Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania. Millions

    of civilians fled because they had been told by the Government officials, soldiers

    and militia that the RPF would kill them. Thousands died of water- borne diseases.

    The camps were also used by former Rwandan government soldiers to re-arm and

    stage invasions into Rwanda. Thus, RPF became the only force to have politically and

    militarily opposed the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.


    Figure 1.12: RPA troops enter Kigali after the fall of the capital


    On July 19, 1994, the RPF established the Government of National Unity with four

    other political parties namely PL (Parti Libéral), Parti Social Démocrate (PSD), Parti

    Démocrate Chrétien (PDC), and Mouvement Démocratique Républicain (MDR).

    Pasteur Bizimungu became the President, Major General Paul Kagame Vice President

    and Minister of Defence and Faustin Twagiramungu, Prime Minister. Weeks later, a

    70-member Transitional National Assembly was formed consisting of representatives

    of the RPF, the four other original parties plus three other smaller parties, namely,

    the Parti Démocratique Islamique (PDI), the Parti Socialiste Rwandais (PSR), and the

    Union Démocratique du Peuple Rwandais (UDPR), as well as six representatives of

    the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA).

    1.2 Application activity

    Search on internet or other documents the Arusha Peace Agreement and read the

    Protocol of Agreement on the rule of law. Can you claim that the Arusha Peace

    Agreement (see the Protocol of Agreement on the rule of law) had innovative

    strategies for building a better and peaceful Rwanda? Explain your statement.

    Choose any of the following powers and explain its involvement in the Liberation

    War: Uganda, Zaire, Belgium and France. Use internet and other available

    document in your school library.

    Read carefully the following extracts from Arusha Peace Agreement:

    a) “Protocol of Agreement between the Government of the Republic of

    Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front on Power-Sharing within the

    Framework of a Broad-Based Transitional Government

    Article 56

    Nominative distribution of portfolios shall be as follows:


    1. Ministry of Defence;

    2. Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Culture;

    3. Ministry of Public Service;

    4. Ministry of Planning;

    5. Ministry of Family Affairs and Promotion of the Status of Women.


    1. Ministry of Interior and Communal Development;

    2. Ministry of Transport and Communications;

    3. Ministry of Health;

    4. Ministry of Youth and Associative Movement;

    5. Secretariat of State for Rehabilitation and Social Integration


    1. Prime Minister;

    2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation;

    3. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education;

    4. Ministry of Information.


    1. Ministry of Finance;

    2. Ministry of Public works and Energy;

    3. Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock


    1. Ministry of Justice;

    2. Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cottage Industry;

    3. Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs;


     Ministry of Environment and Tourism

    b) Protocol of Agreement between the Government of the Republic of

    Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front on the Integration of the Armed

    Forces of the Two Parties

    Article 74: Proportions and Distribution of Command Posts

    During the establishment of the National Army, the proportions and

    distribution of Command posts between the two parties shall abide by the

    following principles:

    (…) Government forces shall contribute 60% of the forces and the RPF 40%

    of the forces for all levels apart from the posts of Command described below.

    (…) In the chain of Command, from the Army Headquarters to the Battalion,

    each party shall have a 50% representation for the following posts (…).

    Write down what you think about the above extracts. Do you think that the

    Arusha Peace Agreement was viable? Explain your position.

    1.3 The effects of the Liberation War (1990-1994)

    1.3 Activity

    Write down what you know about the effects of the Liberation War (not more

    than ten lines).

    1.3.1 The loss of lives and destruction of properties

    The war increased insecurity in Rwanda. In fighting areas, drunken soldiers could

    shoot at people; ransack their houses and rape girls and women. In addition, a

    number of people were killed and others wounded including soldiers and civilians.

    The killings led to the problem of orphans and widows.

    There was also the massacre of Abagogwe social group from 1991 to 1993 by

    Habyarimana regime in retaliation against an RPA attack. These killings were also

    seen by some analysts as a strategy of strengthening the Habyarimana’s regime in

    difficult conditions and uniting all Hutu against a same enemy. 

    The similar killings were done in Kibirira, Bugesera, Kibuye, Murambi and in Umutara.

    By this war, some public infrastructures like offices, roads and bridges, specifically

    in the northern regions of Rwanda were destroyed. Besides, the private properties

    were also destroyed like houses and shops.

    1.3.2 Refugees’ mobilisation and mixed reactions in Rwanda

    For those in exile, they were excited and felt that the time had come to return home.

    As a result, they joined massively the RPF and the struggle as the war progressed.

    Besides, mobilization to support the war effort was reinforced in the region and

    abroad and recruitment into the RPF intensified. A lot of money, medicine, food and

    clothes were mobilised on a continuous basis in support of the war.

    Inside Rwanda, there were mixed reactions. Some people mainly sympathisers of

    the RPF, who had been treated as second class citizens, felt the time had come for

    their rescue and joined the struggle through different neighbouring countries while

    others were worried about the reactions of the Habyarimana regime. The MRND was

    mobilising the Hutu to fight against the enemy, the Tutsi.

    1.3.3 The decline of the Rwandan economy

    Because of the war and the pressure on Habyarimana regime the Rwandan economy

    collapsed. The price of main export commodities such as coffee decreased at the

    international market. Thus the country witnessed a hard economic situation. Besides,

    foreign aid decreased and the franc rwandais lost its value. Main sectors of economic

    activities fell down. Rwandans’ financial conditions worsened. In fact, because of

    the war, the North corridor was closed and this led to the stoppage of commercial

    exchange with Uganda. Besides, the war increased the military expenditure of the

    Government of Rwanda and the military expenses kept impoverishing the country.

    1.3.4 The displacement and exile of many people

    More than one million of Rwandans fleeing the battle fields were displaced inside

    the country and were not working. These Rwandans were in great need of shelter,

    food and other basic materials to use in their daily life. At the end of the war,

    Government officials, soldiers and militia fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo

    (DRC), then known as Zaïre, Tanzania and Burundi taking with them millions of

    civilians. Thousands died of water-borne diseases. 


    Figure 1.11: Refugees going in exile to DRC in 1994 on Rusizi bridge. 36idt.html.

    1.3.5 Campaign to stop the Genocide

    In addition to the end of the Genocide, one of the big achievements of the

    Liberation War was the end of the dictatorial regime which committed that

    Tutsi extermination. It was a start of a new era where the Government put into

    place new institutions aimed at eradicating discrimination in view of unity and

    reconciliation. Rwandans who were living outside the country benefited from the

    change to come back to their country

    Application activities

    1. Gather some information in your home community related to people’s

    reactions to the Liberation War.

    2. Ask some people in your community about their experiences on the

    consequences of the Liberation War. Write down a short story of not

    more than one page.

    3. Search on internet or use other documents to find the reactions of

    international community including humanitarian organisations on the

    Liberation War.

    1.4 The challenges faced by Rwanda after the Genocide

    against the Tutsi

    Activity 1.4


    Figure 1.13: A drawing to analyse

    Describe the above drawing. How do you link it with the challenges faced by

    Rwandans after the Genocide against the Tutsi? 

    1.4.1 Problems of insecurity

    Although the RPF had captured the power and a transitional government had been

    put in place, the security situation was still fluid, with former government forces

    and Interahamwe militia still carrying out Genocide in various part of the country.

    A French buffer area in western Rwanda, known as Zone Turquoise had become

    a safe haven for genocidal forces. In addition, infiltrators from refugee camps

    across the border continued to cross and destabilise the country. The Rwandan

    combatants and refugees located on the border of the current DRC became a

    security threat which destabilised the hosting country and the interests of several

    companies. Consequently, a campaign against Rwanda was organised by the

    affected companies. It should be noted that the ex-FAR and Interahamwe were

    allowed to keep their weapons and to join the civilian refugees. Other sympathizers

    of the former regime continued to support combatants, notably Zaïre (current

    DRC) under President Mobutu Sese Seko. All these proved to be security challenges

    for a country that had been affected by one of the worst human tragedies of the

    20th century.

    The Government of National Unity had to devise means to address insecurity in the

    whole country so that Rwandans could begin the task of rebuilding the nation.

    1.4.2 Political and administrative vacuum

    The Government of National Unity inherited a country without political and

    administrative institutions, due to the chaos provoked by the Interim Government.

    Most of civil servants were either killed or have left the country and the political

    institutions were destroyed. In addition, during the period of emergence, the

    Government faced the problems related to insufficient numbers of civil servants,

    lack of equipment and motivation for civil servants because they had neither salary

    nor accommodation, a judicial system that had come to a standstill due to lack

    of adequate qualified personnel, cases of embezzlement of public funds, districts

    without leadership (bourgmestres), and inexperienced police force among others.

    1.4.3 Suspicion and mistrust among the Rwandan population

    Since Rwanda’s social cohesion had fractured due to the divisive politics that

    preceded the Genocide, suspicion and mistrust characterised relationships between

    Rwandans. Thus, the new government inherited a deeply scarred nation where trust

    within and between social groups had been replaced by fear and betrayal.

    This lack of trust between people posed a serious challenge to the functioning of

    institutions because the vision of the Government of National Unity was not shared

    by all stakeholders. In spite of all this, the Government of National Unity believed

    that Rwanda was not dead but that it could be reborn and re-built. 

    To reach that goal, the Government of National Unity advocated strongly for unity

    and reconciliation despite the enormous challenges.

    1.4.4 Broken judicial system

    The Government of National Unity inherited a broken justice sector. More than

    140, 000 genocide suspects had been arrested yet there was insufficient prison

    infrastructure to host them. Their detention became a huge challenge in terms of

    feeding, and provision of medical and other services. In the same vein, there was

    inadequate number of trained lawyers to handle the large number of perpetrators

    of Genocide and this shortage of judges was also true for other crimes that were

    being committed in the country. For example, according to records of the Supreme

    Court, out of 702 judges in 2003, only 74 possessed a bachelor’s degree in law.

    Laws were also outdated, obscure and inadequate. For example, there was no law on

    the planning and execution of Genocide. Nonetheless, justice had to be delivered.

    Despite meagre resources that were available, the government had to operate

    reforms and introduce new judicial institutions to deal with all these challenges.

    1.4.5 Lack of shelter for refugees and other vulnerable people

    The Government of National Unity strived to restore Rwanda as a country for all

    Rwandans and provide a homeland for millions of Rwandan refugees. Tens of

    thousands of internally displaced people, especially Genocide survivors whose

    houses had been destroyed, were looking for housing facilities. About three million

    Rwandan refugees taken as hostage by the defeated genocidal forces in current

    DRC and some in Tanzania and Burundi were brought back home by the Transitional


    This humanitarian exercise was largely successful despite the failure of the

    international community to address their plight in refugees’ camps. A big number

    of older refugees (from 1959 and subsequent years) came back also in their country.

    All these categories of the needy people were looking for houses.

    1.4.6 A bleak health sector

    In the health sector, the picture was equally bleak. This sector was weak

    in Rwanda. The personnel in health services were few and poorly trained. This

    was a result of chronically poor human resource development strategies that

    characterised colonial and post-colonial Rwanda. On one hand, this situation was

    greatly exacerbated by the Genocide in which a number of health personnel had

    either participated in or had fled the country. On the other hand, some health

    workers had been killed. Few refugees that had returned from exile settled in Kigali.

    The capital city attracted health personnel because it had some infrastructures and

    was also safer to live in. 

    To mitigate the health crisis, a number of NGOs and the army came in and tried to

    make a difference, but the task was overwhelming since the number of the injured

    and the patients was very high. Statistics indicate that immunisation coverage for

    children had decreased as a result of war and mismanagement.

    Malnutrition levels were also very high. Child as well as maternal mortality rates

    were equally high due to poor health service delivery.

    The prevalence of water-borne diseases and other conditions related to poor

    sanitation was among the highest in Africa at that time. The high infection rate of

    transmittable diseases, especially HIV and AIDS was equally high. This pandemic

    disease had worsened during the Genocide because rape was used as a war weapon.

    The situation worsened due to a good number of traumatised people and high

    fertility rate coupled with ignorance. Malaria was hyper endemic in some parts of

    the country, especially in the east and southern provinces.

    1.4.7 A selective education system

    During the genocide against the Tutsi, most education infrastructure was destroyed

    and the human capital almost decimated.

    The education system was poor and did not respond to the socio-economic needs

    of the country. Few educated Rwandans could not translate their knowledge into

    productive activities to improve the standard of living of the Rwandan people.

    For instance in the eastern part of the country, schools were not only few and

    scattered, but in some areas they did not exist at all. Higher education was not only

    quantitatively low but was also a privilege of the few favoured by the quota system.

    For example, in the period between 1963 and 1994, only about 2000 Rwandans had

    completed tertiary education.

    1.4.8 Economic challenges

    The Rwandan economy and political situation before 1994 was marked by economic

    stagnation and high levels of poverty, mainly attributed to lack of vision and poor

    economic planning, mismanagement, embezzlement, corruption by the leadership

    of the time. It was a state controlled economy.

    As a result, post Genocide Rwanda faced a number of economic challenges including

    an unstable macroeconomic environment. For example, in 1994, the economy

    shrank by 50 % and inflation rose to 64 %. Between 1985 and 1994, the GDP growth

    rate was a mere 2.2% against a population growth rate of 3.2%, meaning there was

    an annual decline of-1% of per capita GDP.

    These challenges were mainly due to the fact that the economy was characterised

    by low productivity in all sectors, but most especially in agriculture. 

    Yet more than 90% of the population depended for their livelihood on agriculture.

    This situation resulted in a very weak export base coupled with a narrow revenue

    collection. It implied internally generated resources or external aid to fund social

    services like education and health.

    In addition, there was low private investment. As a result, the country lacked a serious

    and vibrant private sector to drive economic growth. In the public sector too, there

    was a high unskilled labour force. For example, in 1994, at least 79% of civil servants

    in the country had not done tertiary education.

    To make matters worse, skilled professionals had been particularly either targeted

    in the Genocide or had fled the country. In brief, the Government of National Unity

    inherited an economy completely destroyed by the Genocide and mismanagement

    over three decades.

    1.4.9 Agricultural challenges

    Agriculture was the key economic sector for Rwanda because it employed more than

    90% of the population. However, despite this fact, its output continued to be poor

    because the techniques of production were still rudimentary with the use of the

    hand-hoe as the primary tool, lack of or inadequate use of fertiliser, poor training of

    farmers in terms of technological use and poor soils emanating from over cultivation

    and overpopulation.

    Rwanda’s agriculture suffered from structural and fluctuating problems. For

    example, Rwanda’s soils depended entirely on rains because 1.64 % of this soil

    was under irrigation and only 1.2% was cultivated. This showed that Rwanda’s

    agriculture depended on unpredictable climatic changes. In addition, soil erosion

    affected more than 20% of the national territory. A fraction of the Rwandan

    population still suffered from food insecurity and malnutrition. Price fluctuation of

    exported products was also another problem whenever the agricultural prices fell.

    Although agricultural production increased from 1994, food availability per head

    per year was on the decline.

    Farming and animal husbandry activities needed agricultural space. However, the

    Rwandan soil suffered from demographic pressure and physical degradation. It was

    overexploited because of high population density. Rwanda’s inheritance system of

    family land transfers also led to land fragmentation. On average, the size of owned

    cultivable land by a household was 0.72 ha, although there were differences at

    regional level. Hence, land fertility reduced gradually. Soil erosion affected a big

    portion of this land and anti-erosion techniques were not yet widespread on the

    entire territory. Other behaviours contributed to aggravate the soil situation. For

    example, overgrazing, bush burning practices, irresponsible deforestation, unreasonable exploitation of marshlands by brick makers and the extraction of sand

    along valleys.

    1.4.10 Application activities

    1. Observe the following picture


    Figure 1.14: Picture to analyse


    1. Explain what you think about the above picture. How do you link it with

    the Genocide consequences?

    2. After reading Section 1.4, classify the mentioned challenges as social,

    political, economic and psychological. Explain your categorisation.

    3. Read carefully the following extract:

    “Because of many problems, I started to lack the ability to sleep at night. I could

    only sleep for two hours at night. This went on for a year, and I developed a complex

    sickness. I developed bad thoughts at night [had nightmares] all the time. Most of the

    time I dreamed of being killed, and I saw myself with people I know are dead and I was

    very terrified because I knew those people died a long time ago.

    My mental condition had taken on grave proportions. I started to visit doctors,

    but it worried me that they could not see [figure out] what my real illness was.”

    (Totten, 2011, pp. 394-395).

    Reffering to the previous classification done on question 2, in which category

    does the above quote fall? Explain your answer by using words from the text.

    4. “Relationships between different social groups of Rwandans after the

    Genocide were problematic.” Comment this statement.

           Read carefully the following table:


    Source: République du Rwanda, Ministère de l’administration locale, du

    développement communautaire et des affaires sociales (2004, p. 20).

    a. By means of a computer use the provided statistics (%) and draw a diagram

    of reported victims of genocide. If you do not have a computer you can

    draw your diagram on a paper using a pencil.

    b. By using your knowledge of the History and Geography of Rwanda

    comment the diagram.

    1.5 The achievements of the Government of National Unity (1994-2003)

    1.5.1 Activity

    What do you know about the achievements of the Government of Rwanda after

    the Genocide against the Tutsi?

    1.5.1 Political programme of the Government of National Unity

    The new government had to fill the power vacuum left by the defeated Interim

    Government. In this regard, the constitution of June 10, 1991, the Arusha Peace

    Agreement with all its protocols, the RPF declaration of July 17, 1994 and the

    Agreement of November 24, 1994 between political parties were used by the new

    Government in order to put in place its programme. The Arusha Peace Agreement

    was the main source of inspiration for governmental action. This was due to the

    fact that the Arusha Peace Agreement included two important principles in the

    management of the state namely the establishment of the rule of law and the

    power sharing arrangement. However, the texts were adapted to the new situations.

    For instance, MRND and its satellite political parties supporting the “Hutu power”

    and those involved in the Genocide were excluded from new institutions of the

    Transitional Government. Their posts had to be given to RPF. A new army had to

    be created by integrating in the APR, the ex FAR and the recruitment of those who

    had not participated in the Genocide. In addition, independent people and soldiers

    were introduced in the Transitional Parliament and a post of Vice President of the

    Republic carrying another portfolio was allocated to RPF.

    On July 19, 1994, the government programme was presented by Mr. Faustin

    Twagiramungu. The latter was the Prime Minister designated by the Arusha Peace

    Agreement. The programme focused on the following points:

    Restoration of peace and security;

    Organisation of central and local administration, i.e.préfectures,communes,

    sectors and cells

    Restoration and consolidation of national unity;

    Settlement of refugees and returning their property;

    Improvement of living conditions of the people and solving the social

    problems that resulted from war and Genocide;

    Revival of the country’s economy;

    Consolidation of democracy.

    During the establishment of the transitional institutions in July 1994, only RPF, MDR,

    PSD, PL, PDC, PSR, UDPR and PDI were officially recognized. Later on, MDR was

    excluded from accepted political parties because of its divisive ideology.

    A parliamentary report pointed out that some people wanted to use it for their

    political agenda.

    1.5.2 Safeguarding national security

    After the Genocide against the Tutsi, the security in Rwanda was extremely unstable

    as there were still unhealed wounds from the war. Most of the population was

    displaced, creating a volatile situation in the country. Military strategies were devised

    to find solution and eradicate the thousands of military groups and ex-combatants

    who continued to torment and kill citizens.

    The problem of insecurity especially on the western border of the country was

    caused by the incursions of Ex FAR and Interahamwe militias. To put an end to

    this destabilisation, the Government of Rwanda proceeded to the repatriation of

    refugees from Zaïre, current DRC and military operations aiming at weakening the


    Figure 1.15: Repatriation of refugees from Tanzania in 1996


    1.5.3 Politico-administrative reforms and fight against injustice

    From its inception, the Government was supposed to set up administrative structures

    from the top to the bottom. Due to lack of time to produce the most appropriate

    administrative framework, it maintained the structure left by the defeated regime

    namely central government, préfectures(provinces), communes ( districts) , sectors

    and cells.

    Figure1.16: Communes of Rwanda prior to 2002, after the formation of Umutara prefecture in 1996


    Rwanda’s decentralisation policy was an important innovation. Its objective was to

    empower and invite the population to participate actively in debates on issues that

    concerned it directly. It also aimed at encouraging the electorate in the countryside

    to provide information and explain issues in order to take decisions knowingly.

    The decentralisation of activities went hand in hand with the decentralisation of

    financial, material and human resources.

    The first phase (2001-2005) aimed at establishing democratic and community

    development structures at the district level and was accompanied by a number

    of legal, institutional and policy reforms, as well as democratic elections for local

    leaders. However, the decentralisation process faced some challenges because

    some leaders have to perform volunteer work. In addition, some of them cumulated

    jobs and this could lead to their inefficiency.

    Figure 1.17: Map of Rwanda showing administrative division between 2002 and 2006



    To reinforce good governance in Rwanda, anti-corruption and public accountability

    institutions were created by the Government. Their operational capacity continued

    to be strengthened so as to achieve greater accountability. They include the Office

    of the Ombudsman, Office of the Auditor General for State Finances, Rwanda Public

    Procurement Authority and Rwanda Revenue Authority.

    These institutions are mandated to fight injustice, corruption and abuse by

    public officials and related offences in both public and private administration

    and to promote the principles of good governance based on accountability and


    Rwanda has also signed and ratified the United Nations Convention Against

    Corruption (UNCAC), the African Union anti-corruption Convention (AUCC) and the

    UN convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC).

    In order to promote consensual democracy, since 2000, free, transparent and

    peaceful elections have been organised at local levels and Rwanda has put in place

    a new constitution that clearly defines the main principles as well as performance

    and limit of political institutions, multiparty system and respect of everybody’s right.

    The 2003 Constitution accepts that all most important political positions in the

    country must be shared by political parties and independent politicians. This power

    sharing was observed not only in the government but also in the Parliament made

    up of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

    These two chambers are complementary in nature, but independent of each other.

    The Executive is overseen by parliament, according to the constitution, while the

    judiciary is also independent from the Executive and the Legislature.

    1.5.4 Promotion of unity and reconciliation

    The national unity implies the indivisibility of the Rwandan people. All citizens

    should have an equal opportunity to national economic resources and can claim

    the same political rights. Rapidly, the Government of National Unity fought and

    eliminated all constraints of national unity such as “ethnicity” and regionalism. For

    instance, “ethnic” labels were removed from identity cards.

    In the same perspective, the Commission urges Rwandans to strive to heal one

    another’s physical and psychological wounds while building future interpersonal trust

    based on truth telling, repentance and forgiveness. Thus, the Commission educates

    and mobilises Rwandans on matters related to national unity and reconciliation and

    undertakes research in the matter of peace and unity and reconciliation to make

    proposals on measures for eradicating divisions and for reinforcing unity. In addition,

    a series of strategies such as solidarity camps where different categories of people

    meet to discuss issues related to unity and reconciliation and programmes on radios

    are used by the Commission. The Government of National Unity repatriated a big

    number of refugees which was a fundamental obligation and a bridge to peace,

    national unity and reconciliation.

    In addition to the above efforts, the Government of National Unity introduced several

    structures and programmes that were meant to correct past errors that led to war

    and Genocide. These structures include the National Commission of Human Rights,

    the Gacaca Jurisdictions, Commission Nationale de Lutte Contre le Génocide(CNLG)

    and Rwanda Demobilisation Commission.

    Besides to promote unity among Rwandans new national symbols namely the

    national anthem, the national flag and the coat of arms were designed to reflect the

    unity of Rwandans. However, “ethnic” based ideologies propagated by electronic

    media or in families keep hindering national unity.

    1.5.5 Remaking justice

    The Genocide was carefully planned and executed to annihilate the Tutsi. The

    Government made it among its highest priorities to apprehend and bring to justice

    the perpetrators of the Genocide.

    Thousands of people were arrested and judged. Some of them were released for

    lack of evidence and others convicted and sentenced. It is pertinent to the people of

    Rwanda to feel that no reconciliation is possible without justice.

    The big number of prisoners and cases due for trial placed severe strain on

    Rwanda’s criminal justice system which had already been crippled by the murder

    of professionals during the Genocide. The Government of National Unity decided

    to ease pressure on the criminal justice system by categorising Genocide suspects

    according to the crimes they were accused of. In this regard, category 1 was composed

    of the planners and perpetrators of the Genocide. A number of 2,133 people were

    convicted in the conventional courts. The categories 2-4 where involvement was

    slightly less serious were convicted in traditional jurisdictions or Gacaca courts.

    This new process significantly sped up trials and sentencing, which if they had been

    restricted to conventional courts would take over 200 years to complete. The Gacaca

    courts also had the advantage of involving the community in the trial and sentencing

    process. The Government believed that involving the population in the trials could

    also contribute significantly to reconciliation. In fact, testimonies from the general

    population helped survivors to discover the corpses of the family members killed

    during the Genocide. Moreover, some perpetrators demanded pardon from the

    survivors. In some places, perpetrators and survivors were gathered in associations.

    On the debit side, the Gacaca courts were criticised for corrupt judges and lack of

    lawyers commonly used in modern judicial system.

    The Government also made it a priority to strengthen the criminal justice system.

    Special training was provided to magistrates and judges, while courts around the

    country were renovated. A national police force was created and charged with civil

    security matters and criminal investigations.

    1.5.6 Assistance to the most vulnerable people

    From the social point of view, the Government of National Unity faced with the

    problem of assisting vulnerable people.

    Almost all the Rwandan population that had survived Genocide and war was

    described as vulnerable. With time, their numbers kept on reducing given the

    situation which improved politically, socially and economically. The vulnerable

    people included Rwandan refugees and repatriated displaced people, Genocide

    survivors, single children and orphans, widows, people with disabilities, the poor,

    HIV/AIDS victims and prisoners. Moreover, between November 1995 and February

    1996, Rwanda hosted almost 37, 000 refugees including former Burundi refugees

    and Kinyarwanda-speaking ones from Zaïre. In 2003, the number of foreign refugees

    in Rwanda was estimated at 300, 000 persons. Only 35, 000 refugees remained in

    Rwanda at the end of 2003.

    The survivors of Genocide were part of the most important vulnerable groups in the

    country. The Government handled them as a priority. In 1998, an Assistance Fund

    for Genocide Survivors, Fonds d’Aide pour les Rescapés du Génocide (FARG) was

    set up. It was allocated 5% of the national budget. This budget enabled FARG to

    solve a big part of its problems experienced by vulnerable surviving children in the

    fields of primary, secondary and higher education. The fund was also used to pay for

    health care. FARG also helped vulnerable survivors to construct residential homes

    in regrouped villages (imidugudu) and/or elsewhere. It was also used to repair their

    former residences. FARG financed small projects to help survivors fight against


    From 1994, the orphans and single-children received assistance of varied nature.

    For some of them, houses were constructed; others were trained and given supplies

    in reception centres. In this way, they received physical and mental health-care,

    education and social integration facilities. Some of them were able to reunite with

    members of their families.

    The ministries which were dealing with social affairs performed the following

    services: designing intervention programmes in favour of widows, providing

    material assistance, conducting a census of raped and pregnant women, etc. On

    the other hand, women victims of war and genocide set up associations for mutual

    help. These actions produced tangible results. However, a big number of them still

    suffered from the after-effects of war and genocide such as traumatism.

    1.5.7 Health promotion

    Between 1994 and 2003, a particular focus was put on the improvement of health

    infrastructure given the role that the latter plays in the improvement of health.

    Some new hospitals were constructed and old ones were constantly rehabilitated

    or expanded. Several health centres were also constructed while old ones were

    repaired gradually.In 1996 the majority of health facilities started to provide both

    curative and preventive treatment.

    National referral hospitals such as King Faisal Hospital, the Centre Hospitalier de

    Kigali and the University Teaching Hospital of Butare were rehabilitated, re-equipped

    and made operational. There were 25 district hospitals in the country. Out of 279

    health centres and dispensaries, 257 were reopened after rehabilitating them with

    new equipment.

    In 2000, Nyanza Hospital and Kimironko Health Centre were established. In 2001,

    there were 33 district hospitals and 40 health centres. The above district hospitals

    were coordinated by 11 regional health officials. 

    Health staff increased qualitatively and quantitatively. The National University of

    Rwanda (NUR) Faculty of Medicine produced 1,999 general doctors. Nonetheless,

    the Government resorted to foreign doctors from neighbouring countries and

    even beyond to solve the problem of inadequate medical personnel. Kigali Health

    Institute (KHI) also trained several medical assistants at A1 level. The nursing section

    at secondary school also level produced nurses of A2 level, whereas those in the

    social section trained and graduated social workers.

    The government policy of encouraging the people to participate in health

    programmes was successful. The Rwandan Sickness Insurance Scheme,La Rwandaise

    d’Assurance Maladie (RAMA) was established to ensure that government civil

    servants get proper medical insurance coverage. It started business in 2001.

    1.5.8 Meritocracy and skills enhancement in education

    The colonial and post-colonial administrations left Rwanda with one of the lowest

    skilled populations in the sub-region. In addition to this, an “ethnic” quota system for

    entry into secondary schools and the university made access to education limited

    for sections of the population.

    On entering office, the Government of National Unity immediately instituted

    meritocracy in education system and measures were put in place to address

    the country’s manpower incapacity. Since 1994, the number of higher learning

    institutions kept increasing and were six in 2000. The total number of students

    receiving higher education rose from 3,000 and was close to 7,000 in 2003. The

    number of university graduates between 1963 and 1994 was 2,160. Between 1995

    and 2000, a period of just five years, the Government of Rwanda produced over

    2,000 university graduates.

    A former military college in the heart of Kigali was transformed into a modern Institute

    of Science and Technology. The new Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)

    was established in 1997 to provide technical, skill based training to 2,500 full and

    part-time students.

     The institute also hosted the African virtual University and conducted business and

    entrepreneurship courses. Licenses and facilitation were granted to other institutions

    and colleges to make more training opportunities available to the population.

    Similarly, from 1994 to 2000, the number of primary schools increased more than one

    and a half times. The number of qualified teachers rose by 53% between 1994 and

    2000. More resources were made available to build new schools and to rehabilitate old

    ones. In addition, Government introduced universal primary education, established

    education support institutions such as the National Curriculum Development

    Centre, the General Inspectorate of Education and Examinations Board. 

    The National Examination Council was introduced to ensure fairness, transparency

    and uniformity in standards.

    1.5.9 Enhancing economic growth and development

    Due to War and the Genocide, the country’s infrastructure was destroyed. Between

    July 1994 and 2000, the Government of National Unity put in place an emergency

    programme of reconstruction. In this regard, policies and programmes of economic

    recovery and social welfare were put in place. For instance, the Government designed

    first a programme of national reconciliation and another one of rehabilitation

    and development. The latter was presented during Geneva donors’ conference in

    January 1995. Its aims were the restoration of the macro-economic framework of

    the country, capacity building, reinforcing the participation of local investors and

    integration of refugees and displaced people. In addition, the Government had to

    restore favourable conditions for economic and social activities.

    Almost 600 million US dollars was received by Rwanda for the period 1995-1996

    thanks to the Geneva donors’ conference. The international financial contribution

    served not only to rehabilitate and repair the basic infrastructures but also to

    increase agricultural activities. It also improved Rwanda’s balance of payments.

    During the second conference held in June 1996, Rwanda received 500 million

    US dollars for the second recovery programme called Rehabilitation and recovery

    programme (1995-1998). The third programme presented to the World Bank and

    International Monetary Fund (IMF) was a structural adjustment. It intended to

    stabilise the country’s macro-economic performance to improve the balance of

    payments, controlling inflation, etc.

    In June 1998, IMF approved Rwanda’s application to achieve Reinforced Structural

    Adjustment Facility. In 1999, this 3 years programme was transformed into a ‘Facility

    for Poverty Reduction and Growth’ (FPRG). It was supported with funds worth 413.3

    million USD. Thus Rwanda embarked on its economic and social construction.

    Even if some programmes and policies were conceived, it was from 2000 that the

    Government of Rwanda started formulating long term policies. They included

    Vision 2020 and the Strategic Plan for the Reduction of poverty (EDPRS) which was

    published in June 2000. These two strategic programmes demonstrated remarkable

    dynamism because they inspired subsequent policies which were designed in all

    government sectors.

    The Government immediately set out to create fiscal stability and economic growth.

    Inflation was brought down from 64% in 1994 to fewer than 5% from 1998 up to

    2000. In 1994, annual fiscal revenues were zero while in 2002 they stood at nearly 70

    billion of Rwandan Francs (frw). The economy grew steadily at an average of 11%,

    while gross domestic incomes grew at an average of 14.3% per annum since 1995.

    The process of privatisation of government enterprises started in 1996. Many

    enterprises were put up for privatisation and shares were sold to local or foreign

    investors. The government made it a priority to diversify Rwanda’s economic base.

    The Government of National Unity was committed to rebuilding, expanding and

    improving the infrastructure of the country in order to facilitate economic growth.

    Since 2003 new roads have been built and others have been reconstructed to

    improve the road system.

    Other efforts related to promote health conditions in residential houses increased

    the availability of water and electricity. Up to 2001, only 2.4% of the homes were

    connected to water supplied by ELECTROGAZ as opposed to 38.1% homesteads

    which got water from natural wells. The poorest people fetched water from rivers.

    The average distance between homes and water sources was 703 meters in 2001.

    As for electricity, the number of ELECTROGAZ customers increased. It rose from 2%

    of the population in 1994 to 6% in 2002. In addition, there was a significant difference

    in living standards between rural and urban dwellers.

    1.5.10 Agriculture and animal husbandry

    Ever since it took over power in July 1994, the Government of National Unity focused

    its attention on boosting agricultural production. It sensitised the population to

    embark on agriculture as soon as peace and security were achieved. It distributed

    seeds, basic tools, pesticides, etc. to boost agriculture.

    To curb the problem of famine and guarantee food security, government priority

    identified the cultivation of the following crops: maize, rice, sorghum, beans and,

    irish potatoes.

    Rwanda’s economy heavily depended on the export of coffee and tea. The evolution

    of quantitative production of coffee from 1994 to 2003 was achieved unevenly.

    The new export crops on which the Government focused its attention included

    flowers which started fetching foreign exchange to the Rwandan economy. In short,

    agricultural production increased from 1994. Between 1995 and 2005, it multiplied


    In the field of animal husbandry, government action since 1994 was bent on the

    following: increasing the reproduction of animals in all regions of the country,

    reopening of veterinary laboratories and research institutions in animal technology,

    provision of veterinary medicines and the sensitization of farmers to ensure an

    increase in animal production. In 1994 and 2003, the number of domestic animals

    increased by almost five. Quantitatively, animal husbandry also improved because

    big-sized animals and the number of cross-breed animals increased though

    generally, a lot of improvement was still needed.

    1.5.11 Promotion of gender equality

    Women had suffered due to war and the Genocide. One of the Government and civil

    society priorities were to strengthen capacity building programmes for women in

    all fields. In this regard, the Rwandan legislation which was disadvantaging women

    was amended in order to give equal opportunities to both men and women. The

    Government set up the National Commission for Women’s Rights which played

    an important role in revising the law and culture. Articles which disadvantaged

    women were removed. Similarly, women organisations became very active. Hence,

    an association called PROFEMMES trained women and empowered them to take

    up roles in decision making organs, justice. In addition, laws on inheritance were

    reformulated. Furthermore , the gender factor was integrated in all national policies

    on Rwanda’s long term development.

    In political domain, the Government encouraged women to get involved in decision

    making organs. This started from the first electoral campaigns of 1999, 2001 and

    2003. For example, during the 2001 elections organised by district and sector

    committees, almost 25% of the women were elected.

    All categories of the Rwandan population took part in the process of drafting the

    Rwandan constitution of 2003. This facilitated the inclusion of the gender factor in

    the constitution. The 2003 Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda stipulates that

    women shall occupy at least 30% of the decision making organs in the country.

    The results of the 2003 elections showed that Rwanda was among the first world

    countries in the world with the most outstanding percentage of women in the

    National Assembly.

    1.5.3 Application activities

    1. Choose two main achievements of the Government of National Unity.

    Explain why they are so important to you.

    2. Explain different administrative reforms that have been initiated by the

    Government of Rwanda after the Genocide against the Tutsi.

    3. Search on internet or in your school library the 2003 Constitution of the

    Republic of Rwanda. . Compare the duties of the Chamber of deputies

    and those of the Senate.

    4. Discuss how the education has been promoted by the Government of

    Rwanda after the Genocide against the Tutsi.

    5. Basing on information available in local administration or school

    administration, look for statistics concerning school infrastructure and

    school enrolment rate and school girls’ and boys’ ratio. Try to analyze

    and comment the obtained data.

    End unit assessment

    Respond to questions of Section A or B

    Section A

    1. Justify the factors supporting the attack of RPF Inkotanyi on October 1,


    2. Choose three main causes of the Liberation War and explain why they

    are important to you.

    3. Choose two main consequences and explain what you would have

    done to sort out those problems.

    4. Write down two pages on challenges and achievements of the

    Government of National Unity.

    Section B

    Write two short essays (not more than 750 words) evaluating:

    a. The Liberation War (1990-1994)

    b. The Government of National Unity (1994-2003)


    Ambiguous: Open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or

    significance; or (often) intended to mislead

    Asylum: A shelter from danger or hardship

    Detachment: A small unit of troops of special composition

    Feudal: Of or relating to or characteristic of feudalism= The social system that

    developed in Europe in the 8th century; vassals were protected by lords who they

    had to serve in war

    Fluid: Subject to change; variable

    Gunshot: The act of shooting a gun

    Hail: Praise vociferously or Greet enthusiastically or joyfully

    Ignite: Cause to start burning; subject to fire or great heat or Arouse or excite feelings

    and passions

    Miscellaneous: Consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds or having

    many aspects

    Mitigate: Make less severe or harsh orlessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or

    extent of

    Petition: A formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority

    Portfolio: The role of the head of a government department

    Prerogative: A right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group

    Propagandist: A person who disseminates messages calculated to assist some

    cause or some government

    Protocol: The original copy of any writing, especially an agreement

    Ransack: Steal goods; take as spoils

    Reincarnation: A second or new birth

    Retaliation: Action taken in return for an injury or offence

    Safe haven: A protected zone in a country, especially one designated for members

    of an ethnic or religious minority

    Satellite: Surrounding and dominated by a central authority or power

    Scapegoat: Someone who is punished for the errors of others

    Standstill: A situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is


    Unrest: A state of agitation or turbulent change or development

    Unwavering: Marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakeable

    Vanguard: The position of greatest importance or advancement; the leading

    position in any movement or field or Any creative group active in the innovation and

    application of new concepts and techniques in a given field (especially in the arts)

    Volatile: Liable to lead to sudden change or violence

    Files: 2URLs: 5

    Figure 2.1: Genocide never again



    This unit two covers the content about the genocide prevention. Mainly, it covers

    the following points: the concepts, factors and practices of genocide prevention,

    measures of preventing genocide, challenges faced during genocide prevention

    and some solutions proposed to those challenges.

    Generally, the prevention of genocide is done by taking into consideration all the

    factors likely to lead to genocide at the three levels namely primary, secondary, and

    tertiary. These levels refer to the period before the beginning of conflict that may

    lead to genocide, during the conflict, and during and after genocide.

    The genocide prevention is continuous and needs measures at every level because

    if it is done when the risk of occurrence of genocide is high, the risk of failure to avert

    its occurrence is also high. Nevertheless, genocide prevention encountered with

    many challenges, among them, certainty that the presence of factors at different

    phases may lead to genocide, and sovereignty of the state.

    Despite these challenges, many solutions can be taken at different levels. On

    international level, solutions like prevention of armed conflicts, protection of civilians

    in armed conflict, end impunity through judicial action in national and international

    courts have been adopted by the United Nations Organisation as measures of

    preventing the occurrence of genocide.

    Key unit competence: Explain measures of preventing genocide from happening

    again, in Rwanda and elsewhere.

    Learning outcomes

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    •             Explain concepts, factors and practices related to genocide prevention.


    Introductory activity

    Figure 2.1: Copy of UN Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.


    Since 1948 with the UN Convention on the prevention and punishment of the

    crime of genocide, different measures for its prevention have been adopted. In

    your opinion, is it possible that genocide can be prevented? Substantiate your


    2.1 Concepts, factors and practices of genocide prevention

    2.1 Activity

    using internet or textbooks from your school library define the concept of

    genocide prevention and discuss the measures you can use to prevent it from


    2.1.1 Concept of genocide prevention

    Prevention is a continuous process that aims at avoiding the occurrence of

    something harmful by tackling the causes of the harm prior to it and at each phase

    of the process to its occurrence and after. Genocide Prevention is any action that

    works toward averting a future genocide.

    Since the adoption of the Genocide Convention in 1948 until now, the response

    of the governments at the international community level to prevent genocides

    and mass killings have been very poor. These poor performances are testified by a

    number of tragic situations of genocide since the Holocaust.

    The tragedies in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur in Sudan have shocked the

    conscience of mankind, and there is a fear that the list may grow even longer in

    future, if prevention of genocide is not clarified and taken seriously.

    What is absurd is that, while for other tragedies it is generally not easy to foresee

    them before they happen and therefore difficult or even impossible to prevent

    them, genocide is preceded by factors and clear signs that it may or is about to

    happen. That would logically provide enough opportunities to take measures to

    prevent those factors from leading to genocide.

    Several years before the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda occurred, there

    existed factors and signs that showed that a genocide could potentially break out

    but it was not prevented.

    2.1.2 Factors that may lead to genocide

    Genocide is not something that happens overnight because for genocide to

    happen there are a number of factors that precede and make it possible. They

    create conditions or opportunities for genocide to occur. Hence, one needs to first

    understand the process to genocide in order to know what to do, by whom, at which

    moment and by which means of preventing it.

    The prevention of genocide will not be successful, if the concerned people do not

    understand the process to genocide. Many factors have been discussed, but there is

    no consensus on a definitive list of signs or elements that are present in all genocides.

    The following are some of the factors that may lead to genocide:

    •             Differences in identity: Genocide is not possible where there is no difference

    among the population in a given state but this difference itself cannot lead to

    genocide if not combined with other factors ;

    •             Difficult life due to economic problems (poverty): Being poor itself does not

    make genocide possible but it certainly creates a favourable environment to

    other associated problems that may contribute to the process to genocide;

    •             Deprivation or inequalities in the allocation of resources: When this inequality

    is based on the differences in racial, ethnicity grounds, meaning, when some

    groups are given more privileges than others or when a group is totally

    excluded from accessing the resources, it may create tensions that may lead to

    other problems that may soon or later lead to genocide;

    •             Political problems: in many cases the origin of the genocide is the political

    dominance of one group over other groups. The dominant group may intend

    to eliminate other groups in order to have the guarantee of continuation of

    dominance. In reaction, the underprivileged group may feel discriminated and

    plan to get to power by any means. In both cases, they tend to use a war which

    might be itself another factor leading to genocide;


    •             Armed conflicts: the existence of armed actors has served as a motivation and

    excuse for human rights violations, including killings, arbitrary arrest and

    discrimination, committed against the civilian population that the armed

    actors claim to represent. Refugees from the persecuted side may also become

    warriors determined to overthrow the government in place in order to recover

    their rights (like having a home land);

    •             Human rights violations and impunity: genocide is always preceded by

    successive human rights violations and by impunity. In Rwanda, the culture

    of impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations based on ethnicity

    that characterized the colonial and post-colonial periods played a leading

    role in the genocide against the Tutsi that occurred in 1994. The episodes of

    unpunished massacres committed against the Tutsi “ethnic” group in 1959,

    1963-1964, 1973, 1990-1993, did not only pave the way to genocide against

    them, but also contributed to its magnitude in that it made the public

    participation high because of the then assurance that no prosecution would

    follow. The role of the elites and leaders in denying the enjoyment of human

    rights to some groups and in the impunity before and during armed conflicts

    is also an important factor.

    2.1.3 Practices leading to genocide

    During the process to genocide some special practices reinforce the divisions. Based

    on different studies, the practices are as follows:

    Social categorisation

    People are classified into “us and them” by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality:

    Germans and Jews, Hutu and Tutsi. In Rwanda, during the colonisation, researchers

    measured for instance the people’s height and the length of their noses. And then

    everyone was classified as Tutsi, Hutu or Twa.

    Identities cards were issued to each individual mentioning the ethnicity. It may not

    be deduced that this policy was meant to incite Hutu to commit genocide against

    the Tutsi, but this permanent line put between the groups and the implications

    related to that, contributed to the antagonism between the two groups that later,

    combined with other things, led to genocide.

    Figure 2.2: The stages of genocide

    Source: Inspired by the eight stages of genocide of G.H.Stanton.


    The social categorisation which gives the basis for defining groups may be followed

    by the exclusion of some groups, intensified by the injustice in the allocation

    of resources as well as the injustice on how the participation in decision making

    process is distributed. Since these practices of discrimination against some targeted

    groups are either done by state leaders or supported by them, they grow and lead

    to other phases that may lead to genocide


    Dehumanisation is a denial of the humanity of others and a step that permits killing

    with impunity. This genocidal ideology “dehumanises” members of a group and

    justifies violence against it. Victims are not considered as belonging to the same

    human race as the oppressors. The targeted group is often likened to a disease,

    microbes, cockroaches, infections or a cancer in the body. That is what explains why

    during the genocide, bodies of victims are often mutilated to express this denial

    of humanity. Dehumanisation is an important phase in the process that leads to

    genocide because ideologically, the perpetrators claim to purify the society as a

    justification. So, the ideology grows deeper to convincing one group that another

    deserves nothing but death and this is a legitimization to kill. The availability of the

    dehumanising ideology is important in the process to genocide but may not be

    enough to cause genocide if it is not followed by other actions.

    Propaganda for the elimination of targeted group

    For the dehumanisation to have its effect, it needs propaganda to spread out the

    hate ideology done either by leaders themselves, the authorised who are supported

    by them.

    This is an important phase in the whole process because it helps the elite members of

    the eliminating group to disseminate the dehumanising ideology and to bring other

    members of that group to believe in that hatred. This is an important motivating

    factor to take part actively in killings. A prominent example of the hate media in

    Rwanda during the 1990s is the famous Kangura newspaper as well as the Radio

    Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM).


    This phase is when some possible acts liable of making genocide are performed.

    They include writing lists of victims, creation and training of militia, purchase and

    distribution of arms to be used.

    Massacre of the target group members

    In many cases, genocide is always preceded by killings targeting a given group or

    individuals belonging to that group in different places.

    Genocide may also be preceded by killings of moderate people because, of not

    supporting the extermination of the targeted group.

    Extermination (genocide)

    This is the phase when the genocide is executed. It is when the intent to destroy the

    targeted group can be seen from what is happening on the ground. When killings

    are sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to kill like the

    Interahamwe in Rwanda during the Genocide.

    Figure 2.3: Victims abandoned during the Genocide

    In the case of the genocide against the Tutsi, the main actors were: the interim

    government local administration, security forces, militia, the media, civil society

    organizations (churches included), the population and the international community.

    Denial and impunity of genocide

    During and after every genocide, the perpetrators always find a way of denying their

    crime. They try to justify the killings, and to blame the victims, claiming that their

    own behaviours brought about the killings. In Rwanda, killers alleged that Tutsi were

    helping rebels of RPF, and they used this to justify the mass killing of innocent Tutsi.

    The denial of genocide is not only the destruction of the truth about the genocide

    by negating or minimising it, it is also a potential cause of its repetition.


    2.1 Application activities

    1. Define the concepts of genocide and genocide prevention.

    2. Account for any three factors that may lead to genocide.

    3. Explain any two practices that can lead to genocide.


    2.2 Levels of intervention in the process of genocide prevention

    2.2 Activity

    “When the Genocide Convention was passed by the United Nations in 1948, the world

    said, ‘Never again’. But the history of the twentieth century instead proved that ‘never

    again’ became ‘again and again’. The promise the United Nations made was broken,

    as again and again, genocides and other forms of mass murder killed 170 million

    people, more than all the international wars of the twentieth century combined”

    Dr Gregory H. Stanton.

    By analysing this quotation, explain the different measures that can be taken in

    preventing genocide from happening again.


    2.2. 1. Prevention of genocide at primary level

    Genocide is not something that happens overnight or without warning. Genocide

    requires organization and constitutes in fact a deliberate strategy and one that has

    been mostly carried out by governments or groups controlling the state apparatus.

    Understanding the way genocide occurs and learning to recognise signs that could

    lead to genocide are important in making sure that such horrors do not happen


    Since genocide is a process, prevention of genocide would mean to tackle it at a

    very early stage. The prevention at the primary level consists of measures aiming

    at creating an environment that reduces the risk of its escalation. At this phase the

    aim is to put in place measures that may pre-empt the start of the harm. This means

    preventive measures that may avoid the occurrence of the harm by tackling its root

    causes. Prevention will therefore include the adoption of measures that not only

    prohibit the harm but also put in place mechanisms that ensure the prevention of

    that harm.


    On international level, the focus in upstream prevention is determining which

    countries are at the risk. This is mainly done using risk assessments which are quite

    accurate predictors. Numerous models have been developed, each looking at

    different factors such as differences in identity, difficult conditions due to economic

    problems, sharing of available resources, democracy and respect of human rights.

    Among other things to consider when assessing and addressing the risk of

    genocide is looking at structural and institutional frameworks in the country

    including domestic legislation, an independent judiciary and an effective police

    force to protect people.

    By using risk assessments (Early Warning System), policy makers, civil society

    organisations and  the UN must take appropriate measures to stop the situation

    from evolving into genocide.

    When the primary preventive measures are unsuccessful, then the need to take

    other measures may arise.


    2.2. 2.Prevention of genocide at secondary level

    Prevention of genocide at this secondary level is necessary in two situations. Firstly,

    in case a state has not adopted measures at the primary level and secondly, in case

    the measures adopted before did not prevent the risks of genocide from developing.

    The secondary prevention takes place when a genocide is already taking place. At

    this level, many genocidal actions are observed, such as hatred, intolerance, racism,

    ethnic cleansing, torture, sexual violence, disappearances, dehumanising and public


    The main focus is to end the genocide before it progresses further and claims more

    lives. Measures tailored to the situation are taken in order to prevent the risk from

    materialising or the situation from becoming worse.

    This level of prevention may involve military intervention of some sort, especially

    when it is in an armed conflict context. But there is a debate about the effectiveness

    of this military intervention whereby some claim that military intervention promotes

    rebel groups or that it is too expensive for the lives it saves. They prefer peaceful

    prevention because it saves lives and does not require costly intervention.


    2.2.3. Prevention of genocide at tertiary level

    When the measures at the secondary level fail or have never been taken and the

    mass killings start, measures at the tertiary level are needed in order to respond to

    this final phase of the genocide. Tertiary prevention focuses on avoiding Genocide in

    future by rebuilding, restoring the community and dealing with all the consequences

    to repair the damage caused.


    Figure 2.3: Cover page of Linda Melvern’s book

    Source: Mervern, L. (2004), A people betrayed. The role of the west in Rwanda’s

    Genocide. (cover page)

    Individuals and states have the responsibility in the prevention of genocide

    Important measures are needed to put an end to the harm. According to the

    international humanitarian law, the international community has the obligation to

    intervene once all signs are clear enough to prove that genocide is happening.

    Rwanda is an example of the failure of international community to intervene. In

    1994, with the presence of UN peace keepers, it was possible to stop the genocide

    against the Tutsi, but because of various politico-diplomatic reasons, these peace

    keepers were obliged to go back to their countries and let Tutsi die in the hands of

    the perpetrators.

    Tertiary prevention takes place during and after the genocide has ended. Its focus is

    on preventing genocide in the future, thus re-building and restoring the community.

    In other words, the tertiary prevention level also deals with all consequences in order

    not only to repair the damage but also to avoid the reoccurrence of the harm.

    In concluding, it is important to say that prevention is a continuous process which

    involves several actions at different levels which involve the individuals ,government,

    and international community.


    Application activities

    1. Explain the measures of preventing genocide at primary level.

    2. Analyse the measures of preventing genocide at secondary level.

    3. Using internet, research on the situation that prevails in Africa. Describe

    a case that you think may lead to genocide. Afterwards, point out

    strategies that you think can be used to prevent any possible acts of


    2.3 Challenges faced in the prevention of genocide

    2.3.1 Activity

    By making research on internet and using textbooks, discuss the challenges

    encountered in prevention of genocide.

    The first challenge is related to lack of certainty that the presence of factors at

    different phases may lead to genocide and the second is the uncertainty on whether

    the preventive measures to be taken can prevent it.

    Regarding the first challenge, it must be said that the certainty from the existing

    factors and risks at early phases that they will amount to genocide may be difficult to

    get, given the fact that the genocide is planned by those in power. Even at advanced

    phases, the degree of certainty of occurrence may still not be there. The process to

    genocide cannot be understood as an exact science. That is why it may be argued

    that the answer to the lack of certainty may be negative. Before taking preventive

    measures, one cannot wait until there is certainty that genocide will happen.

    In fact, by the time this is clear, it might be too late to prevent genocide from

    happening and too difficult to do it without causing other problems. The analogy

    with the prevention of environmental damage which does not require full scientific

    certainty can help to understand the uncertainty of the occurrence of genocide.

    The fact that there may not be a linear process to genocide that is identical

    everywhere is a big challenge.


    Another important challenge is that there is no institution that assesses the factors

    and phases in order to determine who takes which measures, when to take them,

    how and where to implement them.

    On the question whether certainty that preventive measures to be taken would

    totally prevent the occurrence of genocide is needed, the answer is negative as

    well. Given the nature of prevention and the process to genocide, it is very difficult

    for the preventer to be sure beforehand that the preventive measures to be taken

    will definitely prevent the occurrence of genocide. But, as said by the former UN

    Secretary - General Kofi Annan, “there can be no more important issue and no more

    binding obligation than the prevention of genocide.”


    2.3 Application activity

    Explain how identifying factors that may lead to genocide constitutes a challenge

    to genocide prevention.

    2.4 Solutions to the challenges faced in prevention of genocide


     Having discussed challenges faced in prevention of genocide, propose your own

    solutions to those challenges.


    2.4.1 The role of the international community

    The poor record in preventing genocides forced the United Nations to conceptualize

    ways of deterring the crime while “recognizing and fully respecting the sovereignty

    of States.” The then UN Secretary - General Kofi Annan took important measures

    which inspired many programs in the field of genocide prevention. He identified a

    Five Point Action Plan to end genocide:

    •             Prevent armed conflict, which usually provides the context for genocide;

    •             Protect civilians in armed conflict, including the mandate for UN


    •             End impunity through judicial action in both national and international courts;

    •             Gather military information and set up an early warning system;

    •             Take quick and decisive action along a continuum of steps, including military


    Figure 2.4: Rwandan soldiers in UN peace keeping mission in Darfur

    Source: 179810

    Annan created the Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, later

    changed to the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities

    (SAPG). The mandate of the SAPG is to:

    a. collect existing information, in particular from within the United

    Nations system, on massive and serious violations of human rights and

    international humanitarian law of ethnic and racial origin that, if not

    prevented or halted, might lead to genocide;

    b. act as a mechanism of early warning to the Secretary - General, and

    through him to the Security Council, by bringing to their attention

    potential situations that could result in genocide;

    c. make recommendations to the Security Council, through the Secretary

    General, on actions to prevent or halt genocide;

    d. liaise with the United Nations system on activities for the prevention of

    genocide and work to enhance the United Nations capacity to analyse

    and manage information relating to genocide or related crimes.


    With the introduction of Responsibility to protect people in 2001, the international

    community has taken significant steps towards greater awareness of escalating

    situations and employing a tempered preventive mechanism which views

    intervention as a last resort.

    According to this international norm signed by all member states of the UN, any

    nation has the right to intervene if a state fails to protect its citizens from genocide

    or other crimes. This means that state sovereignty can be violated for the protection

    of a population if the state is unable or unwilling to do it. This norm has enabled

    the international community to step in more easily for the prevention of genocide.

    However, there has been some question of the abuses of this norm as an excuse to

    intervene or create regime changes. Also there are still difficulties when intervention

    is discussed but it fails to give an answer to who should intervene and what are the

    constraints to such intervention.


    2.4.2 Regional level

    Various regional mechanisms have developed distinct methods for engaging with

    concerns that fall within the borders of their member states. The African Union (AU)

    is significantly more engaged in the region than its predecessor, the OAU.

    Through the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security

    Council of the African Union (PSC), the African Standby Force (ASF) was established

    as part of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The Peace and Security

    Council Protocol (PSCP) covers a comprehensive agenda for peace and security.

    These include conflict prevention, early warning and preventive diplomacy, peacebuilding, intervention and humanitarian action, and disaster management. The

    other components of APSA set up by the PSC Protocol include the Continental Early

    Warning System; the Panel of the Wise; and the Peace Fund.

    The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) created by the decision of the Summit of

    the African Union held in July 2004 in Addis Ababa, is a constituent organization of

    the ASF. Yet, a number of the regional organizations still lack the resources, logistical

    and communication capacities to effectively enforce the peace.

    2.4.3 National level

    Figure 2.5: CNLG logo


    All countries have not put in place measures related to genocide prevention. Only

    those who have experienced that tragedy seem to be aware more than others and

    Rwanda is in that case. In the aftermath of genocide, measures have been taken to

    face the immediate consequences and to prevent genocide from happening again.

    In the Constitution, the state of Rwanda (Constitution, chapter III, art.10) commits

    to upholding the following fundamental principles and ensuring their respect:

    1. Prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, fighting against

    denial and revisionism of genocide as well as eradication of genocide

    ideology and all its manifestations;

    2. Eradication of discrimination and divisionism based on ethnicity,

    region or on any other ground as well as promotion of national unity;

    3. Building a State governed by the rule of law, a pluralistic democratic

    Government, equality of all Rwandans and between men and women

    Laws punishing the crime of genocide and the genocide ideology have been

    elaborated. Special organ to monitor and implement these principles has been

    created, the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide established by Law

    Nº09/2007 of 16/02/2007. Its mission is “to prevent and fight against Genocide, its

    ideology and overcoming its consequences”.


    In addition, aftermath of Genocide, there is a need to put in place measures in order

    to prevent reoccurrence of genocide where it has already happened.

    One of them is keeping alive the memory of past acts of genocide. Genocide against

    Tutsi Memorials are extremely important in prevention of Genocide in Rwanda.


    Figure 2.6: Bisesero memorial sites and genocide commemoration are one of the ways to prevent genocide

    Therefore, it is imperative that the genocide against the Tutsi and all other acts of

    genocide elsewhere in the world be remembered. The second one is to educate

    people for sustainable peace and prevention of genocide using memorials.

    Then the prevention of genocide should be done in educational setting. The country

    of Rwanda has included the prevention of genocide and peace education as a cross

    cutting issue in the programmes that have to be taught at all levels of education

    from the primary to the tertiary


    Figure 2.7: Educating the youth through testimonies about the past is a good way to prevent


    Other measures of prevention of genocide encompass effective arrest, trial and

    punishment of those who have committed genocide. The implementation of

    these measures requires the existence of the early and effective functioning of the

    International Criminal Court, the use of national courts with universal jurisdiction,

    and the creation of special international tribunals to prosecute perpetrators of

    genocide. That is why the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was

    set up in Arusha, Tanzania, began operating in 1995, after a UN Security Council

    resolution 955 of November 8, 1994.


    At national level, the country of Rwanda had put in place Gacaca court which is a

    traditional justice system based on telling truth, in the eradication of impunity that

    lead to genocide against Tutsi in 1994.


    Application activities

    Write a short essay (not more than 500 words) explaining two solutions to the

    challenges faced in prevention of genocide at each of the following levels:

    international, regional and national.


    End Unit Assessment

    ”We have learned important lessons. We know more keenly than ever that

    genocide is not a single event but a process that evolves over time, and requires

    planning and resources to carry out. As chilling as that sound, it also means that

    with adequate information, mobilisation, courage and political will, genocide can

    be prevented”

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

    at the New York launch of Kwibuka 20,

    the 20th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi

    Figure 2.8: UN Secretary - General Ban Ki-moon (2007-2016)

    Source: https:

    champion_of _the _paris -Agreement-ban-ki- moon-steps-down-Do you agree or disagree with the above quotation of the UN General – Secretary Ban Ki-moon. Comment on your position.

    2. Evaluate three initiatives made by the Government of Rwanda to

    prevent the reoccurrence of genocide both at national and international


    3. To what extent does lack of an institution in charge of assessing the

    factors that can lead to genocide be a challenge to the prevention of


    4. Read carefully the following extracts:


    Text 1:

    “The first thing I can tell them [other Rwandan children] I can explain that ethnic

    or skin color is not very important in this world. We must live together without

    discriminating against any person because we don’t choose what we are. That is

    why I preferred to forgive rather than revenging”!


    A genocide survivor

    Text 2:

    “We were walking with many other refugees near Ruyenzi, across the river from

    Kigali. The road was so crowded with people. I was with my grandmother. As I was

    walking, I heard a voice of a woman crying, and screaming from a child. I looked

    to the side and saw a lady with a baby. I asked my grandmother to stop, to go

    and see what is happening with the lady. But my grandmother didn’t want to go,

    saying, “If we go there, they will kill us.”

    And then I went down off the road alone, but other people continued on. The

    mother was lying on her side with the child lying on top of her. She was around

    one year, because she couldn’t walk. I was thinking, “Of course this mother will

    die, but at least I can rescue this child. I never had a sister. If I rescue her, she will

    be my sister.”

    My grandmother said, “Make sure that you don’t ask me for anything to help you.”

    I said, “I will take her; if I die, she will die. If she doesn’t die she will be my sister.” But

    my grandmother said, “You should not walk close to us, because we may be killed.

    Walk behind us, with a little distance between us and you.”

    I was very, very committed. We kept going; I was carrying the baby on my back up

    until we got to Zaire”.

    Source: Aegis Trust Archives


    a. After reading text 2, if it was you, what would you have done when the

    grandmother prevented the young girl to go down off the road to see the

    child? Justify your position.

    b. By comparing text 1 and 2 explain how the measures taken by the

    main characters can help to prevent genocide from happening again in

    Rwanda. You can use direct quotes from the text.

    5. Do you agree that visit of genocide memorial has a role in genocide

    prevention? Justify your answer.

    6. Write an essay in no more than 300 words on the importance of genocide


    7. Imagine a genocide memorial you can create in your home community.

    Describe what you can put in the memorial and explain how it can help to

    prevent further genocide.



    Tackle: To make a determined effort to deal with a difficult problem or situation.

    Absurd: Completely ridiculous, not logical and sensible.

    Overnight: During or for the night, happening suddenly or quickly.

    Consensus: An opinion that all members of a given group agree with.

    Antagonism: A feeling of hatred and opposition. A strong natural dislike; antipathy.


    In Africa, slavery was a common practice long before the arrival of the Arabs, the

    Berbers and the Europeans. There were different types of slaves. For instance those

    who were slaves through conquest, those who were slaves due to unpaid debts,

    those whose parents gave them as slaves to tribal chiefs, etc.

    After the discovery of America, the need of manpower for the exploitation of this new

    continent increased. From this time, Europeans started to come to Africa to search

    for slaves. These slaves were used as workers in mines and sugarcane plantations.

    The Blacks were exchanged with European and Asian products like clothes, old guns

    and wines among others. This trade has been named Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade.

    Apart from this slave trade, there were two other forms of slave trade, namely

    the Trans -Saharan Trade operated across the Saharan desert where slaves from

    West Africa were exchanged with European and Asian commodities and the Long

    Distance Trade in which slaves from East Africa were traded to be used mainly in

    plantations that were in Zanzibar by Arabs and in Seychelles and Reunion Islands by

    French colonists.

    The slaves from Africa were deported in very bad conditions, disease attacked

    many and the death was so common that ships were called floating tombs.  As

    this trade was made between Africa, America and Europe, Africa suffered serious

    losses from the slave trade because the depopulation resulted into famine. While

    Europeans who were running the slave trade profited from it: Money from the slave

    trade contributed to the Industrial Revolution industries gained the raw materials

    from Africa. Americas also got profits from that trade because much of the wealth

    generated by the Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade supported the creation of industries

    and institutions in modern North America.



    Key unit competence

    Analyse the emergence, organisation and impact of slave trade in Africa.

    Learning outcomes

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    •             Explain the mechanisms of the Long Distance Trade and those of the

    Trans-Atlantic Trade.

    •             Differentiate the effects of the Long Distance Trade from the Trans-Atlantic


    Introductory activity

    In the world history, slave trade has been a dehumanising practice so that nations

    decided to fight against it till today. From the recent information about this evil

    deed, analyse the factors and consequences of different slave trades that took

    place in the world before the end of the 19th Century.

    3.1 Trans-Saharan trade


    Using the internet or any other document in your school library including

    textbooks, discuss the reasons for the emergence of the Trans- Saharan trade.

    3.1.1 Understanding the Trans-Saharan trade

    The Trans-Saharan Trade was the trade that took place between West Africans who

    were living in the savannah forest, Sahel and North African Berbers and Arabs across

    the Sahara desert. This trade began to take place on a regular basis during the

    fourth Century with the introduction of camels from Asia as an improved means

    of transport. The volume of this trade increased again between 641 and 708 of

    Common Era when Arabs from East conquered North Africa.

    The Trans-Saharan Trade contributed to the rise of the Empire of Ghana between

    the eighth and twelfth centuries. This trading system reached its peak between the

    fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, during the heydays of the Mali and Songhai

    Empires it declined in the 19th Century.

    One of the main commodities of the Trans-Saharan Trade was the salt from the

    deposits of rock salt in the Sahara. The Saharan salt mines had been controlled by

    the Berbers of North Africa who were willing to exchange salt for West Africa’s gold

    which was highly demanded in the Maghreb.

    This early trade in salt and gold was to serve as the foundation for a more elaborate

    and flourishing trade between the two regions and had far reaching effects on the

    political and social histories of the peoples who inhabited there.


    3.1.2. Factors for the emergence of Trans–Saharan trade

    Most of the factors which facilitated the growth of the Trans-Saharan trade were

    directly or indirectly related to Islam. Thus, Islam and the Trans-Saharan trade were

    closely linked. The most important of these factors were for instance the introduction

    of camel to North Africa, the increase in demand for gold in Muslim and European

    countries, the spread of Islam in West Africa among others as below.

    The introduction of camels on a large-scale basis into North Africa from Asia

    was the most determinant factor for the growth and development of the TransSaharan trade. The camels were an appropriate means of transport that could help

    to overcome different problems inherent in the geographical nature of the Sahara

    desert which consisted of endless hailstorms, sand dunes and rocks, very hot in the

    day and extremely cold at night. Travelling with trade goods across such hostile

    environment was only made possible with camels which could carry heavy loads,

    travel for about ten days without water and their flat hoofs enabled them to walk

    on the sand.

    The increase in demand for gold in Muslim and Europe countries also led to the

    development of the Trans -Saharan Trade. Gold had become a commercial item that

    was more and more needed for the manufacturing of jewelleries.

    The spread of Islam in West Africa too played a very important role in the

    development of the Trans-Saharan trade. It is worth noting that the majority of

    the traders were Muslims and people who resisted to be converted to Islam were

    captured and sold as slaves. Moreover, the spread of Islam in West Africa was a

    securing factor for both Moslem traders and their buyers which facilitated trade

    transactions between slave traders and Muslims.

    The emergence of centralised state systems in the Kingdoms of Ghana, and

    later Mali and Songhai in the West Africa also contributed to the growth of the

    Trans -Saharan trade. The existence of such political organisations helped to ensure

    security to the traders and hence leading to the development of the Trans Saharan



    The islamisation of rulers of West African kingdoms, their performance of annual

    pilgrimages and the subsequent diplomatic activities also played an important role

    in the development of the Trans Saharan Trade. The Arabs and other Muslims were

    interested in carrying out business in the countries led by Muslims. This increased

    the numbers of traders that were involved in Trans Saharan Trade.

    Conquest of North Africa by Arabs increased the inflow of the Arabs which led to

    the introduction of Arabic language in West Africa. This facilitated communication

    between the Arabs and the indigenous Africans during business exchanges which

    solved the language barrier problem hence the growth and development of the

    Trans Saharan Trade.

    Availability of trade goods needed by both parties also contributed to the

    development of the Trans -Saharan trade. West Africans provided goods such as

    gold, slaves and kola nuts that were highly demanded by the North Africans (Berbers)

    while the North Africans had goods like camels, clothes and weapons which were

    needed by the West Sudan People.

    Presence of safe and well established trade routes also contributed to the

    development of the Trans-Saharan trade. This made it easy for the merchants

    to carry out their business without any fear. Most times, the Tuaregs provided

    security to the traders and acted as guides across the Sahara desert.

    The presence of oases that provided water to the merchants and camels in the

    Sahara desert was also a very crucial factor that enabled the Trans-Saharan trade to

    take place. Given the harsh desert conditions like drought and higher temperatures,

    Oases acted as refreshment areas for both the merchants and their camels.

    Availability of capital was also a crucial factor for the development of the

    Trans -Saharan Trade. The rich merchants in the region, the Berbers provided capital

    for investment in the trade. This also led to development of Trans-Saharan trade

    simply because capital is always a basic requirement for any commercial activity to


    3.1.3 Methods of Trans-Saharan trade

    The people involved in this trade from North Africa were the Berbers and Arabs

    who initiated and financed the trade. Traders moved in caravans across the

    Sahara to and from West Africa and were provided with security by the Tuaregs.

    In West Africa, there were Black Africans who were essentially consumers of

    goods from North Africa and suppliers of commodities from West African regions.

    In addition to the people who played different roles in the Trans Saharan trade, there

    were different commodities. The goods from North Africa included salt, iron tools,

    weapons, silk, beads, horses, quinine, and sugar. The most important commodity

    from this region was salt. While those from West Africa were gold, slaves, ivory, kola

    nuts, leather, pepper, hides and ostrich feathers.


    The most important commodity from West Africa was gold.

    There were three major routes that were used in the Trans Saharan trade, namely

    West-East, North-Southand Southern routes.

    West-East routes

    There were two routes from Timbuktu or Gao to Egypt. One went through Takedda,

    Agades, Bilma and Tibesti to Cairo. The other ran through Takedda, Ghat, Fezzan, and

    Aujila to Cairo. The second route was the preferred route and was also used by West

    African Muslims on pilgrimages to Mecca. It was called the Gao or Mecca Road.


    Figure 3.1: Trans Saharan trade routes



    North-South routes

    To obtain gold from the Bambuk goldfields, traders from Fez and Marrakesh in

    Morocco travelled the Audaghost trail through Sijilmasa and Wadan to Azukki or

    Audaghost and from there to Kumbi Saleh in Ghana or to Takrur.


    For gold from the Bure fields, especially when the Empire of Mali was at its height,

    merchants travelled from Fez through Sijilmasa, Taghaza (or Tuat) and Tichitt-Walata,

    to Timbuktu and Djenné.

    From Tripoli, caravans travelled through Ghadames, Ghat, and Takedda or Agades to

    the Hausa cities of Katsina or Kano.

    Another route began in Tripoli and passed through Fezzan, Bilma, and Kanem to the

    Bornu city of Bauchi. Finally, from Cyrenaicain or Aujila in eastern Libya a route led

    through Wadai to Bornu.


    Southern routes

    From the end points of the camel caravan routes, trade goods were carried farther

    south to the forest regions by donkeys, human porters, or canoes. One route from

    Kumbi Saleh went through

    Diara, down the Senegal and Faleme Rivers to the Bambuk goldfields.

    Another led from Kumbi Saleh to Kangaba, down the Niger to the Bure goldfields.

    From Djenn´e one could travel through Bobo-Dyulasso, Kong, and Begho to Kumasi

    (in the modern nation of Ghana). From Kano a road led through Zaria and Old Oyo to

    Benin. Another road went from Katsina through Kano and Bauci to Wukari.

    Two main modes of exchange of goods were utilised in the Trans Saharan trade.

    At the first time, traders used barter system which consisted of exchanging goods

    for other goods and services for other services. But later, cowries’ shellsand precious

    stones were adopted as a medium of exchange.

    Camels and human portage were the main means of transport used in the

    TransSaharan trade. At the beginning of this trade, human portage was used

    and the volume of commodities exchanged was very small but, later on with the

    introduction and use of camels, this volume greatly increased.

    Traders travelled in large caravans of camels in order to enhance their security.

    The rich traders from North Africa in itiated the trade and provided trade goods,

    camels and horses to the middlemen who coordinated the trade with the West

    Africans on their behalf.

    The middlemen would contact desert guides known as Takshifs who also acted as

    desert guards. They also protected the traders and guarded the oases in the Sahara.

    The Tuaregs provided the traders withsecurity and acted as interpreters. The

    caravans usually departed from the north after the rainy season when sandstorms

    would subside smooth travel. The traders made stopovers at the oases to refresh

    themselves and let their camels drink water.


    The traders carried gifts for leaders of the communities along the route to appease

    them as a reward for the security provided while travelling through their kingdoms.

    Rulers of western Sudan offered security service to the traders while they were in the

    territories. Some of the caravantraders used agents who sold goods on their behalf

    in the interim period between their departures back to the north until the time they

    came back to western Sudan.


    3.1.4 Effects of Trans-Saharan trade

    The Trans-Saharan trade played a very significant role in the commercial relationship

    of African nations and beyond. For instance, the Saharan Berbers sold the goods

    they bought from the Western Sudan to the Arab traders of North Africa and the

    traders of North Africa sold them again to the European and Asian countries. This

    trade provided an important link between the Western Sudan and North Africa

    facilitating the exchange of political, religious, economic, social and cultural ideas.

    Trans-Saharan trade helped to build the comfort and splendour of large North

    African cities such as Carthage, Leptis, and Sabratha, back in times of Phoenician

    and Roman rule before about 400 CE. West Africa towns such as Gao, Kano, Jenne,

    Walata and Timbuktu developed and new cities were also born at the desert edge,

    like Awdaghust, Kumbi Saleh and Tadamakka and their destiny was tied closely with

    the continuity of the trade. However, when the caravan routes later changed and the

    volume of trade declined, these towns, too, were soon abandoned.

     The merchants and rulers who participated in the trade accumulated a lot of wealth

    from the profits and taxes respectively. This wealth enabled the rulers to pay for

    large armies and complex systems of administration and to build large Empires such

    as Ghana, Mali and Songhai.

    The trade also facilitated the spread of Islam with its Islamic civilization and literacy

    in Arabic language. Simultaneously, with the spread of Islam there was erosion of

    pre-existing African cultures.

    Trans-Saharan trade introduced new political system based on sharia law like

    foundation of theocratic states in West Africa such as Macina.

    The Trans-Saharan trade also enhanced the spread of the knowledge of Western

    Sudan to other parts of the world through pilgrimages of West African Muslims

    to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The Trans Saharan trade also created a need among the

    indigenous to control the centres of strategic productivity. For example, the Empire

    of Ghana extended its territory as far north as Audaghost in an attempt to secure

    direct access to salt production, while it simultaneously maintained direct linkages

    to the Bambuk goldfields across the Senegal River.


    Trans-Saharan trade also provided strong motivation for the formation of large

    Sudanic states and empires to protect traders and trade routes, which in turn

    brought in the necessary wealth to conduct wars so as to make territorial expansion,

    to acquire horses and superior iron weaponry, to send thousands of soldiers into

    battle, and to outfit and maintain garrisons of soldiers in conquered provinces.

    The rise of trade strongly promoted the specialization of clans and the establishment

    of clan “monopolies” in particular crafts, crucially important in iron smelting and


    The trade led to the intermarriage between the people from the North and those

    from West Africa without racial discrimination. In fact, many of the traders married

    local concubines, as no women of their own society were available since they could

    spend several years in the south, and there lived also permanent agents of North

    African trading companies.

    The trade also led to the emergence of three social classes, that is the class of foreign

    merchants who settled in the towns and class of local professional traders such as

    the Dyula and Wangara and the poor labors, initially there were only two classes, the

    king, his chiefs and peasants, the trade now ushered in a cast society that was based

    on one’s wealth.

    The trade led to the improvement in the standards of living due to the introduction

    of clothes, employment to West Africans as guides and guards and introduction of

    new food crops in the region plus very many other pleasant luxurious items that

    added value to life and set the West African region a class apart from the rest of


    The trade promoted the exploitation of African natural resources that had laid

    untapped for centuries, this stimulated the growth and development of local

    industries such as gold and salt mining, agriculture and textile industry plus iron

    smelting which changed the whole picture of the West African region.

    The trade linked West Africa to North Africa and to the Muslim world and this saw

    the coming of other foreigners in the region, thus, the eventual colonization of West

    Africa by the western world.

    Had it not been this trade, West Africa would have probably remained a closed entity,

    completely not known to the outside world for many years.


    3.1.5 Decline of Trans-Saharan trade

    Towards the start of the 19th century, the Trans-Saharan trade had almost

    disappeared and this was due to many factors including the following:

    Political instabilities that existed in West Africa contributed to the decline of TransSaharan trade. The conquest of Songhai Empire by the Moroccan forces in 1590 for

    instance created chaos in Western Sudan which reduced the volume of trade and

    even disrupted it.

    Discovery of the sea route also contributed to the decline of the Trans-Saharan

    Trade. The sea route from the Mediterranean Sea to the West African coast provided

    an alternative means of transport for the traders that was cheap, safe and quick.

    Increased European commercial activities on the West African coast contributed to

    the decline of the Trans Saharan Trade. The frequently appearance of the Europeans

    on the West Africa coast changed the direction of the trade from the north to the

    south. A case to note is that by the 17th century gold exports to the southern West

    African coast increased while the exports northwards decreased.

    Availability of cheap European manufactured goods on the West African markets

    also led to the decline of the Trans-Saharan Trade. The West African markets were

    flooded with cheap items such as salt from Europe which outcompeted the poor

    quality salt from Taghaza. This destroyed the salt trade across the desert.

    Discovery of new sources of gold elsewhere in the World should not be

    underestimated for the decline of the Trans- Saharan trade. For example the

    discovery of gold in USA and the Far East diverted the attention of the traders from

    West Africa to those new areas.

    High taxes and rigid restrictions imposed on the traders by was also a significant

    factor for the decline of the Trans-Saharan trade. The West African leaders imposed

    tough regulations and heavy taxes on the traders which made the trade less


    Tropical diseases also led to the decline of the Trans-Saharan trade. As the caravans

    approached the savannah and tropical areas, they were affected by diseases like

    malaria and sleeping sickness which claimed most of their lives. With this, trade

    became more risky and insecure which shunned away the traders.

    Abolition of slave trade was also an important factor for the decline of the Trans

    Saharan trade. With this abolition, the Trans-Saharan trade was deprived of one of

    its main commodities (slaves).


    The invasion of Moroccan ports along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea

    by the two Iberian countries namely Portugal and Spain between 1471 and 1505 CE

    further disrupted the trade hence causing its decline.

    Colonisation of the African continent by the European powers from the 19th Century

    was another cause for the decline of the Trans African trade. In fact, resources

    from North and West Africa came under the control of different powers. European

    penetration of the interior regions impacted negatively on the importance of

    middlemen in the trade as European traders began dealing directly with the


    Fall of powerful West African Empires such as Ghana, Mali and Songhai which pushed

    Tuaregs to change their roles as guides and guards and started robbing the traders.

    The golden age of the Trans-Saharan trade ended with the collapse of Songhai

    Empire after the Moroccan attack in 1590. The disintegration of West African political

    structures, the contemporary economic decline of Northern Africa and the European

    competition on the Guinea coast made the caravan trade less profitable.

    Nevertheless, the trade continued until the railroads gave it the final death blow in

    the beginning of the 20th century. The shift in favour of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade

    began with the arrival of the first Portuguese ships on the Mauritanian coast in 1443.

    It was only during the age of imperialism that the encounter of West Africans with

    other civilisations turned definitely from controlled relationship to collision.




    Application activities

    1. “The emergence of Islam played a great role to influence the TransSaharan trade”. Discuss.

    2. With the help of the West African sketch map, explain the mechanisms

    of the Trans-Saharan trade.

    3. “The Trans -Saharan trade had many negative effects on all the people

    involved in the business”. Discuss.

    4. Account for the collapse of the Trans-Saharan trade.

    5. Can we claim that the Trans-Saharan trade was profitable for all the

    people involved in it? Substantiate your answer.



    3. 2 Trans-Atlantic Slave trade

    2. Learning activity

    Using internet or textbooks from your school library analyse the main factors for

    the riseand the organisation of Trans-Atlantic Slave trade.


    3.2.1 The beginning of Trans-Atlantic Slave trade

    Atlantic Slave trade was a commercial relationship that developed between Black

    people of West African coast, America and Europe across Atlantic Ocean in a

    triangular form. By this form it took the name of Triangular Trade.

    This trade began by the 15th century when a Portuguese explorer Antonio

    Gonzalazes took with him 10 Black Africans from West Africa on the order of Prince

    Henry the Navigator who had planned to train Africans as gospel preachers in

    Portugal in order to come back to spread Christianity in West Africa.


    Figure3.2:The Trans-Atlantic Slave trade 1500-1800

    Source: Bentley and Ziegler (2006, p.709).



    The European colonists in America soon found the need for imported labour to

    work on the sugar plantations, in the mines and later on the tobacco and cotton

    plantations. The Spaniards started using Black slave labour in their West Indian

    colonies early 16th century. Portuguese in the middle of the century started sending

    slaves from Africa to Brazil. Other European nations like Britain, France and Holland

    among others soon joined this lucrative trade, and the slave trade became a big



    3.2.3 The factors that encouraged the Trans–Atlantic Slave trade

    In the mid-fifteenth century, Portuguese ships sailed down the West African coast in

    a trick designed to bypass the North African Muslims, who had a virtual monopoly on

    the trade of sub-Saharan gold, spices, and other commodities that Europe needed.

    These voyages resulted into maritime discoveries and advances in shipbuilding

    that later facilitated European vessels to navigate the Atlantic Ocean. Over time, the

    Portuguese vessels added another commodity to their cargo namely African men,

    women, and children.

    For the first hundred years, captives in small numbers were transported to Europe.

    By the close of the 15th century, 10 percent of the population of Lisbon, Portugal, the

    then one of the largest cities in Europe, was of African origin.

     Other captives were taken to islands of the African shore, including Madeira, Cape

    Verde, and especially São Tomé, where the Portuguese established sugar plantations

    using enslaved labour on a scale that foreshadowed the development of plantation

    slavery in the Americas. Enslaved Africans could also be found in North Africa, the

    Middle East, Persia, India, the Indian Ocean islands, and in Europe including Russia.

    The main cause of the trade was the colonies that European countries had acquired

    in America and West Indies. In America, for instance, which was a colony of England;

    there was a demand for many manual workers for the sugar, tobacco and cotton

    plantations. Paid labourers were too expensive, and the indigenous people had

    largely been wiped out by disease and conflicts, so the colonialists turned to Africa

    to get cheap labour in form of slaves. With the discovery of America and West Indies

    in 1492, there were much uncontrolled economic potentialities. There were minerals

    such as copper, iron ore and gold and agricultural opportunities related to coffee,

    sugar cane, tobacco and cotton.

    Expanding European empires in the New World lacked one major resource namely

    a workforce. In most cases, the indigenous peoples had proved unreliable because

    most of them were dying of diseases brought over from Europe, and the Europeans

    were unsuited to the climate and suffered from tropical diseases. Africans, on the

    other hand, were excellent workers: they often had experience of agriculture and

    cattle keeping, they were used to a tropical climate, resistant to tropical diseases,

    and they could be exploited on plantations or in mines.


    The interior regions of Bure and Bambuk were rich in gold. The latter reached the

    Mediterranean regions and Europe from Songhay. The slave trade was closely linked

    to the Europeans’ insatiable hunger for gold, and the arrival of the Portuguese on

    the Gold Coast, the current Ghana, in the 1470s.

    Later, Europeans developed commercial and political relations with the kingdoms of

    Benin, in present-day Nigeria and Kongo. The Kongo kingdom became Christianised

    and the process was undermined by the spread of the slave trade. Benin, however,

    restricted Portuguese influence and somewhat limited the trade in human beings.

    The African slaves’ dealers only captured slaves and sold them without any

    investment. Thereafter Europeans exchanged their manufactured goods with many

    slaves. This exchange increased the traders’ profits. In addition the West African

    societies allowed the European traders to settle in the coast areas. The Africans

    played the role of middlemen in the trade; their chiefs cooperated with the European

    merchants by selling to them slaves as persons who were considered as social misfits

    and criminals.

    The White racists considered the Africans as human beings of the second grade.

    They saw no crime in enslaving Blacks, torturing them and subjecting them to all

    sorts of inhuman treatment.

    After their capture, they were tied like animals and packed in ships like other

    commodities. West African coast had also good natural ports as Bojador, Lagos and

    Port Elmina for safe sailing of large trade ships and that contributed to the rise and

    development of the Trans– Atlantic Slave trade.


    3.2.3 Mechanisms of the Trans–Atlantic Slave trade

    The Trans–Atlantic Slave trade was well organized and that’s why the trade survived

    for a long time. The trade went on until the 19th century, with Europeans of many

    countries taking part in it – notably the British, French, Dutch and Danes as well as

    the Spaniards and the Portuguese. The British were at first engaged in the trade as

    agents providing slaves for the Spanish colonies in 1562 for over 50 years before

    slavery itself was introduced into British North America. The traders operated from

    “factories” and forts established along the African coast, mainly in West Africa. In

    West Africa, they exchanged European goods for gold, ivory and slaves. By the end

    of the 18th century there were 40 of these “factories” which sometimes changed

    hands as the nations competed with each other in the trade. It was organised in

    such way that it was linking the three continents. It began from Europe and linked

    to Africa where it had a route leading to America and from America to Europe again.

    The demand for labour in America and West Indian colonies stimulated a profitable

    commerce. During the triangular trade, European ships often undertook voyages of

    three legs.


    On the first leg, they carried horses and manufactured goods such as guns,

    gunpowder, clothes, some utensils and glassware from Europe. Africans would in

    return give to Europeans slaves, ivory, honey, gold, palm oil and tortoise shells. The

    second leg took enslaved Africans to Caribbean and American destinations. Upon

    arrival, merchants sold their human cargoes to plantation owners for two to three

    times of what they had bought them on the African coast. Then they filled their

    vessels’ hulls with land growing cash crops like coffee, cotton, sugar cane and tobacco

    and minerals like iron ore, copper, gold and others. All of these raw materials were

    shipped to Europe to supply their industries.

    The procurement of the slaves was sometimes by raids into the interior, or even

    actual wars, but more usually by trading agreements with the local native rulers or

    by providing them with military help against their African enemies. As the trade

    expanded, some African chiefs continued it with reluctance, but found it difficult

    to withdraw. Some of the main European commodities supplied in exchange were

    guns and gunpowder – and if an African chief stopped getting the guns, he would

    be at the mercy of more unscrupulous neighbours.

    The trade was organized in defined caravan trade routes to and from the interior

    communities of West Africa to the coastal ports where the goods were loaded to the

    ships for transportation across the Atlantic Ocean to America or to Europe.


    Figure 3.3: The captured slaves being transported to the West African Coast

    Adapted from Slavery in Central Africa about 1800



    The mode of purchase in Africa was barter system. Europeans would exchange their

    goods such as clothes and guns with the African goods including slaves, ivory and

    honey. However, there was no clear measurement in this barter system that would

    level on the balancing of the quantity exchanged. Later, money was introduced such

    as Cowries shells. In America, they exchanged slaves for cash, but in sugar-producing

    regions they often bartered slaves for sugar or molasses.

    The Western European countries established distinct national trades. The European

    ports and cities most involved in this growth industry were Bristol, Liverpool and

    London in England; Amsterdam in Holland; Lisbon, the Portuguese capital; and

    Nantes, located on the western French coast.

    On the African side, most captives were traded from only a few ports: Luanda

    (Angola), Whydah (Bight of Benin), Bonny (Bight of Biafra); and the adjacent castles

    at Koromantin and Winneba on the Gold Coast accounted for at least a third of the

    Africans transported to the Americas.

    Other major ports included Old Calabar (Bight of Biafra), Benguela (Southern

    Angola), Cabinda (north of the Congo River), and Lagos in the Bight of Benin. These

    nine ports accounted for at least a half of all the Africans transported to the Americas.


    Figure 3.4 : Major Slave Ports for Africa

    Source :https ://


    The European countries attempted, though not successfully, to regulate the

    trade by chartering various national companies established under royal decree or

    parliamentary order. But these efforts to create monopolies, such as England’s Royal

    African Company (RAC), were soon undermined by private merchant companies

    and pirates who opened up new markets in the Bight of Biafra and the northern

    Angola coast, and challenged the RAC on the Gold Coast and in the Gambia.

    Each of the nations and their slave ports experienced innovative marketing and

    trading techniques. Sometimes this competition required the maintenance of

    trading depots and forts – the slave castles or factories – as was the case in the Gold

    Coast and the Bight of Benin, as well as in lesser ports along the Upper Guinea Coast,

    Senegambia, and Angola.


    3.2.4 Effects of the Atlantic-Slave trade

    The Trans-Atlantic Slave trade affected Africa, Europe, and the Americas in very

    different and significant ways. The current status of Africa, Europe, and the Americas

    global political positions and their economies are deeply linked to this terrible part

    of history.

    •             Effects of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade on Africa

    The impact of slave trade varied over time and from one African society to another.

    The kingdoms of Rwanda and Buganda in the African great lakes region and the

    herding societies of the Masai and Turkana of East Africa largely escaped the slave

    trade, partly because they resisted it and their lands were distant from the major

    slave ports on the West African coast. Other societies flourished during early

    modern times and benefited economically from the slave trade. Those Africans,

    who raided, took captives, and sold slaves to Europeans profited handsomely from

    the trade, as did the ports, cities and the states that coordinated the trade with

    European merchants. On the whole, however, Africa suffered serious losses from

    the slave trade.

    •             Demographic problems

    The Slave Trade led to the depopulation of Africa because slaves were sold to

    America and Europe. Other Africans died during the period of raids and on transit

    or after reaching their different destinations. While diverting labour from Africa to

    other lands, the slave trade also distorted African sex ratios, since approximately

    two-thirds of all exported slaves were males. Slavers preferred young men between

    fourteen and thirty-five years of age since they had the best potential to repay their

    buyers’ investments by providing heavy labour over an extended period of time.

    This preference for male slaves had social implications for lands that provided slaves.

    By the late 18th century, for example, women made up more than two-thirds of

    adult population of Angola.


    This sexual imbalance encouraged Angolans to practice polygamy and forced

    women to take on duties that in earlier times had been the responsibility of men.

    African communities also experienced wars and raiding, which caused death. African

    coastal communities were especially depopulated as people migrated to the interior

    to escape slave traders and warring.

    •             Loss of lives

    It has been estimated that the total number of African slaves who reached America

    and the West Indies in the course of the trade was about 9 to 10 million. It may well

    have been more; and this does not include those who died on the voyage or those

    who were killed in Africa during slave raids or wars.

    •             Famine

    The constant wars and slave trade resulted into famines. Wars increased during

    slave raids and energetic people were taken into slavery outside Africa. The elders

    and older people who were left behind died of hunger and famine due to lack of

    manpower in agricultural activities and a few who remained were always on run for

    safety of their lives.

    •             Insecurity

    The slave trade also brought turmoil to African societies. During early modern times,

    African peoples fought many wars for reasons that had little or nothing to do with

    the slave trade, but it encouraged them to participate in conflicts that might never

    have occurred in the absence of the trade. Violence escalated when African peoples

    exchanged slaves for European firearms. The sale of firearms to notorious chiefs

    who wanted to conquer their neighbours looking for slaves increased insecurity e.g.

    when the Kingdom of Dahomey obtained effective firearms, its armies were able to

    capture slaves from unarmed neighbouring societies and exchanged them for more

    weapons. Dahomey expanded rapidly and absorbed neighbouring societies.

    •             Collapse of some African kingdoms and empires

    Apart from the actual loss of manpower, the slave trade inhibited social and economic

    progress in the African regions. The trade degraded political life, and encouraged

    the continuation of slavery in Africa. All these factors caused the collapse of African

    strong kingdoms and empires such as Fante, Egba Calabar Bonny, Dahomey in West

    Africa and Luba, Lunda, Usanga and Chewa in Central Africa, while other kingdoms

    like Hehe, Yao, Nyamwezi and Akamba in East Africa and Asante, Mandika, Itsekir,

    Opobo Igbo and Yomba in West Africa were expanded.



    •             Collapse of local industry

    While the European nations were organising and inventing new means of

    production, the Africans were depending economically upon a trade which was

    totally unproductive and with the loss of the fittest members of the community,

    curtailed production. There was serious decline of the African local industries because

    the manpower was sold and European goods outcompeted African manufactured

    goods such as the Yoruba art.

    •             Horrible suffering

    The captives were tortured, tied in chains, loaded like bags and forced to work for

    longer hours moreover doing hard work. They would also be separated from their

    families and their houses. One of the worst features of the trade was the voyage to


    The slave ship owners, in search of more profits, packed more and more slaves into

    their vessels often on shelves across the holds which allowed no room to stand,

    or even to kneel. The voyage lasted for about three weeks to two months or more,

    depending on the weather and hunger often affected them in addition to the

    appalling living conditions and many of them died before arrival.


    Figure 3.5: The shipping of slaves.

    Adapted from The slave ship


    •             Economic hardships

    As the trade stopped between certain groups, some African communities became

    more dependent on the European traders. The loss of strong, young men meant

    the loss of workers. These men were sometimes exchanged for guns, alcohol, and

    luxury goods which did not help the continent’s economic development.

    The Europeans came with goods which were previously not found in Africa, or at

    least not readily available, but they also came with some items that were available.

    Some African communities chose to trade and do business with the Europeans,

    further hurting local businesses and the future of those communities’ economy.

    African communities were undergoing rapid and extreme changes due to the

    Trans-Atlantic Slave trade; many businesses did not plan for the future, since it was

    uncertain. However, the people who participated in this trade become rich thus

    their standards of living improved.

    •             Racism

    Africans were thought of as an inferior race, objects – commodities – not human

    beings. Slave traders used a Eurocentric justification that they were bringing Africans

    to a better place. This racism stemming from the slave trade can still be felt today.

    •             Collapse of African traditional culture and customs

    The slave trade caused cultural damage to communities which were a bond of unity.

    As African peoples were sold to different countries, they took up a foreign culture

    and behaviour and forgot their own beliefs and cultures.

    Introduction and spread of diseases

    Slave trade led to the spread of some diseases that never existed in Africa for

    example syphilis was introduced by traders from Spain who came as slave trade


    •             Effects of the Atlantic Slave trade on Europe

    Since the Europeans were running the slave trade; they owned plantations in the

    Americas, and mines in Africa. They made huge profits of the slave trade; money from

    the slave trade contributed to the Industrial Revolution (factories, urbanisation, etc.);

    the European industries gained the raw materials from Africa and America through

    the Trans–Atlantic Slave trade and it encouraged the building of many industries in

    Europe which gave the job to many workers in Europe.

    European empires were able to grow due to strong economies and they have

    remained the major world powers up-to-date.


    The weakened status of African communities and the strength and money of the

    Europeans, allowed them to colonise Africa easier.

    •             Effects of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade on America

    Plantations were very successful and made a lot of money which went into the larger

    economy. Plantations were so successful in some parts because free labourers could

    work in high temperatures and they had agricultural and mining skills.

    The enslaved Blacks became talented, free carpenters, masons, miners, and

    inventors and white Americans made money selling raw materials to Europeans in

    exchange for slaves.

    As Europe gained African culture, so did the Americas: ideas, language, religion,

    views on government, music, food, art, technology…Many famous Black Americans

    musicians, artists, writers, thinkers, politicians and athletes – are descended from

    Africans brought over as slaves.

    Much of the wealth generated from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade supported the

    creation of industries and institutions in modern North America and Europe. To

    an equal degree, profits from slave trading and slave-generated products funded

    the creation of fine art, decorative arts, and architecture that continues to inform

    aesthetics today.

    The slave trade led to the creation of a society with both free whites and enslaved

    blacks.  This led to serious conflicts.  The greatest of these was, of course, the Civil

    War. Moreover, slave trade led to the formation of the Black Republics in Central

    America such as Haiti in 1806, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

    In general, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade laid the foundation for modern capitalism,

    generating immense wealth for business enterprises in Americas and Europe. The

    trade contributed to the industrialisation of north-western Europe and created a

    single Atlantic world that included Western Europe, Western Africa, the Caribbean

    islands, and the mainlands of North and South America.


    3.2.5 Abolition of Trans–Atlantic Slave trade

    The  trans-Atlantic Slave trade  reached unprecedented levels in the late 18th

    century, but by the mid-nineteenth century every national carrier in Europe and

    the Americas had formally abolished the traffic.  Denmark was the first nation to

    abolish its trade in 1803. Britain and the United States followed in 1807, with the

    U.S. ban going into effect in 1808. By 1836, the Dutch, French, Spanish, Brazilian, and

    Portuguese governments had also abolished their trades. During just three decades,

    every national Trans-Atlantic carrier outlawed a massive system of forced migration

    that had lasted for three centuries.


    Factors of abolition

    According to historians, the relatively rapid abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave

    trade is explained by ideological, religious, and economic changes in Europe and

    the Americas.

    •             Enlightenment:  this influential 18th century intellectual movement suggested that all men and women had certain rights. Among these rights was liberty,

    which the slave trade clearly violated. The French philosophers preached the

    gospel of liberty, freedom and fraternity and they realised that although man

    is born free, he is always in chains and in order to break these chains, all men

    were meant to be seen as equals.

    •             Role of some religious groups, such as the Quakers, who by the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw abolitionism as an expression of

    Christian love for their fellow man. Pope Benedict XIV, in 18th century also protested against slave trade and slavery and appealed to Catholic countries to

    denounce it.

    •             Humanitarianism and philanthropists: by the end of the 19th century, some

    people realised that slavery and slave trade were illegal both before God and

    before the law. In 1767 they formed Anti-Slavery campaigns headed by Thomas

    Clarkson, William Wilberforce, Adam Smith and Granville who struggled to

    campaign against slave trade in the British Parliament; The British Evangelist

    led by John Wisely campaigned for the liberty of man and they decided to

    defend the innocent slaves as they brought light to their government, which

    abolished slave trade;

    •             Economic motives: One early theory was that Britain abolished its slave trade

    because British Caribbean plantations were becoming less profitable and

    needed fewer new slaves.

    •             Industrial Revolution in Europe from 1750 to 1850 led to abolition of Slave

    Trade because many machines were invented and could do much of the

    work quickly, easily and effectively than the slave labour. So, many countries

    stopped importing slaves;

    •             American war of independence: With the defeat of the British, American war

    contributed to the abolition of slave trade because the British no longer had

    any interest to recruit most African slaves to America. But British planned the

    liberation of slaves and thereafter, the new American leaders supported the

    repatriation of the freed slaves to West Africa.


    The question is to know how Trans-Atlantic Slave trade ended. The Trans-Atlantic

    slave trade was an international industry, which meant that international

    cooperation was required to enforce abolition once national bans were in place.

    In the early nineteenth century, many governments representing former slaving

    powers signed multi-national anti-slave trade treaties. These accords affirmed

    signatories’ commitments to abolition, established common standards  for

    banning slave-trading equipment from commercial vessels, and outlined joint

    commitments to maintain anti-slave trade patrols in African and Caribbean

    waters.  Britain provided the largest and most effective anti-slave trade fleet,

    but France, Portugal, and the United States also manned lightly-armed flotillas. In

    addition, most powers recognised a newly established network of international

    courts designed to adjudicate illegal slave trading cases, known as the Courts of

    Mixed Commission. By the mid-nineteenth century, these courts were established

    in Brazil, the Caribbean, West Africa, and South Africa.


    Despite these efforts, the abolition legislation and international cooperation did not

    end the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. Although abolition was largely implemented in

    the British and French empires, and only a few slave ships are known to have arrived

    on U.S. shores after 1808, slave importations to Brazil, Cuba, and Puerto Rico actually

    increased after the trade was outlawed. Underdeveloped plantation economies in

    these jurisdictions created huge demand for slave labour and record profits for illegal

    slave traders. Most Brazilian and Cuban policymakers linked economic growth with

    continued slave imports, and many tacitly supported the illegal traffic.


    Similarly, in Africa, states with long slave-trading histories such as  Dahomey  and

    Ngoyo were unwilling or unable to halt the supply of captives to the coast, or to expel

    foreign slave dealers who resided there, despite commitments to do both. Mean while,

    the illegal slave trade became increasingly difficult to suppress. British and American

    merchants engaged in directly in the traffic by supplying Latin American slave traders with

    ships and goods exchange able for captives on the West African coast. The U.S. government

    also denied other nations the right to search U.S. ships suspected of slave trading, and

    soon a large portion of the entire illegal Trans-Atlantic slave traffic took place under the

    shield of the U.S. flag. Under  these conditions, slave imports to Brazil and Cuba rose to

    higher levels than those before the abolition.


    Suppression of the illegal Trans-Atlantic Slave trade only became effective when

    external pressures on slave-importing regions were reinforced by changing public

    opinions within those societies. In 1850, domestic reformers in Brazil forced a

    restriction on the illegal slave trade with the assistance of a British naval blockade

    of Rio de Janeiro. At that point, Cuba became the last large-scale slave importation

    zone. It was not until 1867, after widespread abolitionist pressure within the Spanish

    empire and in light of emancipation in Cuba’s much larger neighbour, the United

    States, after a violent civil war that the Spanish government moved decisively

    against the illegal Trans-Atlantic slave trade, ending the traffic for good.


    Application activities

    6. Analyse at least two factors of abolition of Trans Saharan Trade.

    7. Explain the effects of Trans-Atlantic Slave trade on Europe and America

    8. Compare and contrast the consequences of Trans-Atlantic Slave trade in

    Africa, Europe and America.

    9. Describe the procurements and the mode of purchase of slaves in Africa

    and America

    3.3. Long distance trade

    3.1 Learning activity

    By using internet, textbooks and journals, carryout a research on the trade that

    has been developed between East African coast and central Africa. Then analyse

    the factors for its rise, decline as well as its impact on African societies. Write down

    the results of your research in essay form.


    3.3.1 Emergence of Long Distance Trade

    The Long Distance Trade was a commercial relationship that linked the East African

    coast to the interior of Central Africa and some parts of Asia. It existed for a long

    period, but it increased considerably from the 18th century. It involved walking a very

    long distance across many African societies like Yao, Akamba, Nyamwezi, Buganda,

    Bunyoro and Eastern Congo among others, from the interior to the East African coast

    and linked to Asian countries like Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc. It also involved

    some European countries like France and Portugal.

    •             Factors for emergence of long distance trade

    The Long Distance Trade emerged due to different factors:

    The expansion of Russian empirestarted cutting the supplies of slave from the

    western regions to the Muslim lands. Therefore, East Africa was seen as a source

    whose potential had not been fully tapped.

    The high demand for slaves for the sugar and coffee plantations on the French

    islands in the Indian Ocean was due to the expansion of these plantations from the

    1770s in the French Indian Ocean colonies of Mauritius, Réunion and the Seychelles.


    Initially, the French brought the slave workers from Portuguese Indian traders in

    Zambia valley and Mozambique. With such expansion and high death rate on the

    islands, they looked further field for their supply of slave labour. They turned to Arab

    and Swahili traders at Kilwa and Zanzibar. Hence they encouraged the rise of slave

    trade at the East African coast.


    The growth in the Arab demand for slaves to work in their plantations on Zanzibar

    and surrounding islands contributed to the rise of the Long Distance Trade. In the

    1820s, Sultan Seyyid Said encouraged Arabs to set up clove plantations on the

    islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. Therefore, this led to the increase in slave trade from

    the mainland to Zanzibar for working in these plantations.


    The increase in demand for sugar and cotton in Europe also led to the emergence

    of Long Distance Trade. Due to Industrial Revolution achieved in Europe, more

    European countries needed more sugar cane and cotton for their industries. They

    started cotton and sugar cane plantations in America and Indian Ocean islands.

    Black Africans were therefore considered as a cheap labour force, leading to the rise

    of Slave trade in East Africa.


    Some African traditional leaders were attracted by the European products like cotton

    cloth, wines, guns and gunpowder. This attracted them into this trade by selling

    their fellow Africans as slaves exchange for such European products. The chiefs like

    Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe were guided by this interest.


    African traditional leaders become passionate traders and actively participated

    in the East African slave trade by financing the trade caravans, selling and buying

    goods in high quantity. They also collaborated with the Arab traders like Sayyid Said,

    Mlozi and Tyui Tyui. Those African chiefs were Nyungu ya Mawe and Mirambo of

    Nyamwezi, Mutesa of Buganda, Mukwawa of Hehe and Kabalega of Bunyoro among

    others. This collaboration between African traditional chiefs boosted the volume of

    East African Slave Trade.


    The “return of the Southern bantu” known as Ngoni migration created a war

    atmosphere in East and Central Africa. This situation made the availability of the

    slaves easy because they could be captured and sold as war prisoners. Besides, the

    Ngoni introduced new military tactic known as Long horn method which was used

    in raiding and capturing slaves for sale.


    In 1840, Seyyid Said moved his capital to Zanzibar and settled there. He embarked on

    strong plans to open up slave trade routes to the interior of East Africa. This boosted

    slave trade, whereby the number of slaves being sold at the slave market in Zanzibar

    increased annually by that time.


    There were animal diseases which attacked camels and donkeys as they were used as

    means of transport. Consequently, it necessitated people themselves to be involved

    in the transportation of the trade goods and ivory. Such people included porters

    who were regarded as slaves, or free Africans who could sell their services in return

    for cloth and other trade goods.


    The Arabs from Oman acted as middlemen between the African Swahili people,

    the Portuguese and French traders. This made communication easier between the

    trade participants, hence encouraging the development of this trade along the East

    African coast and the interior of Central Africa.


    The Long Distance Trade was also developed due to the presence of enough trade

    commodities from both sides.

    Some from Asia and Europe like guns, wines and clothes on one side, and others from

    the interior of Africa such as copper from Katanga, iron ore and salt from Bunyoro

    without forgetting slaves from many parts of Central and East Africa.

    In many African societies, the domestic and child slavery already existed therefore

    Africans were willing to exchange slaves for European goods.


    3.3.2 Mechanisms of Long Distance Trade

    The Long Distance Trade was well structured and organised by the trade tycoons

    and local African leaders. It involved many participants from the interior of Africa to

    the East African coast and others coming from Asia and Europe.


    Major African societies involved included the Yao, Akamba, Nyamwezi, Baganda,

    Banyoro, Hehe, Khartoumers, Chagga, Kikuyu, Galla, Nandi, Basoga, Katanga people

    and the Shona among others. Most of these African societies were the trade item

    providers and dominators of some trade routes which passed across their areas.

    The trade commodities through this trade were in two forms: imports from the

    coast of East Africa to the interior of Africa e.g. guns, gunpowder, clothes, knives,

    plates, sugar and weapons made of copper etc.Export from the interior of Africa

    to the coast of East Africa included slaves, ivory, gold, zebra and leopard skins, salt,

    tortoise shells etc.


    Figure 3.6: Ivories needed by the Arabs and EuropeansCowries shells used as medium of exchange.

     Adapted from



    Many trade market centres were located at East Africa coast (Malindi, Mombasa,

    Pangani, Bangamoyo, Dar-es-Salaam, Kilwa) and at Zanzibar. To reach there with

    trade commodities, it was necessary to use different means of transport. Initially,

    footing and human portage were used as means of transport but later on donkeys

    were used which improved the means of transport and quantities transported. To

    small extent, there was also water transport on the rivers of Nile, Congo, Zambezi and

    lakes of Victoria, Tanganyika, Malawi and Albert. Canoes or boats carried merchants

    and their goods across these water bodies.

    To bring the trade commodities to the market centres, different trade routes were

    followed by the traders. The main routes were conveniently divided into north,

    central and south routes.


    Figure 3.7: East African trade routes

    Source: Atieno et alii (1977). A History of East Africa, Longman, p.92.


    The Southern route began at the coast in the town of Kilwa and coastal ports of

    Kilina and Sofala going into the interior to Lake Malawi and across to Khota Khota,

    Kazembe, Karonga, Ndebele and Shona lands. The principle participants of this route

    were the Yao with the slaves as the major trade item.

    The Central route ran from Bagamoyo and Saadani through Zaramo to Tabora, Ujiji,

    Karagwe, Buganda, Bunyoro, Rwanda and Congo – Katanga. The Nyamwezi were

    dominant with ivory as the major item.


    The Northern routestarted from Pangani, Tanga and Mombasa to the Kilimanjaro

    through Akamba society, to the slopes of Mt Elgon going as far as Busoga and Iteso

    in Uganda. The Akamba were dominant in this trade with ivory and slaves as the

    major trade items.


    At the market centres, the trade items were exchanged through the barter system at

    first and later on there was introduction of money like rupees and cowries shells as

    a medium of exchange.


    3.3.3 Consequences of Long Distance Trade


    The breakdown of family and tribal ties produced bands of ruthless bandits who

    went around terrorizing the countryside making it impossible to engage in

    profitable occupations.


    Many people attracted in this trade settled in some states of East Africa. This increase

    in population stimulated the need for food production. To satisfy this need, the new

    food crops were introduced in Nyamwezi for example maize, potatoes, beans and

    bananas among others.


    In order to facilitate the trade transactions, the currency was later on introduced at

    the East African Coast. Due to commercial exchanges between East African societies

    and Central African communities, such currency (cowry shells) was also introduced

    into the interior of Central Africa.


    Due to the participation of different societies with their interest to satisfy their

    needs, some communities became specialized in production of some trade items

    or carryout of some activities. There were those who became permanent porters,

    others emerged as craftsmen, shoemakers and the farmers also got specialized in

    the production of certain crops.


    The economic expansion supported by new military techniques and tactics learnt

    from the Ngoni, some East African communities emerged into new political states

    like Unyanyembe, Urambo and Ukimbu.

    The states with access to guns and control of trade routes were able to dominate

    and expand their territories at the expense of the small and weak ones. Moreover,

    the trade tycoons who dominated and controlled main trade routes and activities

    became the political leaders of some new formed states. For instance, Mirambo and

    Nyungu ya Mawe became the leaders in Nyamwezi kingdom.


    During this trade, there were slave raids which often resulted into the war. So, villages

    and fields were often not reclaimed for many years for fear of being captured. Hence,

    famine and poverty were dominant in the areas of slave raids. Besides, to high

    extent, the slaves were energetic and active population. Selling them outside of

    Africa also led to the famine because Africa in some areas remained with the oldest

    and youngest who were not able to practice agriculture for their own subsistence.

    The trade carried out between Central and East African coast led to the depopulation

    of elephants and leopards due to the need of satisfying the needs of Asians and



    Due to the trade caravan and participation in Long Distance Trade, many Africans

    from interior of Africa were initiated to the Swahili and Swahili language. This

    facilitated the spread of Swahili to many parts of East and Central Africa.


    Most of the cities which had served as trading centres grew and emerged as new

    towns, especially at the East Africa Coast and in central Africa. Such centres and

    towns included Tabora, Ujiji, Katanga, Mumia, Malindi and Bagamoyo among others.

    The Long Distance Trade contributed to the depopulation of Africa by reducing its

    population. This was through the slave raids where some were killed while resisting

    from being captured or through the sale of Africans as slaves like other trade



    In general, the economic activities were disrupted in Africa because able craftsmen

    and farmers were transported. The local traditional goods were no longer produced,

    had been replaced by the Arab and European products.

    3.3.4 The downfall of Long Distance Trade

    The death of the trade tycoons who were the chief organisers of this trade was a

    great factor for its decline. For instance Mirambo died in the 1884, Mutesa I in 1884,

    Sayyid Said in 1886. Other trading tycoons like Tipu Tipu, Mlozi Msiri Mumia and

    Mukwawa followed.

    Figure 3.8: Portrait of Tippu Tip


    Some trade commodities got exhausted because they were carried in large quantities

    and for a long time. As these items became limited on the markets, some people

    who depended on selling and buying them pulled out resulting into the decline of

    the trade. The Long Distance Trade had become less profitable because of the high

    depletion of commodities put on market. Therefore some people pulled out of this

    business, which become a factor for its decline.


    The wars of raids and control of the trade routes and other viable areas made some

    people hate the Long Distance Trade or created a less conducive atmosphere for

    trade. With this state of insecurity trade could not flourish.

    Some chiefs started to demand high taxes from traders crossing their land. As a

    result, the traders were no longer getting enough profits. Such people were then

    forced out of this trade.


    Foreign invaderslike explorers, traders in chartered companies and the missionaries

    accounted for the decline of the Long Distance Trade because they preached

    against this lucrative trade. Moreover, the Long Distance Trade involved crossing

    long distances and horrible suffering. Consequently it lost popularity and collapsed

    easily. The chiefs had set very harsh and had laws that enabled to get slaves.

    The European goods were brought to East and Central Africa where they were sold

    cheaply and the European traders established trading shops in areas where they

    had settlements, thus, limiting people from walking long distance for the needed

    goods which resulted into the decline of the Long Distance Trade.


    This colonisation of Africa ended the existence of the Long Distance Trade. The

    imperialists controlled the social, political and economic lives of the Africans. This

    denied African chiefs and others involved in this trade especially the Arabs to

    continue carrying out this trade.


    Application activity

    1. Analyse the different factors that contributed to the rise of the Long

    Distance Trade.

    2. Describe the mechanism of the Long Distance Trade.

    3. Examine the factors that led to the decline of the Long-Distance Trade.

    4. Assess the effects of the Long-Distance Trade on African societies.


    End unit assessment


    1. “Human beings are born free and no one has the right to enslave,

    humiliate, oppress or exploit them. However, from ancient time, the

    slavery as dehumanizing practices of man to another happened until


    Using the above quote, explain the emergence, organisation and effects

    of slave trade in Africa.

    2. Do you agree that slave trade in Africa was severe and totally negative?

    Justify your response.




    Dehumanisation: Dehumanization  or an act thereof can describe a behavior or

    process that undermines individuality of and in others. Behaviorally, dehumanization

    describes a disposition towards others that debases the others’ individuality as

    either an “individual” species or an “individual” object, e.g. someone who acts

    inhumanely towards humans. As a process, it may be understood as the opposite

    of personification, a figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are

    endowed with human qualities; dehumanization then is the disendowment of these

    same qualities or a reduction to abstraction

    Trans-Saharan: across Sahara desert

    Empire: a group of countries ruled by a single person, government or country

    Trade Route: a route, often covering a long distance that people buying and selling

    goods often used in the past

    Discovery: the process of finding information, a place or an object, especially for the

    first time, or the thing which is found

    Tropical diseases: In practice, the term is often taken to refer to  infectious

    diseases  that thrive in hot, humid conditions, such as malaria, leishmaniasis,

    schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas  disease, African

    trypanosomiasis, and dengue

    Invasion: when an army or country uses force to enter and take control of another


    Golden age: a period of time, sometimes imaginary, when everyone was happy, or

    when a particular art, business, etc. was very successful

    Exploration: when you search and find out about something; e,g. Livingstone was

    the first European to make an exploration of the Zambezi river (= to travel to it in

    order to discover more about it) .

    Mechanism: a way of doing something which is planned or part of a system

    Hardship: (something which causes) difficult or unpleasant conditions of life, or an

    example of this economic hardship



    On the eve of the outbreak of the First World War i.e. 1914, almost all the African

    countries had been conquered by European countries and put under a colonial

    rule system. Except two African nations, Liberia and Ethiopia escaped from

    this domination. From this time, Africans differently reacted to the European

    imperialism by developing a nationalistic spirit. Nationalism can be defined as the

    desire for Africans to end all forms of foreign control and influence so as to be able

    to take charge of their political, social and economic affairs. Before 1960 a big number

    of African countries were still under colonial control. However, by 1970 most of them

    had managed to recover their independence.


    Several factors contributed to the rise of African nationalism. These include

    the loss of independence to foreigners and the introduction of foreign systems

    of government, unfair colonial policies, settlement of large numbers of European

    settlers in different parts of Africa, emergence of the new super powers (USA

    and USSR), improved transport network and urbanization, colonial education,

    newspapers, influence of decolonization in Asia, example of Liberia and Ethiopia,

    the Pan -African Movement, Organization for African Unity, formation of political

    parties, contribution of African nationalists, religion, Harold Macmillan, Labour

    Party in Britain, and World Wars among others.


    On the other hand, after the colonial conquest of Africa, Africans became aware

    of the evils of colonization and began the struggle for independence. Different

    factors facilitated the rise of the African nationalism. These encompass the colonial

    education, the churches, ideas and expressions of support from individuals of African

    ancestry through the Pan-African movement, the exposure to the world through

    world wars, and, of course, the forum provided briefly by the League of Nations and

    later by the United Nations. The Christian church also served as the tools that the

    Africans used in the struggle for the liberation of their countries.


    In the aftermath of the Second World War, nationalist movements in Africa quickly

    gained momentum. This was largely due to the war itself, and its effects. Many

    thousands of Africans had fought in the Allied armies, expanding their outlook and

    their knowledge of international affairs; and the war had been to some extent an

    antiracist war - against the racist governments of the Axis powers. In addition, during

    this period many more Africans had by now received a kind of modern education

    and begun to take an interest in political matters.


    In many parts of Africa outstanding leaders arose such men as Kwame Nkrumah of

    the Gold Coast, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Sékou Touré of

    (French) Guinea, Houphouet- Boigny of Ivory Coast. Thus, between 1951 (Libya) and

    1980 (Zimbabwe) colonial Africa ceased to exist. All these leaders and many others

    that are not mentioned here played a crucial role in the political movements that

    helped their countries to recover independence.


    Key unit competence

    Analyse the causes of African nationalism, the means used to acquire independence

    in Africa and its impact on African societies.


    Learning objectives

    By the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    •             Analyze both internal and external causes of African nationalism and their


    •             Examine the means and mechanisms used by Africans in the process to regain

    their independence;

    •             Assess the steps taken by some African countries to regain independence of

    some countries;

    •             Examine the consequences of African nationalism with reference to Zambia

    and Ghana.


    Introductory activity

    Why most of the African states especially Zimbabwe, Kenya, Algeria, Angola,

    Mozambique and South Africa resorted to armed struggles after 1945 as

    compared to other forms of liberation?


    4.1. The causes of African nationalism


    Activity 4.1

    Explain in not more than 500 words the internal and external causes of African


    Nationalism can be defined as the desire for colonised people to end all forms

    of foreign control and influence so as to be able to  take charge of their political,

    social and economic affairs. Before 1960 most parts of Africa were still under

    colonial control. However, by 1970 most of the African states were independent

    from European colonialism. Several factors contributed to the rise of this African

    nationalism. The factors that gave birth to African nationalism are of two kinds;

    internal factors and external factors.


    4.1.1 Internal factors of African nationalism

    There are forces generated within African societies that brought about nationalism

    in Africa. These factors included:


    The loss of African independence to foreigners and the introduction of foreign

    systems of government frustrated some Africans and caused feelings of resistance

    among rulers and peoples of Africa.


    In the colonies the colonisers wanted to rebuild their ruined economies, which

    were heavily damaged by the Second World War. New measures to increase

    production and reduce the colonial masters’ expenditure on the colonies were put

    in place. These measures include land capturing to establish more plantations for

    the white settlers, forced labour to work on the colonial plantations as to increase

    the production. New taxes like gun tax, hut tax were introduced. Such exploitation

    awakened Africans to start fighting for their self-determination, thus, the rise of



    The increased numbers of European settlers in different parts of Africa was another

    factor which caused the growth of African nationalism. Large numbers of Africans

    were displaced from fertile lands in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa and

    other African countries. This land capturing forced peoples’ displacement and

    caused not only the destruction of African cultures, poverty, hunger and other forms

    of suffering but also exposed Africans to segregation. This settlement was another

    factor that caused the need to fight for political freedom and self-determination.

    The formation of peasant cooperative unions in rural areas to defend the interests

    and welfare of the farmers was another motivating factor for African awakening.


    Some associations were formed by the colonialists to speed up the production

    and the marketing of cash crops as well as sensitizing peasants about cultivation

    through their associations. But later on, nationalistic feelings developed through

    peasants’ associations and they later turned against the colonialists’ structures in

    rural areas. Some of these associations included The Kilimanjaro Cooperative Union,

    Victoria Cooperative and Buhaya Cooperative Union.

    During the colonial period, transport network and urbanisation were improved.

    This transport improvement led to concentration of population in mining centres,

    cash crops growing and processing areas, ports and cities which in turn caused

    urbanisation. Meanwhile, many people from different ethnic groups migrated

    to the towns and since they were from different backgrounds they shared

    their experiences. They realised that they suffered the same problems of racial

    discrimination, unemployment and poor living conditions. Consequently, they

    decided to unite and fight for their independence.


    Formation of independent churches contributed also to African nationalism. These

    churches were led by the Africans and had broken away from the main stream white

    churches. They challenged their misdeeds over the Africans by addressing not only

    religious but also social political and economic grievances of the Africans. Such

    churches included Joseph Ejayi church in West Africa, the Kikuyu Native church, the

    Watch tower church movement in Malawi in 1906, the African national church in

    Tanganyika, the People God and religion of Jesus in Kenya and United native church

    in Cameroon. Such churches openly criticized the colonialists and encouraged their

    followers to fight against them, thus, the rise of African nationalism.


    Rise of elites who had attained colonial education such as Nyerere in Tanganyika,

    Nkrumah in Ghana, Kamuzu Banda in Malawi and Abafemi Awolowo of Nigeria was

    another factor which contributed to the rise of African nationalism. This modern

    education helped educated Africans to get used to the whites’ language. As a

    result, African elites were exposed to various struggles and liberation movements

    outside Africa. Some elites benefited from their studies out of the continent. Their

    different experiences contributed to the rise of nationalism through the provision of

    leadership for nationalistic struggles.


    The role of mass media for example the newspapers like the Accra evening newspaper

    and Radio stations like Radio Cairo also played a major role. After World War II, there

    emerged a big number of African elites who founded a range of Radio stations and

    newspapers. The elites used these newspapers and radio stations to expose colonial

    exploitation and to mobilise the people for the nationalistic struggle.

    The presence of the independent states of Liberia and Ethiopia showed that it was

    possible for Africans to rule their own countries. Thus the example of Liberia and

    Ethiopia also influenced the rise of nationalistic movements in Africa.


    The formation of political parties also inspired African nationalism. They sensitised

    the colonised people about their human rights and especially the need for political

    independence. These political parties included Convention People’s Party (CPP) in

    Ghana, Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in Tanganyika, currently Tanzania.

    Linked to this was the work of the O.A.U. The O.A.U supported the liberation struggles

    by providing diplomatic and military support. The O.A.U liberation committee with

    headquarters in Dar-es–salaam under the leadership of Julius Nyerere inspired and

    supported nationalistic movements in Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, South Africa,

    and Zimbabwe among others.


    4.1.2 External factors of African nationalism

    There were some factors that motivated the rise of African nationalism but generated

    from outside Africa. Such forces included:


    The emergence of the new superpowers namely the USA and the Soviet Union

    which replaced Britain, France and Germany. The latter had failed to protect world

    peace. The new powers wanted to be free to pursue their trading interests in Africa.

    In addition the USA wanted to spread the ideology of capitalism while the Soviet

    Union wanted to extend communism. They therefore put pressure on colonial

    powers to free colonised people. Moreover, they supported liberation movements

    by providing for example scholarships for education. They also used their influence

    in the United Nations to call for independence of African colonies and this support

    encouraged the growth of nationalistic movements.


    The influence of decolonisation in Asia also played a big role in the growth of African

    nationalism. The independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 also encouraged

    Africans to struggle for their political independence. Particular importance was

    Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy of non violence. This strategy was borrowed by

    Nkrumah who called it positive action. It involved political campaigns, education,

    newspapers, boycotts and strikes. African nationalists decided to use this strategy

    for promoting nationalism.


    The Pan-African Movement also influenced African nationalism. The Pan-African

    Congresses which were held in the first half of the 20th century emphasised the need

    to promote the dignity of black people and liberate them from racial discrimination.

    They emphasised the idea of Africa for Africans. More particularly, the first Pan

    African Congress was held in Manchester in 1945. It was attended by key African

    figures like Kwame Nkrumah and Jomo Kenyatta.


    The congress resolved that Africans must organise liberation movements to free

    Africa from foreign control. This encouraged the rise of nationalistic movements.


    The returning ex soldiers who participated in the Second World War on the side

    of their colonial masters assisting them as porters and security guards of army

    camps. This participation brought awareness since these soldiers were exposed

    to western democracy, freedom, and liberation message. There are for instance

    some veterans like Dedan Kimathi who later became a leader of Mau-Mau in Kenya;

    Jonathan Okwiriri who became the president of the younger Kavirondo and formed

    movements that directly opposed the colonialists

    Figure 4.1 : The Tirailleurs Sénégalais


    Formation of the U.N which replaced the League of Nations where independent

    African states were allowed to participate as members. This institution became an

    organisation of all nations. The African and Asian nations through the UN opposed

    the colonialists and demanded for self-determination, unlike during the League of

    Nations where African colonies became mandatory colonies of European nations.

    The Bandung conference of April 17, 1955 where Asian and African nations like South

    Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and Libya met in Indonesia to discuss their problems

    which included colonialism and economic development and they emphasised

    solidarity. It was during this conference that Non Aligned Movement was formed.


    The Marshal plan was initiated by George Marshall the American Secretary of State,

    whereby he began giving loans to the war ruined European nations on condition that

    they should decolonise Africa and Asian nations, by granting them independence.

    The role of the Labour Party in Britain after 1945 was also important. The Second

    World War led to death, destruction of buildings and other property. As a result, the

    Conservative Party of Winston Churchill was replaced by the Labour Party led by

    Clement Atlee.


    The British Labour Party which assumed power in 1945, its policies were against

    colonialism. They viewed colonialism as oppression of humanity and wastage of

    British tax payers’ money, thus, such anti colonial sentiments in Britain made many

    nationalistic movements to agitate for their immediate independence.


    Maurice Harold Macmillan, the British Prime Minister (1957-1963), also played an

    important role. As a result of powerful nationalistic movements in Africa, on one

    of his visits to Africa he made the famous speech called The wind of change. He

    observed that a wind of change was sweeping through Africa and that colonial

    powers had to leave Africa to avoid fighting. This encouraged the African demand

    for independence.

    Figure 4.2 : Maurice Harold Macmillan

    Source: Transcript of the BBC‘s recording:



    The aftermath of the Second World War to the colonialists who incurred a lot of

    losses and could not continue spending on the colonies so they were forced to grant

    independence to some African states.


    Application activity 4.1

    1. Explain the role of World War I in the rise of African nationalism.

    2. Show how the Second World War influenced the African nationalism.

    3. Search on internet the Harold Macmillan’s speech The wind of change

    and explain his views on African nationalism.


    4.2. Means used by Africans to regain their independence

    When the colonial rule had been firmly established, Africans continued to exhibit

    many forms of disaffection and resistance. Because Africa had been sliced into

    different colonies, the resistance emerged and formed organisations to protest

    various elements of colonial rule. The protests were often based on the territory

    under one colonial power such as France, Britain or Germany.

    There were four types/methods that Africans applied in their struggles to liberate

    themselves from the colonial domination:


    4.2.1 Peaceful liberation

    Peaceful liberation involved intensive negotiation between the colonialists

    and African nationalists. For instance the political independence of Tanganyika,

    Ghana, Uganda and Zambia applied negotiation or peaceful means to get their




    4.2.2 Liberation by revolution

    The liberation by revolution involved complete overthrow of the existing political

    system. This existed in colonies where independence was given to the minority at

    the expenses of the majority; the case in point is in Zanzibar where the minority

    Arabs were granted independence by the British at the expense of the majority

    blacks which prompted them to make a revolution in 1964 supported by the masses.

    It took place even in Egypt and Libya. Liberation by revolution is always sudden and

    involves bloodshed.


    4.2.3 Liberation by armed struggle

    The struggle was conducted in the situation where peaceful means failed and the

    imperialists were reluctant to negotiate or to give independence to the Africans.

    In such a situation, the Africans picked up arms to fight against the imperialists by

    force as a method to achieve their independence. For example in Zimbabwe, Kenya,

    Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique the fight involved bloodshed and the

    use of guerrilla warfare.


    4.2.4 Combination of peaceful means and armed struggle

    In some countries, the liberation movements combined both peaceful means

    and armed struggle. Firstly, the Africans resorted to armed struggles as a way to

    achieve their independence and then applied dialogue/peaceful means to solve the

    problems of their independence. This situation happened in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

    Since it was virtually impossible for Africans to organise on a country-wide basis,

    regional or ethnic organisations became the most practical options. Because the

    coloniser was European and the colonised was African, such organisations were

    seen, particularly by outsiders, almost entirely in racial terms. It served the colonial

    powers’ interests. Colonisers exploited the situation by playing ethnic groups

    against one another. In addition they considered the more militant or outspoken

    organisations as anti-white.

    4.2.5 Independence movements

    African nationalism was not quite like that of Europe because there were no states

    like those in Europe when colonisation occurred. There are, however, many African

    groups with strong historical and social identities comparable to the ethnic and

    national groups of Europe. When colonial authorities drew boundaries, they did

    not pay any regard to the actual distributions of the various national peoples

    and ethnic communities; thus, the geographical entities that had been drawn to

    the convenience of the Europeans contained diversities of peoples. Ethnically

    homogeneous colonies were rare. However, diverse African groups governed by

    one colonial authority were able through their leaders to forge a sense of belonging

    to that geographical entity.


    Channels of African nationalism

    In political terms, African nationalism began to assert itself primarily after World

    War II. Organisations through which nationalism was channelled were varied and

    heterogeneous. There were groups like:


    •             The professional groups, consisting of lawyers, doctors, Teachers, clerks,

    and small merchants who tended to be allied with wealthy merchants and

    contractors; or, in Marxian terms, the petty bourgeoisie who were impatient

    with the status quo and eager to have the system transformed so that they

    could better themselves and perhaps help others as well;


    •             The colonial bureaucracy, including Westernized Africans who were the

    immediate beneficiaries of the “Africanisation” of top government positions

    when independence came;


    •             The urban workers, small shopkeepers, petty traders, and hawkers interested

    in improving their wages and working conditions through trade unions (some

    of which were affiliated with emerging political parties, while others were not)

    and who made up the “informal sector” of colonial economies;


    •             The cash crop and peasant farmers, some of whom were wealthy, and all of

    whom constituted to a powerful and important segment of Africans; peasant

    farmers toiled on their small farms in the countryside and grew most of the

    food eaten in the country. Peasant concerns had to do with agriculture; they

    protested policies that controlled the market prices of their produce in urban

    markets, restricted ownership of cattle, or charged exorbitant fees for cattle



    African nationalism was, therefore, composed of a number of different elements,

    representing sometimes interrelated, but often divergent, economic interests,

    which temporarily united Africans in an anti-colonial ‘struggle’. The nationalistic

    struggles were waged, in part, by religious associations, trade unions, and welfare

    organisations, as well as by political parties.


    Trade unions and welfare associations were formed as towns and began to grow,

    particularly after the World War II, and the Africans in urban areas began to form

    associations to assist new arrivals from the rural areas with accommodations, jobs,

    and a supportive network of individuals from “home.”


    Although the vast majority of African states achieved independence peacefully

    through negotiation, it nevertheless makes a lot of sense to refer to the process

    of transition from colonialism to independence as a struggle. Africans were never

    simply asked: When do you wish to become independent? They had to demand for

    their independence; they had to agitate for it. Many “agitators” went to jail; some of

    them were banished from their own countries for long periods of time. It used to

    be said that the surest path to becoming the prime minister of an English-speaking

    African country was through jail. Indeed, African leaders such as Kenyatta (Kenya),

    Nkrumah (Ghana) and Banda (Malawi) served time in colonial jails before they

    became leaders of their own countries.


    Many factors mediated the struggle for independence: colonial education, the

    churches, ideas and expressions of support from individuals of African ancestry

    through the Pan African Movement, the exposure to the world through world wars,

    and, of course, the forum provided briefly by the League of Nations and later the

    United Nations. It is interesting that the Christian church and colonial education,

    the pivotal tools in the Europeans’ “civilizing missions” in Africa, also inadvertently

    became the tools that the Africans used in fighting for freedom. Despite the

    atomizing impact of the divide-and-rule policies employed by colonial authorities,

    it is remarkable indeed that African people were able to wage fairly unified



    Application activity 4.2

    1. Discuss the factors that determined the way used by African countries

    to gain their independence.

    2. Describe the factors that mediated the African struggle for


    3. Discuss the different forms of liberation used by African countries to

    gain independence.



    4.3. Process followed by African countries to regain independence


    The process of decolonization or national liberation was fundamental in Africa

    because it allowed African states to regain their independence. African nationalism

    can be traced back to the period of African resistance and colonial expansion. It

    also dates back to the imposition of colonial rule. But later, the intensification of

    exploitation stimulated the nationalistic struggles. The struggles evolved in different

    ways in different parts of Africa.


    4.3.1 North Africa and French colonies

    The first moves occurred in the north. After their withdrawal from South-East Asia,

    the French were faced with nationalistic unrests in Morocco and Tunisia which they

    were unable to subdue, and both were granted independence in 1956 whereas the

    British had left Sudan which became an independent nation in 1955. The greatest

    blow to France to be discussed later, though, was a Moslem revolt in Algeria, regarded

    as part of France, and where there were over a million European settlers.


    Meanwhile France had launched in 1958, a Community of African nations to include

    all the remaining French territories in Africa. De Gaulle had probably hoped that

    Algeria would fit into this. In the Community each state had to be self-governing,

    but closely linked to France in foreign, strategic, financial and economic affairs.

    The following countries became members: Senegal, Gabon, Chad, Congo, Central

    African Republic, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Benin (Dahomey),

    and Malagasy (Madagascar). Guinea did not join and became independent.


    Two years later all members of the Community became fully independent where

    upon six of them withdrew from the Community (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Upper

    Volta, Ivory Coast and Benin). The organs of the government in the Community later

    dropped into suspense, but the French influence remained dominant.


    The ex-mandates Togo and Cameroon also became independent in 1960 and

    remained territories associated with the Community. French Somaliland became a

    “territory associated with France” and fully independent as the Republic of Djibouti

    in 1977. In all these ex-French African states, except those in North Africa, French is

    still an official language and it is also much spoken in ex-French North Africa.

    Figure 4.3: Colonial Africa



    4.3.2 British African colonies

    The first African state to gain independence was the British colony, the Gold Coast,

    which became independent as Ghana in 1957 under the leadership of Nkrumah (and

    the British part of Togo mandate was added to Ghana). The other British possessions

    in West Africa (Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia) followed between 1960 and

    1965. Gambia took the name “The Gambia” after the independence. Progress

    towards self-government and eventual full independence was probably smoother

    in those West African states where there were few white settlers than it was in some

    of the climatically more salubrious territories in East Africa.

    In fact, in East Africa there were significant numbers of Europeans and Asians who

    were apprehensive of their future under African rule. For instance, in Kenya there

    were some 40,000-50,000 whites, about the same number of Arabs, and nearly

    200,000 Indians or Pakistanis who had originally been imported for work on railway



    Nevertheless, between 1960 and 1964 independence was granted to all the British

    possessions in East Africa: British Somaliland (which was united with ex-Italian

    Somaliland to form the new state of Somalia), Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, and

    Zambia. In Kenya Britain had been confronted during most of the 1950s by the Mau

    Mau, a Kikuyu secret society expressing resentment against the European settlers

    and against the restrictions on allotment of land to Africans.

    In South Africa the British protectorate of Bechuanaland became independent

    Botswana in 1966; and two other tribal territories (Basutoland and Swaziland) which

    were surrounded by the Union of South Africa and had become British protectorates

    in 1868 and 1902 respectively, also gained independence, Basutoland (as Lesotho)

    in 1966, Swaziland in 1968. In 1960 the Union of South Africa became a republic,

    and in 1961 withdrew from the British Commonwealth. The former British colonies

    and protectorates Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Tanzania, Uganda,

    Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland all remained in the

    Commonwealth. The situation in Southern Rhodesia was more difficult. Britain’s plans

    for her independence with majority rule (in effect African rule) were bitterly opposed

    by most of the ¼ million or so white settlers. Failing to reach any agreement on the

    question, the white Rhodesians in 1965 declared Rhodesia to be an independent

    Dominion, within the Commonwealth. Negotiations and discussions - and internal

    troubles - continued for 15 years, until in 1980 Rhodesia became the independent

    African nation Zimbabwe and staying in the British Commonwealth. The remaining

    territory in southern Africa, South West Africa or Namibia, was still administered by

    South Africa, whichwould like to incorporate it into the republic against the ruling

    of the United Nations until the end of apartheid in 1990.

    4.3.3 Belgian African Colonies

    Belgian control of their African possessions, the Belgian Congo and Ruanda-Urundi,

    ended in chaos, violence and civil war. The Belgians thought that the best way to

    preserve their control was by denying the Africans any advanced education –this

    would prevent them from coming into contact with nationalist ideas and deprive

    them of an educated professional class who could lead them to independence;

    and using tribal rivalries to their advantage by playing off different tribes against

    each other. This strategy worked well in the huge Congo which contained about

    in 150 tribes and in Ruanda-Urundi between Hutu and Tutsi. In spite of all these

    efforts, nationalist ideas still began to filter in from neighbouring French and British

    colonies. The Congo Free State became independent as Zaïre in 1960.

    Rwanda and Burundi were detached from it, and became separate states in 1962.


    4.3.4 Portuguese colonies

    The main Portuguese possessions were in Africa the two large areas, Angola

    and Mozambique, and a small colony of Portuguese, Guinea. The Portuguese

    government ignored nationalist developments in the rest of Africa, and for many

    years after 1945 the Portuguese were reluctant to give up their African empire. By

    1960 the nationalists were greatly encouraged by the large number of other African

    states winning independence and fighting broke out first in Angola in 1961 where

    Agostinho Neto’s MPLA (People’s Movement for Angolan Liberation), was the main

    nationalist movement.

    Violence soon spread to Guinea where Amilcar Cabral led the resistance, and to

    Mozambique, where the Frente de Libertaçao de Moçambique (FRELIMO), or the

    Mozambique Liberation Front guerrillas were organised by Eduardo Mondlane. The

    Portuguese army found it impossible to suppress the nationalistic guerrillas; the

    troops became demoralized and the cost scaled until by 1973 the government was

    spending 40% of its budget fighting three colonial wars at once. Still the Portuguese

    government refused to abandon its policy; but public opinion and many army

    officers were tired of the wars, and in 1974 the Salazar dictatorship was overthrown

    by a military coup.

    In 1974-75 Portugal abandoned the struggle, and all three colonies became

    independent. Guinea took the name of Guinea-Bissau (September 1974) and Angola

    and Mozambique became independent the following year.


    4.3.5 Spanish colonies

    Spain owned some areas in Africa; the largest was Spanish Sahara, and there were

    also the small colonies of Spanish Morocco, Ifni and Spanish Guinea. General Franco

    who ruled Spain from 1939 until 1975 showed little interest in the colonies.

     When nationalistic movements developed he did not resist for a long time in the

    case of Spanish Morocco when French gave independence to French Morocco in

    1956. Franco followed suit and Spanish Morocco became part of Morocco. The other

    two small colonies had to wait much longer. Ifni was allowed to join Morocco, but

    not until 1969, and Guinea became independent as Equatorial Guinea in 1968.

    In Spanish Sahara General Franco resisted even longer, because it was a valuable

    source of phosphates. Only after Franco’s death in 1975 did the new Spanish

    government agree to release Sahara. But instead of making it into an independent

    state ruled by its nationalist party, the Polisario Front, it was decided to divide it

    between its two neighbouring states, Morocco and Mauritania


    Figure: 4.4: African national independence. Featuring the dates of independence of each nation


    Table 1: The dates of independence of African countries


    Source: Birmingham, D. (1995).

    4.3.6 Case studies of steps to regain independence

    •             Decolonisation of Ghana

    The movement towards the independence of India in 1947 heralded the break-up

    of the British Empire. Self-government for Africans could not be far behind. In British

    West Africa the movement towards independence was led by the colony of Gold

    Coast, soon to become the independent state of Ghana. In 1946 the British revised

    the Gold Coast constitution, establishing an African majority in the Legislative

    Council. Most of the African representatives, however, were nominated by the

    country’s chiefs. Though committed to the development of African self-government,

    the British still believed this could be done by the gradual reform of the existing

    system of ‘indirect rule’. This excluded the small but influential body of educated

    Africans who were determined to win a greater share in government.

    In 1947 a number of prosperous businessmen and lawyers from Accra and other

    coastal towns formed the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC). They wanted the

    revision of the 1946 constitution to increase the number of elected rather than

    nominated African members of government. Kwame Nkrumah, a former teacher

    from southern Gold Coast was invited to become secretary of the new party.

    Nkrumah had recently returned from some years of higher education in the United

    States, where he had been inspired by the ideas of the radical Pan-Africanist Marcus

    Garvey. Nkrumah saw this as the chance to fulfil the aims of the Pan African Congress

    of 1945 which he had attended in Manchester.


    In February 1948 an event occurred in Accra which quickened the whole rhythm of

    events. Police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration by African ex-servicemen

    protesting at the rapidly rising cost of living. The shooting prompted widespread

    rioting in Accra, Kumasi and other towns. The government suspected that UGCC

    was behind the disturbances. Nkrumah and leading members of the party were

    arrested and held in prison for several months. The extent of disturbances prompted

    the British government into reviewing the constitution of 1946. This in turn

    demonstrated to Nkrumah the power of mass action. Following his release from

    prison, Nkrumah founded his own, more radical, Convention People’s Party (CPP).

    He pursued a vigorous drive for widespread mass membership with the attractive

    demand of immediate independence. He called for a campaign of ‘Positive Action’

    in support of these demands and a wave of demonstrations and strikes swept the

    country. Nkrumah was promptly re-arrested for subversion. His tactics, however,

    proved successful.


    The British revised the 1946 constitution, bringing in a larger, African dominated

    Legislative Council. In elections held in 1951 the CPP won a clear majority and

    Nkrumah was released from prison to become leader of government business in


    The 1951 constitution, however, still reserved half the parliamentary seats for chiefly

    nominees. Nkrumah spent the next three years negotiating with the Governor, ArdenClarke, for a new constitution which brought fully-elected, internal self-government

    to the territory in 1954. CPP won the new round of elections and Nkrumah became

    prime minister.

    Figure 4.5 : Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), first Prime Minister and later President of Ghana



    Gold Coast became independent as the new state of Ghana in March 1957. Ghana

    set the pattern for transition to independence in the rest of British West Africa.

    Once Ghana had achieved her independence, Nkrumah focused on helping

    other African countries to liberate themselves from colonial rule. He said “Our

    independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the

    African continent”. Ghana’s independence gave hope and encouragement to other

    nationalist leaders involved in struggles to free their own nations.

    Figure 4.6: Map of Gold Coast/Ghana



    •             Decolonization of South Africa

    The Union of South Africa, established on May 31, 1910, as a self-governing state

    within the British Empire, legislatively restricted political and property rights to

    whites at the expense of blacks. With the exception of a very small number of voters

    in the Cape Province and Natal, Africans were kept off electoral roll throughout

    most of the country.


    Nationalist movements

    Two nationalist movements emerged in the aftermath of the formation of the

    Union, one racially and ethnically exclusivist, the other much more disparate in its

    membership and aims; the Afrikaner nationalist movement, and the Black Nationalist

    movement, led primarily by the African National Congress (ANC, formed in 1912).

    Afrikaner nationalists spoke of themselves as a chosen people, ordained by God

    to rule South Africa. They established their own cultural organisations and secret

    societies, and they argued that South Africa should be ruled in the interests of

    Afrikaners, rather than English businessmen or African workers. Throughout the

    1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, the Afrikaner nationalist movement grew in popularity,

    fuelled by fears of black competition for jobs, by antipathy toward the Englishspeaking mine magnates, by the memory of past suffering, and by the impact of

    World War II (especially massive black urbanization).


    The Black Nationalist movement had no such success. For most blacks, lack

    of access to the vote meant that they could not organise an effective political

    party. Instead they had to rely on appeals, deputations, and petitions to the British

    government asking for equal treatment before the law. The British responded by

    pointing out that South Africa was now self-governing and that the petitioners

    had to make their case to the local white rulers. Although Africans, Asians, and

    coloureds shared common grievances, they were not united in their organisations

    or their aims. Physically separated and legally differentiated in practically every

    aspect of their lives, they formed separate organisations to represent their interests.

    Moreover, their leaders, with few exceptions, adopted accommodationist rather

    than confrontational tactics in dealing with the state. Failing to gain any real

    concessions from increasingly hard-line governments, none of the black political

    movements succeeded in building a solid mass following. Even the ANC had a

    membership of only a few thousand (out of an African population of about 8 million)

    in 1948.




    The ideology of apartheid and its demise

    With the introduction of apartheid, the National Party (NP) extended and systematized

    many of the features of entrenched racial discrimination into a state policy of white

    supremacy. Every person resident in South Africa was legally assigned, largely on

    the basis of appearance, to one racial group-white, African, coloured, or Asian. South

    Africa was proclaimed to be a white man’s country in which members of other racial

    groups would never receive full political rights. Africans were told that eventually

    they would achieve political independence in perhaps nine or ten homelands,

    carved out of the minuscule rural areas already allocated to them, areas that even

    a government commission in the 1950s had deemed totally inadequate to support

    the black population.

    Figure 4.7: Racial segregation in South Africa



    Coloureds and Asians, too, were to be excluded from South African politics. By

    law, all races were to have separate living areas and separate amenities. Education

    was to be provided according to the roles that people were expected to play in

    society. In that regard, Hendrik F. Verwoerd, the leading ideologue of apartheid and

    prime minister of South Africa from 1958 until his assassination in 1966, stated that

    Africans would be “making a big mistake” if they thought that they would live an

    adult life under a policy of equal rights.” According to Verwoerd, there was no place

    for Africans “in the European community” (by which he meant South Africa) above

    the level of certain forms of labour.

    Figure 4.8: Hendrik Verwoed


    During the 1960s, the implementation of apartheid and the repression of internal

    opposition continued despite growing world criticism of South Africa’s racially

    discriminatory policies and police violence. Thousands of Africans, coloureds and

    Asians (ultimately numbering about 3.5 million by the 1980s) were removed from

    white areas into the land set aside for other racial groups. Some of these areas,

    called black homelands, were ready for independence, even though they lacked

    the physical cohesiveness. The ANC and the PAC, banned from operating within

    South Africa, turned to violence in their struggle against apartheid-the former

    organisation adopting a policy of bombing strategic targets such as police stations

    and power plants, the latter engaging in a program of terror against African chiefs

    and headmen, who were seen as collaborators with the government.


    Verwoerd’s government crushed this internal opposition. Leaders of the ANC and

    PAC within South Africa were tracked down, arrested, and charged with treason.

    Nelson Mandela was sentenced in 1964 to imprisonment for life. Oliver Tambo had

    already fled the country and led the ANC in exile.



    Figure 4.9: South African nationalists who fought against Apartheid rule in South Africa


    In 1974 a revolutionary movement overthrew the Portuguese dictatorship in Lisbon,

    and the former colonial territories of  Angola  and Mozambique  demanded

    independence from Portugal. Their liberation movements-turned-Marxist

    governments were committed to the eradication of colonialism and racial

    discrimination throughout southern Africa. Following the 1980 independence

    of Zimbabwe, a nation now led by a socialist government opposed to apartheid,

    South Africa found itself surrounded by countries hostile to its policies and ready

    to give refuge to the exiled forces of the ANC and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).

    Internal and external opposition to apartheid was fuelled in 1976 when the Soweto

    uprising began with the protests of high-school students against the enforced use

    of Afrikaans. This language was viewed by many Africans as the oppressor’s medium

    of communication.


    The protests led to weeks of demonstrations, marches, and boycotts throughout

    South Africa. Violent clashes with police left more than 500 people dead, several

    thousand arrested, and thousands more seeking refuge outside South Africa, many

    with the exiled forces of the ANC and the PAC.

    Figure 4.10 : The Soweto Youth uprising, June 1976




    In the early 1980s, NP reformers struggled with the basic structure of apartheid.

    Concerned about demographic trends, Prime Minister  Peter Willem Botha  led his

    government in implementing a new constitutional arrangement. This constitution

    embraced the concept of multiracial government but, at the same time, perpetuated

    the concept of racial separation. The new constitution established three racially

    segregated houses of parliament, for whites, Asians, and coloureds, but excluded

    blacks from full citizenship. Botha and his allies hoped that such a change would

    bolster NP support among coloureds and Asians, and thereby give the party enough

    numerical strength to counter growing dissent.


    The constitution implemented in 1984 only inflamed further opposition to

    apartheid. It was denounced inside and outside South Africa as anachronistic and

    reactionary. Opponents argued that by further institutionalizing the exclusion of the

    majority black population, the new constitution only extended apartheid and did

    not undercut it in any significant way.


    Within South Africa, protests against apartheid far exceeded earlier levels of

    opposition. In many black townships, police stations and other government buildings

    were destroyed, along with the homes of black policemen and town councillors,

    who were denounced as collaborators with the apartheid regime.

    Newly legalised black trade unions took a leading role in the opposition, particularly

    by organising strikes that combined economic and political complaints. The number

    of work days lost to strikes soared to more than 5.8 million in 1987. Armed members

    of the ANC and PAC infiltrated South Africa’s borders from their bases in Angola,

    Mozambique, and Zimbabwe and carried out a campaign of urban terror. With

    South Africa on the verge of civil war, the government imposed a series of states

    of emergency, used the police and the army against opponents of apartheid, and

    dispatched military forces on armed raids into neighbouring countries.


    Although the government’s repressive actions strengthened state control in

    the short term, they did not go as planned in the long run. Police repression and

    brutality in South Africa and military adventures elsewhere in southern Africa, only

    heightened South Africa’s pariah status in world politics. As events in the country

    grabbed world headlines and politicians across the globe denounced apartheid,

    the costs for South Africa of such widespread condemnation were difficult to bear.

    Foreign investors withdrew; international banks called off their loans; the value of

    South African currency collapsed; the price of gold decreased; economic output

    declined; and inflation became chronic.


    In the face of such developments, it was clear to most South African businessmen,

    and to a majority of NP party leaders, that apartheid itself had to undergo substantial

    reform if economic prosperity and political stability were to be regained. In 1989

    a stroke precipitated Botha’s resignation, and he was succeeded by F. W. de Klerk,

    formerly a hard-line supporter of apartheid.


    Figure 4.11 : F.W. de Klerk



    De Klerk moved faster and farther to reform apartheid than any Afrikaner politician

    had done before him, although in many instances it seemed that events rather than

    individuals were forcing the pace and scale of change. De Klerk released Nelson

    Mandela from twenty-seven years of imprisonment in February 1990, and rescinded

    the banning orders on the ANC, the PAC, the SACP, and other previously illegal



    With this achievement, from the end of 1991 onwards, government negotiators met

    regularly with representatives from other political organisations to discuss ways in

    which some form of democracy could be introduced and the remaining structures

    of apartheid dismantled. People involved in the negotiations called their forum the

    Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA).


    The members of CODESA sped up the pace of negotiations and plans to implement

    the interim constitution. South Africa was to have a federal system of regional

    legislatures, equal voting rights regardless of race, and a bicameral legislature headed

    by an executive president. The negotiators also agreed that the government elected

    in 1994 would serve for five years, and that a constitutional convention, sitting from

    1994 onwards and seeking input from all South Africans, would be responsible for

    drawing up a final constitution to be implemented in 1999.


    The election in April 1994 was viewed by most participants as a remarkable success.

    Although several parties, especially the IFP, had threatened to boycott the election,

    in the end no significant groups refused to participate. The ANC won nearly 62.6%

    of the vote, but it did not get the two-thirds majority needed to change unilaterally

    the interim constitution, and it therefore had to work with other parties to shape

    the permanent constitution. The NP, as expected, no longer led the government,

    but it did succeed in winning the second largest share of votes, with 20.4%. The IFP

    did not do well nationally, but with a much stronger base of support in KwaZuluNatal than most commentators expected. It came in third, with 10.5 percent, and

    won for Buthelezi control of the provincial government. The Freedom Front, a rightof-centre, almost exclusively white party led by former members of the security

    establishment, got 2.2% of the votes; the PAC, appealing solely for the support

    of blacks, won 1.2%. On May 9, 1994, Nelson Mandela was unanimously elected

    president by the National Assembly, with Thabo Mbeki, deputy leader of the ANC

    and Mandela’s likely successor, and F.W. de Klerk named deputy presidents. South

    Africa had made a peaceful political transition from an apartheid police state to a

    democratic republic.


    The role of women in the struggle against Apartheid


    As in most societies, there is no doubt that the top leadership in organisations in

    southern Africa opposing apartheid  and racism has been held by men. However,

    especially in South Africa, women have frequently been the ones to raise the primary

    issues and to organise and involve the people around those issues.

    In almost all cases, women were first brought into the struggle when they saw the

    attempt by the Government to destroy their family structure and with it the basic

    fabric of their respective societies.


    Thus, in South Africa, women reacted most vigorously to the introduction of passes

    in the 1950s and the consequent restrictions on families; to the mass killings of their

    children two decades later in Soweto; and to the attempt to destroy urban family life

    as epitomised by Crossroads.


    In South Africa, women were very active in trade unions and women’s federations.

    Participation in political parties was not meaningful since African voting rights were

    virtually non-existent. The Black Consciousness Movement was a major activity

    centre in the 1970s.


    That the women have had a significant impact in southern Africa is beyond question.

    Women have participated in ever-increasing numbers both within their countries

    and in exile, always at risk to themselves and to the groups they represent. The level

    of risk is reflected in the severity of government repression against women. In South

    Africa, one can hardly think of a prominent organiser who has not been detained,

    banned or imprisoned. By eliminating the leadership, the authorities destroyed the

    Federation of South African Women. When this tactic did not work with the Black

    Women’s Federation, it banned the entire group.


    In South Africa, the women won the early anti-pass campaign; they achieved a

    roll-back of bus fares and apparently saved Crossroads. They did not end “Bantu

    education” and have had to accept passes even though they withstood the final

    imposition for 11 years. However, in the light of all the odds against them in those

    major campaigns, it would have to be concluded that, on balance, the women did

    make an effective contribution to the struggle for liberation.

    The women of southern Africa increasingly attracted the attention and solidarity of

    women and men internationally. The importance of solidarity had been expressed

    by Winnie Mandela:


    Over the past fifteen years, when I was confined and restricted. I got my inspiration from

    the very knowledge… that the struggle is an international struggle for the dignity of

    man… just that knowledge alone that we belong to a family of man in a society where

    we have been completely rejected by a minority this alone sustains you.


    Mrs. Mandela also said:

    It is only when all black groups join hands and speak with one voice that we shall be a

    bargaining force which will decide its own destiny.…We know what we want.…We are

    not asking for majority rule; it is our right, we shall have it at any cost. We are aware that

    the road before us is uphill, but we shall fight to the bitter end for justice.


    •             Decolonisation of Kenya

    The road to independence began in the 1950s with the Mau Mau Rebellion. The

    Mau Mau movement was a militant African nationalist group that opposed British

    colonial rule and its exploitation of the native population. Mau Mau members, made

    up primarily of Kikuyu (the largest ethnic group in Kenya), carried out violent attacks

    against colonial leaders and white settlers.


    In 1951, Kenyatta was arrested and imprisoned by the British for being a leading

    light in the Mau Mau movement. With his detention Mau Mau expanded. In October

    1952, the British declared a state of emergency, which continued until 1960. The

    State of Emergency was in response to an increase in attacks on the property and

    persons of white settlers, as well as African chiefs who were seen as collaborators.

    During the state of emergency, a number of Mau Mau operatives, including Kenyatta

    and Achieng Aneko were arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison.


    The Mau Mau uprising also marked a turning point in the struggle for independence.

    Kikuyu resistance to European colonisation was well established before the Second

    World War. The Kikuyu Central Association was active in the 1930s under Jomo

    Kenyatta  who campaigned energetically for the Kikuyu in Europe. There was also

    an increase in oath taking. This was a ceremony, affirming loyalty to the Mau Mau

    cause and war against the Europeans. About 2,000 Kikuyu were killed by Mau Mau

    fighters for refusing to take the oath.


    The number of original Mau Mau fighters was hugely increased by Kikuyu squatters

    who were expelled from European land after 1952. The main military leaders were

    Dedan Kimathi and Warihu Itote, also known as General China. Dedan Kimathi was

    captured and executed in 1956. General China was eventually released.

    Between 1952 and 1956, the British defeated the Mau Mau through a brutal campaign

    of military action and widespread detention of the Kikuyu. However, the Mau Mau

    Rebellion also persuaded the British that social, political and agrarian reforms were


    Figure 4.12: British soldiers guarding young Kenyans during Mau Mau uprising in Kenya


    In 1957, the British allowed for the first direct elections of native leaders to the

    Legislative Council and by 1960, Africans were a majority in the council. Over the next

    several years, the British worked with African and white settler leaders to plan the

    country’s transition to independence. These conferences produced a constitution

    in 1963 that provided for the creation of a bicameral legislature with elections held

    that May.


    The Kenya African National Union won majorities in both houses and selected its

    leader, Kenyatta, who had been released from prison in 1961, to be the first prime

    minister of the new nation. Kenyatta was not released until 1961 but the Kenyan

    African National Union (KANU) had voted him as their President while he was still in


    Figure 4.13 : Jomo Kenyatta


    The other main party to emerge in the run up to independence was the Kenyan

    African Democratic Union (KADU). In the event, KANU gained a majority in the

    Legislative Assembly and Jomo Kenyatta led Kenya to independence on December

    12, 1963.


    •             Decolonisation of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

    By 1959, the Congo (now DRC) was producing about 9% of the world’s copper, 6.5%

    of the tin, 49% of the cobalt, 69% of the world’s industrial diamonds. 53 million

    pounds worth of palm oil, cotton and coffee were exported from the country. By

    this time, the Belgian government had little oversight over the colony’s affairs.

    The colony was governed by a handful of Belgian officials, church leaders and

    businessmen who were rarely inspected. However, it was the Africans who were

    making this the wealthiest colony in Africa at the time. Every male was required to

    provide sixty days of free labour to the state’s efforts.

    Figure 4.14: Map of the Democratic Republic of Congo


    Nine days before the Belgians were set to announce reforms, violence broke out in

    Leopoldville. The rioters looted and burned property and attacked Belgians. After

    the riot cooled down, about 49 Congolese were dead and 241 had been wounded.

    The administration announced reforms in 1959 and more natives would be allowed

    in the advisory councils. By November of that year, about 120 parties had registered

    to participate in the election, including Patrice Lumumba’s Mouvement National

    Congolais (MNC) which promoted nationalism. However, the December elections

    were boycotted in many parts of the country.


    In May 1960 in a growing nationalist movement, Lumumba’s MNC won the most

    number of seats: 33. The party formed a weak coalition with 12 other parties and at

    the age of 35, Lumumba became the Congo’s first Prime Minister. The parliament

    elected Joseph Kasavubu, of the Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO) party as President.

    Other parties that emerged included the Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA) led by Antoine

    Gizenga, and the Parti National du Peuple (PNP) led by Albert Delvaux and Laurent


    Figure 4.15. African nationalists who struggled for the independence of DRC



    The Belgian government convened a round table conference in January 1960 and

    invited 96 Congolese delegates from 13 political groups. On January 27, 1960

    Belgium agreed to declare independence for the Congo and on June 30, 1960, the

    Congo became independent under the name “Republic of Congo’’or ‘‘Republic of

    the Congo’ ‘(République du Congo).


    Even during the Independence Day celebrations, King Baudouin of Belgium gave a

    speech praising Belgian colonisers especially Leopold II. In response Lumumba gave

    a nationalistic speech that described the humiliations the Congolese suffered under

    Belgian rule. The Belgians were deeply insulted by the speech.


    Barely a week after Independence, great discontent began simmering in the army

    and the Africans demanded higher pay from Congolese leadership. On July 6, 1960,

    Lumumba dismissed the Belgian leadership in the army and Victor Lundula was

    appointed army commander while Joseph Mobutu was selected as Chief of Staff.

    Mobutu had also been Lumumba’s private secretary.

    Shortly after independence, the provinces of Katanga (led by Moise Tshombe) and

    South Kasai engaged in secessionist struggles against the new leadership. Most

    of the 100,000 Europeans who had remained behind after independence fled

    the country, opening the way for Congolese to replace the European military and

    administrative elite.

    On September 5, 1960, Kasavubu dismissed Lumumba from office. Lumumba

    declared Kasavubu’s action ‘‘unconstitutional “and a crisis between the two leaders

    developed. Lumumba had previously appointed Joseph Mobutu chief of staff of the

    new Congo army. Taking advantage of the leadership crisis between Kasavubu and

    Lumumba, Mobutu garnered enough support within the army to create mutiny.

    With financial support from the United States and Belgium, Mobutu paid his soldiers

    privately. The aversion of Western powers to communism and leftist ideology

    influenced their decision to finance Mobutu’s quest to maintain ‘‘order’’ in the new

    state by neutralizing Kasavubu and Lumumba in a coup by proxy.

    On January 17, 1961, Katangan forces and Belgian paratroops, supported by the

    United States and Belgium’ s intent on copper and diamond mines in Katanga and

    South Kasai, kidnapped and executed Patrice Lumumba.

    The Katanga secession was ended in January 1963 with the assistance of UN forces.

    Several short-lived governments, of Joseph Ileo, Cyrille Adoua, and Moise Tshombe,

    took over in quick succession.


    •             Decolonisation in Zambia (1944-1964)

    The colonisation of modern day Zambia began in the 1890s, when the Lozi chief

    Lewanika was obliged to sign a concession that gave the British South Africa

    Company an excuse to invade their land. Upon obtaining this concession the British

    South Africa Company began exploiting mining copper. In addition they sold land

    to British farmers, sometimes for as little as 10 cents a hectare in order to encourage

    more European settlers. However, in 1924 the British South Africa Company gave

    up control over Northern Rhodesia. Thereafter, it was administered by the British



    The copper mines developed in what is now known as the Copper belt created

    huge profits that were sent overseas. In order to develop an abundant workforce

    for the mines, the colonial government would charge taxes and prevent the local

    farmers from the ability to sell cattle and crops on the European market.


    In addition, the colonial government created reserves where they placed all farmers

    who had been removed from fertile land. Most of the reserves were overcrowded

    and the locals could not produce enough to feed their families. As a result, local

    farmers were forced to become low paid workers in the Copper belt in Zambia and

    in the mines in South Africa.


    In 1936, workers in the Copper belt went on strike to protest against low wages and

    brutal work conditions. However, the colonialists retaliated and killed 17 strikers and

    wounded 70. As a result of this incident, workers in the Copper belt formed a union

    called the African Mine Workers Union. This union was responsible for organising

    strikes in 1952 and 1955 which led to an increase in wages.


    However, due to growing discontent over the colonial system of government,

    nationalistic movements began to emerge. The Northern Rhodesian African Congress

    (NRAC) demanded an end to racial discrimination and more rights for educated

    Africans. This party was formed by mostly missionary educated middle class who

    were not concerned by the plight of the farmers or miners. Thereafter, in 1951 white

    settlers proposed the formation of a federation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia

    and Nyasaland. After this idea, the NRAC changed its name to the African National

    Congress (ANC) and elected Harry Nkumbula as its leader. All nationalists in the

    three countries opposed the plan of federation because they viewed it as another

    way for white settlers to cement their power over natives. Despite this opposition,

    the federation was formed in 1953.

    Figure 4.15 : Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland

    The federation benefited mostly Southern Rhodesia and mine owners but it inspired

    the ANC in Northern Rhodesia workers unions to organise strikes and boycotts of

    white owned stores and government agencies. To appease this growing discontent,

    the white settlers offered preferential treatment to educated middle class Africans

    by offering them better access to jobs. This led to disunity among the nationalists.

    Leaders like Nkumbula were more willing to concede to the compromise which led

    to the formation of the Zambia African National Congress (ZANC) with Kenneth

    Kaunda as President and Simon Kapwepwe as Treasurer-General.

    Figure 4.16:African nationalists who struggled for the independence of Zambia


    Zambian nationalism suffered from lack of educated leadership in the early years

    because the colonial government neglected African education (Munali  School,

    which provided secondary education, was only founded in 1939). Because of this,

    Europeans dominated politics in Northern Rhodesia until the late 1940s.


    After the riots in Nyasaland, ZANC was banned and its leaders arrested which led

    to the arrest of more than 100 Africans. From the ZANC emerged another party

    called the United National Independence Party (UNIP). Kenneth Kaunda assumed

    leadership of UNIP upon his release from prison. UNIP demanded majority African

    rule, one person one vote, equal work for equal pay and peaceful means to achieving

    these demands. Their demands attracted the support of workers and African

    farmers. The desire for peaceful protests was often thwarted in the rural areas where

    bridges and buses were attacked.


    The  Monckton Commission was appointed to review the  federation. African

    nationalists in Northern Rhodesia  and Nyasaland boycotted it. The growing

    discontent among Africans led to the dissolution of the federation. Conferences and

    negotiations from 1960 through 1963 would lead the formal dissolution of the

    federation  on December 31, 1963. There after, Kaunda and Nkumbula agreed to

    work together for the sake of achieving independence in Zambia.


    On 24 October, 1964 Northern Rhodesia (now known as Zambia) gained

    independence from Britain.   Kenneth Kaunda, the country’s first president,

    proclaimed one-party rule at independence. Their independence came four years

    after the famous speech The winds of change by British Prime Minister Harold


    The country’s independence came ten months after the collapse of the Federation

    of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, with Northern Rhodesia becoming the Republic of



    •             Independence of Algeria

    In Algeria the French were determined not to grant independence. Algeria was

    France’s principal colony of white settlement, there being as many as two million

    French settlers in the country by 1945. The whites exported most of the crops they

    produced and also used some of the land to grow vines for wine-making. This made

    less food available for the growing African population whose standard of living was

    clearly falling. There was an active, though peaceful, nationalist movement led by

    Messali Hadj, but after almost ten years of campaigning following the end of Second

    World War, they had achieved absolutely nothing.


    Reforms offered by the French government in 1946-47 were no longer enough.

    Increasing number of Algerians became committed to the need for an all-out war

    of liberation. In November 1954 the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) led by Ben

    Bella launched the war. The FLN found the base of support in the isolated regions of

    the Aures Mountains. The war gradually escalated as the French sent more troops. By

    1960 they had 700.000 troops engaged in a massive anti terrorist operation. It was

    a long and bitter struggle. Thousands of French troops were killed and they in turn

    killed literally hundreds of thousands of Algerians, accused of helping the guerrillas.

    Figure 4.18: National Liberation Front leaders

    Source: content/uploads/2015/09/FLN_algerian_





    In 1958 the war caused the downfall of the French government and brought an end

    to the Fourth Republic which had been in existence since France was liberated in

    1944. Suspecting that the government was about to give way as it had in Tunisia and

    Morocco, some army officers organised demonstrations in Algeria and demanded

    that General De Gaulle should be called in to head a new government. They

    were convinced that the general, a great patriot, would never agree to Algerian

    independence. Civil war seemed imminent so the government could see no way

    out of the deadlock and consequently resigned. President Coty called upon De

    Gaulle, who agreed to become Prime Minister on condition that he could draw up

    a new constitution. This turned out to be the end of the Fourth Republic in France.


    De Gaulle soon produced his new constitution giving the President too much power,

    and was elected President of the Fifth Republic in 1958, a position which he held

    until his resignation in 1969.


    Fighting continued and it was not long before De Gaulle decided that military

    victory was out of the question. When he showed a willingness to negotiate with

    FLN, the army and the settlers were incensed because it was not what they had

    expected from him. Led by Salan, they set up l’Organisation de l’Armée Secrète

    (OAS), which began a terrorist campaign, blowing up buildings and murdering

    critics both in Algeria and France. They even attempted to assassinate De Gaulle

    and seized power in Algeria. This was going too far for most French people and for

    many of the army too. When De Gaulle denounced the OAS, the rebellion collapsed.

    The French public was sick of the war and there was widespread approval when

    Ben Bella, who had been in prison since 1956, was released to attend peace talks at

    Evian. Algeria should become independent in July 1962, and Ben Bella was elected

    first President the following year. About 800.000 settlers left the country and the

    new government took over most of their land and businesses.


    Application activity 4.3

    1. With Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Congo or Zambia, Algeria as case studies

    analyse how African nationalism was indispensable and contributed to African

    countries to regain independence.

    2. Source A

    We, women, will never carry these passes. This is something that touches my heart.

    I appeal to you young Africans to come forward and fight. These passes make the

    road even narrower for us. We have seen unemployment, lack of accommodation

    and families broken because of passes. We have seen it with our men. Who will

    look after our children when we go to jail for a small technical offence — not

    having a pass?”, declared Dora Tamana, a member of the ANC Women’s League

    and a founding member of the Federation of South African Women.

    a. According to the source, what were some of the challenges facing black South


    b. Did women stay passive in that situation with reference to the subsection on

    South African and the above quote? Explain.

    3. Is there any difference between apartheid and segregation? If you are not sure,

    use internet to respond to the question.

    4.3.7 Consequences of African nationalism

    Activity 4.4

    In your point of view, do you think that African nationalism has an impact on

    your today’s society? Explain your argument.


    African nationalism had effects as it won present political freedom for Africa and

    reversed the African tragedy and humiliation that was arranged at the Berlin


    It brought about the Organization of African Unity and the African Union. Its

    spirit led to assisting African Liberation Movements of Southern Africa against


    African nationalism affirmed the worth of black people and therefore rejected the

    inferiority ascribed by racist thought in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It helped

    to launch the struggle for rights and equality for black people in the Diaspora;

    although there were advocates of a return migration to Africa, eventually and

    especially after 1945, black people in the Diaspora focused on their rights and justice

    where they lived.


    In Africa, African nationalism asserted the right of independence for Africans“Africa

    for the Africans.” In addition the slogan contributed to the rise of African nationalism

    in at least 3 ways:


    •             early in the century, for the newly emerging African elite, it was a source of

    ideas and contacts, especially for students studying abroad;

    •             it helped to provide an ideology of unity in the process of mass mobilisation of

    Africans for the independence struggles;

    •             it also helped to build a constituency in Europe and North America which was

    sympathetic to and supportive of independence for Africa and this came to

    form important “public opinion” in the 1950s and 60s.


    African nationalism held out a lofty ideal for the future of independent Africa.

    Through Pan-Africanism, it was hoped that Africa could avoid the terrible mistakes

    of Europe. By emphasizing the unity of all African peoples and shared goals and

    ideals, it was hoped that nationalism would be a positive influence while avoiding

    the negative features (xenophobia, narrow parochialism, aggressive expansionism,

    etc.) which had caused so much bloodshed and horror elsewhere.


    African nationalism played a role in history after independence by unifying nations

    with diverse groups and gave all its citizens a sense of belonging. It bound people

    living in one nation together even if they did not have a common background. Due

    to this unity when opportunities were given to all people, the latter felt proud of

    their country and stood together in times of hardship such as economic recession

    or natural disaster.


    Application activity 4.4

    1. Discuss the consequences of African nationalism to Africans

    2. Explain the role of Kwame Nkrumah in the expansion of nationalism in


    3. Can we claim that apartheid contributed to the development of South

    Africa? Support your argument.



    End Unit assessment

    1. Write down a one page text explaining the rise and expansion of

    nationalism in Africa.

    2. Discuss the relationship between African nationalism and PanAfricanism

    3. Explain why European colonisation came to the end in Africa.

    4. Analyze the impact of African nationalism.

    5. Compare and contrast the process to independence for Algeria

    and Ghana. Use the internet or the school library for getting more





    Amenity: Pleasantness resulting from agreeable conditions

    Anachronistic: Chronologically misplaced

    Aversion: A feeling of intense dislike

    Awaken: Cause to become awake or conscious or aware

    Banish: Expel from a community or group

    Barely: Only a very short time before

    Bloodshed: The shedding of blood resulting in murder

    Capitalism: An economic system based on private ownership of capital

    Commonwealth: An association of nations consisting of the United Kingdom and

    several former British colonies that are now sovereign states but still pay allegiance

    to the British Crown

    Communism: A form of socialism that abolishes private ownership or a political

    theory favouring collectivism in a classless society

    Concession: The act of conceding (=Be willing to admit or forced to agree)

    Dominion: One of the self-governing nations in the British Commonwealth

    Electoral roll: A list of all those people who are registered to vote in a particular area

    Epitomise: Embody the essential characteristics of or be a typical example of

    Frustrate: Hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of or deprive of courage

    or hope; take away hope from; cause to feel discouraged

    Fuel: Provide with a combustible substance that provides energy or Stimulate

    Inadvertently: Without knowledge or intention

    Incur: Make oneself subject to; bring upon oneself; become liable to

    Inflame: Cause to start burning

    Likelihood: The probability of a specified outcome

    Magnate: A very wealthy or powerful businessman

    Odds: The likelihood of a thing occurring rather than not occurring Handful: A small

    number or amount or The quantity that can be held in the hand

    Ordain: Order by virtue of superior authority; decree or Issue an order

    Outspoken: Given to expressing yourself freely or insistently or characterized by

    directness in manner or speech; without subtlety or evasion

    Pariah: A person who is rejected (from society or home)

    Parochialism: A limitation of views or interests like that defined by a local parish

    Pivotal: Being of crucial importance



    Recession: The state of the economy declines; a widespread decline in the GDP and

    employment and trade lasting from six months to a year

    Rescind: Cancel officially

    Reverse: Change to the contrary

    Rollback: The reducing prices back to some earlier level

    Secessionist: An advocate of secessionism(=A doctrine that maintains the right of

    secession=Formal separation from an alliance or federation)

    Simmer: (cooking) boil slowly at low temperature

    Slice: Cut into slices(=a share of something)

    Soar: Rise rapidly

    Subdue: Put down by force or intimidation

    Verge: The limit beyond which something happens or changes eg. “on the verge of




    Nationalism can be defined as the desire for Africans to end all forms of foreign

    control and influence so as to be able to take charge of their political, social and

    economic affairs. Before 1960 most of Africa was still under colonial control.

    However, by 1970 most of Africa was independent of European colonialism. Several

    factors contributed to the rise of African nationalism.

    After the Second World War, nationalist movements in Africa quickly gained

    momentum. This was largely due to the war itself, and its effects. Many thousands

    of Africans had fought in the Allied armies, expanding their outlook and their

    knowledge of international affairs; and the war had been to some extent an

    antiracist war - against the racist governments of the Axis powers. And many more

    Africans had by now received the beginnings of a modern education and begun

    to take an interest in political matters.

    Key unit competence

    Examine the causes and the effects of neo-colonialism in Africa.

    Learning objectives

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Explain the concept and rise of neo-colonialism;

    Examine the causes of neo-colonialism in Africa;

    State the indicator of neo-colonialism in Africa;

    Identify the consequences of neo-colonialism in Africa.

    5.1. Rise of neo-colonialism in Africa

    Activity 5.1

    By searching on internet or in your school library, write a short text of not more

    than 150 words explaining the origin of neo-colonialism.

    “The neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps

    its most dangerous stage. In the past it was possible to convert a country upon

    which a neo-colonial regime had been imposed (….) into a colonial territory.

    Today this process is no longer feasible. Old-fashioned colonialism is by no

    means entirely abolished.

    (….). Once a territory has become nominally independent it is no longer

    possible, as it was in the last century, to reverse the process. Existing colonies

    may linger on, but no new colonies will be created. In place of colonialism as the

    main instrument of imperialism we have today neo-colonialism. The essence of

    neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent

    and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its

    economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside”.

    Source: Kwame Nkrumah, 1965.

    5.1.1 Definition of neo-colonialism

    Briefly presented, neo-colonialism is a process by which colonial countries continue

    to exploit their newly independent countries through indirect domination. The

    domination can be economic, political or social.

    Neo-colonialism can be also described as a disguised form and efficient

    propagation of socio-economic and political activity by former colonial rulers

    aimed at reinforcing their presence in their former colonies. In a neo-colonial state,

    the former colonial masters ensure that the newly independent colonies remain

    dependent on them. The dependency and exploitation are usually carried out

    through indirect control of the resources of the newly independent states instead

    of direct control as it was the case in the colonial era. That is why many observers

    define neo-colonialism as “the control of less developed countries by developed

    countries through indirect means”.

    5.1.2 Historical background

    The term “neo-colonialism” was popularized by Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), the

    first President of Ghana, in his book Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism


    According to Nkrumah, the essence of neo-colonialism is that while the state appears

    to be independent and has total control over its dealings, it is in fact controlled by

    outsiders economically and politically. The loss of control of the machinery of the

    state to the neo-colonialists is the basis of Nkrumah’s discourse.

    Nkrumah was not alone to use the term neo-colonialism. At a meeting (1961) of

    All African People’s Conferences (AAPC), a movement of anti colonialist groups

    from African countries, voted a “Resolution on Neo-colonialism”. The term  neocolonialism was described as the deliberate and continued survival of the colonial

    system in independent African states, by turning these states into victims of

    political, economic, cultural and technical forms of domination carried out through

    indirect and subtle means that did not include direct violence.

    Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980), a French activist against his country’s colonialism, in

    his book entitled Colonialism and Neo-colonialism (1964) proposed an immediate

    disengagement of France from its ex colonies and a total emancipation from the

    continued influence of French policies on those colonies, particularly in Algeria.

    The decolonisation of Africa had begun in the 1960s. During this decade many

    African colonies achieved independence but they soon realized that the liberation

    that they had fought for was meaningless because former colonial masters only

    wanted to grant political independence to their former colonies, but did not want

    them to be liberated from all forms of colonialism. Since then, neo-colonialism is an

    important concept in the history of ideas and has entered the vocabulary of African

    political philosophy.

    The domination of the Western economic model that was prevalent during the

    period of colonialism is still going on. The situation which informs the ideological

    implementation of neo-colonialism in Africa began immediately after the political

    independence of most African states.

    The ongoing relations between France and Francophone African countries are a

    good example of the neo-colonial influences. Following the creation of the French

    Franc zone, which established the Franc CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine)

    as the general currency for the majority of Western Francophone countries, former

    colonies of France became tied up in a fixed parity to the French franc, automatically

    granting the French government control over all financial and budgetary activities. 

    Figure:5.2: Franc CFA bank notes used in 16 western African countries



    France also continued its military presence in that region after independence

    through military and defence assistance agreements. Furthermore, the French

    institutionalized linguistic and cultural links with all its former colonies, thereby

    creating the La Francophonie, reinforce the presence and the assimilation of the

    French culture. On the other side, Great Britain continued to maintain an indirect

    economic influence through multinational corporations on its former colonies; its

    direct interventions have diminished significantly over the years.

    Since the end of World War II, the West maintains an indirect form of domination

    over all developing African countries through international institutions such as the

    World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This form of neo-colonialism

    is done through foreign aids or foreign direct investments where strict or severe

    financial conditions are imposed. Post-colonial studies have shown clearly that

    despite achieving independence, the influences of colonialism and its agents are

    still very much present in the lives of most former colonies. Practically, every aspect

    of the ex colonized society has still colonial influences.

    The concept of neo-colonialism has several theoretical influences. First, the idea of

    neo-colonialism has been developed from the writings of Karl Marx (1818-1883)

    related to his critique of capitalism as a stage in the socio-economic development

    of human society. 

    He believed that, ultimately and inevitably, the capitalist system in developed

    countries would be overthrown by a revolution of the working class; this would

    result in the establishment of socialist society.

    Lenin Vladimir (1870-1924) modified this thesis, claiming that the rapid expansion of

    European imperialism around the world in the last decade of the nineteenth century

    had marked the highest stage of capitalism. Then, the end of imperialism, which

    Lenin believed would be the result of World War I, would mark the beginning of

    the end of capitalism. However, neither imperialism nor capitalism came to an end

    after the war or in future years. European empires persisted during the 1960s.

    After granting independence to colonies, the theory of modernization suggested

    that independent countries would begin to develop very rapidly, politically and

    economically, and would resemble to the “modern” Western countries. In other

    words, the independent countries will follow the same way as developed countries.

    However, it soon became clear that this was not happening. Some postcolonial

    theorists now explain the continued underdevelopment of African countries by the

    dependency theory.

    According to the dependency theory, underdevelopment persisted because

    developed countries dominated underdeveloped economies by paying low

    prices for their raw products and flooding their markets with cheap manufactured

    goods. This resulted in a perpetually negative balance of payments that prevented

    underdeveloped countries from ever becoming competitive on the global

    marketplace. These theorists, like Walter Rodney and Samir Amin, combined the

    Marxist-Leninist concept of colonialism as a stage of capitalism with the concept

    of underdevelopment to create the concept of neo-colonialism, which Kwame

    Nkrumah called “the last stage of imperialism.”

    Opponents to the dependence theory argue that the concept is an attempt to

    continue to blame colonialism for Africa’s problems rather than confronting the

    major issues hampering independent African governments, such as corruption,

    inefficiency, and bad governance. They argue that these problems, more than any

    systematic process of external exploitation, have been responsible for the poor

    performance of African economies since independence. 

    Application activity 5.1

    1. Distinguish colonialism from neo-colonialism.

    2. Explain the dependence theory in the neo-colonialism.

    5.2 Causes of neo-colonialism

    Activity 5.2

    Explain in not more than ten lines different causes of neo-colonialism.

    5.2.1 Unequal exchange

    European countries had colonized most of the continent in the late 19th century,

    instituting a system of economic exploitation in which African raw materials,

    particularly cash crops and minerals, were expropriated and exported to the sole

    benefit of the colonizing power.

    Neo-colonial analysts say that economies based on the production of cash crops

    such as cocoa could not develop, because the world system imposes a limit on the

    revenue that can be got from their production. Likewise, the extraction and export

    of minerals could not serve to develop African industries, because minerals taken

    from African soil by Western corporations were shipped to Europe or America,

    where they were turned into manufactured goods, which were then resold to

    African consumers at value-added prices.

    5.2.2 Foreign aid

    Another aspect raised concerns foreign aid. Neo-colonialist theorists think that the

    inability of African economies to develop after independence led many African

    countries to look for foreign aid. Accepting loans from Europe or America proved

    the link between independent African governments and former colonizers. They

    noted as evidence that most foreign aid has been given in the form of loans, with

    high interest rates. Repayment of these loans contributed to the underdevelopment

    of African economies because the collection of interest impoverished African


    During the Cold War the increasing level of American and Russian aid and

    intervention in the affairs of independent African states were designed to keep

    African countries within the capitalist or socialist/communist camp.

    5.2.3 Balkanization

    According to Nkrumah, the most important factor allowing the perpetuation

    of neo-colonialism in Africa was the “balkanization” of the continent. Colonizers

    divided Africa into many administrative units in order to govern it more effectively,

    and the colonial boundaries had become the lines within which African countries

    had been given independence.

    Since then, the interests of Africa have been damaged by the need of each new country to fight for itself.

    Nkrumah believed that through African unity and cooperation, the continent

    could best combat neo-colonialism. This required also a policy of nonalignment in

    reference to the competition of the two blocks (West and East) during the Cold War


    5.2.4 The mediation of the ruling class

    Figure 5.3: Frantz Fanon


    Frantz Fanon said that the “African petty bourgeoisie” or the governing class, which

    had received power from the colonial government, is the primary cause of neocolonialism in Africa. Africans who took power at the time of independence

    had been favoured by European powers because they were willing to

    operate a smooth transition from colonialism to neo-colonialism. Since they were

    generally educated and westernized, they had benefited in many ways from

    the colonial system, they had to gain from a continuation of colonial economic

    policies. Fanon accused them of collaborating with the colonial power to ensure

    that the interests of both would be met after the declaration of formal political

    independence. This class of Africans betrayed the masses who had supported

    various nationalistic movements.

    5.2.5 Intellectual inability

    In his book entitled On the Postcolony (2001),  Achille Mbembe, a Cameroonian

    researcher and professor living in South Africa, examines the nature of neocolonialism in Africa today. In his view, after colonialism had ended in Africa, the

    West did not consider that Africans were capable of organising themselves

    socially, economically and politically. The reason is simply because Africans were

    believed to be intellectually poor and reduced to the level of irrationality. Since

    Africans are different in race, language, and culture from the West, they do not

    possess the power, the rigour, the quality, and the intellectual analytical abilities

    that characterise Western philosophical and political traditions.

    This perception on the African primitiveness, used by colonizers to justify the

    conquest and the colonization of Africa, is still predominant in the discourses of

    some Westerners.

    Application activity 5.2

    1. Explain the role of Africans in neo-colonialism.

    2. Discuss how international aid is a cause of neo-colonialism.


    ”[t]the result of colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather

    than for the development of the less developed parts of the world .Investment

    under neocolonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich

    and the poor countries of the world”(Nkrumah 1965)

    What do you think about Kwame Nkrumah’s points of view on neo-colonialism?

    5.2.6 Weakened Position of European Powers

    The two World Wars within a short duration inflicted very heavy losses upon the

    imperial powers of Europe. Their weakened position made it difficult for them

    to maintain their big colonial empires. The rise of strong national liberation

    movements in the colonies further made it difficult for them to maintain their

    traditional empires.

    The emergence of decolonialization and anti imperialism as the strongest

    movement of post war international relations led to the drive towards liquidation

    of the colonial empires and consequently to the rise of several new sovereign

    states in international relations.

    In this situation, the old colonial powers, realizing fully the necessity of exploiting

    the resources of the new states for their own needs, were quick to devise new

    instruments of control over the new states. This led to the transformation of

    colonialism into neo-colonialism.

    5.2.7 Rise of Consciousness against Imperialism

    The imperial powers found it difficult to justify the continuance of their rule over

    colonies because of the spread of political consciousness, and the acceptance of

    the right of self- determination by the Charter of the United Nations.

    Further, the intensification of national liberation movements in several key

    countries also compelled the imperial powers to grant independence to their

    colonies.After having suffered the loss of their empires, the rich and powerful

    states were quick to adopt new means for maintaining a system of economic

    exploitation of their former colonies.

    5.2.8 The Needs of the Developed States

    The continued need for raw materials and markets for selling their goods compelled

    the former imperial powers to somehow maintain their economic domination of

    new sovereign states. This impelled them to maintain their interests by new, subtle

    and indirect economic devices. Having been forced to abandon the old colonial

    system, the old imperial states decided to go in for neo-colonialism—a systematized

    but indirect and subtle economic and political domination of their former colonies.

    The most common device which they adopted for this purpose was to break up

    “the former large united colonial territories into a number of small non-viable states,

    which were incapable of independent economic development. The new small states

    had to rely upon their former colonial masters for their economic and security needs.”

    5.3 Manifestations of neo-colonialism in Africa

    Activity 5.3

    In not more than 500 words discuss the indicators of neo-colonialism.

    Within a neo-colonial situation, the imperialists usually maintain their influence

    in as many sectors of the former colony as possible, making it less independent

    state and more of a neo-colony. To this end, the state looks up to its imperialist

    allies (in many sectors such as politics, economics, religion and education), rather

    than improving its own indigenous culture and practices. Through neo-colonialism,

    the more technologically advanced nations ensure their involvement with low

    income nations; this relationship annihilates the potential for the development

    of the smaller states and contributes to the capital gain of the technologically

    advanced nations.

    Figure 5.4: The conditions of Africans during colonisation and neo-colonialism


    Though neo-colonialism is a subtle propagation of social-economic and political

    activities of former colonial countries in their former colonies, evidence has

    shown that a country that was never colonized can also become a neo-colonialist

    state. Countries such as Liberia and Ethiopia that never experienced colonialism in

    its classical understanding, have become neo-colonial countries because of their

    dependency on international finance capital and their fragile economic structure.

    Based on this, neo-colonialism can be said to be a new form of colonial exploitation

    and control of the new independent states of Africa, and other states with fragile


    The most important manifestations of the neo-colonialism are described in the

    following sections.

    5.3.1 Dependence on foreign aid and external industrial investments

    Developed countries did not completely leave Africa. They remained in this

    continent by giving donations, grants and loans to their former colonies, with

    high interest rates charged. Foreign firms have also continued to dominate the

    business sectors of the economy. Local industries in Africa became extensions of

    metropolitan firms and the needed raw materials for the industries depend on

    very high import from the capitalist economies. Thus, the continued dependence

    of industrial investments in Africa on the capitalist intensive technology is mostly

    aimed at strengthening the metropolitan economies.

    5.3.2 Collaboration with local elites

    Western neo-colonialists have collaborated with local elites to perpetuate

    the exploitation of the people in Africa. Most of the local collaborators are not

    committed to national interest and development, and their aim is to ensure the

    continued reproduction of foreign domination of the African economic space.

    The objective of foreign capital, therefore, is to continue to co-opt the weak and

    nascent local bourgeoisie into its operations.

    5.3.3 Unfair trade terms

    African countries are producers of cash crops, like coffee, tea, sisal and cotton

    which serve as raw materials in developed countries. However, the prices for

    African crops are determined by developed countries and are often very low or

    unpredictable. Contrarily, Africans are compelled to import the highly priced

    finished products from advanced countries.

    5.3.4 Influence of foreign currencies

    Foreign currencies like dollar, pound, Euro, and Japanese Yen are used to

    determine the strength and value of African currencies. A fall in value of these

    foreign currencies means automatic fall in the value of African currencies, leading

    to the devaluation of African currencies. France has maintained a special financial

    regime (CFA) with some western francophone countries. CFA francs are used in

    fourteen countries: twelve formerly French-ruled nations in West and Central

    Africa, a former Portuguese colony (Guinea-Bissau) and a former Spanish colony

    (Equatorial Guinea). The CFA’s value is linked to the Euro whose monetary policy

    is set by the European Central Bank. As a result, the CFA has been criticized for

    making proper economic planning for the developing countries of French West

    and Central Africa.

    5.3.5 Technological dependence

    African countries rely on developed countries’ technology. They import tractors

    to improve on agriculture. When those tractors break down, African countries

    import the spare parts from developed countries. This dependence applies to the

    importation of other machines as well as cars, television sets, laboratory equipment,

    chemicals and even medicine.

    5.3.6 Military presence and intervention

    Most African countries have maintained close relations and cooperation with former

    colonial powers in military issues. This is achieved through different forms of

    cooperation, such as training of local armies, purchasing military equipment, direct

    intervention (sending soldiers on field like France in Sahara-Sahel or supporting a

    military coup d’état). 

    Some powers have military bases in some countries (i.e. Mali, Djibouti, etc.). The

    military presence and intervention are aimed at primarily serving and protecting

    the interests of big powers but not African states.

    Figure 5.5: Western powers’ armed forces in Africa


    5.3.7 Use of foreign political ideologies and practices

    Because of their political weakness, African leaders have tried to apply in their

    countries political ideologies and practices of developed countries, such as

    western models of democracy, institutions, political parties and procedures. The

    implementation failed because these references could not be transferred and

    applied automatically in different contexts. This contributed to political instability

    and crisis because of the internal conflicts created by these policies. Alternatives

    proposed by Africans and other Third World leaders, for example African socialism

    or non–alignment, have been opposed by big powers and disappeared. Therefore,

    African countries became aligned, during the Cold War, either towards the

    capitalist or communist ideology. Now they are obliged to adopt the neoliberal

    ideology and do their best to have access to aid and investment.

    5.3.8 Cultural degradation in Africa

    Neo-colonialism and globalization have promoted Western values in Africa:

    western music, language, films, literature, games, new religions, etc. Hence new

    practices and behavior especially among young generation, such as violence,

    pornography and prostitution have destroyed African values.

    Application activity 5.3

    1. Explain the economic indicators of neo-colonialism.

    2. Discuss the impact of western military presence and intervention

    in Africa. Use the internet or school library to find more evidence for

    your argument.

    5.4 Consequences of neo-colonialism

    Activity 5.4

    Write down what you know about the effects of neo-colonialism (not more

    than ten lines).

    Nkrumah said that neo-colonialism is the worst form of imperialism. For

    those who practice it, it ensures power without responsibility and unchecked

    exploitation for those who suffer from it. He explains that neo-colonialist

    exploitation is implemented in the political, economic, and cultural spheres of

    society. It is difficult to provide an objective evaluation of the specific effects of the

    neo-colonialism in Africa because the debate among analysts is still going on.

    5.4.1 Economic consequences

    Neo-colonialism poses a serious danger to the evolution of the continent whereby

    African leaders have been totally unable to change the colonial economic legacy in

    the new independent states. They have made economic choices which undermine

    the potential for economic growth and at worst destroy significant areas of

    commercial activities.

    The industrialization models followed by low developing countries which is

    applied by the Europeans/American have failed; projects are not well elaborated,

    some are created for prestige, they are expensive and inefficient, depending

    on loans, external experts and imported technologies. This has resulted into an

    enormous and heavy debt, extreme poverty of the population, recurrent famines,

    uncontrolled urbanization and weak investment in social sector.

    The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral

    organisations have taken this opportunity éto control African economies. They

    lend loans to African states with hard conditions and high interest rates. 

    The World Bank is lending loans to more than 140 countries in the world, 41 are

    African states and the most debt recipient countries in the world.

    The World Bank also estimates that 70% of the net wealth in sub-Saharan Africa is

    owned by non-indigenous Africans or foreigners. Debt recipient countries have to

    pay back with high interests, but most of the countries have not been able to pay

    back the loans received. This has created the debt crisis in the 1990s with dramatic

    effects on the living conditions of Africans.

    Figure 5.6: Thomas Sankara


    Another example of the critical reality faced by African countries is related to

    unfair exchange. According to a recent research on African economy, the diamond

    mined in Africa costs about $40 per carat, and a diamond cut and polished in

    Europe increases to $400 per carat. That same stone’s price is around $900 per

    carat when it reaches the consumer. Another example is Zimbabwe, which is

    known for producing the best quality tobacco in the world. In 2014 it earned $650

    million from the sale of raw tobacco. Industry experts illustrate how Zimbabwe

    could have earned $6.5 billion instead of $650 million if they had processed the

    crop into cigarettes, rather than exporting tobacco as a raw good. 

    5.4.2 Political consequences

    New independent countries have not only inherited European laws but also the

    institutions of colonial bureaucracies. Because of the differences in administrative

    styles, Francophone state bureaucracies are generally more dependent on the

    former colonial power than the Anglophone state bureaucracies which have been

    used to a relatively higher degree of autonomy.

    African countries have remained dependents on their former colonial masters in

    decision making for example during elections and the forms of government. In

    some circumstances, these countries cannot make their own decisions without

    the acknowledgment of their former colonial masters, they have always been

    present during elections as international observers as well supporting multi-party

    systems in the disguise of democracy.

    5.4.3 Influence on African cultures

    Neo-colonialism has led to the elimination of various cultures, worldviews, and

    beliefs. African languages have been replaced by European ones. This has been

    achieved through violence or by soft means such as modern schools and

    Christian religions. The main idea presented as a slogan was to “civilize Africans”,

    meaning to oblige them to abandon their traditions and make them as “white

    people” in all aspects of their life.

    Since then the trend of cultural westernization has become very prevalent in

    Africa. Western civilization has taken precedence over African values and culture

    and the latter is considered as inferior to the former especially by local elites and

    young generation. Some manifestations include:

    the extended family giving way to nuclear family;

    the appearance of the phenomenon of children of single parent;

    the decline of native languages in Africa especially among elites;

    Christianity replaced traditional religions and new evangelist movements

    exported in Africa political ideologies from the North.

    Western education and leisure became the characteristics of the modernity.

    In the area of science and technology, modern medicine has largely taken

    advantage over traditional methods in matters of health.

    One of the effects of Western civilization on Africans is that it occasioned a

    discontinuity within their life and created a cultural dualism that often presents

    itself as a real dilemma. African experience of modernity is caught within tensions

    at every level of the communal and individual life. The post independent Africa

    is confronted within the following dilemma: how to have a new cultural identity

    that is African in nature?

    It is important to remember that cultures always change. It is made of the

    heritage of local traditions, the innovations made by members of a given society

    and the borrowings from other cultures.

    After independence, some Africans especially writers became disillusioned by the

    African rulers whose behaviour was worse than their colonial masters. This led

    to the present debates by which neo-colonial problems or presented as such are

    analysed by questioning not only the Neo-colonialism but also by highlighting the

    responsibility of African elites (example of Ngugi’s novel, Petals of Blood, 1986).

    Africa continues to face the problem of the dominant presence of Western

    civilization. In the quest for modernization, the focus is mostly on the Western

    world and there is little or no focus on the urgent need for internal changes in this


    Despite colonial legacy, African nations have the responsibility to develop

    themselves by making changes in their internal structures using indigenous

    knowledge, while at the same time learning all they can from the influence of

    the Western world and putting these to use for their own benefit.

    End unit assessment

    1. Explain the economic consequences of neo-colonialism.

    2. Discuss the effects of Western civilization on Africans.

    3. Observe the cartoon below and write down how you can relate it to




    4. Read the following text and respond to the following question: Can we consider

    neo-colonialism as a threat to African continent? Justify your answer using quotes

    from Bryant T. Guest’s text.


    “Those African leaders that chose not to play ball with the West were abruptly

    assassinated by  covert intelligence operations. From 1961-1973 alone, there

    were six African opposition leaders taken out in Western-backed coups: Patrice

    Lumumba (Congo), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Felix Moumie (Cameroon), Sylvanus

    Olympio (Togo), Mehdi Ben Barka (Morocco), Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique),

    Amilcar Cabral (Guinea & Camp Verde). It became quite clear to those wanting to

    take power in Africa, that if you aren’t on board with the West’s agenda, then you

    are a prime target to be taken out. There is no doubt that this has weighed heavily

    on the psyche of Africans even up until the present day, much in the same way

    that the MLK and JFK assassinations had large effects on the political psyche of


    It was the inevitable dark side of ruling through proxies, as anyone who looks

    deeper can see that the West never really left Africa. Not only did they stick

    around, but new players would emerge in an attempt to capitalize on Africa’s

    resources. This was especially true of the US and Russia, as Africa was a prime

    target of influence for both countries in the heat of the cold war, resulting in proxy

    wars and multiple coups against each other. A new form of slavery was now

    emerging from the ashes of colonialism that is still ever-present today. Even less

    visible than the chains of overt slavery and colonialism, modern neocolonialism

    has become the new form of control for not only Africa, but is the control

    system of the entire world”. (By Bryant, T.Guest writer for Wake Up World at https://


    Carat: The unit of measurement for the proportion of gold in an alloy; 18-carat

    gold is 75% gold; 24-carat gold is pure gold or a unit of weight for precious stones

    = 200 mg

    Compel: Force somebody to do something

    Corporation:A large company or group of businesses, recognized in law and acting

    as single entity

    Dilemma: State of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between

    equally unfavourable options

    Disillusion: Freeing from false belief or illusions

    Dualism: The doctrine that reality consists of two basic opposing elements, often

    taken to be mind and matter (or mind and body), or good and evil

    Emancipation: Freeing someone from the control of another person or from legal

    or political restrictions

    Fragile: Easily broken, damaged or destroyed or lacking substance or significance

    Impel: Urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate or cause to move

    forward with force

    Liquidation: The act of exterminating

    Nonalignment: People (or countries) who are not aligned with other people (or

    countries) in a pact or treaty

    Nuclear family : A family consisting of parents and their children and grandparents

    of a marital partner

    Polish: Improve or perfect by pruning or polishing

    Pornography: Creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or

    artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire

    Prostitution: Offering sexual intercourse for pay

    Proxy: A power of attorney document given by shareholders of a corporation

    authorizing a specific vote on their behalf at a corporate meeting or a person

    authorized to act for another

    Recurrent: Coming back or recurring again and again



    The  Enlightenment  (also known as the   Age of Enlightenment  or the  Age of

    Reason) was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the

    world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, ‘‘ The Century of Philosophy’’ In

    general terms, the Enlightenment was an intellectual movement, developed mainly

    in France, Britain and Germany, which advocated freedom, democracy and reason

    as the primary values of society.

    Key Unit Competence

    Assess the impact of the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment.

    Learning Objectives

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Explain the reasons for the rise of the Age of Enlightenment.

    Analyse the characteristics of the Age of Enlightenment.

    Describe the ideas of different philosophers (John Locke, Baron de

    Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, François Marie Arouet Voltaire and

    Denis Diderot) during the Age of Enlightenment.

    Explain the impact of the ideas of philosophers on human society.

    Introductory activity

    What do you know about the Age of Enlightenment?

    6.1 Introduction to the era of Enlightenment: concepts,origins and causes

    Activity 6.1

    Define the Age of Enlightenment and describe the ideas of different philosophers

    (John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, François Marie

    Arouet Voltaire and Denis Diderot) during the Age of Enlightenment.

    6.1.1 Concepts of Enlightenment

    The Enlightenment was a sprawling intellectual, philosophical, cultural, and social

    movement that spread throughout England, France, Germany, and other parts of

    Europe during the 1700s. It was an intellectual and philosophical movement that

    dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, and later in North

    America. It is a term used to describe a time in Western philosophy and cultural

    life centred upon the eighteenth century, in which reason was advocated for as the

    primary source and legitimacy for authority.

    The Age of Enlightenment, sometimes called the Age of Reason, refers to the

    time of the guiding intellectual movement, called The Enlightenment. The term

    enlightenment has a very deep meaning. The common literary definition being:

    ‘wisdom and understanding and ability to think and reason rationally’. There are two

    broad meanings of the term enlightenment, religious or spiritual enlightenment

    and intellectual enlightenment. This era refers to the intellectual enlightenment in

    European history. It covers about a century and a half in Europe, beginning with the

    publication of Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum (1620) and ending with Emmanuel

    Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

    The Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason was a period in Europe during the

    17th and 18th centuries when many individuals refused to acknowledge the authority

    of the Scripture and instead exalted their own reason to a place of extreme authority.

    It was a period in which people rejected traditional ideas and supported a belief

    in human reason. Thus from 1650 to 1800, the European philosophers began

    rethinking old ideas about government, religion and economics. This movement

    was spearheaded by philosophers like Jean Jacques Rousseau, Baron Charles-Louis

    Montesquieu and Denis Diderot.

    A philosopher is a person who seeks wisdom or enlightenment; a scholar or a


    During this period, the use of reason in shaping people’s ideas about the society

    and politics defined a period called the Enlightenment. People began to put great

    importance to reason, or logical thought. They used reason to try and solve problems

    such as poverty and war. It was believed that the use of reason could achieve three

    great goals: knowledge, freedom and happiness.

    The Age of Enlightenment occurred in the western part of Europe, centring in and

    around France in the later half of the 16th century. This age is a benchmark in the

    history because of the drastic changes it brought to the society and also in people’s

    minds. These changes were so important that they are relevant even in the present


    The people during this period began to reason and question everything related to

    their existence and began to break free from the dictations of the Church which

    was the supreme power at that time. This brought in changes in the social, political

    as well as the economical scene of the then period.

    The Enlightenment had its roots in the scientific and intellectual advances of the

    17th century, and it reached its highest point in the 18th century. It was also an age

    when many European thinkers looked at governments, religions, and the arts in

    relation to natural law. This intellectual drive to understand and improve society is

    called the Enlightenment.

    The Enlightenment can also be traced back to the growing dissatisfaction of the

    people towards the dictatorship of the Church then. Before the Enlightenment,

    nobody was allowed to question, judge or comment about any decision taken by

    the Church. They were compelled to believe whatever the Church wanted them to


    No invention or discovery was allowed to be made public without the approval of

    the Church before the period in review. In fact, the Church discouraged any sort of

    research and development by the people and wanted all to believe blindly in the

    versions of the Bible.

    No independent endeavours were allowed or encouraged. If somebody was caught

    doing so, he was declared a sinner and was shunned by the Church from the society.

    Thus people wanted to break free from this stagnancy and began to rebel, giving

    rise to the Age of Enlightenment. The Enlightenment is a very important phase in

    the world history without which the world that we know today would not have

    been what it is. 

    On the surface, the most apparent cause of the Enlightenment was the Thirty

    Years’ War. This terrible and destructive war, which lasted from 1618 to 1648, forced

    German writers to write harsh criticisms regarding the ideas of nationalism and

    warfare. Authors such as Hugo Grotius and John Comenius were some of the first

    Enlightenment minds to go against tradition and propose better solutions. John

    Amos Comenius is considered as the father of the modern education.

    The Thirty Years’ War was a religious war fought primarily in Central Europe between

    1618 and 1648 and it was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in

    human history, resulted into eight million fatalities mainly from violence, famine

    and plagues, but also from military engagements. Its effects included for instance

    the decline of the Catholic Church in northern Europe and authorisation got by

    protestant princes to go on with religious practices.

    At the same time, European thinkers’ interest in the practical world developed into

    scientific study, while greater exploration of the world exposed Europe to other

    cultures and philosophies.

    Centuries of mistreatment at the hands of monarchies and the Church brought

    average citizens in Europe to a breaking point (the point at which a situation

    becomes critical), and the most intelligent and vocal finally decided to speak out

    their minds. The occurrence of the Age of Enlightenment was due to political,

    scholarly and religious causes.


    People believed and wanted economic improvement and political reforms

    and believed both were possible.

    Rulers who believed in enlightened absolutism wanted to centralise their

    authority to reform their countries.

    They put the well-being of their country above anything else; including religion.

    Need for administrative reform in France after the wars of Louis XIV.

    The wars of Louis XIV left a huge debt and lots of commotion.

    Philosophers started to write topics that related to the government, politics

    and rights.

    People began thinking differently about these subjects and coming up with

    their own opinions; which, according to Kant, happens when someone is



    Growth of the print culture that made ideas circulate faster through books,

    journals, newspapers, and pamphlets.

    Isaac Newton and John Locke’s ideas were the basis for the Enlightenment.

    Newton’s tabula rasa (blank page) and other fundamental ideas were

    brought to the public.

    Newton’s discoveries in science allowed people to question things more.

    People began to think the universe is understandable through science, not


    Inspiration came from the Scientific Revolution.

    The discovery that the earth was not at the centre of the universe and the

    discovery that God had not created everything led to a new way of thought

    where the Church’s validity was questioned.


    Deism believed that rational and religion can be combined.

    Philosophers wanted to transform religion into an encouraging force to

    improve living.

    People started to think for themselves and disregarded the idea of following

    God’s laws by following their “own”laws and thinking for themselves.

    The Enlightenment developed through a snowball effect: small advances triggered

    larger ones, and before Europe and the world knew it, almost two centuries of

    philosophizing and innovation had ensued. These studies generally began in the

    fields of earth science and astronomy, as notables such as Johannes Kepler and

    Galileo Galilei took the old, beloved ‘truths’ of Aristotle and disproved them.

    The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 B.C – 322 B.C) was suspicious of democracy,

    which he thought could lead to mob rule. Instead, Aristotle favoured rule by a

    single strong and virtuous leader. 

    Thinkers such as René Descartes and Francis Bacon revised the scientific method,

    setting the stage for Isaac Newton and his landmark discoveries in physics. Isaac

    Newton used the scientific method to make a range of discoveries. His achievements

    using the scientific method helped to inspire Enlightenment thinkers.

    Newton’s discoveries anchored the Scientific Revolution and set the stage for

    everything that followed in mathematics and physics. He shared credit for the creation

    of calculus, and his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica introduced the

    world to gravity and fundamental laws of motion.

    The infinitesimal calculus is the branch of mathematics that deals with the

    findings and properties of derivatives and integrals of functions, by methods

    originally based on the summation of infinitesimal differences. The two main types

    are differential calculus and integral calculus.

    From Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries emerged a system for observing the world

    and making testable hypotheses based on those observations. At the same time,

    however, scientists faced ever-increasing scorn and scepticism from people in the

    religious community, who felt threatened by science and its attempts to explain

    matters of faith. Nevertheless, the progressive, rebellious spirit of these scientists

    would inspire a century’s worth of thinkers.

    The Scientific Revolution was the emergence of modern science during the early

    modern period, when developments in mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology

    (including human anatomy), and chemistry transformed societal views about


    Application activity6.1

    1. Explain the concept of Enlightenment.

    2. Explain the causes of the Age of Enlightenment.

    6.2 The nature and characteristics of the Age of Enlightenment

    Western philosophy has gone through considerable change in recent centuries.

    The Age of Enlightenment is an important time period in Europe and North America.

    It is one of the most important eras in the history of mankind. This period is

    referred to the time surrounding the 18th century, more precisely in between the

    Thirty Years’ War and the French Revolution. This period is not a revolution, thought

    or acceptance of one single philosophy, but is a process where the society evolved

    a bit more. The significant change that was observed was the way in which people

    thought. Reason and rationality of fact became the foundation of any thought.

    In this process, authority of monarchs was challenged and religious customs that

    sounded irrational were questioned.

    The Enlightenment of the 18th century Europe was an intellectual movement

    among the upper and middle class elites. It involved a new world view which

    explained the world and looked foranswers in terms of reason rather than faith, and

    in terms of anoptimistic, natural, humanistic approach rather than a fatalistic (the

    belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable),super natural


    Stunning successes in understanding the physical world through the processes of

    logic and observation encouraged the belief that similar progress might be made

    in the area of political, economy and socialrelations.

    People began to question old ideas about the world around them through reason

    and rational thinking. This led to the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Reason

    or Enlightenment. People used the human mind to comprehend the universe as

    never before.

    Human sympathy, rather than supernatural grace was viewed as a basis for the moral

    life. This reliance on human sympathy as a catalyst for moral choice encouraged the

    belief that each individual had the power to control his or her spiritual destiny.

    The rationalists believed that human beings can arrive at the truth by using reason,

    rather than by relying on the authority of the past, on religious faith, or on intuition.

    Enlightenment challenged the authority of the Puritans.

    Rationalism is any view appealing to intellectual and deductive reason

    (as opposed to sensory experience or any religious teachings) as the source of

    knowledge or justification. Rationalists hold it that the best way to arrive at

    certain knowledge is by using the mind’s rational abilities.It was a philosophical

    movement which gathered momentum during the Age of Reason of the 17th



    The Enlightenment or The Age of Reason was marked by the glorification of

    man’s ability to reason.

    Science and development served as the backbone for the popularity of law

    and reason. 

    Stability and peace were regarded as the symbols of this period.

    This period was called The Augustan Age named after the Roman Emperor

    Augustus who stabilized and expanded the Roman Empire.

    Greater cultural development took place but with the social desire of

    everyone remaining within the hierarchical order for stability to be


    At the same time, it should be borne in mind that due to the agrarian society

    evolving into an industrial economy, there was a great flux in the value

    system and the cultural background of England.

    Its participants thought that they were illuminating human intellect and

    culture after the ‘dark’ Middle Ages.

    Characteristics of the Enlightenment include the rise of concepts such as

    reason, liberty and the scientific method. Enlightenment philosophy was

    sceptical of religion, especially the powerful Catholic Church.

    Independent thought was embraced, scepticism ran freely through work,

    and new values, including an emphasis on science, became quite common

    among the educated classes. Not surprisingly, this Enlightenment found its

    way to the literary world as well.

    This era was dominated by the Declaration of Independence and the thoughts

    of thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, who laid the founding stones of the modern free world that we enjoy


    Application Activity6.2

    1. Describe the nature and characteristics of the Age of Enlightenment.

    6.3 Ideas of different philosophers

    Activity 6.3

    By searching on internet or in your school library, write a short text of not more than 150 words explaining the different ideas of different philosophers (John Locke, Montesquieu, JeanJacques Rousseau and François Marie Arouet Voltaire and Denis Diderot).

    Tabula rasa refers to the mind before it receives the impressions gained from experience. It is the epistemological (theory of knowledge) idea that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception. In other words, it is ‘the mind in its primary state’, from Latin tabula rasa, literally ‘scraped tablet or clean slate’, ‘from which writing has been erased, thus ready to be written on again.

    Philosophers were composed of academics and intellectuals who spread the ideas of Enlightenment. Notable philosophers included John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, François Marie Arouet Voltaire, the Baron de Montesquieu and Denis Diderot. The philosophers wrote stories and articles pointing out the problems of the French society and government. They looked forward to a time when people would be free to think for themselves and to make their own decisions.

    John Locke was born in England in 1632. He was a philosopher and a physician whose writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, a lot of Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. This influence is reflected in the American Declaration of Independence.

    He is considered as the first of the British empiricists, but is equally important to social contract theory. His ideas had enormous influence on the development of epistemology (theory of knowledge) and political philosophy, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers and contributors to liberal theory.

    John Locke attended Oxford University and was influenced by a dean who introduced him to the idea of religious freedom. Throughout his writings, he argued that people had the gift of reason, or the ability to think. He thought also that people were basically reasonable and moral.

    Locke’s theory of mind is often cited as the origin for modern conceptions of identity and ‘the self’, figuring prominently in the later works of the philosophers such as David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant.

    Theory of mind is the ability to recognize and attribute mental states – thoughts, perceptions, desires, intentions, feelings –to oneself and to others and to understand how these mental states might affect behaviour. It is also an understanding that others have beliefs, thoughts processes and emotions.

    John Locke’s contributions to the Enlightenment had a great deal to do with the

    inspiration of America today. He was a philosopher who developed the philosophy

    that there were no legitimate governments under the rights of the kings’ theory.

    The king’s theory is that God chooses the rulers and when the ruler is being

    challenged, you are challenging God. Locke did not think this was right so he

    wrote his own theory to challenge it. One idea in his theory was the power to be

    a governor has to be granted by the people, maybe through voting. Another idea

    was that all people had natural rights. These rights were life, liberty, and property.

    For Locke people automatically gained these rights when they were born. The

    government is supposed to protect these rights of the citizens.

    John Locke’s ideas became the foundation of many political systems and gave

    millions of people freedom.    He advocated for natural rights. He thought that

    people were basically reasonable and moral. Further, they had certain natural rights,

    or rights that belonged to all humans from birth. These included the right to life,

    liberty, and property.

    In his famous Two Treatises of Government (1690), Locke argued that

    people formed governments to protect their natural rights. The best kind of

    government, he said, had limited power and was accepted by all citizens. Thus,

    unlike Hobbes, Locke rejected absolute monarchy. A government, he said, has

    an obligation to the people it governs. If a government fails its obligations or

    violates people’s natural rights, the people have the right to overthrow that


    Locke believes man’s mind comes into this world as tabula rasa. For him,

    knowledge is neither innate, revealed nor based on authority but subject to

    uncertainty tempered by reason, tolerance and moderation. According to Locke, an

    absolute ruler as proposed by Hobbes is unnecessary, for natural law is based on

    reason and seeking peace and survival for man.

    John Locke was a Philosopher who favoured limited government. Only

    governments with limited power, which are accepted by all citizens, protected

    the natural rights of the people. The main ideas of John Locke were:

    People have NATURAL rights to life, liberty and property. Since these rights were

    natural, no one could take them away, including the government and the king.

    Government is created to PROTECT the natural rights of the people and has

    only the limited and specific powers the PEOPLE consent (approve) to give


    Citizens should rebel against unjust governments.

    Governments should have limited power-no absolutism.

    Regarding his socio-political ideas, he was one of the most influential thinkers

    during the Enlightenment in 18th century Europe who preached the equality of all

    men. Rousseau also had a profound dislike for authority (or even structure) of any

    sort and sought to restore a proper respect for the creativity and worth of individual

    human beings.

    Rousseau also explored the political implications of these ideas. His notion of

    individual liberty and his convictions about political unity helped to fuel the romantic

    spirit of the French Revolution.

    In Rousseau’s most important work, The Social Contract (1772), he argues that in

    order to be free, people should do what is best for their community. Rousseau had

    many supporters who were inspired by his passionate writings. European monarchs,

    on the other hand, were angry that Rousseau was questioning authority.

    What do you understand by social contract?The social contract is a theory or model

    that originated from the Age of Enlightenment. Usually, the social contract concerns

    the origin of society and the legality of the authority of the government over the

    individual. Social contract opinions typically suggest that people have agreed,

    either explicitly or implicitly, to renounce some of their freedoms and submit to the

    authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange

    for protection of their remaining rights. It is the contract or agreement between

    the rulers and the ruled defining the rights and duties of each. The question of the

    relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social

    contract theory. The term takes its name from The Social Contract a 1762 book by

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau that discussed this idea.

    As a result, Rousseau worried about persecution for much of his life. He wrote Man

    is born free, but is everywhere in chains. This justification he can find only if the

    ideas and desires of the people are really carried out by the government. Only in this

    way is liberty retained, and equality realised. Rousseau wanted a democracy, where

    all men actually decide issues, not a representative democracy, like that of Britain,

    where other people are elected to decide for them. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideas

    influenced American and French Revolutions.

    Rousseau suggested dividing a large state into a number of small direct democracies,

    and the binding of these into a federation. But it was the spirit of democracy, rather

    than the details, which affected the revolutionary leaders. He therefore helped to

    create the emotional spirit which made people ready to rebel.

    Concerning his ideas, Voltaire became at once the most admired and the most

    feared man of Europe, while the very classes he criticised, nobility and royalty,

    competed for the honour of entertaining him. Only his great enemy, the Church,

    could never forgive him for his criticism-and his deism (belief in the existence of a

    supreme being).

    Voltaire was a deist, and in one of his attacks on conventional religion he wondered

    why the God of the Old Testament had created humans with a capacity for pleasure

    and then damned them for using it.

    Voltaire wondered why Jehovah (God) had created humans and then drowned

    them in His flood. He attacked the idea of original sin, wondering why children

    should be punished for the sins of their first father, Adam.

    Voltaire thought of himself as ‘enlightened’ and admired the English form of

    government and the ideas of reason and natural rights propounded by John

    Locke. He doubted the Christian religion and wrote much against prejudice,

    superstition and intolerance.

    Voltaire contributed greatly to freedom of speech and press. He was opposed to

    militarism and slavery. He defended freedom of thought and used biting wit as

    a weapon to expose the abuses of his day. He targeted corrupt officials and idle


    Voltaire advocated for the separation of the Church and the State. He was known

    for denouncing the injustices of the Ancien Régime like the imbalance of power

    and taxes. He was the most influential Enlightenment figure whose ideas led to the

    French and American Revolutions, and brought down the Ancien Régime.

    Civil Rights is the advancement of equality for all people regardless of race,

    sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, or certain characteristics. In other

    words, civil rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from

    infringement by governments, social organisations, and private individuals.

    They ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society

    and state without discrimination or repression.

    Ancien Régime (old regime) was the political and social system of the Kingdom of

    France from the Late Middle Ages until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the

    feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the French Revolution.

    Voltaire’s most important project that he worked on was the defending of

    empirical science. His numerous plays and essays frequently advocated for

    freedom from the ploys of religion, while Candide (1759), the most notable of his

    works, conveyed his criticisms of optimism and superstition into a neat package.

    Voltaire’s most important writings include Candide (1759); Elements of Philosophy

    of Newton (1738); and Letters on the English Parliament (1733).

    Regarding his political ideas, in his principal work published in 1748, The Spirit

    of Laws (L’Esprit des lois), he advanced the idea of the separation of powers – a

    foundation for modern democracy. This was a major contribution to political


    What is political theory? It is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice,

    property, rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority; what they are, why

    (or even if) they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate,

    what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and

    why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if

    any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.

    The Spirit of Laws outlined his ideas on how government would best work and

    expanded John Locke’s political study and incorporated the ideas of a division of

    state and separation of powers. 

    In 1748, Montesquieu published The Spirit of the Laws, in which he discussed

    governments throughout history. He felt that the best way to protect liberty

    was to divide the various functions and powers of government among three

    branches: the legislative, executive, and judiciary. He also felt that each branch of

    government should be able to serve as a check on the other two, an idea that we

    call checks and balances. Montesquieu’s beliefs would soon profoundly affect the

    Framers of the United States Constitution.

    Montesquieu’s work also ventured into sociology: he spent a considerable amount

    of time researching various cultures and their climates, ultimately deducing that

    climate is a major factor in determining the type of government a given country

    should have. He spent a lot of time thinking about how governments should be

    created and maintained. His ideas guided the Founding Fathers when they wrote the

    United States Constitution. Even today, his thinking influences the way people

    think about government around the world.

    What were Baron Charles Montesquieu’s main ideas?

    He courageously fought for civil rights in France like the freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and free trial.

    He advocated for the separation of the Church and the State.

    Voltaire defended freedom of thought through his writings.

    Montesquieu was opposed to republicanism and disliked democracy, which

    he saw as mob rule. He saw government as benefiting from the knowledge

    of society’s elite, and he saw common people as unfit to discuss public affairs.

    The masses, he believed, were moved too much by emotion and too little by

    reason. He wrote: ‘I would rather be ruled by one lion than a hundred rats’.

    6.3.5 Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

    Denis Diderot was born in 1713 and was a French philosopher, art critic, and

    writer. He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment and is best known for

    serving as co-founder, chief editor, and contributor to the Encyclopaedia (the first

    systematic, collective enterprise designed to organise all our knowledge of the

    sciences, arts and technology in a format accessible to the everyman educated)

    along with Jean le Rond d’Alembert.

    Through his works, specially the Encyclopaedia, Diderot revealed extensive

    information and recent scientific discoveries like the size of the universe. His

    humanitarian and radical ideals helped to transform the society’s view of the

    human being. He strongly opposed slavery. Diderot edited and published the

    Encyclopaedia to ‘change the general way of thinking’.

    Diderot’s Encyclopaedia included articles by leading thinkers of the day, including

    Montesquieu and Voltaire. In these articles, the philosophers denounced slavery,

    praised freedom of expression, and urged education for all. They attacked the

    divine-right theory and traditional religions. Critics raised an outcry. The French

    government argued that the Encyclopaedia was an attack on public morals, and

    the pope threatened to excommunicate the Roman Catholics who bought or

    read the volumes.

    The divine right of kings, or divine-right theory of kingship, is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God.

    Despite these and other efforts to ban the Encyclopaedia, more than 4,000 copies

    were printed between 1751 and 1789. When translated into other languages, the

    Encyclopaedia helped to spread Enlightenment ideas throughout Europe and

    across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas.

    Diderot wrote: ‘No man has received from nature the right to give orders to

    others. Freedom is a gift from heaven, and every individual of the same species has

    the right to enjoy it as soon as he is in enjoyment of his reason’. Diderot should

    always be remembered as one of the great philosophers of the Age of Reason. 

    By expressing his modern and liberal ideas (free thinking) Diderot incited the

    people to think and join him in the struggle for social and political change. Diderot

    collected and presented scattered knowledge of the divine rights, reasoning,

    and toleration. He always expressed support for social and political reforms. He

    was not afraid to show his disagreement with the Church. His magnificent work

    was extremely influential. It inspired the French Revolution and the American


    Denis Diderot died of emphysema (a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs

    are damaged and enlarged, causing breathlessness) at the age of 71, in Paris,

    France on July 31, 1784.

    Application Activity 6.3

    1. How did the ideas of different philosophers contribute to the Age of


    2. “The English people are free only during the election of its MPs. As

    soon as they are elected, it is a slave, it is nothing”. What do you think

    about this Rousseau’s statement?

    3. “Voltaire is remembered as a philosopher who courageously fought

    for civil rights in France”. Explain clearly this statement by giving

    clear examples.

    4. Read the text in box. What do you think about those different

    statements? Write your opinion on not more than one page.

    6.3.6 Impact of the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment

    The effects of the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment were felt in the following social,

    economic and political domains:

    It led to the belief in educating people.

    It led to the discovery of gravity through Isaac Newton’s research.

    People became more literate due to the printing press being able to

    produce more books at a quicker pace. These went to schools and universities

    where people read more and more.

    It led to the Industrial Revolution.

    It influenced the American and French revolutions.

    Capitalism became the new economy theory.

    People began to question their religion.

    Usually ended the privileges of the nobility.

    Slavery was seen as barbarism.

    People toppled their governments when they wanted change.

    Enlightenment thinkers in Britain, in France and throughout Europe questioned

    the traditional authority and embraced the notion that humanity could be

    improved through rational change.

    The American and French Revolutions were directly inspired by Enlightenment

    ideals and respectively marked the peak of its influence and the beginning of its

    decline. The Enlightenment ultimately gave way to the 19th-century Romanticism.

    Romanticism was the attitude or intellectual orientation that characterized many

    works of literature, painting, music, architecture, criticism, and historiography in

    Western civilization over a period from the late 18th to the mid 19th century.

    The first effect of the Age of Enlightenment was a general rebel against the

    teachings of the Church. Earlier, the Church used to profess that God was the

    absolute power and the reason behind every occurrence. People used to believe in

    miracles. But with the age in discussion, all those were being questioned. 

    People deduced that there was scientific logic and reasons behind every happening

    around the World and not simply God’s wish. Thus everybody began to stop

    believing the Church blindly and put their own reasoning behind everything. For

    this, that period is also called the Age of Reason.

    The most apparent effect that followed the Age of Enlightenment was the

    development of new ideas in every field. Everybody also began to be intolerant

    to all the dictations made by their earlier faith. Economically, the Industrial

    Revolution happened, changing the very face of the then society in Europe as it

    gave rise to a new group of independent, wealthy and educated class of men.

    A whole new political scene emerged with the formation of nations and state,

    led by independent kings and parliaments. Earlier the Church was the supreme

    power, but after the enlightenment, it began to lose its position. All these paved

    way to the social and political scene that we know today.

    The Enlightenment developed through a snowball effect, i.e small advances

    triggered larger ones, and before Europe and the world knew it, almost two

    centuries of philosophizing and innovation had ensued.

    During this period, people like John Amos Comenius (1592-1670), the father of

    modern education, fostered the belief that education should “follow the natural

    order of things”. Children’s development follows a timetable of its own and their

    education should reflect that fact. They should be allowed to learn at their own

    pace and learn by doing.

    John Amos Comenius was an innovator who first introduced pictorial textbooks

    written in native language instead of Latin. He applied effective teaching based on

    the natural gradual growth from simple to more comprehensive concepts. He

    supported lifelong learning and development of logical thinking by moving from

    dull memorization. Three most important contributions that he made are: books

    with illustrations, education with the senses, social reform-educate the poor as

    well as the rich.

    During the Age of Enlightenment, there were many discoveries in the fields of earth

    science and astronomy, as notables such as Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei took

    the old, beloved ‘‘truths” of Aristotle and disproved them. Thinkers such as René

    Descartes and Francis Bacon revised the scientific method, setting the stage for

    Isaac Newton and his landmark discoveries in physics.

    From these discoveries there emerged a system for observing the world and making

    testable hypotheses based on those observations. At the same time, however,

    scientists faced ever-increasing contempt and scepticism (doubt as to the truth

    of something) from people in the religious community, who felt threatened by

    science and its attempts to explain matters of faith.

    Scepticismis generally any questioning attitude or doubt towards one or more

    items of putative knowledge or belief. It is often directed at domains, such as the

    supernatural, morality, religion, or knowledge.

    6.3.7 The end of the Age of Enlightenment

    Ultimately, the Enlightenment became a victim to competing ideas from several

    sources. Romanticism was more appealing to less-educated common folk and

    pulled them away from the empirical,scientific ideas of earlier Enlightenment


    Similarly, the theories of scepticism came into direct conflict with the reasonbased assertions of the Enlightenment and gained a following of their own.

    What ultimately and abruptly killed the Enlightenment, however, was the French


    Begun with the best intentions by French citizens inspired by Enlightenment

    thought, the revolution attempted to implement orderly representative assemblies

    but quickly degraded into chaos and violence.

    Many people cited the Enlightenment-induced breakdown of norms as the root

    cause of the instability and saw the violence as proof that the masses could not

    be trusted to govern themselves. Nonetheless, the discoveries and theories of the

    Enlightenment philosophers continued to influence Western society for centuries.

    Similarly, the theories of scepticism came into direct conflict with the reason-based

    assertions of the Enlightenment and gained a following of their own.

    What ultimately and abruptly killed the Enlightenment, however, was the French

    Revolution. It began with the best intentions by the French citizens inspired by

    the Enlightenment thought, the revolution attempted to implement orderly

    representative assemblies but quickly degraded into chaos and violence.

    The 17th and 18th centuries philosophy was still rooted in religion, with notions of

    equality, individuality and liberty that were largely metaphysical. The 19th century,

    however, marked the beginning of the end for Enlightenment-era metaphysics.

    Colonialism and exposure to other cultures, industrialization and its abuses, the

    rise of science and scientific materialism, the appearance of full-blown capitalism:

    all of these things began tearing apart in the 18th century ideals of how the World

    worked, because the 18th century ideals were all constructed around a concept of

    an individual which was uniformly genteel (polite), property-owning, European

    descended, and male.

    Scientific materialism is the belief that physical reality, as made available to the

    natural sciences, is all that truly exists.

    The World suddenly became a bigger, harsher, more diverse place, and it became impossible to maintain the fiction that ‘all men are created equal’ in the naïve sense that the 18th century philosophy used the phrase.

    Pure reason was no longer sufficient.

    Application Activity 6.4

    1. Explain the three phases of the Age of Enlightenment.

    2. Briefly explain the terms “Romanticism” and “Scepticism”.

    3. Account for the decline of the Age of Enlightenment.

    End of unit Assessment

    1. Trace the origins of the Age of Enlightenment.

    2. Describe the nature and characteristics of the Age of Enlightenment.

    3. What effects did the Enlightenment philosophers have on the

    government and society?

    4. Briefly explain the different ideas of different philosophers (John

    Locke, Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, François-Marie Arouet

    Voltaire and Denis Diderot).

    5. Account for the decline of the Age of Enlightenment.

    6. Examine how the Age of Enlightenment shaped the Modern Society.


    Ancien Régime: Old Regime

    Civil Rights: the advancement of equality for all people regardless of race, sex, age,

    disability, national origin, religion, or certain other characteristics.

    Deism:  is a philosophical belief that posits that God exists and is ultimately

    responsible for the creation of the universe but does not interfere directly with the

    created world.

    Divine right of kings: a political and religious doctrine of royal and political


    Enlightenment: wisdom and understanding and ability to think and reason


    Enlightened despotism: a form of government in the 18th century in which

    absolute monarchs pursued legal, social, and educational reforms inspired by the


    Freethinking: a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent

    of authority or tradition, especially a person whose religious opinions differ from

    established belief.

    Nobility: a social class in aristocracy

    Philosopher: Philosopher is a person who seeks wisdom or enlightenment; a scholar

    or a thinker.

    Philosophy: the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and


    Political theory: the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property,

    rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority.

    Puritans: were members of a religious reform movement known as Puritanism that

    arose within the Church of England in the late sixteenth century.

    Rationalism: is any view appealing to intellectual and deductive reason as the

    source of knowledge or justification.

    Romanticism: the attitude or intellectual orientation that characterized many

    works of literature, painting, music, architecture, criticism, and historiography in

    Western civilization over a period from the late 18th to the mid-19th century.

    Scepticism: doubt as to the truth of something.

    Scientific materialism: the belief that physical reality, as made available to the

    natural sciences, is all that truly exists.

    Slavery: any system in which principles of property law are applied to people,

    allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals.



    The end of the 19th century was characterized by a period of intense tensions

    and these led to the outbreak of First and Second World Wars. The First World

    War was caused by a banal incident at Sarajevo by the double murder of

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife Sofia in 1914 while the Second World

    War started in 1939 by the invasion of Poland by German Soldiers. The two World

    Wars were centered in at the beginning; after a small period all the countries of

    all continents were involved. It happened in the water, air and on the earth. The

    First World War ended in 1918 while the Second World War ended in 1945

    These World Wars led to heavy effects negative and positive ones such as

    massive killing of Human life ,destruction of infrastructures sad roads , railways

    ,etc.), the great economic depression of 1929, the rise of dictators in Europe

    and the creation of the League of Nations and UNO. Moreover, it led also to Cold

    War, the ideological war which opposed the two super powers of that epoch:

    USSR communist against USA capitalist.

    Key unit competence

    Examine the causes, course and the effects of the First and the Second World


    Learning objectives

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Examine the causes, course and the effects of the First and Second World


    Analyse the achievements and weaknesses of the League of Nations and those

    of the United Nations Organisation.

    Assess and analyse the main interwar period events (Economic depression of

    1929-1933; totalitarian regimes).

    Examine the causes, course and the effects of the Cold War

    7.1 The First World War (1914 –1918)

    Introductory activity

    Do the following activities

    Explain the following concepts: Conflict, war, world war.

    Examine the causes of the First and Second World Wars.

    Describe the course of the First World War and the Second World War.

    What made the First World War much more deadly than previous wars?

    Discuss the effects of the Second World War.

    Write down your answers on one page and half.

    7.1.1 The causes of the First World War

    Activity 7.1.1

    Explain why the Sarajevo incident cannot be considered as the real cause for

    the outbreak of the First World War.

    The First World War sometimes called the Great War was the first most explosive

    and bloodiest war to be fought on the international scale. It started in 1914 and

    ended in 1918. It was fought between Germany, Austria-Hungary, Romania,

    Turkey, Bulgaria and their allies on one side against Britain, France, Russia, Japan,

    Italy (May 1915) and the USA on the other.

    The First World War, which broke out in Europe, took roots in 19th century. It has

    long-term (distant), short-term and immediate cause, the Sarajevo incident of

    June 28, 1914.

    Long term causes

    Among the long term causes of the First World War include the following:

    Lack of international peace keeping body because the Congress System which

    would have solved a local affair between Austria and Serbia had died in 1914. 

    Lack of peaceful statesmen in the world like the German chancellor Otto von

    Bismarck in Germany who had abandoned his militarism after the German

    reunification. He was replaced by Kaiser William II who was an aggressive leader

    of Germany. In his foreign policy, he tried to intervene in each and every activity

    of the world politics to make Germany a big power. He declared; ‘’Nothing must

    go on anywhere in the world in which Germany does not play apart”. He is

    therefore blamed for starting arms race and militarism as well as signing a blank

    cheque to Austria that increased Austria’s recklessness towards Serbia. He also

    openly promised Austria that “(…) be rest assured that his majesty will faithfully

    stand by Austria- Hungary as required by the obligations of his alliance and by

    his ancient friendship”.

    Aggressive nationalism also caused tensions. Nationalism was strong in both

    Germany and France. Germans were proud of their new empire’s military

    power and industrial leadership. The French were bitter about their 1871 defeat

    in the Franco-Prussian War and yearned to recover the most lucrative border

    provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. In Eastern Europe, Russia sponsored a powerful

    form of nationalism called Pan-Slavism. It emphasized that all Slavic peoples

    shared a common lead which should defend all Slavs. By 1914, it stood ready

    to support Serbia, a proud young nation that dreamed of creating South Slave

    state. Germany supported a form of nationalism called Pan-Germanism. Two old

    multinational empires particularly feared rising nationalism. Germany decided

    to defend them.

    Alliance System initiated by Bismarck such as Triple Alliance and Triple Entente

    which were formed for defensive purposes but thereafter became hostile to

    each other leading to the First World War.

    Economic imperialism among European countries mostly between Germany,

    France and Britain like the Moroccan Crises of 1906 and 1911 when Germany

    lost Morocco to France. In 1912, naval competition between Germany and Great

    Britain was very important. The British and the French saw Germany turn up as

    colonial rivals in Africa, Middle East and Far East. In addition, Germany had an

    ambitious project of constructing a railway joining the Berlin and Bagdad that

    Great Britain could not support because it was a threat to its important colony,


    Arms race had been characterized by the growth of militarism between France

    and Germany. The latter had elaborated military plans to avoid being encircled

    during the War Schlieffen Plan aimed at defeating France first and thereafter

    counter-attacks at the East. Von Moltke had envisaged fighting first at the

    eastern front. In addition, manufacturing of the most dangerous weapons was

    also in preparation for war. 

    The European public opinion; after the arms race and the alliance system,

    most of the Europeans wanted a war in order to know which camp had

    manufactured strong arms. Even the European powers wanted a war in order to

    test their newly manufactured weapons. Therefore, the European public opinion

    caused World War I.

    Immediate cause: The Sarajevo assassination (June 28, 1914) and the start

    of the war

    Figure 7:1: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

    Source: illustrated in the Italian newspaper Domenica del Corriere, 12July 1914 by Achille Beltrame)

    The First World War started after the Sarajevo double-murder of Austrian Arch

    Duke, Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie on June 28, 1914 by Principe Gabriel,

    a Serbian student of the Black Hand Movement in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.

    This incident was followed by an ultimatum document from Austria-Hungary

    to Belgrade, Serbia. The response to the ultimatum was to be issued in a period

    of 48 hours (July 23, 1934).The role of press/mass media cannot be underrated

    as a cause of the 1914 - 1918 disastrous war. Radio presenters and journalists

    because of the need to amass wealth over exaggerated the suspicion, fear and

    international tension between the big powers. For instance, the London Times

    poisoned the British public opinion against the Germans and radio presenters

    caused more fear and panic after the Sarajevo double murder which created

    public outcry for war.

    This forced European powers to strengthen alliances and mobilize for war as

    Russia did.The document had three harsh conditions that were supposed to be met or

    satisfied by Serbia. Serbia was to destroy all anti Austrian activities and declare

    that, she was ready to be a good neighbour; to dismiss all anti Austrian officials

    from the Serbian administrative posts; and to allow the Austrians enter Serbia

    to investigate the Serbian guilt in the double -murder at Sarajevo.

    However, Serbia accepted the first two and referred the third condition to the

    International Criminal Court at The Hague Tribunal. Austria was forced to declare

    war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. This opened the gates for the outbreak of the

    First World War.

    Figure 1:2: The Balkans 1914


    When Austrian-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914 all world powers

    rushed to support their respective allies. Russia ordered general mobilisation of

    troops and declared war on Austrian on July 29, 1914; Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914; France on August 3 and Belgium on August 4; Great

    Britain entered the war on August 4, against Germany; Austria-Hungary declared

    war on Russia on August 6, 1914; Japan entered the war on August 23, 1914, on

    the side of the Triple Entente.

    The Japan used the war as an opportunity to take control of the German

    colonies in China. When the Japanese entered the war, they soon overran

    the German concessions in China and the German islands in the Pacific; the

    Marshall’s and Carolinas; in the Triple Entente while Bulgaria and Turkey sided

    on Central powers. The USA entered the war against the Central Powers as later


    7.1.2 The course of the First World War

    The First World War was characterised by two main fronts; namely the war in

    western front (1914-1917) and the war on the eastern front.

    War on Western front

    Figure.7:3: Schlieffen Plan and troop movements

    Source: Frank Robert, History the fronts of 1914 to 1917, 1982, pge 21.

    By using Schlieffen plan, Germany planned to outflank the main French

    defences by moving through Belgium and then through Northern France

    to encircle France within six weeks. However, supply lines proved to be

    inadequate, and communication between the two main armies was not better.

    In addition, the plan ignored British intervention, relying on the likelihood of

    French immobilization as the offensive progressed.

    French success on the battle of Marne (September 5 to 12, 1914) ended

    Germany’s hopes of a quick victory, and paved the way for the Trench Warfare 

    that lasted until spring 1918.

    War on Eastern front

    There was far more movement on the Eastern front than in the West, partly

    because of the much greater distances involved. The Russian army was

    invariably defeated by the forces of Germany and by the end of 1915, Russian

    had lost most of Poland, with more than two million soldiers out of the First

    World War.

    The Italian front

    Italy entered the war in 1915 in an opportunistic manner engineered by its

    leaders with the Allies to secure territory at the expense of Austria-Hungary

    Front. Much of the fighting occurred in a series of battles close to the river. The

    great battle of Caporetto in 1917 almost led to Italian defeat. Italy was more

    successful in subsequent fighting but was disappointed by lack of territorial

    gains she had expected.

    War in the Balkans

    Serbia survived three invasion attempts in 1914, but succumbed in 1915 to an

    Austro-German offensive supported by Bulgaria, which checked an Anglo-French

    force attempting to support the Serbian army from Salonica. In 1916, Bulgaria

    having successfully contained Allied forces at Salonica, she invaded Romania;

    Bulgarian armies were joined by Austro-German forces that captured Bucarest in

    December 1916. The Bulgarians were now able to defeat several Allied offensives

    in Front of Salonica until September 1918.

    The withdrawal of Russia from the war (1917)

    The first victim of the First World War was the Russian Empire. Indeed, continuous

    defeat by the Germans, lack of arms and supplies, problems of transport and

    communication, and utterly incompetent leadership, caused two revolutions, in

    1917, and the Bolsheviks who took over power in November 1917 were willing

    to make peace.

    The Bolsheviks stood for peace with Germany, partly to win popular favour in

    Russia and partly because they regarded the war as a struggle among capitalist,

    imperialist powers which should be left to exhaust and destroy each other for

    the benefit of socialism. They thus signed with Germany the Treaty of BrestLitovsk on March 1918.

    By this Treaty the Bolsheviks gave to Germany Poland, the Ukraine, and the Baltic

    Provinces (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). As for the Germans, the Treaty of BrestLitovsk represented their maximum territorial expansion during the First World

    War. Not only had they neutralized Russia, they also now dominated Eastern


    The entry in the war of the USA (April 1917) 

    Figure 7:4: The Lusitania

    Source: Ellis, EG. & Esler, A. (2008, p.830).

    The USA entered the war on April 2, 1917 against the Central Powers. Germany

    had waged submarine warfare against the United Kingdom due to her naval

    blockade of Germany. As retaliation German submarines were sinking British

    ships. In this perspective the Lusitania, a British ship was torpedoed by

    Germans and 1,198 people including Americans died but 761 people survived.

    International public opinion became hostile to Germany and this incident

    pushed Americans to enter the war. In addition, the USA had discovered that

    Germany was trying to persuade Mexico to declare war on the US, promising her

    Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in return.

    On April 2, 1917 American Congress declared war on Germany. Immediately the

    American government set about mobilizing its military resources, its industry,

    labour and agriculture. The USA thus made an important contribution to the

    Allied victory, by supplying food, merchant ships, credit and military help, and

    by mid-1918 over half a million American men were involved in the war.

    7.1.3 The end of the First World War

    This sequence of the First World War was characterised bythecollapse of the

    Austro-Hungarian Empire and the defeat of Germany.

    Regarding the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in October 1918,

    some people of different nationalities declared their independence from

    Austro-Hungarian Empire. The last Habsburg Emperor, Charles I, abdicated

    on November 12, 1918 and the next day Austria was proclaimed a Republic,

    as was Hungary in the following week. Before any peace conference could

    convene, the new states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, an enlarged Romania,

    a Republican Hungary and a miniature Republican Austria were in existence in

    their own action.

    Concerning the defeat of Germany, when the Russia withdrew, Germany

    needed to defeat Great Britain and France before US forces could be gathered in

    sufficient strength on the Western front. In 1918 the German General Ludendorff

    launched the spring offensive, throwing in the entire extra-troops released from

    the East. The Germans broke through on the Somme (March), and by the end of

    May were only on 64 kilometres from Paris; the Allied seemed to be falling apart.

    However, the Allied Powers took advantage of their superiority in terms of

    number of soldiers and resources to counter-attack successfully. With Germany’s

    allies to seek the armistice on November 11, 1918, the First World War ended.

    7.1.4 The role of women in the First World War

    Women played a critical role in total war as millions of men left to fight:

    Women took over their jobs and kept national economies going.

    Many women worked in war industries manufacturing weapons and supplies.

    Other joined women’s branches of the armed forces.

    When food shortages threatened Britain volunteers in the women’s lands

    army went to the fields to grow their nations’ foods.

    Nurses sympathised with men wounded on the battlefield.

    At the aid stations close to the front lines, nurses often worked around the

    clock, especially after a big “push” brought a flood of casualties.

    War work gave women a new sense of pride and confidence. 

    Still they had challenged the ideas that women could not handle the

    demanding and dangerous jobs.

    7.1.5 The consequences of the First World War

    The First World War provoked a range of consequences including:

    The massive loss of lives: People who perished were estimated at about 13 million

    on the front and about 10 were left disabled. It was outrageous, regrettable and

    condemnable as far as human beings’ lives were concerned. The First World War

    also had a lasting impact on the European population structure. Many men died

    on war fronts which made women to become more than men in the population

    pyramid. It led to the rise of new class of people in Europe, that is, the refugees

    who ran away from their homes and became a problem to European countries.

    Besides, destruction of property and infrastructure was experienced in Europe

    as a result of World War I, of 1914-1918. These among others included hospitals,

    shops, industries, roads, bridges, residential areas, hotels, administrative offices

    and railways. World War I left the European economies in shambles. For instance,

    during the war period, a lot of resources were channelled in war industries,

    many important infrastructures were destroyed. This partly contributed to the

    outbreak of the 1929-1935 World Economic Depression. In many countries,

    including Britain, Germany and the USA women’s support for the war efforts

    helped them finally win the rights to vote after decades of struggle.

    There was improvement in education because it was realized that Europe

    needed educated labour force for progress.In Britain, the 1918 education act

    tried to provide a full and adequate education for the country’s children. Science

    and technology were also improved. The War also led to women emancipation

    first in Europe and finally worldwide. This was as a result of death of a big number

    of men during the war period. Woman and children were allowed to work in the

    factories, public offices, schools, shops and hospitals.

    The First World War led to the rise of world dictators such as Benito Mussolini

    in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany. This is because they used the negative

    consequences of the war to the campaign against the governments of the time.

    The War led to the rise of Japan and USA as world big powers. This is because

    other states like Britain, Russia, France and Germany were affected by the war

    which gave Japan and USA a chance to become Super powers since they were

    not greatly affected by the war.

    The First World War led to the formation of the League of Nations as an

    international peace keeping body which would mediate different countries in

    case of any conflict in trying to maintain World peace.

    The First World War changed the political map of Europe. This is because after

    the war, France regained her provinces of Alsace and Lorraine and Italy regained

    Trieste and Trientino as well as giving independence to some states which were

    under foreign rule. It led to the rise of new independent states in Europe for

    example Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and others. This was because they

    had realised that the spirit of nationalism contributed to incidents like Sarajevo

    incident which had caused the First World War.

    The War led to Russian revolution of 1917 where Tsar Nicholas I was opposed

    by the Russians due to the negative consequences of the war. This resulted into

    the rise of communism in Russia.

    The war led to the signing of Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 which concluded

    the First World War. The Triple Entente called the conference in which Germany

    and her allies were forced to end the war by signing the treaty which created

    peace in Europe.

    7.1.6 The peace settlements after the First World War

    The basic principles

    The basic principles on which were based the peace settlements after the First

    World War were Wilson’s 14 points. In his infamous speech of January 1, 1918,

    President Woodrow Wilson had outlined the principles on which he thought

    a peace with Germany should be made. The 14 points were the result of his

    own analysis of the causes of international discontent and war, and he made

    strenuous efforts to secure their acceptance by the peace conference.

    Figure 7:5: Woodrow Wilson 28th President of the United States


    The Wilson’s 14 points included

    The use of diplomacy in the public view.

    Removal of economic barriers between states.

    All round reduction of armaments.

    Impartial adjustment of colonial claims in the interests of the populations concerned.

    Evacuation of Russian territory.

    Restoration of Belgium.

    Liberation of France and Montenegro to be evacuated and Serbia given access

    to sea.

    Self-government for the non-Turkish peoples of the Turkish Empire and

    permanent opening of the Dardanelles, an independent Poland with secure

    access to the sea.

    A general association of nations to preserve peace.

    It was the fourteenth point that resulted into the formation of the League of

    Nations on January 10, 1920 with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

    The problems of making a peace settlement

    There were different Allies’ views about how to treat defeated powers when

    the peace conference met in January 1919. France wanted a harsh peace to ruin

    Germany economically and militarily so that she could never again threaten

    French frontiers; Great Britain was in favour of less severe settlement, enabling

    Germany to recover quickly so that she could resume her role as a major

    customer for British goods; and the USA wanted a fair peace treaty. Wilson was

    in favour of self–determination: nations should be freed from foreign rule and

    given democratic governments of their own choice.

    Despite of divergent views, by June 1919 the conference had come up with

    the Treaty of Versailles -the most important –followed by other allies’ treaties.

    The Versailles Treaty (28th June 1919) with Germany

    Figure 7:6: The 1919 Versailles Peace Treaty signing.

    Source: Herbert Peacock, A history of modern Europe 1789-1981, Heinemann

    Educational, Seventh Edition,1982, pge 295.

    The following were the aims and objectives of the Versailles peace settlement of


    1. To re-organize Europe for the purpose of maintaining world peace,

    security and stability.

    2. To redraw the map of Europe and restore balance of power. This was

    because Germany aggression had destroyed the balance of power to

    her advantage.

    3. To map out strategies that would preserve the territorial integrity

    and independence of countries in Europe. This was because violation

    of territorial integrity and independence of states partly led to the

    outbreak of the First World War.

    4. To reconcile the warring powers of the world most especially Germany

    although her aggression was checked for some time.

    5. To free the different races dominated by the central powers (Germany

    and her allies).

    6. To disarm both victor and defeated powers since arms race had partly

    caused the 1914 to 1918 disastrous war.

    7. To recognize the principle of nationality and self-determination

    by giving independence to the oppressed nations. This was partly

    responsible for the outbreak of First World War.

    8. Victorious powers especially France wanted to permanently weaken

    Germany plus her allies in order to safeguard themselves from

    Germany aggression that caused the Franco-Prussian war and the First

    World War.

    9. To establish a peace keeping body in Europe.

    The final conditions were determined by the leaders of the “Big Three” nations:

    British Prime Minister David Lloyd Georges, French Prime Minister Georges

    Clemenceau, and American President Woodrow Wilson. Even with this smaller

    group, it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims

    contradicted. The result has been called the “unhappy compromise”.

    Figure 7.8: The Big Three


    Achievements of the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919

    The treaty concluded the First World War and created some peace in Europe. At

    Versailles Germany and her allies were forced to denounce the war and accept

    defeat. Collective decisions were made on international issues as opposed to the

    pre-1914 idea of every nation for itself and God for us all.

    The neutrality of important water bodies was granted. For instance Dardanelles

    the mouth of the Baltic Sea which was the centre of economic conflicts was

    open to all ships of all nations. The treaty restored balance of power that had

    favoured Germany and Turkey before. The size of Germany and Turkey were

    reduced by giving independence to some states that were under them. The

    Versailles settlement made some territorial re-adjustment. France regained

    Alsace and Lorraine that had been annexed by Germany. Independence was

    given to some states that were mainly under the Turkish and Austrian empire.

    These included Poland, Kuwait, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. The treaty

    was fair to some land locked countries of Serbia and Poland. Serbia was given

    free access to the sea which made her to profitably engage in trade. Poland was

    also given the Polish Corridor through Germany to port Danzig.

    The Versailles peace makers adopted Professor Wilson’s 14th point of establishing

    an international body to maintain world peace. This gave rise to the League of

    Nations in 1920.

    The settlement made arrangements for exchange of prisoners of war and

    resettlement of displaced persons. Consequently Germany released the allied

    war prisoners and likewise the super powers.

    The Versailles settlement came up with the disarmament policy which although

    applied only to the defeated powers. This helped in maintain world peace.

    The Versailles peace treaty that had started as realistic in trying to promote peace

    in Europe ended up being unrealistic most especially on Germany and her allies.

    In fact, the Versailles treaty was imposed on Germany and her allies since there

    was no room for open and frank discussion. Germany was for instance weakened

    militarily by the settlement. She was disarmed and allowed to maintain an army

    of 100,000 soldiers just to maintain law and order. The treaty led to territorial

    re-adjustment on the map of Germany since she was forced to give back Alsace

    and Lorraine to France. This greatly affected Germany’s economic recovery since

    these territories were the richest in minerals. The settlement scattered Germans

    in the newly created states. For example 2.5 million Germans were given to

    Poland, 3 million to Czechoslovakia and 2 million to Yugoslavia.

    Apart from Germany, the Versailles treaty also left Italy and Japan dissatisfied.

    Japan and Italy were poorly compensated for their role in the First World War

    that’s why they joined Germany to form the Axis powers that led to the Second

    World War.

    Although the Versailles imposed a heavy war indemnity, it failed to ensure

    its effective payments of the reparations. The settlement also neglected the

    defeated and neutral powers. Russia was excluded simply because she had

    adopted communism during the 1917 Russian revolution.

    The timing of the treaty with Germany in 1919 coincided with the 5th

    anniversary of the Sarajevo double murder. It was on June 28, 1919 exactly five

    years from the murder of Prince Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia. This made

    Germany bitter because it gave impression that she was being held responsible

    for the Sarajevo double assassination.

    Although the Versailles gave rise to the League of Nations but nevertheless

    gave a weak foundation for the League of Nations that’s why it collapsed for

    example the League of Nations had no joint army.

    The venue of the settlement meant that justice could not be extended to the

    defeated states most especially Germany. She was forced to sign the treaty in the

    hall of mirrors where the German empire was proclaimed in 1871.

    By subjecting that the Germany colonies would be controlled by the victor

    powers, the Versailles treaty was too severe and unrealistic. Germany lost Togo,

    and Cameron to France, Rwanda and Burundi to Belgium and Namibia and

    Tanganyika to Britain.

    This created a spirit of revenge among the defeated powers in order to overturn

    the unrealistic terms of the Versailles treaty hence causing the Second World


    Reasons why the Germans rejected the Versailles Treaty

    The treaty was dictated on Germany and she was forced to sign. There was no

    discussion which could have given the Germans a chance to air out their views.

    Germany totally opposed the war guilty clause which put the whole blame of

    the First World War on Germany (article 231). This was an injustice of the highest

    order since most of the European powers participated in the war.

    The reparation of 6.6 billion pounds was impossible for a single nation like

    Germany to pay for the destruction caused by the First World War.

    Disarmament was restricted to only Germany yet disarmament was to be general.

    Worst of all other powers like Britain and France were busy arming themselves.

    The loss of Alsace and Lorraine in Europe and also loss of African colonies like

    Rwanda, Burundi and Tanganyika angered Germany yet they were given to her

    enemies like France. Germany therefore lost market, sources of raw materials

    and areas of investment.

    The settlement scattered Germans in the newly created states. For example 2.5

    million Germans were given to Poland, 3 million to Czechoslovakia and 2 million

    to Yugoslavia.

    The venue of the settlement meant that justice could not be extended to the

    defeated states most especially Germany. She was forced to sign the treaty in the

    hall of mirrors where the German empire was proclaimed in 1871. Therefore Germany

    was humiliated. The treaty was monopolized by only three leading statesmen. That

    is President Woodrow Wilson of USA, George Clemenceau of France and Lloyd

    George of Britain.

    It was chaired by Clemenceau who was totally biased and bitter enemy of Germany.

    The Germans complained that they were tricked to surrender based on President

    Wilson’s 14th points. They claimed that the 14thpoint was a swindle since many of its

    terms were violated.

    Application activity 7.1.2

    1. What were the two blocs or alliances formed at the beginning of the

    First World War?

    2. Explain four main causes which triggered the First World War. Why do

    you think they are more important to you?

    3. Do you think that the First World War would not have happened

    without the assassination of Prince Ferdinand and his wife? Explain

    your answer.

    4. Examine the socio-economic consequences of the First World War in


    5. Find out statistics related to the First World War (productions; fatalities)

    and draw a related graph. Comment the graph.

    6. Draw a cartoon representing living conditions or attitudes of the time

    (soldiers, at home, etc). Use the internet or school library to understand

    better those living conditions.

    7.2 Inter-wars period

    Activity 7.2

    Use the school library and in not more than 20 lines write down what you know

    about the inter-war period specifically about the League of Nations, the rise of

    fascism and the 1929 Economic Depression.

    7.2.1 The League of Nations

    The League of Nations was an international peace keeping body formed after the

    First World War. It formally came into existence on January 10, 1920. It began

    with 42 member states but the number increased to 55 by 1926 when Germany

    was admitted. Headquarters were located in Geneva, Switzerland a neutral State.

    When the League of Nations was set up, point 14 of the Wilson statement was

    carried out, and for the first time in human history an international organisation

    was deliberately created to maintain peace and security in the world.

    The origins of the League of Nations

    The League of Nations was an integral part of the Treaty of Versailles. It is often

    spoken of as being the brainchild of the US President W. Wilson. However,

    although Wilson was certainly a great supporter of the idea of an international

    organization for peace, the League was the result of a coming together of

    similar suggestions made during the First World War by a number of world


    Lord Robert Cecil of Britain, Jan Smuts of South Africa and Leon Bourgeois of

    France put forward detailed schemes as to how such an organisation might be

    set up. Wilson’s contribution was to insist that the League covenant (the list

    of rules by which the League was to operate) should be included in each of

    the separate peace treaties. This ensured that the League actually came into

    existence instead of merely remaining a topic of discussion.

    Aims of the League of Nations

    Maintain peace through collective security.

    Encourage international co-operation.

    Solve economic and social problems.

    Defend and promote territorial integrity and sovereignty of member nations

    against aggression of any kind.

    Limit production of the disastrous military weapons.

    Implement the terms and conditions of the 1919 Versailles Peace settlement.

    Preserve its achievements.

    Promote diplomacy in settling disputes since the First World War was partly

    caused by lack of international organization and collapse of international

    diplomacy (the congress system).

    Suppress Sea pirates who were a threat to international trade on big waters

    like the Mediterranean Sea, black sea and the Pacific Ocean.

    Control drug trafficking and consumption of dangerous drugs like marijuana,

    cocaine and opium.

    Improve the conditions of workers and stop exploitation of workers by


    Work out a plan for repatriating and resettling refugees or people displaced

    by the First World War.

    The organisation of the League of Nations

    The main organs of the League of Nations were the General Assembly; its main

    function was to decide general policy; the Council, its main task was to deal with

    specific political disputes as they arose; the Permanent Court of International

    Justice’s main task was to deal with legal disputes between states; the

    Secretariat, had to look after all the paperwork, preparing agendas, and writing

    resolutions and reports related to the decisions of the League; Commissions

    and Committees were in charge of dealing with specific problems. The main

    commissions were those which handled the mandates, military affairs and


    Achievements of the League of Nations

    After some initial troubles, the League of Nations seemed to be functioning

    successfully during the 1920s. It solved a number of minor international disputes.

    It managed to solve border conflicts between Greece and Bulgaria by demanding

    that the Greeks withdraw and pay compensation. The League of Nations also

    achieved valuable economic and social work. It set up a slavery commission

    that declared slave trade and slavery illegal and anti-social internationally.

    Moreover, the health organisation of the League of Nations organised medical

    assistance and the distribution of vaccines to combat epidemics like syphilis,

    cholera, dysentery and malaria which had swept Europe. In 1930 supporters

    of the League felt optimistic about its future. However, during the 1930s, the

    authority of the League was challenged several times, first by the Japanese

    invasion of Manchuria (1931) and later by the Italian attack on Abyssinia (1935).

    Both aggressors refused to withdraw, and then the League’s weaknesses

    became more apparent. During German invasion of Poland which led to the

    Second World War, the League was not even consulted, and it was unable to

    exert the slightest influence to prevent the outbreak of the war. After December

    1939, it did not meet again and it was dissolved in 1946.

    Some countries such as Germany, Italy, Japan and Brazil left the League of

    Nations. Moreover, although the American President Woodrow Wilson was the

    principal initiator of the creation of t he League of Nations, his country was not

    a member of the Organisation. He met an opposition on the Congress formed

    its majority by Republicans while he was a democrat. This was a great loss for the

    League of Nations and this situation weakened heavily the Organisation.

    7.2.2 The World Economic Depression of 1929-1935

    The World Economic Depression was an economic stagnation which was

    experienced globally from 1929 to 1935. It was characterised by total

    breakdown in the production process, unemployment, low incomes, and

    general lack of effective demand, low prices, low investment and low economic

    activities in general.

    The Depression began from the Canadian agricultural sector but the most

    disastrous one occurred in the USA after the Wall Street crush or stock market

    crash, on Thursday 24, 1929 and spread to Europe and the whole world.

    The causes of the Great World Economic Depression

    The Great World economic Depression had different causes developed here

    below:Negative consequences of the First World War like destruction of

    industries, communication lines, airports and cities and loss of lives. All these

    consequences had a negative effect on production and the ability to purchase

    goods, hence leading to the depression;

    Over production mainly in agricultural sector which was practiced by various

    capitalists during the inter-war period like in North America, in Britain and in

    Australia. However the international trade was paralyzed and this led to “no

    buying and no selling” in economy leading to the economic depression;

    System of high taxation in order to escape from “after war situation” adopted

    by many countries to recover their economy from after effects of the First

    World War. However, these harsh taxation policies were too harsh and

    distracted investment which also led to the increase of unemployment, low

    circulation of money and inflation and then leading to economic depression;

    Poor trading policy adopted after the First World War where defeated

    powers were not allowed to export to victorious powers and still the

    victorious powers started selective trade as punishment to defeated the ones

    that led to the economic depression;

    Unfair income distribution especially in the USA whereby between 1923 and

    1926 big companies were owned by few capitalists and these companies

    provided employment to few people who were also gaining low salary. This

    unfair income distribution led to low purchasing ability and lack of effective

    demand which contributed to the World Economic Depression;

    Crush of the World Stock Exchange in the Wall Street in Manhattan Island

    in the USA on Thursday October 24, 1929 which led to the closure of 4 200

    banks and people who had kept their money in these banks suffered from

    great losses, the industries could no longer secure loans, yet their products

    were not being brought and they also closed down. This led to the total

    unemployment, surplus products, low purchasing power and consequently to

    World economic depression from 1929 up to 1935.

    The reduction in efficiency of labour. After World War I, women and children

    replaced men in industries which led to low production hence causing the

    great depression. This is because men used to hard-work which had increased


    The general decline in agricultural activities throughout the world. After

    World War I, there was a great rural-urban migration especially in Britain and

    USA. This resulted into decline in agriculture since it was left to be practiced by

    old people which also caused the great depression.

    The gold standard system which was operating in world economies by 1929

    also caused the depression. This is because each country was supposed to

    have a total amount of money in circulation equivalent to total value of gold

    in her reserves. This limited money supply for some countries which had

    little gold which reduced demand leading to a depression.

    The weaknesses of the League of Nations also led to economic depression.

    This is because the League failed to promote economic cooperation in

    Europe where many countries used protectionism policy which discouraged

    international trade. It also failed to set a clear policy of debt repayment and

    that’s why USA debts were paid in form of gold.

    Figure no 7:9: The beginning of the Great Depression. The stock market crash of 1929


    Measures to overcome the World Economic Depression

    The USA and other European countries set the following strategies to resolve the


    Germany on her part attempted to solve the economic depression by violating the 1919 Versailles Peace treaty terms when she stopped paying the war

    indemnity of around 6.6 billion of pounds and also started serious industrialization thus solving the economic depression in Germany

    The USA fought the economic depression by using the New DealProgram

    introduced by the new US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. By

    this program, there were new laws regulating the stock market and protecting

    bank depositors’ savings, jobs creation programmes for the unemployed like

    Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), construction of schools, hospitals etc. The

    USA also set up a social security system and depreciated the value of her

    dollar so as to increase the purchasing power of the Americans. The New

    Deal was largely inspired by some economists such as John Maynard Keynes

    who introduced an economic theory popularly known as Keynesian theory of

    unemployment after analysing the causes of the Economic depression.

    The gold standard system was stopped since played a role in the outbreak of

    the World Economic Depression from 1929 up to 1935.

    A World Economic Conference was held at Geneva in 1933 in Switzerland and

    was attended by 66 countries that worked out different solutions to end the

    Economic Depression such as to remove obstacles to free trade and implement

    a uniform tax on imports and exports.

    World powers attempted to solve the economic depression by using aggressive

    policy where they invaded weak states so as to solve the problem of lack of

    raw materials and markets for their goods. For instance, in 1935 Italy invaded

    Ethiopia, in 1936 Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and in 1939 invaded


    Unemployment relief schemes were adopted by various countries which

    among others included United States of America, Britain and France to benefit

    the unemployed citizens above 18 years.

    European powers formed regional economic integration for example, the European

    Economic Community (EEC) which promoted interstate trade in the region, hence

    solving the depression.

    Socio-economic reforms were also used to solve the depression. This was through

    modernization of agriculture and industrialization and formation of trade unions

    which fought for the rights of workers.

    Effects of the World Economic Depression

    The effects of the World Economic Depression are as follows:

    The World Economic Depression led to human suffering due to unemployment and

    low incomes which led to lack of basic facilities too.

    The economic depression led to the rise of dictators in Europe like Adolf Hitler in

    Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy and General Franco in Spain.

    The Economic depression led to the international aggression from powerful

    countries to the weak ones as a way to resolve their economic problems; e.g. Japan

    on China, Italy on Ethiopia and Germany on Austria.

    Figure no 7:10: Herbert Hoover


    The Economic depression led to the formation of regional economic integration as

    a way of promoting trade among the different countries.

    Figure no 7:11 :Breadline during the Great Depression


    The Economic depression led the World War II because of the rise of dictators,

    weaknesses of the League of Nations that made some countries aggressive.

    It led to the decline of international trade as many countries started protectionism

    policy in trying to promote their infant home industries.

    It led to the breakdown of international relationship where European countries

    hated USA because of the isolationist policy.

    The gold standard system was abandoned up to the present. This is because this

    system limited countries with little gold to have enough money in circulation which

    had contributed to the economic depression.

    It led to the collapse of financial institutions like banks. This is because by 1929, over

    4200 banks had closed due to economic depression.

    It led to change of leadership in some countries, for example in USA, the depression

    led to the rise of Franklin Roosevelt who came to power in presidential elections of


    7.2.3 The totalitarian regimes in Europe

    Definition of totalitarianism

    Most Western countries were governed by elected representatives. From the

    1900s the people began to feel that a government made up of such a large body

    of people spent too much time debating and wonder if it might not be better

    to have one strong leader who could make decisions for them. A single leader

    could act quickly to solve a country’s economic problems as World Economic

    Depression. This regime become known as totalitarian regime and has been

    developed in Italy under Benito Mussolini known as Fascism and in Germany

    under Adolf Hitler known as Nazism.

    Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state recognizes

    no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private

    life wherever feasible. Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through an allencompassing propaganda campaign, which is disseminated through the statecontrolled mass media, a single party that is often marked by political repression,

    personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech,

    mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror.

    The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily

    broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.

    Benito Mussolini and Fascism in Italy

    Figure no 7:12..._ Benito Mussolini.


    Mussolini was born in Dovia di Predappio, a small town in the province of Forlì in

    Emilia-Romagna on 29 July 1883. His father Alessandro Mussolini was a blacksmith

    and a socialist, while his mother Rosa Mussolini, Maltoni, a devoutly Catholic school

    teacher. Owing to his father’s political leanings, Mussolini was named Benito after

    Mexican reformist President Benito Juárez, while his middle names Andrea and

    Amilcare were from Italian socialists Andrea Costa and Amilcare Cipriani. Benito was

    the eldest of his parents’ three children. His siblings Arnaldo and Edvige followed.

     At the age of 9, Mussolini began his education and graduated as a teacher with a

    diploma in education in 1907. He later abandoned his education career and joined

    journalism as a newspaper editor. Mussolini had fought for Italy in the First World War

    and was wounded during the war, but by its end he formed a political movement

    called the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Italian Combat Leagues or Squard), in

    March 1919 at Milan City in Italy whose members came to be known as the Fascists.

    It was composed of frustrated jobless youth, industrial capitalists and the middle


    In 1922, Italy witnessed a successful fascist revolution that led to the rise

    of Mussolini, supported by the Black shirts, army and the guards. On October

    28th, 1922 he organised a March to Rome and when King Victor Emmanuel II

    was convinced by the Parliament to suppress the marchers, he refused and then,

    the Cabinet under Prime Minister Luigi Facta resigned without firing a shot. The

    King Victor then handed over power to Mussolini by inviting him to form a new

    government on October 28, 1922 and the Fascist Party got power in Italy. Mussolini

    was supported by the military, the business class, and the liberal right wing.


    It was a dictatorial system of government with no provision for democracy

    on opposition.

    Economic self-efficiency. The government was to control all means of

    production to benefit Italians.

    Single party government. No room for democracy. It was feared since it could

    deny or limit chances of extreme nationalism.

    The government aimed at establishing an independent and self-sustaining

    national economy.

    It emphasized violence and its military power. Its supporters believed in the

    cult of violence and war as the highest court of appeal.

    Fascist supported an imperialist and aggressive foreign policy to increase the

    influence and prestige of the state in the whole world.

    Fascism also emphasized that law and order should be maintained and people

    to be allowed to own property.

    Believed in extreme nationalism. It was based on superiority complex that

    one’s nation is superior to another.

    Mussolini rose to power on 28th October 1922 after taking over Victor Emmanuel III

    the legitimate king. He was favored by the following factors.

    The impact of the First World War aided fascism and Benito Mussolini to power. The

    war had negative consequences like loss of lives over 600,000 Italians both civilians

    and soldiers. Mussolini associated the democratic government of Victor Emmanuel

    III with such losses hence rising up.

    Weakness of Victor Emmanuel III’s democratic government. He ignored violence in

    Italy that gave Mussolini a chance to campaign against him.

    The unfair Versailles treaty on Italy cultivated a favorable ground for the rise of

    Mussolini to power. Italy was promised territorial rewards which were not fully

    implemented and Italy was poorly compensated.

    Role of the fascist terrorist squad. Mussolini used a group of hooligans to create

    chaos in Italy so as to get a reason for blaming the government of Victor Emmanuel

    III. He was therefore supported by most Italians.

    His personal talent. Mussolini was a gifted speaker whose speeches weer enjoyed

    by the Italians. During his public speeches, he spread the fascist manifesto to the

    Italians convinced them to support him against the government of Victor Emmanuel


    Influence of press. Newspapers like Papolo d’Italia campaigned for Fascist and made

    Mussolini popular for Italians. It was also used to spread the Fascist propaganda as

    well as de-campaigning against the then government.

    Political and democratic reforms in Italy. From 1900, Italy allowed different political

    parties and people to participate in politics. This opened the gates for Mussolini and

    Fascism to join political struggles.

    The May 1921 parliamentary elections. In 1921 elections, the fascist members of

    parliament increased from 2 to 35. It became possible for them to increase their

    propaganda against the government of the time.

    Disunity among political parties in Italy also provided opportunity for fascism to

    rise to power with Benito Mussolini. Such political parties had different ideologies

    that facilitated room for a united fascist party to become popular.

    The July 31st 1922 strikes. The fascist were instrumental in suppressing the general

    strikes organized by the socialists. This increased the popularity of the fascism hence

    rising to power.


    He abolished other political parties and established a single party government

    in Italy. This removed opposition parties from the parliament.

    He carried out public works. Roads, bridges and health centers were

    established or innovated. Most Italians therefore supported his rule because

    of the hardworking spirit.

    He made the Catholicism a state religion and declared Vatican an

    independent state under the Pope. He was therefore supported by most

    Catholics. Mussolini achieved this through the Lateran treaty which he signed

    with Pope Pius XI in 1929.

    Strict censorship of press. His government monitored all newspapers before

    their circulation and opposition journalists were usually forced into exile to

    Lipari Island in the Mediterranean Sea.

    He strengthened dictatorship by removing constitutional check on his rule.

    He used the fascist propaganda of extreme nationalism to change people’s

    minds and thinking or opinion against his rule.

    He used economic reforms such as industrialization, modernization of

    agriculture, supply of hydro-electric power and modernization of towns to win

    support of the majority Italians.

    He abolished democratic constitutional of Italy. He dismissed all officials who

    had been elected democratically in Rome like mayors, town clerks and town


    He organized and strengthened the Italian army and police which ensured

    peace and fought all those who opposed his rule.

    Mussolini used violence against internal opponents. For example Giocomo

    Matteoti and Giovanni Amenobole who attacked the fascist government were

    killed under the orders of Mussolini.

    Different factors that led to Mussolini’s downfall:

    Mussolini established the Fascist state in Italy based on dictatorship and

    leadership by decree. This inflicted a lot of suffering of the Italian masses. He

    denied Italians their democratic rights. Leadership through elections came to

    an end with his coming to power and referendum was introduced in policy

    making and representative;

    He made Fascism the supreme and only political system i.e. political pluralism

    was suffocated and in 1925, party system was abolished. This was brought

    by repressive measures on communist supporters many of whom were


    Mussolini denied the Italian people all sorts of freedom; these included, the

    censorship of the press, no freedom of speech, association and worship

    among others. Injustice was widespread and because of this the majority of

    the Italians were living like prisoners in their country;

    Mussolini failed to control the malpractices within the government; there

    was corruption and embezzlement of government funds. By 1930, the Italian

    economy had deteriorated by all standards;

    During his period of administration, leadership discrimination was rampant

    in all sectors of the society. Even the social services were not extended to the

    poor Italians in the rural areas;

    He promoted the feeling of anti–Semitism i.e. the negative attitude, hatred

    and segregation against the Jews. The union between Mussolini and Hitler

    and their ideology were hated throughout Europe and this forced European

    communities to unite and fight against them and eradicate their ideologies of

    Nazism and Fascism;

    Mussolini followed aggressive policies when he involved Italians in hostilities

    and military confrontation with other Europeans leading to the outbreak of

    the Second World War. He was therefore responsible for the disastrous war

    between 1939 and 1945.

    Adolf Hitler and Nazism in Germany

    Concerning his biography, Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889-April 30, 1945) was an Austrian

    born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers

    Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – (NSDAP), commonly referred

    to as the Nazi Party). He was the chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and a

    dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler

    was at the centre of the founding of Nazism, the instigator of the Second World

    War, and the Holocaust.

    Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 at the Gasthof zum Pommer, an inn in

    Ranshofen, a village annexed in 1938 to the municipality of Braunau am Inn, AustriaHungary. He was the fourth of six the children to Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl (1860-

    1907). Adolf’s older siblings-Gustav, Ida, and Otto- died in infancy. It is said that

    Hitler should have been of Jewish ascendance because his grand-father, Leopold

    Frankenberger was a Jew When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau,


    After his father’s sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler’s performance at school

    deteriorated. He was allowed by his mother to suspend his studies in autumn

    1905. He enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in September 1904; his behaviour

    and performance showed some slight and gradual improvement. In the autumn

    of 1905, after passing a repeat and the final exam, Hitler left the school without

    showing any ambitions for further schooling or clear plans for a career.

    From 1905, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna, financed by orphan’s benefits and

    support from his mother. He worked as a casual labourer and eventually as a painter,

    selling water colours. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna rejected him twice, in 1907

    and 1908, because of his “unfitness for painting”. The director recommended that

    Hitler studies architecture, but he lacked the academic credentials.

    On December 21, 1907, his mother died aged 47. After the Academy’s second rejection, Hitler ran out of money. In 1909 he lived in a homeless shelter, and by 1910, he

    had settled into a house for poor working men on Meldemannstrase. At the time

    Hitler lived there, Vienna was a hotbed of religious prejudice and 19th century racism.

    In May 1913, Hitler moved to Munich in Germany and at the outbreak of the First

    World War , Hitler was a resident of Munich and volunteered to serve in the Bavarian

    Army as an Austrian citizen. Posted to the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st

    Company of the List Regiment), he served as a dispatch runner on the Western Front

    in France and Belgium, spending nearly half his time well behind the front lines.

    He was present at the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of

    Arras, and the Battle of Passchendaele, and was wounded at the Somme.

    After the First World War Hitler returned to Munich. Having no formal education

    and career plans or prospects, he tried to remain in the army for as long as

    possible. In July 1919 he was appointed Verbindungsmann (Intelligence agent)

    of an Aufklärungskommando (Reconnaissance commando) of the Reichswehr,

    to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers’ Party Deutsche

    Arbeiterpartei (DAP). While monitoring the activities of the DAP, Hitler became

    attracted to the founder Anton Drexler’s anti-Semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist,

    and anti-Marxist ideas. Drexler favoured a strong active government, a “non-Jewish”

    version of socialism, and solidarity among all members of society. Impressed

    with Hitler’s oratory skills, Drexler invited him to join the DAP. Hitler accepted on

    September 12, 1919, becoming the party’s 55th member.

    At the DAP meeting, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of its early founders and a

    member of the occult Thule Society. Eckart became Hitler’s mentor, exchanging

    ideas with him and introducing him to a wide range of people in Munich society.

    To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name to the National Sozialistische

    Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party– NSDAP). Hitler

    designed the party’s banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red background.

    Figure7.13: Adolf Hitler with a member of the Hitler Youth, Berlint


    Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengl, and by some accounts contemplated

    suicide. He was depressed but calm when arrested on November 11, 1923 for high

    treason. His trial began in February 1924 before the special People’s Court in Munich,

    and Alfred Rosenberg became a temporary leader of the NSDAP. On April 1, Hitler

    was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Landsberg Prison.

    While at Landsberg Prison, Hitler dictated most of the first volume of Mein Kampf,

    My Struggle (originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies,

    Stupidity, and Cowardice) to his deputy, Rudolf Hess. The book, dedicated to Thule 

    Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an autobiography and an exposition of his

    ideology. Mein Kampf was influenced by The Passing of the Great Race by Madison

    Grant, which Hitler called “my Bible”. The book laid out Hitler’s plans for transforming

    German society into one based, on race. 

    Figure 7: 14 Most common cover of Mein Kampf.

    Source: : Pommerolle F, & Ruhlman J, A history of modern Europe(seventh

    edition,pge 324).

    The Bavarian Supreme Court issued a pardon and he was released from jail on

    December 20, 1924, against the state prosecutor’s objections. Including the time

    on remand, Hitler had served just over one year in prison. Thereafter, he became

    the Führerprinzip (Principle Leader) of the Nazi Party. By 1933, the strength and the

    threat of Hitler’s Nazi party forced President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint him as

    a Chancellor, which favoured him to rise to power when President Hindenburg died

    on August 2, 1934.

    Hitler became Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor) and Supreme

    Commander of the armed forces.

    The following were the factors for the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism to power

    The First World War led to the rise of Nazism. It left Germany in the state of economic decline and dictatorship was looked at as the only solution to Germany’s problems. Hence the rise of Hitler to power.

    Unpopularity of the Weimer republic of Von Paul Hindenburg. He accepted the

    unrealistic Versailles settlement which was against the will of the Germans.

    This made the people of Germany to admire a leader like Hitler who was courageous to strongly oppose the unfair terms of the Versailles treaty.

    His personal character and talent. He was a courageous and ambitious leader

    and a above all an eloquent speaker. His speeches touched on the hearts of

    the Germans who felt that Hitler was the answer to all their problems. This

    made him to work for his rise to power.

    His publication. For example my struggle (1923-1924) while in prison. It

    contained a 25 year program promising to improve the general conditions of

    Germany masses.

    The death of Von Paul Hindenburg (the president of the Weimer republic) on 15th

    august 1934 also created a power vacuum for Hitler to rise to power moreover

    he was the chancellor from 1933.

    The great economic depression. It created a desperate situation of poverty,

    unemployment and inflation and Hitler was looked at as the only liberator.

    Role of the Nazi storm troopers. These were gangs organized by Hitler’s great

    follower captain Ernest Roehm. They caused terror and influenced people to

    vote for Hitler.

    Role of the Nazi party. Most Germans believed that the Nazi party would solve

    the problems of the middle class such as unemployment and poor working

    conditions. They therefore supported the Nazi party and Hitler.

    The Germany traditional history of loving dictators. Germany was characterized

    by dictatorial rule since her unification struggle such as Bismarck, Von Moltek,

    Von Roon and Kaiser William influenced people to believe that dictators can

    rule the state.

    The unrealistic Versailles treaty. Hitler condemned the Versailles as unpopular

    and influenced the Germanys to stop paying the war penalty of 6.6 billion

    pound. He was therefore judged as a true Germany nationalist.

    Consolidation of Adolf Hitler on power in Germany from 1933 up to 1945

    Adolf Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933 and assumed

    full political powers after the death of Hindenburg on August 2, 1934. He committed

    suicide on April 30, 1945 and ended his political career. To retain or consolidate his

    position to power, he did the following:

    He imposed strict ban on all other political parties like Socialist Democratic Party

    dissolved on May 22, 1933, Communist Party on May 26 and June 1933, the

    Catholic Democratic and Nationalist Party went. The last political party to go was

    the People’s Party dissolved on July 4th, 1933. Hitler declared those political parties

    unconstitutional and the only candidates to be voted for were those from the Nazi


    On March 23, 1933, the Nazi Grand Council passed an “enabling Act” in the Germany

    Parliament, Reichstag transferring law-making powers from the Reichstag to Hitler’s

    cabinet and therefore suspending the Parliamentary government;

    He centralized all powers and changed the administrative structures in Germany

    and passed the special laws of April, June and July 1934, by which the Jews and

    Socialists were removed from the civil services. New ministries for propaganda,

    culture, agricultural front and labour front rewarded the Nazis and took over white

    collar employment. The Trade Union Movement was dissolved by June 1933;

    He used suppressive policies like Gestapo (Geheime StaatsPolizei = Secret State

    Police) and special spies to eliminate his political enemies like during The Night

    of the Long Knives (Nacht der langen Messer), he sometimes called Operation

    Hummingbird or, in Germany, the Röhm-Putsch, by which his regime executed at

    least 85 people for political reasons from June 30 to July 2, 1934;

    He suppressed public press, broadcasting, literature, drama, music, painting, public

    films and only publications reflecting Hitler’s tastes were allowed in Germany in

    order to keep the masses ignorant about his failures. All books which had anti-Nazi

    ideas were collected and burnt in huge fire in Berlin in 1935.

    Hitler and Nazism fell down because of the following factors:

    Death of his best friend Benito Mussolini on April 28, 1945 and the downfall

    of Fascist Party damaged Hitler’s morale and forced him to commit suicide on

    April 30, 1945.

    The great decline in the economy of Germany due to bombardment of her factories

    and industries by allied forces of Britain, France and USA among others harmed

    Hitler’s popularity.

    Dictatorship which was coupled with excessive oppression like banning other

    political parties, harassing and killing of his German opponents who among others

    included Hans Ramshorn, member of the Reichstag, SA-general in Oberschlesien

    and chief of police of Gleiwitz ,Ernst Röhm, SA-chief of staff Paul Röhrbein, SAcaptain, leader of the first SA of Berlin and Kurt von Schleicher, former Chancellor

    of Germany.;

    The size and heterogeneous nature of the German Empire by 1939, whereby it

    included the Germans, the Austrians, the Poles, the Dutch and the Czechoslovakians

    and by the time Adolf Hitler failed to manage to control this wide size; It was

    necessary for Hitler to commit suicide before the various German senior officers

    did since they attempted to do so several times.

    Withdraw of Germany from the League of Nations which put Germany under

    isolation from world affairs. This made Germany to be considered as an enemy of

    other European countries which later formed an alliance against Germany.

    Betray of strong supporters of Nazism. For example Hammira the commander of the

    Schultz Staffel crossed and surrendered to the allies on 28th April 1945. This weakened

    Hitler since all his war plans were exposed to the allies. Hence his downfall.

    The formation of the allied powers of Britain, France and Russian against the Axis

    powers of Rome Tokyo-Berlin Axis meant decline of t he Nazi party as it was the

    case with World War I, the alliance system played a significant role in the defeat and

    downfall of Adolf Hitler by 1945.

    Application activity

    1. Was the League of Nations successful or not? Substantiate your answer.

    2. Explain why the United States of America was not a member of the

    League of Nations.

    3. Evaluate the New Deal policy initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt to

    cope with effects of the Economic Depression.

    4. Observe the following cartoon. How do you link it with this subsection


    Figure no.7:15 Second World War in Europe and North Africa



    7.3. The Second World War (1939 –1945)

    Activity: 7.3.1

    Do research on internet about the causes and the consequences of the Second

    World War, then examine if the unsolved problems led by the First World War are

    The Second World War was the war fought between the axis powers, that is, Italy,

    Germany and Japan (Rome-Berlin- Tokyo axis) against the allied powers, that is

    Britain, France, Russia and USA. It was the most destructive war that mankind had

    ever experienced and it started with Germany invasion of Poland on 1st.09.1939 and

    ended with the surrender of Japan in August 1945.

    7.3.1. The Causes of the Second World War (1939-1945)

    The outbreak of the Second World War was due to a number of factors which were,

    social and economic in nature:

    The harsh terms of the 1919 Versailles Peace Settlement was one of the causes of

    the war. The treaty was unfair to Germany which was solely held responsible for the

    outbreak of the First World War and was bitterly punished. This contributed to the

    rise of Adolf Hitler to power in 1933, who had strongly promised to revive German’s

    greatness. Thus, in a bid to achieve this, he drifted the whole world into yet another

    war in 1939.

    The revival of the arms race and failure of the disarmament policy also contributed

    the outbreak of the war. The victorious powers disarmed Germany almost to the

    end and themselves never did at all. This forced Adolf Hitler to rearm Germany to

    the teeth. As a result, arms race resumed among European states especially Britain,

    Germany, France and Italy. This bred tension, mistrust, and fear which eventually

    resulted into the outbreak of the Second World War.

    The rise of different dictators in different countries; Benito Mussolini in Italy 1922,

    General Franco in Spain, Tojo Hirohito in Japan and Adolf Hitler in Germany in

    1933. These dictators resorted to the policy of aggression against the weaker

    statesleading to the outbreak of World War II.

    The inherent weakness of the League of Nations inspired major powers to invade

    weaker states. For instance, Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, Johel in 1933. Japan

    even evacuated the League of Nations but no step was taken against her. Italy

    under Benito Mussolini was also encouraged to invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935.

    Germany under Adolf Hitler was inspired to attack Poland on September 1, 1939, all

    this resulted into a world War between 1939 and 1945.

    The negative effects of the World Economic Depression (1929 –1935) forced many

    powers like USA, Britain and France to resort to the policy of protectionism in a bid to

    protect their domestic markets. This increased suspicion, mistrust, fear and tension

    between the world powers, some powers like Germany, Japan and Italy resorted to

    the use of force against weaker

    The presence of the ideological differences (Communist phobia). After the success

    of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution under Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Russia spread

    communism in Western Europe. This fear of communism contributed to the rise

    of dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, who promised to eradicate

    communism in their respective countries and were war mongers that eventually

    made World War II inevitable.

    The 1931–1939, Spanish Civil wars were also antecedents to the Second World

    War. In 1939, with the support of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, General Franco

    overthrew the republican regime which was supported by Britain, Russia and

    France. General Franco decided to establish a fascist regime of Italian type. As a

    result, Germany and Italy gained full confidence that winning any war was obvious

    and no wonder they were instrumental in causing the Second World War

    The formation of the Rome-Tokyo- Berlin Axis (Military alliance) by 1939: The

    aggressive alliance started with Italy and Germany in 1938, inspired Japan under

    Tojo Hirohito to join and the alliance became Rome - Tokyo - Berlin Axis. This

    conditioned the formation of the counter alliances. These alliances made the weaker

    states. For instance, Rome-Tokyo-Berlin axis inspired by Hitler to invade Poland on

    September 1, 1939 sparking off the Second World War.

    The Appeasement Policy initiated by the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain.

    From 1937 to1939, Chamberlain made a miscalculation by allowing Hitler to take

    over some territories. He thought that this would serve as a reconciliatory approach

    between Germany and the signatories of the Versailles Settlement. However, Hitler

    considered it as an element of cowardice of the western democrats. In 1936 Hitler

    invaded the region of the Rhine lands, Austria in 1938, Sudetenland which was put

    under Czechoslovakia in 1919which eventually resulted into a World War in 1939.

    Britain and France took no step against Germany. They instead signed the Munich

    agreement with Germany in recognition of her occupation of the Sudetenland.

    These inspired Hitler who decided to occupy the whole of Czechoslovakia. On

    September 1, 1939 Germany decided to invade Poland culminating into war.

    The anti-Semitism also caused the war. This was where the world powers wanted

    to revenge on Hitler for having killed the Jews in Germany. The opportunity came

    when he invaded Poland which caused the war.

    The rise and growth of nationalism also caused the Second World War. Germany

    wanted to regain her lost pride denied by the victor powers under the Versailles

    treaty using unfair terms. This was done through arms race, foreign invasion and

    alliance system. All these caused the war.

    The role of the press also contributed to the outbreak of World War II. The press

    exaggerated the military capacities of different powers especially Germany against

    the allied powers. This created a war atmosphere leading to World War II.

    Lastly,the Germany invasion of Poland on 1st.sept.1939 also caused the war. This

    was the immediate cause of World War II where Hitler attacked Poland hoping

    that France and Britain would not intervene because of their appeasement policy.

    Unfortunately, Germany was given an ultimatum of 48 hours to withdraw its troops

    from Poland an order which Hitler ignored, hence causing the Second World War.

    7.3.2 The main phases of the Second World War (1939-1945)

    The main phases of the Second World War were characterised by the years of Axis

    triumph including for instance the fall of France, the conquest of Poland, the battle

    of Britain, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the Axis

    accumulated defeats in Africa, Pacific and Europe. 

    The conquest of Poland ( September 1939)

    Source:, in A history of modern Europe(1789-1981). pge 348

    The Second World War opened with an assault on Poland. German forces totalling

    over one million men rapidly overran Western Poland and subdued the ill –equipped

    Polis armies. The outcome of the campaign was clear within the first few days,

    organised resistance ended within a month. The Germans set about to integrate

    their Polish conquest into the Reich.

    Simultaneously, the Soviet Union, acting under the secret clauses of the NAZI

    –Soviet Pact, moved into the Eastern half of Poland two weeks after the German

    invasion. The Soviets proceeded also to establish the fortified bases in the Baltic

    States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).

    In November 1939, the Soviets attacked Finland and by March 1940 the fighting was

    over. Finland had to yield some territory to USSR but retained its independence.

    The fall of France (June 1940)

    On April 9, 1940, the Germans suddenly attacked and overran Norway. Denmark,

    too, was overrun, and an allied expeditionary force had to withdraw. Then on

    May 10, Germans delivered their main blow, striking at the Netherlands, Belgium,

    Luxemburg and France itself.

    In June 1940, despite attempts of fragmented resistance by the French forces, Paris

    itself was occupied on June 13, and Verdun was occupied two days later. By June

    22, France sued for peace and an armistice was signed. Under the terms of the

    Armistice, France itself was occupied in its northern two –thirds by the Germans. The

    Third Republic had now its capital at Vichy.

    The battle of Britain (1940 –1941)

    After the fall of France the Germans stood poised for an invasion of Great Britain.

    There was always the hope, in Hitler’s mind, that the German air attack on Britain

    began that summer and reached its climax in the autumn 1940 until had any

    bombing been so severe. But the Germans were unable to win control over the air

    the battle of Britain, Gradually, the British Royal Air Force fought off the bombers

    with more success; new radar devices helped detect the approach of the enemy

    plans. In the winter of 1940 –1941 the Germans began to shift their weight to the


    The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union (1941- 1942)

    The Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, was never a warm or harmonious understanding. Both

    parts probably entered it mainly to gain time. After the defeat of the battle of Britain,

    the German army threw three million men into Russia. By the autumn of 1941, the

    Germans had overrun Bielorussia and most of the Ukraine, where the brutal military

    occupation led immediately to Nazi mass murders of Jews, Bolshevik government

    officials and other civilians. In the North, Leningrad was in a state of siege; toward

    the centre of the vast front the Germans stood within 25 miles of Moscow.

    However, the Germans failed to capture Leningrad and Moscow. They were severely

    hampered by the heavy rains of October which turned the Russian roads into mud by

    the severe frosts of November and December while in some places the temperature

    fell to minus 38 degrees centigrade. Moreover, the Germans had inadequate winter

    clothing because Hitler expected the campaigns to be over before winter.

    The Japanese and the Pacific fronts

    In 1941, the Japanese had conducted a war against China for ten years. With the war

    raging in Europe, Japanese expansionists saw a propitious moment to assert them

    throughout East Asia.

    In 1940, they cemented their alliance with Germans and Italy in a new three power

    pact. From the Vichy French Government the Japanese obtained a number of military

    bases and other concessions in Indochina. On December 7, 1941, without warning,

    the Japanese launched a heavy air on the American naval base at Pearl Harbour in

    Hawaii and began to invade the Philippine Islands. Simultaneously, they launched

    attacks on Guam, Midway, Hong Kong, and Malaya. The Americans were thus caught

    off guard at Pearl Harbour.

    Figure 7:16Attack on Pearl Harbour

    Source: Pommerolle F, & Ruhlman J,History from 1914 to date (April 29th,1982),pge


    In 1942, the Axis Powers had taken the control of Europe and Asia. However, their

    success ended the same year. The USA and the Great Britain declared war on Japan

    on December 8, 1941. Three days later Germans and Italy declared war on the USA,

    as did the Axis puppet status, the war became now a global struggle.

    The Soviet Union’s victory (1942-1945)

    By January 1942, twenty–six nations, including the three Great Powers (USA, Great

    Britain and USSR) were aligned against the Axis powers. Each pledged to use all its

    resources to defeat the Axis powers and never to make a separate peace.

    The turning of the tide (1942-1943): North Africa and Stalingrad

    At the end of 1942, the tide of the Second World War had begun to turn. In November,

    an Anglo- American force under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower gained

    control of the French-held territories in Algeria and Morocco after an amphibious

    operation of unprecedented proportions. At the same time, British forces under the

    command of Montgomery pushed the Germans Westwards from Egypt until a large

    German force was crushed between the two allied armies in Tunisia. Meanwhile

    it became clear in the winter of 1942- 1943, that the Germans had suffered a

    catastrophic reversal in the Soviet Union in the titanic battle of Stalingrad. The

    Soviet Union followed up the victory with a new counter offensive.

    The fall of Italy (April 1945)

    The fall of Italy was the first stage in the Axis power’s collapse. The American and

    British troops landed in Sicily from the Mediterranean Sea and air (July 10, 1943)

    and quickly captured the whole island. This caused the downfall of Mussolini. Allied

    troops crossed to Salerno, Reggio and Taranto on the mainland and captured Naples

    (October 1943). Marshall Badoglio, Mussolini’s successor, signed to the Allied side an


    However, the Germans determined to hold on to Italy, rushed troops through the

    Brenner, passed to occupy Rome and the North. The allies landed a force at Anzio but

    bitter fighting followed before Mont Casino (May) and Rome (June) were captured.

    Milan in the North was not taken until April 1945.

    The elimination of Italy did contribute towards the final allied victory: Italy provided

    for bombing the Germans in the central Europe and the Balkans, and German troops

    were kept occupied when they were needed to resist the Russians.

    The operation Overlord, June 6, 1944

    Operation Overlord, the invasion of France (also known as Second Front) began on

    June 6, 1944. It was felt that time was ripe now that Italy had been eliminated. The

    landings took place from sea and air on a 60 mile (i.e. 96kms) stretch on Normandy

    beaches between Cherbourg and Le Havre.

    There was strong German resistance, but at the end of the first week 326,000men

    with tanks and heavy lorries had landed safely. Within a few weeks most of the

    Northern France was liberated; Paris was liberated on August 25. In Belgium,

    Antwerp was liberated in September 1944.

    The assault on Germany

    The assault on Germany itself followed the liberation of France and Belgium, but the

    end was delayed by desperate German resistance. However, early in 1945. Germany

    was being invaded on both fronts, from East to West. In Berlin Hitler committed

    suicide and Germany surrendered.

    The defeat of Japan

    On August 6, 1945, the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing

    perhaps as many 84,000 people and leaving thousands more slowly dying of

    radiation poisoning. Three days later they dropped another atomic bomb on

    Nagasaki which killed perhaps 40,000; after this Japanese government surrendered.

    Figure no 7:17 :Hiroshima August 6, 1945


    7.4.3. Effects of the Second World War

    Figure no 7:18 Big Three, F.D Roosevelt, Churchill and J. Stalin


    The Second World War was a turning point in the history of Europe and the world

    at large in social, economic and political spheres.

    The Second World War led to enormous destruction:

    Massive loss of lives and destruction of property, homes, industries and

    communication lines in Europe and in Asia were out of function: Almost 4o millions

    people were killed and another 21 million people were displaced from their homes

    but the most notorious was the Holocaust, the deliberate murder in extermination

    camps of over 5 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of non-Jews mainly in

    Poland and Russia.

    Besides, the Second World War contributed to the rise of new superpowers

    during the Second World War. Moscow (USSR) and Washington (USA) became

    the centres of world politics.

    The Second World War contributed to the decolonisation of Asian and

    African states. For instance, it weakened the colonial powers like Britain and

    France. Their economic roles were shuttered and rushed to USA for economic

    aid. However, USA gave them a condition to first grant independence to

    their colonies in order to get aid for economic recovery. Important still, the

    economic decline of Britain and France forced them to relax their policies in

    their colonies.

    The Second World War contributed to rapid scientific innovations and

    technological development. This resulted into production of sophisticated

    weapons of mass destruction.

    The Second World War contributed to the outbreak of the Cold War between

    the Western capitalist countries led by USA and Eastern Communist bloc led by

    the Soviet Union. These new super powers at the end of the Second World War

    started spreading their divergent ideologies of Capitalism and Communism.

    The United Nations Organisation (UNO) was formed to replace the defunct

    League of Nations in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. The League of

    Nations had become weak and failed to maintain world peace.

    The Second World War led to economic decline in Europe. This was due to

    the destruction of infrastructures, trade, agriculture, communication and

    industries. The British and French economies were shattered and left in

    shambles. This compelled most of them to rush to USA for economic aid.

    The Second World War led to the defeat and eventual demise of great and

    worst military dictators of Europe; Benito Mussolini of Italy and Adolf Hitler

    of Germany who committed suicide on April 28 and 30, 1945 respectively.

    General Franco in Spain and Tojo Hirohito of Japan were also overthrown.

    The rise of Zionism (Jewish nationalism) was also influenced by the Second World

    War. Millions of Jews got their own country (Israel) in 1948 with the division of


    Application activity 7:3.2

    1. Explain the causes of the Second World War (not more than one page).

    2. Identify and explain four effects of the Second World War.

    3. Describe the major phases of the Second World War.

    4. Draw a cartoon representing the effects of the Second World War. Write

    fifteen lines text to explain your depiction.

    7.4 The United Nations Organisation

    Figure 7:19Comparison of United Nations and the League of Nations

    Source: Evening Standard

    Activity 7.3.3

    Use internet or your school library and answer the following questions:

    1. Describe the cartoon in figure 7:19 above. Why is the person wearing

    glasses running speedily? Identify him.

    2. “The UN was presented as an improved League of Nations”.

    a. What do you think about the above assertion? Support your argument.

    b. Assess the major challenges that the UN faced in trying to achieve mission

    perfectly its mission.

    c. What do you think is the most serious of its failures?

    4. Suggest ways to improve the activities of United Nations.

    While the USA and the Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War (1947-1991), the

    UNO tried to settle peace all over the world.

    7.4.1 The origins, aims and structure of the United Nations Organisation

    During the later stages of the Second World War, various ideas were put forward for

    an international organ sation to replace the discredited League of Nations. Churchill

    proposed three groups which would be represented on a supreme world council

    with the victorious great powers standing over all. However, there were objections

    to such an idea. After a good deal of discussion, the general idea of the UN was

    formulated at the Dumbarton Oaks conference in October 1944. The first draft of the

    charter of the UN was signed by 51 nations on April 25, 1945, in San Francisco. The

    UN officially came into existence in October 1945.

    Figure no7:20: Representatives of 26 Allied nations fighting against the Axis Powers met in WashingtonD.C. to pledge their support for the Atlantic Charter by signing the ‘Declaration by itedNations’


    The main aims of the UNO

    Preserving peace and eliminate war;

    Removing the cases of conflict by encouraging economic, social, educational,

    scientific and cultural progress throughout the world, especially in

    underdeveloped countries;

    Safeguarding the rights of all individual human beings, and nations.

    Stopping the aggression was an issue behind the formation of UNO. This was

    because Kaiser William II and Hitler’s aggression were responsible for the

    outbreak of the First and Second World War

    Bringing justice to those who committed crimes of war against humanity.For

    example the Nazi and Fascists who conducted killing of the Jews.

    Enforcing disarmament and stop arms race that was responsible for the two

    world wars.

    Promoting political, economic and social co-operation in the world.

    Facilitating decolonization and democratization of those nationalities who

    were dominated and oppressed.

    Embark on/check on threats to environment which was potentially dangerous to mankind. Weapons of mass destruction like atomic bombs were used in

    the Second World War which destroyed flora and fauna.

    Eliminating the problem of human and drug trafficking. By 1945 the

    consumption of intoxicated drugs had damaged the youth.

    Rehabilitating and resettle prisoners of war and displaced persons who were

    made homeless by the Second World War.

    Checking out the violation of children’s rights. There was gross abuse of

    children’s rights like child labour, corporal punishments, child neglect and


    Checking out the exploitation of workers by employers especially capitalists.

    The capitalists were oppressing workers by poor payments, over working

    under poor conditions.

    Improving on world health services and standards. World War II had destroyed

    most health centers and made medical services inadequate during and after

    the war.

    The structure of the United Nations Organisations

    There were six main organs of the UN

    Figure 7:21 The United Nations Organs


    The General Assembly

    The General Assembly is composed of the representatives from all the member

    nations; each member can send up to 5 representatives, though there is only one

    vote per nation. The General Assembly meets once a year, starting in September

    and remaining in session for about three months, but special sessions can be

    called in times of crisis by the members themselves all by the Security Council. The

    main functions of the General Assembly are to discuss and make decision about

    international problems; to consider the UN budget and what amount each member

    should pay; to elect Security Council members; and to supervise the work of the

    main other UN bodies.

    The Security Council

    The primary responsibility of the Security Council is to preserve peace. This organ

    is composed of 5 powers, who are to be permanent members, and 10 rotating

    members chosen for 2-years term. The permanent seats are assigned to the USA,

    Russia, Great Britain, France and China. Each permanent member has a veto power.

    The Security Council sits in permanent session and its function is to deal with crises

    as they arise, by whatever action seems appropriate, and if necessary, by calling on

    members to take economic or military action against an aggressor.

    The Secretariat

    This is the Office-Staff of the UN. It is headed by the Secretary-General, who is

    appointed for a 5- years term by the General Assembly on the recommendation of

    the Security Council. The Secretary- General acts as the main spokesperson for the


    The International Court of Justice

    This organ is at The Hague (Holland). It has 15 judges elected for 9- year term by the

    Assembly and the Security Council Jointly.

    The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

    This has 27 members elected by the General Assembly. It organises projects

    concerned with health, education and other social and economic matters. It also

    co-ordinates the work of an astonishing array of other commissions and specialized

    agencies such as Human Rights Commission, International Labour Organization

    (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),

    United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),United

    Nation Financial and Economic Agencies, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World

    Bank (WB) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade -GATT).

    The Trusteeship Council

    This Trusteeship Council replaced the LON Mandates Commission which had

    originally come into existence in 1919, to keep an eye on the territories taken away

    from Germany and Turkey at the end of the First World War. The Trusteeship Council

    did its job well and by 1970, most of the mandates had gained their independence.

    7.4.2 Achievements of the United Nations Organisation

    It is probably fair to say that the UN has been more successful than the League of

    Nations in its peacekeeping efforts, especially in crises which did not involve the

    interests of the Great Powers. On the other hand, it has been just as the League

    of Nations in situations where the interests of the Great Powers seemed to be

    threatened and where the Great Powers decided to ignore or defy the UN.

    The UN provides a world assembly where representatives of over 180 nations can

    come together and talk to each other. Even the smallest nation has a chance to make

    its voice heard in world forum.

     Although it has not prevented wars, it has been successful in bringing some wars to

    an end more quickly. For example the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988), and

    the Gulf War in 1991.

    The UNO has done valuable work in investigating and publicizing human rights

    violations under repressive regimes like military government in Chile. In this way, it

    has slowly been able to influence governments by bringing international pressure

    to bear on them.

    In addition, UN stimulates international cooperation on economic, social, and

    technical matters. The UN agencies continue to involve in current problems in

    different countries.

    Economically, the UN has promoted economic co-operation and development

    especially in the less developing countries. Trade and industry were developed and

    boosted through the UN programs like the I.M.F (International Monetary Fund) and

    the World Bank by giving short loans.

    Discrimination and abuse of women was also addressed by the UNO. The charter

    of 1948, emphasized equality between women and men which provided a basis

    for women emancipation.

    Similarly children’s right and welfare were promoted and protected by the UNO. This

    was through funding children’s education especially the girl-child education and

    welfare in many countries of t he world.

    The welfare and standards of living of workers was improved by the International

    Labour Organization (I.L.O) through its headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland. This

    protected workers from exploitation.

    The UNO scored great success in settling social and economic problems of refugees

    and victims of natural disasters. By 1945, disasters like earth quakes, famine and

    floods had led to untold suffering and death of thousands of people around the


    Decolonization and democratization was achieved by the UNO through its

    trusteeship council. This facilitated the independence of Libya, Somalia, Namibia,

    Israel, Palestine, etc.

    Disarmament was one of the remarkable achievement of UNO towards world

    peace. In 1946, the Security Council set up the atomic energy commission to control

    production of atomic energy.

    The establishment of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948, was an achievement for the

    UNO. The congress system had granted the Jews citizenship that had fled due to

    persecution. But still the Jews were persecuted and massacred by the Nazi, Fascist

    and Arabs.

    Increased membership since its formation in 1945, is a clear testimony of its success.

    It was formed in 1945, with 51 member states but by 1970 the number had increased

    to 100


    The loans granted by I.M.F(International Monetary Fund) and World Bank had some

    negative consequences on the development of the third world countries. It had

    strings attached that promoted political ideologies of Western capitalists powers.

    Although drug trafficking was reduced but it was never eliminated completely. This

    was because the UNO did not have an effective and competent force to control drug


    The UNO failed to stop cold war politics and its associated tension in Europe. Cold

    War was led by USA and USSR yet the countries were permanent members.

    The UNO failed to wipe out culture intolerance and racism. Though the UNO

    embarked on global sensitization campaign against racism and cultural intolerance

    but it was not fully successful by 1970.

    The UNO’s policies on disarmament, weapons of mass destruction and space

    exploration were great failures. By 1945, it was only America with the atomic bomb

    but nearly all nations by 1970, had such weapons.

    It failed to unite the once united states for example after the cold war politics,

    Germany was left divided between West and East German as well as North Korea

    and South Korea.

    In the field of politics, the UNO failed more than it succeeded. This was seen when

    veto powers began fighting against the resolution of the UNO.

    The universal declaration of Human rights (UDHR) of 1948, failed totally to achieve

    its objectives by 1970. It was not fully accepted in many states especially Arab


    The rise of neo-colonialism and its associated evils in the third world countries

    exposed the failures of the UNO. After decolonization, European powers resorted

    to neo-colonialism as an indirect means to control, exploit and oppress the third


    The UNO failed to eradicate terrorism in the world. By 1970, the world experienced

    rampart assassinations, hijack of planes, planting of time bomb and suicide

    bombing especially in Asia and Middle East.

    Application activity 7:3.4

    1. Compare and contrast the United Nations and the League of Nations.

    2. Examine any four achievements of the United Nations Organisation. 

    7.5 The Cold War (1947-199

    Activity: 7:5:1

    Do the following activities:

    1. Explain the term ColdWar. Read also the following texts. Describe the

    atmosphere which prevailed during that period and explain if the

    term Cold War is appropriate or not.

    Source A:

    “The question arose as to whether the United States would be willing to use

    atomic weapons in the developing crisis, for there was still no clear policy within

    the administration. Truman argued with his Pentagon chiefs that because they

    were “so terribly destructive”, atomic weapons could not be treated as conventional

    weaponry. He urged the leaders “to understand that this isn’t a military weapon. It

    is used to wipe out women and children and unarmed people”. In September the

    National Security Council produced a secret report designed as NSC-30: “United

    States Policy on Atomic Warfare.”

    This required the military to be “ready to utilize promptly and effectively all

    appropriate means available, including atomic weapons...”. However, any decision

    about the use of nuclear weapons would be made by the president...” In a briefing

    with his [Truman] chief air force commanders, he “prayed he would never have to

    make such a decision, but...if it became necessary, no one need have misgiving but

    he would do so” (Isaacs & Downing (1998, p. 75).

    Source B:

    “In early 1971 a US Ping-Pong team had been in Japan for the world championships,

    as was a Chinese team. One day an American player by miracle got on the Chinese

    team bus. Since talking to a foreigner was a crime, most of the Chinese players

    ignored the young American in their midst. However, the team captain, Zhuang

    Zedong, felt that this was alien to the spirit of Chinese hospitality and offered the

    American player a gift, which broke the ice...In 1971, the American table tennis

    players attended the tournament and were among the first Westerners to visit China

    in the wake of Cultural Revolution” (Isaacs & Downing (1998, p.275).

    Name four conflicts in the World symbolising the Cold War

    Shortly after the defeat of their common enemies-Germany and Japan- the two

    super-powers went into economic, political and i deological ideal rivalries known as

    the Cold War (1947-1991). It was so called because there has been no open (direct)

    attack between the USA and the Soviet Union.

    7.5.1 Causes of the Cold War

    Differences of the principles

    The basic cause of conflict lay in the differences of the principle between the

    Communist states and the Capitalists or Liberal Democratic states. The USA was

    capitalist while USSR was c ommunist.

    The Communist system of organizing the state and the society was based on the

    ideas of Karl Marx, who believed that the wealth of a country should be collectively

    owned and shared by everybody. He believed that the wealth of a country should

    be centrally planned and the interests and well-being of the working classes should

    be safeguarded by social policies.

    The driving forces behind capitalism are private enterprise in the pursuit of making

    profits, and the preservation of the power of private wealth. In fact, ever since the

    world’s first communist governments, most the capitalist states viewed it with

    mistrust and were afraid of communism spreading to their countries. However, the

    need for self-preservation against Germany and Japan caused the Soviet Union, the

    USA and Great Britain to forget their differences and work together, but as soon as

    their common enemies were defeated, the two comps were highly suspicious of

    each other’s intentions.

    Mutual mistrust between two camps

    During the war American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inclined to trust

    Stalin but his successor, Henry Truman, was more suspicious and toughened his

    attitude towards the communists. On the other hand the Soviet Union suspected

    that the USA and Great Britain were still keen to destroy communism. The Soviet

    Union felt that the Allies’ delay in launching the invasion of France, for opening the

    second front (Which did not take place until June 1944), was deliberately calculated

    to keep most of the pressure on the Soviet Union and bring them to the point of

    exhaustion. Above all, the USA had the atomic bomb and the USSR did not. Truman

    did not inform Stalin about the exact nature of the atomic bomb.

    At Yalta and Potsdam conferences, respectively took place on February and July

    1945, agreements were achieved but on many points agreements were not reached.

    For instance, at Yalta conference, Roosevelt and Churchill were not happy that

    Stalin should be given all Germany territory east of the rivers Oder and Neisse. No

    agreement was reached at his point. 

    At Potsdam conference, no long term agreement was reached. The big question was

    whether or when the four zones would be allowed to form again a united country.

    Stalin’s foreign policies contributed to the tensions

    Stalin had an aim of spreading communism to as many countries as possible. He thus

    took advantage of the military situation to strengthen soviet influence in Europe.

    As the Nazi armies collapsed, Stalin tried to occupy as much German territory as

    he could and to acquire as much land as he could get away from countries such

    as Finland, Poland and Romania. In the months following Potsdam conference,

    the Soviet Union systematically interfered in the countries of Eastern Europe to

    set up pro-communist governments. This extended influence happened in Poland,

    Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania and Romania. In some cases their opponents were

    imprisoned or murdered. By the end of 1947, every state in that area with the

    exception of Czechoslovakia had a fully communist government.

    The West was alarmed at what they took to be soviet aggression; they believed

    that Stalin was committed to spreading communism ever as much of the globe as

    possible. In March 1946, W. Churchill, in his own speech at Fulton, Missouri (USA),

    said that the Soviet Union was pulling down an “Iron Curtain”. Churchill called for a

    Western alliance which would stand firm against the communist threat. So the USA

    decided to contain communism.

    American containment policy

    Containment was a cornerstone of Western policy against the spread of

    communism. The USA and other western nations began to actively encourage

    democratic governments in Latin America, West Europe, Africa and Asia.

    The USA sent amount of food and military supplies to countries around the world

    to stop the spread of communism. In March 1947, Truman announced that the USA

    would support free peoples who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or

    by outside pressures. This was the Truman Doctrine. In June 1947, an economic

    extension of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan was announced. As a result of

    the Marshall Plan, by September 1947, 16 nations of Western Europe had drowned

    up a joint for using American aid.

    By 1951, therefore, American’s economic warfare policy was enshrined in various

    pieces of legislation. The promise was that any assistance in building up the Soviet

    economy by the sale of Western goods with direct or indirect military application

    represented a danger to U.S. national security. 

    The essence of U.S. policy was the desire to weaken the Soviet economy through

    denial and to contain Soviet power by retarding the growth of the military industrial

    infrastructure that would permit Soviet foreign expansion. Moreover, Washington

    recognized that this policy would be ineffective if it did not secure allied cooperation.

    The United States therefore used a mixture of positive (Marshall Plan aid) and

    negative (Battle Act) incentives to achieve this cooperation.Deibel, T.L. & Gaddis, J.L.

    (1987, p. 62).

    In 1949, the USA joined the countries of Western Europe in a military Treaty and

    formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The members promised to

    help one another in case of an attack from the Soviet Union. They formed an armed

    force made up of soldiers from each country. In 1952, Greece and Turkey joined

    NATO and the Americans later established rocket base on the Turkish-Soviet border.

    After the victory of communism in China (1949), with Australia, New Zealand, and

    in 1954, these three states with Great Britain and France set up the South East Asian

    Treaty Organization (SEATO). However, only three Asian states (Pakistan, Thailand

    and the Philippines) joined SEATO.

    The Soviet Union response to American containment policy

    Stalin responded to American containment policy by tightening his grip on the

    satellites. The Cominform was set up in September 1947. This was an organization

    to draw together the various European communist parties. In 1949, the Molotov

    Plan was introduced, offering soviet aid to the satellites. Another organization,

    Council of Mutual Economic Assistance( COMECON) was set up to co –ordinate their

    economic policies. In 1955, a similar group of NATO was set up in the communist

    Camp, Warsaw Pact. This was made up of all the communist countries of Europe

    except Albania and Yugoslavia.

    7.5.2 The main phases of the Cold War

    The Cold War was characterised by periods of hot crisis and those of détente.

    The period of small hot crises (1947-1953)

    There occurred mainly in Czechoslovakia (February 1948), in Germany (June 1948 -

    May 1949) in China (1946-1949), in Korea (1950-1953), in Vietnam (1946-1954) and

    in the Middle East (1948-1949). Although the antagonism and rivalry were intense,

    there were no open or direct military hostilities between the two superpowers. In

    some ways, East-West relations did begin to improve during 1953, but there were

    still areas of disagreement.

    The thaw after 1953

    The death of Stalin (1953), was probably a starting of the thaw, because it brought

    to the forefront new Soviet leaders namely Gueorgui Malenkov, Nikolaï Bulganin

    and Nikita Khrushchev who wanted to improve relations with the USA. They

    seemed more conciliatory and willing to acknowledge the need for arms control

    and cooperation in the nuclear age. Indeed, by August 1953, the Soviet Union as

    well as the USA had developed the hydrogen bomb. Thus, the two sides were

    balanced that international tensions had to be relaxed if nuclear was to be avoided.

    In this perspective, N. Khrushchev said that, “peaceful Coexistence with the West

    was not only possible but essential”.

    Anti Community feelings in the USA, which had been stirred up by Senator Joseph

    McCarthy, began to moderate when this Senator was discredited in 1954. He had

    gone too far, when he began to accuse leading generals of having community

    sympathies. The Senate condemned McCarthy by a large majority and soon

    afterward, the American President Eisenhower announced that the American

    people wanted to be friendly with the Soviet people.

    Among other signs of the thaw were the signing of the agreement at Panmunjom

    ending the Korean war (July 1953); the Geneva Agreement (1954), ending the war

    in Indo-China; the agreement, in 1955, on Treaty with Austria, ending the joint allied

    occupation and leaving Austria independent and neutral; important concessions

    made by the Soviet Union in 1955(Soviet military bases in Finland were given

    up; Cominform was abandoned; the quarrel with Yugoslavia cooled down when

    Khrushchev paid a visit to Josip Broz Tito.

    However, the thaw was not a consistent development; on the one hand, under

    criticism at home and from Mao in China for being too conciliatory toward the

    West, Nikita Khrushchev was quick to respond to anything which seemed to be a

    threat to the East. The Warsaw Pact (1955), was signed between USSR and satellite

    states shortly after West Germany was admitted to NATO, in 1956. The Soviet Union

    exerted pressure on Poland to curb its reform movement; then sent troops that year

    to crush the Hungarian revolt. In August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected blocking

    the escape route of East Germans to West Berlin.

    On the other hand, in the late 1950s, the Soviet Union rallied the Latin American

    states by the international communist movement. Meanwhile, the race in nuclear

    arms between two blocks continued in the late 1950s. However, the Cuban crisis

    produced a marked relaxation of tensions between Superpowers, hence the détente

    from 1970s up to 1990s. 

    The Détente (1970s –1990s)

    Reasons for the détente

    The word détente is used to meaning a permanent relaxation of tensions betwee

    n the East and the West blocs. As the nuclear arsenals were built up, both sides

    became increasingly fearful of catastrophic nuclear war in which there could be no

    real winner. Both sides were sickened by the horrors of Vietnam. In addition there

    were conflicts within both blocs. In the 1960s, relations between China and USSR

    became strained, and in the West De Gaulle declined to follow the American lead in

    the Foreign policy in Europe, or elsewhere.

    On the other hand, individual motives for the détente were significant. The USSR

    was finding the expense of keeping up the American clipping. It was essential to

    reduce defence expenditure so that they could devote more resources to raising

    the standard of living up to Western levels. The USA began to realize that there

    must be a better way to cope up with communists than the one which was having

    so little success in Vietnam. Clearly there were limits to what their military power

    could achieve. The Chinese were anxious about their isolation. As for the Nations of

    Western Europe, they were worried because they would be in the front line if the

    nuclear war broke out.

    The signs of the détente

    The main important signs of the détente were the improvement of relations between

    USSR and USA, China, USSR and China.

    Improvement of relations between China and USA

    China and USA had been extremely hostile towards each other since the Korean

    War seemed likely to remain. So while America backed Cgiang Kai - Shek and

    the nationalists in Taiwan, with time relations improved. In 1971, the Chinese

    unexpectedly invited an American table-tennis team to visit China. Following the

    success of that visit, the USA responded by calling off their embargo of Chinese

    entry into the UNO. Communist China was therefore allowed to become a member

    of the UNO in October 1971.

    President Nixon and Ford both paid successful visits to Pecking (1972 and 1975).

    In 1979, Jimmy Carter gave feral recognition of the People exchanged. In 1985, an

    agreement was signed on nuclear co-operation. It will be recalled that, however,

    there is still the problem of Taiwan to sour the relations between China and the USA.

    Improvement of relations between China and USSR

    In the 1950s, China co-operation with USSR was good but in the 1960s, relations

    between the two countries became strained. They hurled polemics at each other

    in their rivalry for ideological leadership and for control of the lands of inner Asia

    into which Russia had expanded in the age the Tsar. Mao accused Khrushchev

    of pusillanimous behaviour in the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. In 1972, the two

    countries clashed over border territory that divided Manchuria and Russia’s Maritime

    Provinces; they continued other areas.

    Not until the 1980s, was there a reconciliation between the two countries.

    Progresses were made under M. Gorbachev who was determined to begin a new

    era in Sino –Soviet relations. In July 1985, five –year agreements on the trade and

    economic co-operation were signed and regular contacts took place between the

    two governments.

    Improvement of relations between USSR and USA

    The two countries had already made progress with the hot –line telephone link

    and the agreement to carry out only underground 9 nuclear tests both in 1963. An

    agreement signed in 1967 banned the use of nuclear weapons in outer space and

    in the two superpowers signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I); which

    decided how many ABMs, ICBMs and SALBM each side could have. The agreement

    did not reduce the amount of armaments but it did not slow the arms race down.

    In July 1975, the Helsinki Agreement was signed and by this agreement, the USA,

    Canada, the USSR and most European states accepted the European frontiers

    which had been drawn up after the Second World War. The Communists countries

    promised to allow their peoples human rights including freedom of speech and

    freedom to leave the country.

    However, the détente did not precede some setbacks such as the war in Vietnam

    (1961-1975), the six –Day War (1967) fought Israel and neighboring states

    (Egypt,Jordan,Syria), the Yom Kippur war (1979). NATO became nervous at the

    deployment of 150 new soviet SS-20 missiles. It decided to deploy over 500 perishing

    and cruise missiles in Europe by 1983, as deterrent to a possible attack on Western

    Europe. When the Soviet invaded Afghanistan (December 25, 1979) and replaced

    the President with the one; more favourable to them; all the old Western suspicion

    of Soviet motives revived. Both sides spent the first of the 1980s building up their

    nuclear arsenals. It will be recalled that the détente between two superpowers

    gathered momentum again thanks to the determination of the new Soviet leader,

    M... Gorbachev (1985-1991). He had summit meetings with E. Reagan and proposed

    a 15 –year time table for a step proces s for ridding t he earth of nuclear weapons.

    On May 1, 1988, M. Gorbachev agreed that USSR would begin withdrawing her

    troops from Afghanistan, provided the U.S.A stopped s ending military aid to the Afghanistan resistance movement. In 1990, Gorbachev George Bush, and

    Ronald Reagan’ jointly agreed to end the cold war, confirmed by the collapse of

    communism in Eastern. In 1991, the leaders of both superpowers signed a tragic

    Arms Treaty pledging each nation to scale down by about a third of its arsenal of

    long –range nuclear missiles.

    The collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and USSR (1989 –1991): the end

    of the cold war

    Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms, Eastern remarkable Europein the period of events

    August 1988 to December 1991. Communism was swept away by a rising tide

    popular opposition and mass demonstrations, far more quickly than could ever


    Figure 7:22 Mikhail Gorbachev

    The process began in Poland in August 1988, when the Solidarity trade union

    organized a huge anti–government strikes. These eventually forced the government

    to allow free elections, in which the communists were heavily defeated (June 1989).

    Evolutionally protects rapidly spread to all other soviet satellites states. Hungary was

    the next to allow free elections in which communists again suffered defeat. In the

    Eastern Germany, by the end of 1990, the Communist government had resigned.

    Soon the Berlin War was breached and, in the summer of 1990, Germany was

    reunited. Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania had thrown out their communist

    governments by the end of 1989, and multi–party elections were held in the former

    Yugoslavia in 1990, and Albania in the spring of 1991.

    By the end of December1991, the USSR itself had split up into separate Republics

    and Gorbachev resigned. The Cold War came to an end and the USA became the

    sole superpower in the world affairs even if Russia remained a large persistent


    7.5.3 The major crisis of the Cold War

    The cold war started with soviet expansionism which in turn led to the American

    Containment Policy (1947). It spread in different parts of the world.

    The communist takeover in CCzechoslovakia (February 1948)

    In Czechoslovakia, democratic President Coalition had been viewed by Edward

    Benes as a possible bridge between the East and the West. Fearing a possible

    defeat in a forthcoming elections, the Czechoslovakia communist party seized

    power in February 1948. This came as a great blow to the Western bloc because

    Czechoslovakia was the only remaining democratic state in Eastern Europe. The

    communist takeover of Czechoslovakia was complete.

    The Berlin blockade and airlift (June 1948-1949)

    This crisis arose out of disagreement over the treatment of Germany: Germany and

    Berlin were each divided into four zones. While the Western powers did their best to

    organize the economic and political recovery of their zones, Stalin treated his zones

    as satellite, draining its resources away to the Soviet Union.

    In June 1948, the West introduced a new currency and ended price controls in their

    zone and in Western Berlin, the Soviet Union closed all roads, railways and canal

    links between West Berlin and West Germany. Their aim was to force the West to

    withdraw from West Berlin by reducing it to starvation point. The Western powers

    decided to fly supplies in rightly judging that the Soviet Union would not risk

    shooting down the transport planes. In May 1949, the Russians admitted failure by

    lifting the blockade.

    As results of this crisis, NATO was formed to co-ordinate Western defences and

    Germany was divided into two parts; the German Federal Republic or West Germany

    (August 1949) and the German Democratic Republic, East Germany (NovemberDecember 1989).

    The war in Korea (1950-1953)

    The war broke out when North Korean troops invaded South Korea in June 1950. The

    USA and other 14 capitalist supported South Korea while North Korea was supported

    by the Soviet Union and China. Eventually, peace talks opened in Panmunjom and

    lasted for two years, ending in July 1953 with an agreement that the frontier should

    be roughly along the 38th parallel. Till now North Korea and South Korea are still



    Angola was engulfed by civil war immediately after gaining independence from

    Portugal in 1975. Part of the problem was that there were three different liberation

    movements namely the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA),

    the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National

    Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA),which started to fight each other almost as soon

    as independence was declared.

    MPLA, a Marxist lean party, had strong Marxist connections and received economic

    and military aid from the communist bloc. It is this movement which claimed to be

    the new government. The USA decided to back the FNLA which was encouraged

    to attack the MPLA. UNITA also launched an offensive against the MPLA. Cuba sent

    troops to help the MPLA, while South Africa troops, supporting other two groups,

    invaded Angola.

    The end of the Cold War and communist rule in Eastern Europe meant that all

    communist support for the MPLA ceased, all Cuban troops had gone home by June

    in 1991, and South Africa was ready to end involvement. The UNO, OAU, the USA and

    Russia played a part in setting up peace talks between the MPLA government and

    UNITA in Lisbon. It was agreed that there should be a ceasefire followed by elections,

    to be monitored by the UNO.

    The Cold War in America: the Cuban missile crisis (1961-1962)

    Cuba became involved in the Cold War in 1959, when Fidel Castro seized power

    from American-backed by dictator Batista. Shortly after, Castro broke with USA and

    in 1961, he announced that he was a Marxist and that Cuba was a socialist country.

    In 1962 Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, set up nuclear missile launchers in Cuba aimed

    at the USA, whose nearest point was less than a hundred miles from Cuba. There

    was a great consternation in the USA in October 1962, when photographs taken

    from spy planes showed a missile base under construction in Cuba. The situation

    was tense, and the world seemed to be on the verge of nuclear war.

    The Secretary General of the UN, U Thant, appealed to both sides for restraint.

    Khrushchev promised to remove the missiles and dismantle the sites. In return,

    Kennedy promised that the US would not invade Cuba again and undertook to

    disarm the Jupiter missiles in Turkey. As a result of the Cuban missile crisis, both

    sides realized how easily a nuclear war could have started and how terrible the

    results would have been; there was also a marked relaxation of tension between

    both Superpowers. A telephone link (the hot line) was introduced between Moscow

    and Washington to allow swift consultation and, in July 1963, the Soviet Union, the

    USA and Britain signed a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty agreeing to carry out nuclear test

    only underground to avoid polluting the atmosphere.

    Application activity

    1. Explain why what happened in Czechoslovakia (February 1948), in

    Germany (June 1948 - May 1949) in China (1946-1949), in Korea (1950-

    1953), in Vietnam (1946-1954) and in the Middle East (1948-1949) can

    be considered as a period of hot crisis in the Cold War. Use the internet

    and your school library to get more details and write two pages text.

    Explain these two events of the Cold War

    Cuban Missiles crisis.

    2. The Berlin Blockade and airlift.

    3. Write a short essay (not more than 300 words) on arms race during the

    Cold War. Use the internet or school library for more information.

    4. What do you understand by containment?

    5. Assess the détente.

    6. “Mao Zedong never accepted Khrushchev as head of the communist

    world; instead he began to see himself as a leader of the international

    socialist revolution”. Comment this assertion.

    7. “I am not ashamed to say that I am a communist and adhere to the

    communist idea, and with this I will leave for the Other World”. Link

    this Gorbatchev’s statement to his reforms. Use internet and other

    documents to find evidences.

    End Unit Assessment

    1. “Was World War II the continuation of World War I” Analyze the statement.

    2. How did the Allies win World War I?

    3. Explain the reasons which pushed A. Hitler and Joseph Stalin to sign the

    Nazi-Soviet Pact (non-aggression pact) in August 1939.S

    4. Comment the strategies used by Allies to end the war with Japan.

    5. Describe the role played by women during the First World War.


    Armistice: treaty signed between Germany and the victorious allied to stop the

    World War I.

    Atlantic Charter: The declaration for the creation of the United Nations Organization.

    Bitter enemy: the worst, angry and extreme enemy.

    Diplomacy: management of international relationship between Nations or states.

    Spirit of revenge: The will to take revenge at any cost eg: France wanted to revenge

    on Germany after the defeat of 1871.

    Wall Street crush: economic depression of 1929 due to overproduction started in




    This unit eight talks about the different types of national services in some

    countries like United Kingdom, in Israel, Ghana, Nigeria, Singapore, Brazil and

    strong emphasis is made on Rwandan societies. It focuses also contributions

    of the youth in the national service and general role of the national service in

    national development.

    National service is defined as an organised activity where people serve in the

    community through different ways (according to the country and society), and

    it has been adopted by different countries as solution to their internal problems.

    It is one way to integrate the youth in national priorities and their contribution

    into national social and economic development.

    Many countries have adopted the national service for different purposes. Some

    of them are inspired by the need of increasing the number of soldiers during the

    war time. This is a case of national service in United Kingdom and in Singapore

    for example. Other countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Brazil, the motives which

    have guided option for national service including the need to incorporate the

    youth into social and economic development of their countries.

    In Rwanda, the adoption of national service was inspired by the concept of

    volunteerism practiced in traditional Rwanda. Today, national service exists

    under the term of Urugerero program. This is provided for in article 48 of the

    Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 2003 revised in 2015. Through

    Urugerero activities, they youth are trained and initiated to military trainings for

    physical fitness. Thereafter, they are sent into their respective local communities

    to help in implementation on some national policies like sensitization and

    mobilisation against some diseases like malaria etc..

    Key unit competence

    Explain different types of national service in Rwanda and other countries.

    Introductory activity

    The youth, as adults, should contribute in social transformation of Rwanda towards

    its Vision 2020 – 2050. How can national service be an easy way to help the Rwandans

    to achieve this goal? Write 500 words text with pictures to illustrate your response.

    Learning objectivesAt the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Describe the concept of national service;

    Compare and contrast different types of national services;

    Assess the contribution of the youth in national service;

    Evaluate the role of the national service in nation building.

    8.1 Definition of the concept of national service in Rwanda and other countries

    Activity 8.1

    By using internet and / or textbooks from your school library, define the concept

    of national service in Rwanda

    National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service,

    usually  military service. This term of “national service” comes from the National

    Service (Armed Forces) Act of 1939 enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom

    on September 3, 1939. Through this service, many young people spent one or more

    years performing national duties in the army or in civil service.

    It can be also defined as an organized activity in which people serve the community

    in ways that contribute to social, economic and political transformation at no

    financial rewards.

    In Rwanda, national service is known today as volunteerism and practiced through

    Urugerero. The term volunteerism is defined by International Labour Organisation

    as “unpaid,non-compulsory work, that is, the time individuals give without pay to

    activities performed either through an organization directly forothers outside their

    own household.” In Rwandan context, volunteerism is referred to as Ubwitange or

    Ubukorerabushake, which literally means a“free will action”, performed out of selfmotivation and passion.

    According to the adopted Itorero strategy, volunteerismis defined as “the

    practice of people working for a particular cause without payment for their time

    and services.It is the desire to under take by choice and free will a task or work

    for the benefit of the wider community beyond the volunteer’s immediate family

    and friends”.

    Application activity 8.1

    After understanding the concept of “national service”, reformulate your own definition. 

    8.2 Differences and similarities of different national service

    Activity 8.2

    Through your research by using internet and other documents from your

    school library discuss different forms of national service.

    In many cases, the national services are in two forms, such as compulsory national

    service and alternative civilian service.

    8.2.1Compulsory national service

    Compulsory national service (or military national service) typically requires

    all male citizens to enrol for one or two years, usually at the age of 18 (later for

    university level students). To large extent, compulsory military service is known as


    Conscription is compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most often

    a military service. Conscription dates back to Antiquity and continues in some

    countries to the present day under various names. The modern system of nearuniversal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in

    the 1780s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Most

    European nations later imitated the same system in peacetime so that men at

    a certain age would serve from one up to eight years on active service and then

    transfer to the reserve force.

    Conscription usually involves individuals who are deemed fit for military service.

    However, some governments have established universal military service in which all

    men or all people of a certain age are conscripted.

    Most governments use conscription at some time, usually when the voluntary

    enlistment soldiers fails to meet military needs. Most of them only conscript

    men; a few countries also conscript both men and women For example, China,

    North Korea, Israel, Eritrea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Libya and Peru. 

    8.2.2 Alternative civilian service

    It is a form of national service performed in lieu of conscription for various reasons,

    such as conscientious objection, inadequate health or political reasons. It is service

    to a government made by a civilian, particularly such service as an option for

    conscripted persons who are conscientious objectors and to military service.

    Civilian service is usually performed in the service of non-profit governmental

    bodies or other institutions. For example, in Germany (before conscription was

    abolished), those in civilian service worked extensively in healthcare facilities

    and retirement homes, while other countries have a wider variety of possible


    The common synonyms for the term are “alternative service”, civilian service, and

    non – military service and substitute service as well.

    Application activity 8.2

     Compare and contrast different types of national service.

    8.3 National service in Rwanda and in other countries

    Activity 8.3

    By using internet, textbooks, journals and newspapers, make a research on

    national service in Rwanda. Then write down your findings in not more than 300


    8.3.1 Recent institutionalisation of national service in Rwanda

    National Service - “Urugerero Programme” is provided for in Article 48 of the

    Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 2003 revised in 2015. Urugerero

    activities actually started on January 17, 2013 and it was officially launched in

    Rwanda on January 22, 2013 in Rwamagana, Eastern Province by the then Right

    Honourable Prime Minister Dr.Pierre Damien Habumuremyi. The National Itorero

    Commission (NIC) organises various activities under Urugerero, whose outcomes

    are paramount to national development.

    Adoption of national service was inspired by the concept of

    ubwitange(volunteerism) that was practiced by Rwandans in building the country.

    This commitment led ancient Rwanda to great achievements such as the

    expansion of the kingdom.

    The Urugerero programme aims at developing programmes that enhance the

    current efforts put in place to accelerate growth in all sectors of the economy by

    adding a formalized voluntary service component.

    The rationale of the volunteerism policy

    Educate Rwandans on the culture of volunteerism through activities of

    national development;

    Provide a framework where people are able to make effective use of their

    special skills and access unexploited potential which is an additional

    contribution to national development;

    Build satisfaction among volunteers for their role in volunteer work for

    increasing national production skills development associated with the

    volunteering activities.

    Provide an appropriate institutional framework for effective management,

    coordination and use of existingand future volunteer activities and resources.

    Provide a mechanism through which volunteer services can be recorded and

    accorded national recognition.

    Volunteerism in Rwandais currently exhibited through provision of services to the

    community such as Umuganda,Ubudehe,Umusanzu (Communal self-help activities

    based on solidarity), Abunzi,local government councils(Njyanama), Gacaca judges,

    electoral commission agents, and community health workers (abajyanama

    b’ubuzima)among others that do not involve any salary payment in return and

    done out of free will for the purpose of benefiting the whole community.

    The Government of Rwanda has adopted national service based on a combined

    model (voluntaryandcompulsory). Initially, National service was compulsory for

    the group between 18 and 35 years. People in that age category were officially

    considered as part of the youth. Today, the youth age category is between 15 and

    30. Other categories of the population will be allowed to participant on a voluntary

    basis depending on their time,professional background and identified priorities.

    The National Service programmes are based on national priorities that are

    identified before the commencement of the service. Strategic choices namely vision,

    goal, objectives to respond to the identified challenges are described to guide all

    the programming processes of the Itorero programmes. A motto for the Urugero

    has been proposed which states “Selfless service to the Nation”.

    At the end of the service period, participants join together in their respective sites

    to debrief on their experiences and lessons to inform planning for the following

    intake. A closing ceremony is organized for them and during the ceremony; they

    receive certificates of participation highlighting their contribution and experience

    acquired in their placements. Exemplary participants are also recognised at this


    There are voluntary interventions invarious sectors which the Government

    of Rwanda has used volunteerism in such sectors like local governance,

    justice,health and electoral processes. This Policy is aimed at providing

    guidance on the management,rights, responsibilities and roles for both the

    volunteer sand the volunteering organizations.

    8.3.2 National service in other countries

    Most countries have chosen the national service as an alternative way to involve

    their population in nation building. The Countries which are described in this section

    were chosen randomly; at least one country from each continent as an example.

    National service in the United Kingdom (UK)

    At the beginning in 1939, the national service enforced full conscription of all

    males between 18 and 41 who were residents in the UK. It continued in a modified

    form in peacetime by the National Service Act 1948. This Act of Parliament extended

    the British conscription of the Second World War long after the wartime needs for it

    had expired, in form of “National Service”.

    The need for national service in the United Kingdom was inspired by the wartime

    due to the need of more armed forces. The first phase of voluntary recruitment

    was from 1916 to 1920 during the First World War and the second period from 1939

    to 1960.

    However, persons who were exempted from national service included the

    following: medically unfit as well as the blind, disabled persons, and those with

    mental disorders, British subjects from outside Britain  who had lived in the

    country for less than two years, students, persons employed by the government

    of any country of the  British Empire except the United Kingdom, clergy of any

    denomination, married women, women who had one or more children 14 years old

    or younger living with them, conscientious objectors, people working in  reserved

    occupations like baking, farming, medicine and engineering.

    The National Service Act 1948 was applied to all healthy young men who were

    not registered as conscientious objectors. It did not affect the exemption from

    service of registered as conscientious objectors or the procedure for registration.

    The period of serving in national service in the United Kingdom varied due to

    national interest. By 1946, the period of national service was 6 months and this

    period was increased to 12 months in 1949. From this time, men who completed

    the service remained on the reserve list for the number of years in the age-range

    (four years) which started being counted from the moment they finished serving.

    However, men on the reserve list could only be called for periods of up to 20 days

    (previous acts allowed the period to be indefinite), and could not be called more

    than three times. In 1950, due to the British involvement in the Korean War, the

    national service period was extended to two years. To compensate this long period,

    the reserve period was reduced by six months.

    In the United Kingdom, the national service was ended gradually from 1960. In

    November 1960, the last men entered in service and the last national service men

    left the armed forces in May 1963.

    National service in Israel 

    In Israel, the national service is known under the conscription. This conscription

    is for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18 years old who are Jewish and the

    Arab citizens of Israel (Druze or Circassia) are not conscripted. The normal length

    of compulsory service is two years and eight months for men (with some roles

    requiring an additional four months of service), and two years for women.

    The Israeli Defence Service Law regulates the duties and exceptions. According

    to the Defence Service Law, the enlistment to the  Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) is

    mandatory for all Israeli citizens who have turned 18 years old.

    After the foundation of the State of Israel, the Defence Service Law passed in 1949

    gave the Israeli Defence Forces the authority to enlist any citizen. Under this law, the

    period of service for men was 30 months and for women 18 months (although in

    accordance with a temporary order from January 10, 1968, six additional months

    were added to the mandatory service, 36 months for men and 24 months for

    women respectively).

    The draft requirement applies to any citizen or permanent resident who has

    reached the age of 18, and in accordance with the law, the individuals who are

    exempt from the draft are dismissed for various reasons, such as incapability,

    medical problems and military personnel needs. Exemption from military service

    in Israel is given based on the following criteria: being expatiates, having medical

    or psychological reasons, marriage, pregnancy or parenthood (for women only),

    religious Israeli Druze citizens, Arab citizens of Israel and some young people are

    exempted for holding a criminal record. Also, the security minister may exempt

    certain people from an army service in the IDF, for reasons related to the volume of

    the military forces or reserve forces, or for reasons related to educational needs,

    settlement needs, security needs, economy needs, family needs and various other


    Furthermore, for those who cannot or do not wish to serve in the Israel Defence

    Forces, there is an alternative voluntary civilian national service called Sherut Leumi. It

    is a volunteer programme in Israel for young women between the ages of 18 and

    21 years; though some men also participate, who cite religious reasons for opting

    out of the requirement to serve in the Israel Defence Forces. It is also a popular

    way for young Jewish volunteers from abroad to spend time in Israel. Volunteers

    are matched with charitable organizations, like hospitals or orphanages, and live

    together in a dorm-like setting. They serve for one to two years and are paid a

    minimal salary.

    National Service in Ghana

    In Ghana, the national service is performed especially by the students who

    graduate from accredited tertiary institutions. They are required to do a one year

    national service in the country. The National Service Secretariat is the Government

    of Ghana agency mandated to formulate policies and structures for national


    Every year, several tens of thousands of graduates from Ghanaian tertiary

    institutions are posted to various sectors as service personnel. The service is done

    irrespective of the type of sponsorship the individual may have received or the

    country in which the tertiary course was pursued. The personnel upon posting to

    an establishment is subjected to the rules and regulations that govern it. The service

    personnel are paid monthly allowances approved by the Ministry of Finance in


    All personnel are entitled to a month’s annual terminal leave for the year that spans

    their service. The month leave is usually given in August to all personnel. The female

    service personnel may apply for a three month maternity leave. When this leave is

    granted, the personnel are to serve for three extra months to make up for the period

    of service lost. The personnel who are granted maternity leaves are not paid during

    the time of their leave.

    The candidates for national service may on application be exempted from service

    by the National Service Board on production of valid documentary evidence due to

    the following conditions: an individual who has undertaken national service at an

    earlier date and a graduate who is 40 years old or more.

    By the end of national service, a service person shall be issued with a Certificate of

    National Service after the successful completion of the service.

    National Service in Nigeria

    In Nigeria, the national service is known as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

    It is an organization set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s

    graduates in the development of the country. The programme was started in the

    aftermath of the Nigerian civil war, the Biafra War, in the 1970s. Particularly, there

    is no military conscription, however, since 1973; the graduates of universities and

    later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service

    Corps programme for one year.

    The National Youth Service Corps in Nigeria aims at:

    Inculcating discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of

    industry at work, and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation

    they may find themselves;

    Raising the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the

    opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and

    cultural improvement;

    Developing in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through

    shared experience and suitable training which will make them more

    amenable to mobilization in the national interest;

    Enabling Nigerian youths acquire the spirit of self-reliance by encouraging

    them to develop skills for self employment to contribute to the accelerated

    growth of the national economy;

    Developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national

    unity and integration

    Removing prejudices, eliminating ignorance and confirm at first hand the

    many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups;

    Developing a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the

    people of Nigeria.

    Nigerian graduates are ineligible for employment in governmental establishments

    (and few private establishments) till they have completed the mandatory one

    year service. Graduates who are exempted from the service include those above

    the age of thirty (30) and those with physical disability. Therefore, completing the

    service entitles one to employment.

    The National Youth Service Corps’ members are posted to cities far from their

    city of origin. They are expected to mix with people of other tribes, social and family

    backgrounds, to learn the culture of the indigenes in the place they are posted to.

    This action is aimed at bringing about unity in the country and to help youths

    appreciate other ethnic groups. There is an “orientation” period of approximately

    three weeks spent in a military controlled boot “camp” away from family and

    friends. There, they are militarily trained and receive instruction according to their

    studies in secondary schools. There is also a “passing out ceremony” at the end of

    the year and primary assignment followed by one month of vacation.

    National Service in Singapore

    In Singapore, the National Serviceis a constitutional requirementfor all male

    Singaporean citizens and second generation permanent residents to undergo a

    period of compulsory service in the uniformed services. Depending on physical and

    medical fitness, they serve a two year period as National Servicemen Full time,

    either in the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force or the Singapore

    Civil Defence Force.

    On March 14, 1967, the National Service (Amendment) Act was passed making

    National Service compulsory for all 18 years old male Singapore citizens and

    permanent residents. The establishment of National Service was a reaction to the

    necessity to build a substantial military force to defend Singapore because, by the

    independence, the country had only about 1,000 soldiers.

    Singapore adopted a conscription model drawing on elements from the  Israel  and 

    Swiss  national conscription schemes. Some 9,000 male youths became the first

    batch of young men to be called up for National Service for establishment of the

    Singapore armed forces. The period of National service is two years.

    Complete national service exemptions are rare. It can be granted due to permanent

    disabilities or severe medical conditions to be graded by Medical Board and other

    exceptional case-by-case basis.

    Those who are liable to serve national service as a national duty to the country but

    refuse are charged under the Enlistment Act. If convicted, they face up to both

    three years’ imprisonment and a fine of S$10,000 (equivalent to 8,550,000Rwf).

    When a National Serviceman completes his full-time service, he is considered to be

    “operationally ready”, and is thereafter known as an Operationally Ready National

    Serviceman. In common parlance, the term “Reservist” is used, a vestige of the

    older nomenclature preceding the current terminology. National Servicemen are

    the equivalent of other countries’ reservists.

    National Service in Brazil

    National service in Brazil is known as Conscription and it is mandatory for every

    male who has 18 – 45 years old and it normally lasts for twelve months. Some

    are allowed six-month service terms but are expected to complete high school at

    the same time. These are called “Tiros de Guerra,” or “shooting schools,” which are

    for high school boys in medium-sized interior towns, run by army sergeants.

    In case of a war, the period of conscription may be altered, according to the demands.

    Seventeen-year-olds are allowed to undergo military service, as volunteers.

    Conscription Brazil is regulated by the Military Service Law, created on August 17,

    1964. Then, according to Article 143 of the 1988 constitution, military service is

    obligatory for men, but conscientious objection is allowed. Women and clergymen

    are exempted from compulsory military service.

    The conscript system in Brazil is predominantly a means of providing basic military

    training to a sizable group of young men who then return to civilian life and are

    retained on the reserve rolls until age forty-five. The army recognizes that it provides

    a public service by teaching large numbers of conscripts basic 

    kills that can be valuable to the overall economy when the young men return to

    civilian life.

    Application activities 8.3

    1. Explain the contribution of volunteerism in Rwanda.

    2. Compare the national service in Rwanda with those of Nigeria and


    3. What do you think are the objectives of volunteerism in Rwanda? Are

    they achievable? Justify your answer.

    8.4 The contribution of the youth in the national service

    Activity 8.4

    Write a short text explaining the role that must be played by the youth in the 

    In most countries, the youth represents the future of their countries; therefore, they

    have a vital role to play in the development of each country through participating

    in national service.

    The training and participation of the youth contribute to the increase of national

    army, where some become soldiers permanently or part time after accomplishing

    military trainings. 

    The youth is the manpower provider because they participate in national service

    by offering their physical force in order to accomplish national service goals like

    construction of houses for the poor families, repairing the roads, construction of

    vegetable gardens for family consumption. In environmental protection, the youth

    in national service construct terraces and plant trees in order to fight against soil


    As earlier stated, in Rwanda, the youth at Urugerero have contributed in making

    data collection. Most data collected were about the number of illiterate people in

    their area of operations, the cases of school dropout and children of school going

    age who are not yet in school, of local population who have not yet registered

    for health insurance (mutuelle), number of family living in illegal marriage and

    vulnerable groups.

    Through Urugerero, the graduates of senior six secondary schools also perform

    different national duties in line with the Government’s notion of self-reliance

    and dignity. The most activities the students are engaged in include  awareness

    campaigns on development projects, HIV/AIDS, gender balance, family planning,

    adult literacy and community work (Umuganda) among others. Furthermore, the

    youth contribute in fighting and preventing people against the genocide and

    genocide ideology, fighting against the drug abuse and sensitizing and mobilizing

    local population about credit – saving through micro-finances like Umurenge SACCO. 

    The youth also contribute in national service by contributing in service provision

    and delivery to local population at sector and cell levels. Services delivered

    including distribution of official documents namely identity cards and land

    registration certificates. Data entry in computers and customer care are also done

    by national service participants. This boosts the service delivery to the local


    Application activities 8.4

    1. Appreciate the contribution of the Rwandan youth in the national


    2. Discuss the benefits and challenges for the youth in carrying out

    national service.

    8.5 General roles of the national service in the nation building

    Activity 8.5

    Use internet and textbooks from your school library and carry out a research

    about the contribution of Urugerero and volunteerism in the building of Rwanda.

    In Rwanda, the National Service Urugerero programme aims at developing

    programmes that enhance the current efforts put in place to accelerate growth in

    all sectors of the economy by adding a formalized voluntary service component.

    For instance, the participants have sensitized local population to join Mutuelle de

    Santé, Umurenge SACCO and to participate actively in community service.

    Through Urugerero, young people are supported to fulfil their potential and

    to work together as a community. Each participant receives practical training

    (training related to domains of service), training in civic education and basic military

    training. This enables the participants to play a big role in economic and social

    transformation of the country.

    The national service increases solidarity among the Rwandan citizen as they are

    initiated to help each other, strengthen national identity and reduces stereotypic

    thinking by interfacing with the realities of the communities and the country in


    Through the military trainings provided to each participant, national service

    promotes patriotism and civic participation especially among the young


    By training the youth to fulfil national service activities, the country benefits from

    the committed and motivated workers at no financial reward. The committed and

    motivated workers often have a positive impact by influencing regular employee at

    the work place hence contributing to the nation building.

    Through the community service rendered to the local communities, national

    service encourages social integration and cohesion necessary to national building.

    In this regard, intore who are performing a range of activities are integrated in

    those communities and have to work hand in hand with the local people who are

    beneficiaries of such activities.

    Participation in national service empowers those involved in different ways

    including gaining new skills like leadership, problem solving, and interaction with

    others among others. The participants are initiated to different tasks like planning,

    design, building and other key roles throughout national service. Such practical

    skills prepare them to contribute actively to the national building.

    Participating in a national service programme offers members a unique

    opportunity to develop personally and professionally. Research has proven

    that those who participate in service increase their understanding of how they

    can address social challenges. Being a national service member also provides

    opportunities for enhanced problem solving skills, ability to work in teams and

    planning abilities.

    For people with disabilities, engaging in national service provides an additional

    opportunity; to shift perceptions and show that people with disabilities can be

    service providers, not just recipients of service.

    In Rwanda, the volunteerism has contributed a lot to national development

    where, in 2011 for instance, the volunteerism has contributed more than 30 % to the

    national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Due to the work performed by community

    health workers, local government officials and committees, election process

    managers, mediators (abunzi), judges in Gacaca courts and Rwanda Red Cross, the

    Government of Rwanda has saved about 70 billion Rwf.

    In Rwanda, the national service is a continuation of the spirit of promoting positive

    values among Rwandans, especially the youth. The values of unity, patriotism,

    selflessness, integrity, responsibility, volunteerism, humility enhanced during the

    national service contribute to the promotion of nation building.

    National service encourages young people to enter careers in fields experiencing

    shortages: In education for instance where the national service persons help in

    adults teaching. To explore future job and educational interests can be motivation

    to join national service for the young people and their career plans become more

    community oriented.

    Application activities 8.4

    1. By considering your local area, evaluate the role of Urugerero

    accomplished by senior six leavers in social transformation of Rwanda.

    2. Appreciate the contribution of volunteers in rebuilding of Rwanda

    since 1994.

    End Unit Assessment

    1. Describe the organization of Urugerero as national service in Rwanda.

    2. Compare national service in different countries. Choose one country per


    3. Explain the contributions of abunzi, mediators, and judges in Gacaca

    courts, community health workers and election process managers in

    national building of Rwanda.

    4. Evaluate the role of the youth during Urugerero


    Compulsory: That must be done because of the law or rule.Which is required,

    obligatory or mandatory.

    Peacetime: The period of time when a nation, a country or people is in peace,

    not fighting a war.

    Wartime: The period during which a country is fighting a war. A period during

    which a war is in progress in a particular place.

    Motto: A short sentence or phrase that expresses the aims and beliefs of a

    person, a group, an institution or a nation, etc. and is used as a rule of behaviour.

    Debrief: To ask someone questions about a job they have just done or an

    experience they have just hard, in order to gather information. To question

    someone after a military mission in order to obtain intelligence.

    Intake: The number of people who are allowed to enter a school, college,

    profession, etc. during a particular period.

    Exemption: Official permission not to do something or pay something that you

    would normally have to do or pay.

    Enlistment: A voluntary service based on an individuals’ desire to serve a cause.

    Amenable: Easy to control; willing to be influenced by somebody / something.



    After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the Government of Rwanda managed

    to make a number of achievements in the promotion of democracy, unity,

    reconciliation and j ustice.

    In the area of democracy, the democratisation process culminated into the

    establishment of elected institutions both at national and local levels. In 2003, a new

    constitution was adopted, presidential and parliamentary were organised. This

    Constitution guarantees media freedom and provides for media self-regulation. It

    also has as focal point the principle of multi-party system and separation of powers.

    In addition, according to the Rwandan Constitution and the principle of power

    sharing, a political organisation holding the majority of seats in the Chamber of

    Deputies cannot have more than fifty (50%) per cent of Cabinet members.

    Moreover, the rule of law, one of the facets of constitutionalism in Rwanda is

    respected since state institutions act in accordance with the law. The situation of

    Human rights and security is well maintained. The government of Rwanda has

    promoted unity and reconciliation by using different mechanisms including the

    creation of the Gacaca courts and engaging the Rwandan people in dialogue on

    various issues of Genocide.

    A number of achievements have also been made in judiciary whereby the justice

    structure has been revised and strengthened. New courts like Gacaca jurisdictions

    and commercial courts were created. Besides, Maisons d‘Accès à la Justice (MAJ),

    were established to serve as the first point of orientation with legal aid service for

    Rwandans. MAJ mainly provide legal information/education as well as legal advice/

    mediation essentially to the Rwandans who are unable to afford a lawyer.

    The process of democracy and judicial systems in the neighbouring countries

    of Tanzania and Kenya has also been emphasised in this unit. In Kenya, the

    development of democracy and public participation was reliant on multi-party

    institutions and a federal system of government. Therefore, several political parties

    were created, the main ones being the Kenya African National Union (KANU) and

    the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). 

    In 1969, the ruling party, KANU, banned the opposition and in 1982 officially

    became a single political party when the Parliament changed the constitution

    to make Kenya a one-party state. The country remained as such until 1991 when

    pressure, through people’s struggles for democratic change, compelled the

    government to repeal this constitutional provision and provide for a return of

    multi-party democracy.

    At the recovery time of its independence, Tanganyika had a multi-party political

    system .However, in 1965; there was introduction of the single party constitution. All

    general elections since 1965 to 1990 were held in a single party system. The multiparty political system was officially reintroduced in 1992 by Tanzanian President

    on 1st July, 1992. This marked the era of true democracy in Tanzania, where many

    political parties registered. There were 13 political parties that participated in the

    general election in 1995. Since that time, the political party Chama Cha Mapinduzi

    (CCM) has managed to win all the presidential elections.

    The two countries of Tanzania and Kenya have a judicial system inherited from

    the colonial period where the British judicial system was a source of inspiration in

    their elaboration. It contributes to ensure in both countries the rule of law and to a

    certain extent the respect of the human rights and these of citizens.

    Key unit competence: Examine the role of democracy, unity and reconciliation in

    the transformation of the Rwandan society.

    Learning objectives

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Explain the concepts of democracy and justice;

    Discuss different forms of democracy and justice;

    Assess how democracy, unity and reconciliation and justice are maintained

    in Rwanda;

    Compare the forms of democracy and justice in Rwanda and in neighbouring


    Introductory activity

    Do you think that unity and reconciliation policy has contributed to the

    transformation of Rwandan society? Write down a 500 words text justifying your


    9.1Concepts of democracy, reconciliation and justice and their

    Activity 9.1

    Define the concepts of democracy and justice and describe their features.

    Thereafter, basing on the definitions of these two terms and their characteristics,

    analyse the extent at which democracy and justice are practiced in Rwanda.

    9.1.1Concept of democracy

    Etymologically the term “democracy” means power of people. It derives from two

    Greek words demos or people and kratos which means power. Democracy is

    defined, basically as the government in which the supreme power is vested in the

    people. In some forms, democracy can be exercised directly by the people;

    in large societies, it is by the people through their elected representatives. In the

    memorable phrase of American President Abraham Lincoln, democracy is the

    government of “the people, by the people, and for the people”. Thus, democracy is

    simply a system of government where the citizens directly exercise their power,

    and have the right to elect the government representatives who collectively create

    a government body for the entire nation (like, a parliament).

    In a democratic government, people have certain basic rights that the government

    cannot take away from them, and these rights are internationally recognized and


    Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, but the two are not

    synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but

    it also consists of practices and procedures that have been moulded through a long,

    often tortuous history. Democracy is the institutionalization of freedom.

    In the end, people living in a democratic society must serve as the ultimate

    guardians of their own freedom and must forge their own path towards the ideals

    set forth in the preamble to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human

    Rights: Recognition of the inherent dignity; the equal and inalienable rights of all

    members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in

    the World.

    9.1.2 Basic features of democracy

    The main features of democracy are indisputable initial requirements that are

    imposed on all participants of political activities in the country. The basic features of

    democracy include the following:

    Political freedom

    This means, a freedom of choice, social order and form of government. It refers to

    the right of people to determine and change constitutional order and ensure the

    protection of human rights.

    Equality of citizens

    This means equality of all people before the law, equal responsibility of any

    committed offense and the right to equal protection before court. Equality is

    guaranteed for all citizens: there can be no privileges or restrictions on the grounds

    of race, colour, political beliefs, religious or other convictions, ethnic or social origin,

    property status, residence, linguistic or other grounds. The most important aspect

    is the equality of rights and freedom of men and women who have the same

    opportunities for their implementation.

    Selectivity of state bodies

    This implies formation of authorities and local government through the people’s

    will. It ensures their replaceability, control and equal opportunity to exercise

    electoral rights for everybody. In a democratic state, the same people should not

    permanently occupy positions in government bodies for a long time: this causes

    distrust of citizens and leads to a loss of legitimacy of these bodies.

    Separation of powers

    This means that interdependence and mutual restrictions are imposed on different

    branches of power: legislative, executive and judicial powers. It serves as a means

    of checks and balance in order to avoid the accumulation of powers in the hands

    of some individuals who would transform their power into a means of suppressing

    freedom and equality.

    Decision-making by the will of the majority with the mandatory observance of

    the rights of the minority

    This feature means the combination of the will of the majority with guarantees of

    the rights of the individual who acts as a part of the minority (ethnic, religious or

    political). It also means the absence of discrimination, suppression of rights of an

    individual who is not a part of the majority in decision-making activities.


    It refers to the diversity of social phenomena, broadening of the range of political

    choice, leading not only pluralism of opinions but also political pluralism, the

    plurality of parties, public associations, etc. With various professions and charters

    acting within the framework of the constitution, democracy is possible when it is

    based on the principle of pluralism, but not all pluralism is necessarily democratic.

    Only when in conjunction with other principles, pluralism assumes universal

    significance for modern democracy.

    9.1.3 Concept of reconciliation

    Reconciliation can be defined as a psychological process for the formation

    of lasting peace. In this process, the past rivals come to mutual recognition and

    acceptance. They have invested interests and goals in developing peaceful relations,

    feel mutual trust, positive attitudes as well as sensitivity and consideration of the

    other party‘s needs and interests. The transformation of beliefs, attitudes and

    emotions regarding one‘s own group, the others and the relationship between

    them is a long term process. Reconciliation is not needed in all societies but only

    in those that have been subjected to protracted and intractable conflict.

    9.1.4 Concept of justice

    Aristotle (384–322 BCE) stated that justice consists of righteousness, or complete

    virtue in relation to one’s neighbour. He also espoused the idea of justice as a state

    of character, a cultivated set of dispositions, attitudes and good habits. Aristotle

    expands on justice by stating that it consists of treating equals equally and

    “unequals” unequally, in proportion to their inequality. Justice is an action in

    accordance with the requirements of some laws. Whether these rules are

    grounded in human consensus or societal norms, they are supposed to ensure

    that all members of the society receive fair treatment. Justice ensures that people

    receive their fair share of the goods available; obtain fair treatment from society’s

    institutions. Justice also implies that people’s actions conform to rules of fair


    9.1.5 Features of justice

    There are four main features of justice including meritocracy, fairness, equality and

    moral righteousness.

    Meritocracy This is the idea of “getting what one deserves”. On the positive side, a

    person may be given an award or social recognition for a good deed or unselfish

    behaviour, for example, a medal for bravery, risking one’s life to save a drowning

    person. Awards and honours may also be a way to recognize extraordinary talent,

    for instance, a gold medal at the Olympics.

    There are examples of getting what one deserves by using negative means. These

    include corruption, getting employment without the necessary skills or to be

    demoted without valid reasons.


    This is the idea of treating equals equally. For example, two people doing the

    same job competently with the same amount of experience and training should

    get the same pay. There should not be distinctions in rates of payment based

    on gender, age, racial or ethnic background or any other factor not related to

    performance on the job. “Fairness,” however, also means, in certain circumstances,

    treating people unequally in order to recognize and correct past injustices.

    For instance, if women or members of racial minorities have been historically

    excluded from certain relatively well-paid and desirable occupations, there may be

    a justifiable case for employment equity measures— giving suitable candidates

    from the disadvantaged group preference in hiring. Hence, there can sometimes be

    a distinction between what is considered fair at the individual and collective levels.

    This concept of justice also denotes “procedural fairness” — ensuring that everyone

    receives a fair hearing and due process in courts (for example, their case follows all

    the requirements of knowing the case against them and should have enough time

    to prepare and an impartial judge). For example, people with a low income should

    not be denied competent representation in court by a lawyer if they are charged

    with a serious criminal offence, even though they cannot afford legal fees. Legal

    aid schemes, in principle, are supposed to ensure such legal representation for all.

    Procedural fairness also demands a transparent process for decision-making that

    can be clearly understood by all, ready access to practical help to make one’s case

    and the right to appeal a decision to a higher body in one feels that one has been

    unjustly treated.


    This common understanding of justice is embodied in equal citizenship rights for

    all persons (for example, the right of all to vote in elections and run for political

    office and equal entitlement to universal public programs such as health insurance

    and education). Equality also demands that there should be an equitable sharing of

    civic burdens, such as paying taxes (although “progressive” taxation schemes may

    require the wealthy to pay proportionately more, they are about fairness).

    Equality also has economic and social dimensions. At this level, justice is ensured

    when the government puts in place a system that helps everyone to enjoy

    adequate economic security through some combination of labour market

    earnings and income security programs and all people in society to have ready

    access to adequate and affordable housing, sufficient, safe and nutritious food and

    other public goods such as transportation and green space.

    These aspects of economic and social rights do not necessarily demand treating

    everyone exactly the same or giving people equivalent shares of a social good.

    It can be acceptable to have differences in income levels, house prices and the

    consumption of goods and services. Such differences may in fact provide incentives

    that benefit individuals and society.

    However, justice demands equality of access for everyone to adequate income,

    decent and affordable housing, food security and other necessities of a modest but

    dignified life.

    The social aspect of justice (social justice) brings up questions of distributive

    justice — how resources (for example, money, natural talents, health care or political

    power) and opportunities (for example, places in the best educational institutions

    or access to the best jobs and the most lucrative business opportunities) are divided

    up among everyone in society. Unjust distributions may require corrective measures,

    in other words, “redistributive justice.” For example, wealthy people may be required

    to pay more taxes than those with modest or low incomes, so that government can

    fund a reasonable level of public services for all. Educational institutions may have

    to take steps to recruit students and faculty members from groups that they have

    historically excluded, such as women, racial minorities and people with disabilities,

    so that these minority groups have access to the same educational opportunities

    as the majority.

    The process of redistribution or, more specifically, arriving at a fair redistribution,

    involves participation. Participation in this context requires a societal decision

    mechanism or process that allows the meaningful participation of all people in

    society with recognition, mutual respect and an ethic of making decisions by taking

    into account the position of the least favoured or neediest in society.

    Moral righteousness

    This final aspect of justice encompasses the ideal of individual virtue and ethical

    conduct. Individuals are thought to be “just” when they engage in altruistic

    behaviour to help others or make society a better place and set an example of

    altruistic conduct in both their personal responsibilities (as a spouse, parent or

    friend) as well as civic and public roles (as an employee, elected politician or club


    Application activities 9.1

    1. The term justice has been defined by a number of scholars. Attempt

    your definition by using your own words and discuss its characteristics

    by utilising tangible examples that can be found in the daily human


    2. Etymologically, the term democracy means power of people, basing

    on your own experience and the Rwandan context, attempt another

    definition but do not exceed five lines.

    3. Describe any two features of democracy and illustrate them with

    examples that prevail in Rwanda.

    4. Equality is one of the features of justice. Discuss at least its two


    9.2 Different forms of democracy and justice

    Activity 9.2

    What forms of democracy and justice do you know? Write them in your exercise

    book and find out an example and its application for each.

    9.2.1Forms of democracy

    The main forms of democracy include direct democracy, representative

    democracy, presidential democracy, parliamentary democracy, authoritarian

    democracy, participatory democracy, Islamic democracy and social democracy.

    Every country interprets the meaning of democracy in its own particular way. With

    a wide range of different geopolitical atmospheres, there is a large spectrum of

    democratic governments in existence around the globe. And to shed light on the

    above forms of democracy, the following explanations are provided.

    Direct democracy

    A direct democracy is when citizens get to vote for a policy directly, without any

    intermediate representative or house of parliament. If the government has to pass

    a certain law or policy, it goes to the people. The latter vote on the issue and decide

    the fate of their own country. 

    The people can even bring up issues themselves, as long as they have a substantial

    consensus on the matter. Even taxes cannot be raised without the public support.

    When the population is small, educated and mostly homogeneous, a direct

    democracy does not seem like a bad idea. Switzerland, for example, has had a

    long history of a successful direct democracy. In this country, many practices have

    elements of direct democracy. For instance, many important political decisions on

    issues including public health, energy, and employment, are subject to a vote

    by the country’s citizens. And some might argue that, the internet is creating new

    forms of direct democracy, as it empowers political groups to raise the matter for

    their cause by appealing directly to like-minded citizens.

    However, most countries are too large and too complicated for direct democracy

    to work within their political borders. In those cases,  people prefer to elect

    representatives on their behalf, rather than vote on every single issue.

    Representative democracy

    Representative democracy or indirect democracy is when people choose to vote

    for who will represent them in the parliament. This is the most common form of

    democracy found across the World. This form of democracy is based on protecting

    the rights of not only the majority of the people in the state but also the minorities.

    By electing a more qualified representative, a minority population would be able

    to vocalize its grievances in a more efficient manner.

    Most of the representative democracies of the World consider themselves to be

    liberal democracies. This is because they value the needs of their individual citizens

    more than those of the entire state. This is why in countries like India and the USA; it

    is difficult to proclaim a state of emergency.

    However, some states feel constantly threatened by outsiders or civil unrest. These

    states, such as Israel and South Korea, prefer a defensive democracy over a liberal

    one. This is done so that the government can organize an army at a moment’s notice.

    A liberal democracy can take on different forms, since different countries have

    different needs and different ideologies. The following types are just a few subsets

    of representative democracy.

    Presidential democracy

    Under a presidential democracy, the president of the state has a significant amount

    of power over the government. He/she is either directly or indirectly elected by

    citizens of the state. The president and the executive branch of the government are

    not liable to the legislature, but cannot, under normal circumstances, dismiss the

    legislature entirely. Similarly, the legislature cannot remove the president from

    his/her office either, unless the case is extreme. 

    In a presidential democracy, the head of state is also the head of the government.

    Countries like the USA, Argentina, and Sudan employ this kind of democracy.

    Parliamentary democracy

    A democracy that gives more power to the legislature is called a parliamentary

    democracy. The executive branch derives its democratic legitimacy only from

    the legislature, i.e. the parliament. The head of state is different from the head of

    government, and both have varying degrees of power. However, in most cases,

    the president is either a weak monarch (e.g. the United Kingdom) or a ceremonial

    head (e.g. India).

    Authoritarian democracy

    This is when only the elites are a part of the parliamentary process. Some

    individuals of the state are allowed to vote for their chosen candidate, but “regular

    people” cannot enter the elections. Therefore, in the end, it is only the ruling elite

    that decide on the various interests of the state’s population. Modern day Russia

    under Vladimir Putin is a classic example of this type of governance. Even Hong

    Kong generally falls under the same category.

    Participatory democracy

    This is the exact opposite of authoritarian form of democracy. There are different

    types of participatory democracy, but all of them yearn to create opportunities for

    all members of the population to make meaningful contributions to the decisionmaking process. It empowers the disempowered by breaking up the state into

    small networks and prefers to  empower community-based grassroots politics. It

    values deliberation and discussion, rather than merely  voting.

    Today, no country actively practices this form of democracy. Although the theories

    behind it are sound, the real life application of this approach is fraught with

    complications. However, many social movements like the International Occupy

    Movement, the Bolivarian Movement in Venezuela and the Narmada Bachao

    Andolan in India organize  themselves around a participatory model of democracy.

    Islamic democracy

    This form of democracy seeks to apply Islamic law to public policies, while

    simultaneously maintaining a democratic framework. Islamic democracy has three

    main characteristics. Firstly, the leaders are elected by the people. Secondly,

    everyone is subject to the Sharia law including the leaders. Thirdly, the leaders must

    commit themselves to practicing shura, a special form of consultation practiced

    by Prophet Muhammad. The only countries that fulfil these three characteristics are

    Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Malaysia. 

    Social democracy

    Social democracy arose as a reaction to neoliberal policies in international

    economics. Under neo-liberalism, profit-making entities like multinational

    corporations can easily infiltrate other political states, thus the power of the

    political state seems weak. 

    Social democracy aims at empowering the state in favour of the neoliberal

    market. The state can increase its expenditure by providing free alternatives

    to overpriced private ventures. It may focus on providing free education or free

    healthcare, so that people do not have to depend on profit-making corporations.

    This list obviously does not claim to be an exhaustive discussion around the

    different types of democracy that exist today. There are as many theories concerned

    with democracy as there are different governments in the World.

    9.2.2 Forms of justice

    Issues of justice arise in several different spheres and play a significant role in

    causing, perpetuating, and addressing conflict. Just institutions tend to instil a

    sense of stability, well-being, and satisfaction among the society members, while

    perceived injustices can lead to dissatisfaction, rebellion, or revolution. Each of the

    different spheres expresses the  principles of justice and fairness in its own way,

    resulting into different forms and concepts of justice: distributive, procedural,

    retributive, and restorative. People can seek these forms of justice when they have

    been wronged.

    Distributive justice

    Distributive justice, or economic justice, is concerned with giving all members of

    the society a “fair share” of the benefits and resources available. However, while

    everyone might agree that wealth should be distributed fairly, there is much

    disagreement about what counts as a “fair share.” Some possible criteria of

    distribution are equity, equality, and need. Equity means that one’s rewards should

    be equal to one’s contributions to the society, while “equality” means that everyone

    gets the same amount, regardless of his or her input. Distribution on the basis of

    need means that people who need more will get more, while people who need

    less will get less. Fair allocation of resources, or distributive justice, is crucial to the

    stability of the society and the well-being of its members. When issues of distributive

    justice are inadequately addressed and the item to be distributed is highly valued,

    intractable conflicts frequently result. This is the essence of the conflicts arose across

    Europe and in the United States politics in 2012-2013 over taxes, deficits, “austerity

    programmes”, jobs, rights of l abour, etc.

    Procedural justice

    The principle of fairness is also found in the idea of fair play (as opposed to the fair

    share  of distributive justice). If people believe that a fair process was used in

    deciding what is to be distributed, then they may well accept an imbalance in what

    they receive in comparison to others. If they see both procedural and distributive

    injustices, they will likely seek restorative and/or retributive justice.

    Procedural justice   is concerned with making and implementing decisions

    according to fair processes that ensure “fair treatment.” Rules must be impartially

    followed and consistently applied in order to generate an unbiased decision. Those

    carrying out the procedures should be neutral, and those directly affected by

    the decisions should have some voice or representation in the decision-making

    process. If people believe procedures to be fair, they will be more likely to accept the

    outcomes, even ones tha t they do not like. Implementing fair procedures is central to

    many dispute resolution procedures, including  negotiation, mediation, arbitration,

    and adjudication.

    Restorative justice

    Restorative justice (also sometimes called “reparative justice” or “corrective justice”)

    is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of victims and offenders,

    instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. Victims take

    an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility

    for their actions, “to repair the harm they have done  by apologizing, returning

    stolen money, or doing community service”. In other words, the simplest form of

    restitution is a straight forward apology. Restoration means putting things back as

    they were, so it may include some acts of apology to demonstrate one is truly sorry.

    This may include actions and even extra payment to the offended party.

    Restorative justice is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and

    wrongdoing to be an offense against an individual or community rather than the

    state. Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows

    the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.

    Retributive justice 

    Retributive justice is based on the idea that people deserve to be treated in the

    same way they treat others. It is a retroactive approach that justifies punishment as

    a response to past injustice or wrongdoing. The central idea is that the offender has

    gained unfair advantages through his or her behaviour, and that punishment will set

    this imbalance straight. In other words, those who do not play by the rules should

    be brought to justice and deserve to suffer penalties for their transgressions. 

    The notion of deterrence also plays in here: the hope is that the punishment for

    committing a crime is large enough that people will not engage in illegal activities

    because the risk of punishment is too high.  In addition to local, state, and national

    justice systems,  retributive justice also plays a central role in international legal

    proceedings, responding to violations of  international law, human rights, and  war


    However, because there is a tendency to slip from retributive justice to an emphasis

    on revenge, some suggest that  restorative justice  processes are more effective.

    While a retributive justice approach conceives of transgressions as crimes against

    the state or nation, restorative justice focuses on violations as crimes against


    Retributive justice is concerned with healing victims’ wounds, restoring offenders to

    law-abiding lives, and repairing harm done to interpersonal relationships and the

    community. Victims take an active role in directing the exchange that takes place,

    as well as defining the responsibilities and obligations of offenders. Offenders

    are encouraged to understand the harm they have caused to their victims and

    take responsibility for it. Restorative justice aims at strengthening the community

    and prevent similar harms from happening in future. At the national level, such

    processes are often carried out through victim-offender mediation programs, while

    at the international level restorative justice is often a matter of instituting truth and

    reconciliation commissions.

    Application activities 9.2

    1. After being acquainted with the different forms of democracy, find

    out the forms of democracy that are employed in the following

    countries: Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, Iraq,

    France, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Justify

    your answer.

    2. There are four main forms of justice. Elucidate each form by providing

    concrete instances that are based on your day-to-day actions.

    3. Compare the presidential democracy and parliamentary democracy.

    4. Do you think that the role of the Governments is required to ensure

    the social justice to their citizens or individuals have to struggle by

    themselves to earn their livings?

    5. 5. Describe the features of the direct democracy.

    9.3 Preservation of democracy, unity, reconciliation and

    justice in Rwanda

    Activity 9.3

    Since the end of the Genocide against the Tutsi, the Government of Rwanda has

    improved and promoted democracy, unity, reconciliation and justice in their all

    9.3.1 Preservation of democracy in Rwanda

    After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the country of Rwanda strived to

    set up a democratic regime. The main principles underlying democracy including

    elections, political pluralism, rule of law, decentralisation, liberalisation of the press

    and media were emphasized. Moreover, due to the regional and ethnic divisions

    that had characterized the first and the second Republics and culminated into the

    Genocide against the Tutsi, an emphasis was also placed on the promotion of unity

    and reconciliation among Rwandans.

    In the process of democratization, the Transitional Government organized

    a number of meetings in Urugwiro Village and this offered an initial leap to this

    process. Different themes that were dealt with during these meetings included the

    issue of organization of elections which had in fact been the final step to put in

    place democratic institutions in Rwanda. 

     In 1998, elections were organized to choose grass roots administrative committees

    (cells and sectors). Later in 2001, elections were organized to elect the Executive

    Committees as well as district and municipal council representatives. The year

    2003 which closed the period of the Transitional Government culminated into

    a referendum as well as presidential and parliamentary elections. Many other

    elections were organised both on the local and central government for instance the

    2013 legislative elections and the presidential elections in August 2010 and 2017.


    An election can be defined as a mechanism of filling an office or post through

    choices made by the designated body of the people known as the electorate.

    Participation of the citizens in elections and thereafter collective involvement of

    the elected officials in the decision-making process are important ingredients for

    the gradual establishment of democracy. In addition, the concept of representative

    democracy is based on the principle that it is the people who are the nominal

    holders of political sovereignty and that, in the exercise of that sovereignty, they

    elect their representatives so that they can exercise their political rights.

    In other words, elections are meant to do more than bolster support for the

    regime. They may also be the means by which leaders and (sometimes) actual

    policies are chosen by the people. An election must involve a choice between

    candidates or a choice whether a particular policy is to be followed or not.

    If elections are to be used to choose political leaders, there must be some rules

    translating people’s votes into a particular selection of leaders.

    In Rwanda, elections are one of the underlying principles of democracy.The

    Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda guarantees the right to vote and to be

    elected. This implies that the legitimacy of the leaders shall derive from the

    consent of the people through elections. Actually, the Constitution of Rwanda

    in its article 80 provides for affirmative action by stating that the President of the

    Republic has the power to appoint eight senators from the historically marginalised

    groups, giving particular consideration to the principles of national unity and any

    other national interests and four Senators designated by the National Consultative

    Forum of political organisations.

    Genuine democracy requires free and fair elections. And even if elections and

    democracy complement each other, elections are central to promotion of

    democracy. Besides, a free and fair election can be said to be a direct dividend of

    democracy and vice-versa, because there can only be free and fair election where

    there is democracy, and there can never be democracy when there is no free and

    fair election.

    In the post genocide period, the Governmen t of Rwanda organised the first

    elections at the local level. The elections for cell and sector councils took place

    earlier in 1999, as well as district level elections that took place in 2001. These

    grass roots elections were seen as testing the waters for democratic transition

    before direct elections planned at the national level in 2003. The 1999 and 2001

    elections were run on a non-party basis with candidates standing as individuals and

    campaigning by political parties was not allowed. In 2001, candidates were vetted

    by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), whose members were nominated by

    the government officials. Elections were held successfully and 81% of those elected

    were the incumbents previously appointed by the government.

    The end of the post-genocide transition period was marked by the adoption of a

    new constitution in 2003. In a referendum held on May 26, 2003, it was approved

    by 93 % of the voters, with almost 90 % of those registered turning out to vote.

    The first elections under the new Constitution were held just months later, with the

    presidential election on August 25, 2003, followed by multi-party parliamentary

    elections between September 29 and October 2, 2003. The year2003 is, in fact, a

    turning point in the history of Rwanda because it marked the beginning of regular

    elections in post genocide period both at local and national level, with a new

    constitution and clear guidelines set by the National Electoral Commission.

    In August 2008, the second Parliamentary elections since the adoption of the new

    constitution of 2003 were conducted and in August 2010, the second presidential

    elections since the adoption of a new constitution took place. In February 2011,

    local leaders’ elections from the village, cell, sector, and district to Kigali city level

    and in late 2011, Rwanda held the second senatorial elections.  Many other local

    level elections took place in Rwanda to elect members of councils from the villages

    to the districts. And the last elections took place in 2017 to elect the President of

    the Republic of Rwanda.

    Figure 9.1 :The counting of votes at the end of the 2017 presidential election at polling station


    Separation of powers

    The notion of separation of powers can be understood as the separation of

    government decision-making into the legislative, executive, and the judicial

    functions. This aims at reinforcing constitutional protection of individual liberties

    by preventing the concentration of such powers in the hands of a single group of

    government officials. However, as stated earlier in Unit 6 (the Age of Enlightenment),

    the separation of powers is supported by checks and balance. It must be noted

    that arrangements of checks and balances among the three organs allow an

    independent judiciary to hear and determine matters involving the interpretation

    of constitution, a legislature to scrutinise both primary and secondary legislation

    and also having overseeing the activities of the executive.

    However, it must be noted that the over sight of the activities of the executive

    by the legislature implies that the President of the Republic is responsible to the

    legislature in the political sense because political responsibility implies a day

    to day relationship between the executive and the legislature. Furthermore, the

    impeachment process enforces juridical compliance with the constitutional letter of

    the law and is quite different from the exercise of political control over the President’s

    ordinary conduct of his or her office.

    In Rwanda, the separation of powers is the principle that is explicitly guaranteed

    in the Constitution. Interestingly, the Constitution of Rwanda goes further by

    emphasizing that the judiciary is both independent and separate from the

    executive and the legislature.Furthermore, the separation of powers is enhanced

    by the principle of checks and balance, and thus it is important to note that the

    Constitution of Rwanda provides for checks and balance between the executive,

    the legislature and the judiciary. The power sharing arrangement does not stop

    the Parliament from having an over sight role over the activities of the executive

    and the Parliament of Rwanda is bicameral and is made up of the Chamber of

    Deputies and the Senate. The Government is obliged to provide the Parliament with

    all the necessary explanations on questions put to the Government concerning its

    management and activities.

    In application of the principle of checks and balance, the President of the Republic

    after consultation with the Prime Minister, the President of the Senate, the Speaker

    of the Chamber of Deputies and the President of the Supreme Court may dissolve

    the Chamber of Deputies. Elections of Deputies shall take place within 90 days after

    the dissolution. By consulting the Speaker of the Chamber of the Deputies, the

    power sharing arrangement is activated in so far the Speaker of t he Chamber of

    the Deputies is not from the same political party with the President of the Republic.

    However, as previously noted, the Constitution of Rwanda does not specifically

    exclude the possibility of the President of the Senate belonging in the same

    political party with the President of the Republic. 

    Nevertheless, as far as the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies is consulted, power

    sharing becomes effective.

    The Constitution of Rwanda complies with the concept of the separation of powers.

    Political pluralism

    In Rwanda, a multi-party system is recognised in its Constitution (article 54). Political

    organisations fulfilling the conditions required by the law may be formed and

    operate freely. However, due to the historical context of the country of Rwanda that

    had been characterised by “ethnic” and regional discrimination which culminated

    into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the Rwandans have put in place other

    principles underpinning the political system which involves power -sharing,

    consensus and the existence of the Forum of the Political Parties.

    Power sharing

    Power sharing can be understood as a system of governance in which all major

    actors of the society are provided a permanent share of power. This system is often

    used by majority of the government system in which ruling groups rotate among

    various social groups over time.The basic aims of power sharing are traditionally

    to ensure the decentralization of power, the protection of rights for the minority

    groups, the establishment of grand coalition governments in which nearly all

    political parties are represented and the provision of mechanism to ensure decision

    making by consensus.

    Furthermore, it is argued that when the minority is a permanent one defined by

    race, ethnicity, language and the system of political party competition coincides

    with these communities, rather than cuts across them, such a minority may be

    permanently excluded from governmental office and from all prospects of political

    influence. Thus, a system of power sharing that guarantees the minority positions

    in the government and other political offices proportionate to their numbers is

    suggested. Finally, Power sharing arrangements help to promote government

    legitimacy and a sense of political fairness among the populace.

    Power sharing is respected in State institutions in accordance with the

    fundamental principles set out under Article 62 of the Constitution of Rwanda and

    the provisions of other laws. The President of the Republic and the Speaker of the

    Chamber of Deputies cannot come from the same political organisation. Cabinet

    members are selected from political organisations on the basis of seats held by

    those political organisations in the Chamber of Deputies. However, a political

    organisation holding the majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies cannot have

    more than fifty (50%) per cent of Cabinet members. It is not prohibited for other

    competent persons to be appointed to Cabinet. 

    In Parliament, the principle of representation of various categories is respected

    as provided for by the Constitution of Rwanda and other laws. In addition, with

    regard to the cabinet composition, it must be noted that the possibility of having a

    member of the Cabinet who does not belong to any political party is not excluded.

    The power sharing concept in the Constitution of Rwanda focuses on the

    consensus of political parties rather than the ethnic aspect. In so doing, the

    concept of power sharing under the Constitution of Rwanda places an emphasis

    on a coalition government. The advantage of a coalition government is that the

    policies adopted based on consensus are likely to be accepted by a large number

    of political parties provided they were involved in the negotiations and debate.

    Article 62: Power sharing

    Power sharing is respected in State institutions in accordance with the fundamental

    principles set out under Article 10 of this Constitution and the provisions of other

    laws. The President of the Republic and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies

    cannot come from the same political organisation.

    Cabinet members are selected from political organisations on the basis of seats

    held by those political organisations in the Chamber of Deputies. However, a

    political organisation holding the majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies

    cannot have more than fifty (50%) per cent of Cabinet members. It is not

    prohibited for other competent persons to be appointed to Cabinet In Parliament,

    the principle of representation of various categories is respected as provided for

    by this Constitution and other laws.

    The National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations

    In the respect of the Constitution of Rwanda in its spirit of political consensus, the

    same constitution provides for an organisation named The National Consultative

    Forum of Political Organisations (NFPO). This institution was established by the

    Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 2003 Revised in 2015, in its article 59.

    Membership to the forum

    According to the Organic Law No 10/2013/OL of 11/07/2013 governing Political

    Organisations and politicians, a political organisation enrols in the Forum

    voluntarily and that it must apply for and be granted membership by the Forum.

    It is composed of political organisations recognised and signatories to the internal

    rules and regulations of the Forum; and political organisations whose membership

    application has been approved by the General Assembly and accept to comply with

    provisions of the internal rules and regulations of the Forum. Today, the Forum

    consists of 11 members political organizations:

    1. RPF Inkotanyi

    2. PL

    3. UDPR

    4. PDI

    5. PSD

    6. Party for Progress and Concord (PPC)

    7. Centrist Democratic Party (PD)

    8. Rwandese Socialist Labour Party (PSR)

    9. Party for Solidarity and Progress (PSP)

    10. Social Party Imberakuri (PS Imberakuri)

    11. Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR)

    Mission of the forum

    “The Forum is mainly responsible of being a platform for national political

    dialogue, consensus building and national cohesion”.

    The Forum is also mandated to:

    maintain political and social dialogue, as well as public trust and transparency

    between political parties and the people, in order to consolidate national

    development and democracy.

    strengthen the capacity building of legally recognized political parties to

    perform their core functions.

    advice support to political party internal conflict resolutions (upon a written


    Organs of the forum

    Figure 9.1: Organisational structure of the National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations

    The General Assembly  is the supreme organ of the Forum and is constituted

    of recognized political organizations. Each political organization provides four

    representatives in the Assembly, two of whom should be women.

    The Bureau of the Forum  is constituted of a spokesperson and a deputy

    spokesperson. It has the responsibility of following up the implementation of the

    decisions of the General Assembly and representing the Forum before the law. The

    spokesperson and the deputy spokesperson are elected by the General Assembly.

    They are elected for a six months non-renewable term.

    The Executive Secretariat  is headed by the permanent executive secretary that

    is elected for a term of three (3) years renewable only once. It supervises and

    coordinates the daily activities of the Forum.

    Programmes and activities

    The NFPO carries out activities like promoting the consultation and political

    dialogue through regular sessions of the Forum General Assembly that are

    held once within three months and discusses the national concerns and makes

    recommendations to the concerned national institutions on high national political

    interests and career development. Besides, the forum performs activities aiming

    at consolidating the national cohesion and political pluralism by providing advice

    on resolution of internal political party’s conflicts, upon a written request. It also

    strengthens the capacity of political parties and their members

    Party Leadership Programme was  developed in 2004 targeting the Senior Political

    Leaders with funds from the European Union (E.U). This programme covered topics

    which all linked to political party’s capacity building needs. These topics include:

    Political communication, recruitment and membership, leadership and political

    conflict management, governance measurement and indexes, English language

    and communication skills.

    Figure 9.2 : Logo of the Youth Political Leadership Academy


    The Youth Political Leadership Academy (YPLA) was launched in February 2010 to

    train Youth from different political parties in leadership and politics and equip them

    with the necessary skills and knowledge to meaningfully participate in national

    governance and development.

    Since 2010, about 120 political cadres have been trained through the United

    Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support. From 2011 up to June 2014, the

    programme got the national coverage at all provincial headquarters through the

    UNDP partnership; about 660 youths were trained and awarded certificates.

    Taking of evening class (Kigali branch) and weekend (provincial branch) programme

    for six weeks. They are trained by local and international highly skilled and

    experienced politicians and academicians.

    The Intermediate Local Party Leadership Training Programme aims at improving

    knowledge and capacity in the politics and governance for the representatives of

    political organisations at local organs of their leadership, with intermediate level of

    education and mainly in charge of communication, sensitization and mobilization.

    It also reinforces the party field activities and leadership at grass roots.

    From February up to June 2014, 1311 grass roots political party leaders from 11

    political parties have been trained and were provided with hand outs to use for their

    further references. Each political party has chosen four districts and all have been


    The Gender Leadership Training Programme was put in place in order to be

    compliant with the compulsory 30% women’s representation at its leadership

    organs as provided for by the law. The Forum developed a training project aiming

    at urging women occupying positions in the political organisations’ leadership

    organs to approach other women members of political organisations to share ideas

    on women’s importance and role in the leadership of political organisations in

    particular and in national politics in general. This activity aims at sensitising women

    to join the leadership of their respective political organisations in order to follow

    the example of their colleagues who campaigned for leadership positions before

    them. This will also be used to mainstream gender issues in a party leadership and

    programs. Then, it will be a tool for establishment of a party for women networking

    through gender wing operations. Eleven political parties carried out a seminar

    and awareness campaign for their women members on their role in their party

    leadership development. As a result, the following political parties have set up their

    women wings at provincial levels: RPF Inkotanyi, PDC, PSP, PSD, PS Imberakuri and


    There are trainings carried out by political parties themselves. In this regard, a

    project proposal designed by a political party is sent to the Forum for analysis

    and financing. This analysis is based on the topics to be covered and the funds

    availability. Within the topics to be covered, it includes some approved by the

    General Assembly and other relevant topics proposed by political the party based

    on its ideological framework.

     Rule of law

    The rule of law requires state institutions should act in accordance with the law. The

    branches of the state must obey the law and in addition the state cannot exercise

    power over anyone unless the law permits to do so. It has to be noted that the rule of

    law signifies that no political authority is superior to the law itself. When and where

    the rule of law obtains, the rights of citizens are not dependent upon the will of

    rulers; rather, they are established by law and protected by independent courts.

    The judicial apparatus is well established and the judicial authority is vested in the

    judiciary composed of ordinary courts and specialised courts.

     Ordinary courts are comprised of the Supreme Court, the High Court, Intermediate

    Courts and Primary Courts while Specialised Courts are comprised of Commercial

    Courts and Military Courts.

    The High Council of the Judiciary is the supreme governing organ of the

    Judiciary. It sets general guidelines governing the organisation of the Judiciary. In

    Rwanda, the Judiciary is independent and exercises financial and administrative


    In Rwanda, there have been signs of significant progress and improvements in

    the area of rule of law since 1994. As earlier discussed, much has been done to

    rehabilitate the judicial system in order to ensure that the law is not enforced in an

    arbitrary fashion, individual rights are respected, and that the population lives in


    A part from the judicial system, the rule of law is supported by the existence of a

    good situation in terms of security. The national police that replaced the old system of

    gendarmerie and communal police have increased the level of professionalization

    in law enforcement, while the role of the military has been limited increasingly to

    protecting the country from security threats from outside the country. Moreover,

    these two institutions, the police and the army, are charged with maintaining

    security, law and order, discipline and are trusted by the population. As stated

    earlier, they ensure security of the country but they are also involved in security and

    peacekeeping in different countries where they are part of UN or AU security forces

    such as Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Haiti and Mali.

    The situation of human rights is also well maintained. Since 1994, the Government

    of Rwanda embarked on a programme of rebuilding itself by enhancing the

    principles of the rule of law, respect of human rights and bringing about national

    unity and reconciliation. In its preamble, the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda

    reaffirmed the adherence to the principles of human rights enshrined in the United

    Nations Charter as well as in the core international human rights instruments.

    Rwanda has effectively ratified all the eight key human rights instruments and

    most of their additional protocols. Many other international and regional human

    rights conventions were ratified by Rwanda or are in the process of ratification.

    Once ratified, all the treaties and conventions are integrated into the domestic

    legal system. As per the Constitution, ratified treaties have precedence over

    the domestic laws. Rwanda has withdrawn all its reservations on International

    human rights treaties. Rwanda is committed to submit periodic reports on the

    implementation of key human rights treaties.

    Given the terrific human rights abuses carried out during the 1994 Genocide against

    the Tutsi, the Government has committed itself to promote and protect human

    rights. A National Human Rights Commission was created and its capacity firmly

    strengthened. It has accelerated investigative work and presented different annual

    reports since 2000, detailing a number of human rights abuses. It also works closely

    with human rights NGOs. 

    The Country has also formulated several policies and programmes geared

    towards the promotion and protection of human rights enshrined in various sector

    policy papers. Apart from the general policy of human rights, which remains one of

    the key priorities, almost all other key policies in different sectors related to human

    rights (education, health, social protection, rights of women, rights of children, rights

    of people with disabilities) were adopted. all the three branches of Government

    play a key role in the promotion and the protection of human rights:

    The Parliament has human rights committees (in both the Chamber of Deputies and

    the Senate) which conduct investigations and research in relation to the respect

    of human rights. This has enabled parliamentarians to investigate the respect of

    human rights in local communities through working visits. Different Government

    authorities are often questioned by the Parliament on issues related to human

    rights. The Rwandan Parliament established mechanisms to further participate to

    the promotion of human rights, including the Forum of Women Parliamentarians

    and the Amani Forum which is actively involved in strengthening peace and

    security in the Great lakes region.

    Figure : 9.3 : Logo of the National Commission of Human Rigths


    The National Commission for Human Rightsis an independent and permanent

    institution. It is in conformity with Paris Principles and has “A” status. It is composed

    of seven commissioners whom at least 30% are women. Commissioners are

    appointed from different categories of the Rwandan society, including the civil

    society. Commissioners enjoy immunity in the process of execution of their duties.

    The Commission has a specific mission of educating and raising public awareness on

    human rights and providing guidance upon request or on its own initiative on bills

    related to human rights (International Bill of Human Rights: consists of the Universal

    Declaration of Human Rights  (adopted in 1948), the  International  Covenant

    on  Civil  and Political Rights  with its two Optional Protocols and the  International

    Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and engages State bodies to ratify

    international conventions related to human rights and take steps to domesticate

    these conventions in the national legislation. 

    The Commission also investigates violations on human right s committed within

    the territory of the Republic of Rwanda by State organs, public officials abusing

    their powers, organizations and individuals. The Commission is empowered to

    launch cases before civil, commercial, labour and administrative courts in case of

    violation of human rights. Each year the Commission submits a report of its activities

    to the parliament and gives copies to the President of the Republic, the Cabinet and

    the Supreme Court. This report is an important tool for the Parliament to monitor

    the protection and promotion of human rights in Rwanda.

    As stated in unit related to achievements of the Government of National Unity,

    there are also other institutions established by t he Constitution of the Republic

    of Rwanda to promote and protect human rights and ensure social justice in the

    country such as the Office of the Ombudsman, the Public Prosecution Authority,

    the National Police, the Observatory of Child Rights, the Gender Monitoring Office,

    the National Women Council, the National Council for Persons with disabilities,


    In respecting the rule of law, the Rwandan Government is also very effective

    and responsible for delivering good services to the people of Rwanda. Through

    the process of decentralization, authority, responsibility and service provision

    were transferred from the central Government to the local government and its

    administrative divisions. Rwanda is internationally recognised as a very secure

    country, characterised by its firm commitment on economic growth, but also on

    good governance and the zero tolerance to corruption. The President of the Republic,

    and the Government of Rwanda in general, have received many international

    awards for different outstanding achievements for the development of the country

    and its population, including the African Gender Award (Senegal in 2007) and the

    global UNICEF Children’s Award in 2009.

    Rwanda has also already ratified many treaties, protocols and conventions on

    promotion and protection of Human rights, for instance, the Convention on the

    Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Second Optional

    Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition

    of death penalty; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or

    Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the UN Convention against Transnational

    Organized Crimes and its additional protocols, the UN conventions related to the

    fight against terrorism, etc. Therefore, Rwanda enjoys a very good situation in

    terms of promotion and protection of human rights as it has been attested by

    different annual reports of the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR).

    International Standards: The Paris principles

    In 1992, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights endorsed a set of internationally

    recognized principles concerning the status, powers and functioning of national

    human rights institutions.

    The U.N. Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions, known as the Paris

    Principles,  which were subsequently endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly in

    1993, set out the basic guidelines recommended by the U.N. in the establishment

    of a national human rights institution. The U.N. defines a national human rights

    institution as a government body established under the constitution or by law,

    whose functions are specifically designed to promote and protect human rights.

    The U.N. broadly groups national human rights institutions into three categories:

    human rights commissions, ombudsmen, and specialized national institutions

    designed to protect the rights of a particular vulnerable group (such as ethnic

    minorities, indigenous populations, refugees, women or children).

    The Paris Principles stress, as fundamental features designed to contribute to

    independence, the need for:

    1. a founding constitutional or legislative statute;

    2. “as broad a mandate as possible;”

    3. an independent appointments procedures, with terms of office

    specified by law;

    4. a pluralistic and representative composition;

    5. regular and effective functioning;

    6. independence from the executive branch; and in recommending methods

    of operation, the Paris Principles call on governments to create

    national institutions that can take up any human rights matter at their

    own initiative, at the suggestion of government, and at the request of

    “any petitioner.” Responsibilities should include.

    7. adequate funding.

    8. reporting and making recommendations to the government on human

    rights matters (including the adoption or amendment of national

    legislation and the reporting of situations of human rights violations);

    9. promoting conformity of national law and practice with international

    human rights standards, including the ratification of international

    human rights treaties;

    10. cooperating with national, regional and U.N. human rights bodies,

    including through contributions to country reports submitted to U.N.

    treaty bodies and committees; and

    11. human rights education programs.

    Most importantly, human rights commissions should be empowered to make public

    statements on their work directly or through the press.

    The Paris Principles direct human rights commissions to cooperate and consult

    with other bodies responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights.

    The Paris Principles specifically note the importance of effective cooperation with

    or through the presence of non-governmental human rights groups, trade unions,

    concerned social and professional organizations, eminent scientists, philosophers,

    religious leaders, professors and qualified experts, parliament, and other

    government departments (in an advisory capacity only).

    The powers vested in a human rights commission should include the ability to

    seek settlement through “amicable settlement,” “binding decisions,” or “where

    necessary, on the basis of confidentiality.” Petitioners should be informed of their

    rights and remedies and access to them promoted by human rights commissions.

    Complaints should be resolved by human rights commissions or forwarded to the

    appropriate authority. Human rights commissions should make recommendations

    to the government on human rights matters, including amendments or reforms of

    laws and practices.


    Decentralization being the opposite of centralization refers to the process of

    transferring powers, authority, functions, responsibilities and the requisite resources

    from central government to local governments or administrative divisions.

    Decentralization has to be implemented through three modes: deconcentration,

    delegation and devolution.

    Under deconcentration, services and functions reserved to be performed by central

    government are executed by central government public servants located in local

    governments but hierarchically responsible directly to central government.

    Under delegation, services and functions reserved to be performed by central

    government are delegated to local governments and the requisite resources

    transferred to them for effective provision of these delegated services.

    Under devolution, the powers, authority, functions, responsibilities services and

    resources currently centralized at central government level are transferred to local

    governments which are created by law as legal entities with powers to sue and be


    The combination of the three phases of decentralization that has been carried

    out to date was geared towards economic, political and managerial/administrative

    empowerment and reconciliation of the people of Rwanda to determine their


    The inappropriate, highly centralized dictatorial governance of the colonial as well

    as post independence administration of the country excluded Rwandans from

    participating in the determination of their political, economic and social well-being.

    When the Government of National Unity came into power in 1994, it made great

    efforts to launch democratic decentralization as yet another government policy

    targeting poverty reduction by improving the quality of governance in the country

    and by promoting the mobilization and participation of the people inthe planning

    and management of the development process.

    Decentralization aimed at providing a structural arrangement for government

    and the people of Rwanda to fight poverty at a close range and to enhance their

    reconciliation via the empowerment of local populations. Rwanda’s decentralization

    policy was an important innovation. Its objective was to empower and invite the

    population to participate actively in debates on issues that concerned it directly. It

    also aimed at encouraging the electorate in the countryside to provide information

    and explain issues in order to take decisions knowingly. The decentralization of

    activities went hand in hand with the decentralization of financial, material and

    human resources. The policy enabled the population, not only to elect its leaders

    but also to control them. Where need be, the policy enabled the population to

    replace them through regular elections.

    It was this new policy altogether that changed previous mind set which was based

    on central administration whereby people were used to receiving orders. The major

    setback in realizing the decentralization policy was that some leaders at the grass

    roots did not earn any salary despite acting as pillars of the system.

    As time went on, the people started to get used to this policy. It was adopted

    after consultations and discussions with the population. The Ministry of Local

    Government which was set up in 1999 published a document in 2000 entitled

    National policy on decentralization. This was followed in 2002 by another Policy on

    community development. 

    The major ideas of the sectorial policies of National policy on decentralization

    and Policy on community development

    Enabling the people to participate in decision making at all levels.

    Enabling the people to freely choose leaders known to them.

    Giving a strong foundation to transparent management and, consequently,

    fight against bad practices in managing public funds.

    Promoting equality of all before the law. In achieving this policy, the

    government set up three levels of administration: central administration,

    de-concentrated administrative entities (province), decentralized administrative entities (district and towns). The government proceeded to setting up

    new administrative demarcations that took into account the viability of the

    set-up entities.

    Encouraging ministries to gradually reduce their load and responsibilities in

    favour of decentralized and de-concentrated units in terms of staff, material

    and financial means corresponding to tax categories and imports.

    As earlier stated, the first phase of decentralization (2001-2005) aimed at

    establishing democratic and community development structures at the District

    level and was accompanied by a number of legal, institutional and policy reforms,

    as well as democratic elections for local leaders. The second phase also focused on

    trying to build capacities (human and financial) at local levels, and to boost local

    development but this has been rather piecemeal and a slow process. Enhanced

    upward accountability, particularly after introduction of the process of performance

    contracts Imihigo, has led to significant achievements in terms of governance,

    social and economic development, and has reinforced synergies, coordination and

    harmonization of interventions in local governments. But the next phase needs to

    improve on the key downward accountability linkages between local government

    leadership and the citizens.

    In general, the decentralization policy had had several advantages. This policy

    encouraged teamwork in decision making between Councils and Executive

    Committees at local administration level. It brought services closer to the people

    in order to solve their problems. The policy also helped in enforcing unity in so

    far as different Rwandan communities were concerned. In addition, the people

    participated in choosing and checking their leaders. Above all, the people took

    decisions jointly on concrete programmes and activities. 

    For instance, the Rwandan population participated in placing the households in

    new categories based on their social-economic status, and their property – in terms

    of land and other belongings – and what the families’ breadwinners do to earn a

    living at the level of each village.

    Press and media

    The media means any process, whether in print, audio-visual, auditory, signs or

    internet, to disseminate, broadcast and make known to the general public facts,

    opinions and any other expression of thought particularly in order to inform,

    educate and train, promote leisure and entertainment. And the Public media refers

    to public broadcasters and newspapers.

    In Rwanda, the present media policy elaborated in 2014 by the Ministry of Local

    Government aims at availing an informed citizenry which is sacrosanct to

    democratic governance, sustainable peace and development. In addition, the

    policy is inspired by the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and opinion,

    free access to information, media freedom and their relationship to the pursuance,

    attainment and sustainability of a free, secure, united, reconciled and democratic


    The media policy is inspired by the National Constitution as well as international

    legal instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the

    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights endorsed by the same

    constitution. The policy is also a consequence of Rwanda leadership’s unwavering

    belief in the power of the media to contribute to good governance, social and

    economic transformation of the country as well as a commitment to media freedom

    and responsible reporting. Thus, the policy benefits from the leadership’s clear

    understanding of where the country is coming from as well as where it is going and

    the realisation that the media, as a cross-cutting sector which links the leadership

    to the citizens and all facets of society, it has to be empowered to play its rightful

    place on the country’s journey to a strong, united, and democratic state.

    Fundamental principles of the Rwanda National Media Policy

    The media policy is inspired by and builds from certain fundamental principles that

    are central to free, independent, developed and democratic societies regardless

    of culture or geography. These fundamental principles, enshrined in Rwanda’s

    constitution of 2003 and discernable in the international legal regime, including the

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 as well as the International Covenant

    on Civil and Political Liberties endorsed by the same national constitution are four

    as outlined and elaborated below:

    Freedom to hold and express opinion: That freedom to hold opinion, express

    opinion and speak freely is not only critical to individual self-actualization,

    happiness and fulfilment but is also important for nurturing, strengthening and

    reproducing citizenship and democratic governance since it is only through freely

    expressing one’s self and expressing opinions and beliefs that communities and

    cultures emerge facilitating the consensual development of common values that

    are central to sustainably free and democratic societies that Rwanda aspires to and

    is committed.

    Freedom of the press and of the media: This principle is central not only because

    it enables the media to hold office holders accountable and act as watchdogs,

    elements that facilitate democratic and good governance that Rwanda is

    committed to, but also empowers citizens both through providing information and

    education as well as facilitating freedom of expression and speech that are key to

    democratic governance.

    Access to information and informed citizenry: That an informed citizenry

    is sacrosanct not only to good governance and sustainable peace but also

    sustainable development; yet, without a guarantee to access information, an

    informed citizenry cannot emerge.

    That access to a variety of views and perspectives also facilitates informed and

    active citizenship which is critical to democratic and accountable governance.

    As achievements made by the Rwandan media, it is worth noting that more than

    twenty years after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, tremendous progress has

    been made in the industry of media. For example, at the end of the genocide

    in 1994, the country had only a radio and television stations both owned and

    operated by the government. In 2014, the country had 35 radio stations that

    operate on FM like Radio Rwanda, Contact FM, Radio 10, Salus Radio, Radio Maria,

    five private television stations such as Tele10, Lemigo TV and a number of pay

    television channels. These radio and television stations are owned by different

    individuals and organisations, Rwandans as well as non-Rwandans; a point that

    serves to ensure plurality of ownership to avoid over concentration of the media in

    a few hands which would adversely affect media freedom. These radio stations

    also represent varied interests as some are commercial, others religious while others

    are community based. This also means that the radio stations fulfil the principle of

    representing variety of views and opinions which is also crucial for media freedom.

    Figure: 9.4: The Office of the Rwanda Broadcast Agency


    In addition, the former state broadcaster was reformed and renamed Rwanda

    Broadcasting Agency (RBA) with a mandate to become more focused on citizen

    based programming and citizen generated stories rather than the government.

    The broadcaster has added on five community radio stations and two FM stations

    (Magic FM and Inteko) besides the parent radio station that broadcasts throughout

    the country and Rwanda television.

    With regard to the print media, the country had in 2014 at least 43 registered

    newspapers and magazines, 80 web-based newspapers and a host of blogs; factors

    that illustrate how the media has expanded since the liberalization of the media in

    2002 and deliberate heavy government investment in the internet infrastructure.

    Crucially, these media outlets are privately owned with some owned by Rwandans

    while others are owned by foreign investors. This structure of ownership also serves

    to illustrate the government’s commitment to deconcentration of ownership to

    ensure plurality and ensuring variety of opinions in the media so as to serve the

    people better.

    At the legal level, the Nation’s Constitution of 2003 guarantees media freedom as

    it does freedom of thought and opinion. In addition, the media law of 2013 not

    only protects media pluralism and freedom to start and own a media outlet but

    also provides for media self-regulation. The provision of self-regulation came into

    effect after the amendment of the media law of 2009. Besides media law, there is

    an access to Information law that also guarantee the right not only of journalists

    but also citizens to access information whether in position of government or some

    private entities. The law was also enacted and came into force in 2013. 

    With regard to the economic environment, there is a strong political will to ensure

    that media becomes a sustainable and profitable business sector. That is why the

    policy of the government is for media outlets to compete for its advertisement

    without the exclusion of any media out and regardless of ownership. This is also

    done to both ensure transparency as well as competitiveness in the sector.

    In addition, media capacity and institutions at the end of the Genocide in 1994 were

    very low. However, human and institutional capacity has since been strengthened

    although there are still gaps that need to be filled. For instance, while there were no

    institutions that trained journalists in 1994, today, there are five such institutions,

    including the School of Journalism and Communication (SJC) at the University of

    Rwanda (UR) and the Great Lakes Media Centre (GLMC) both directly funded by the

    Government of Rwanda. In addition, the Media High Council (MHC) was reformed

    and is now charged with media Capacity Development. And since the Government

    decided to withdraw from media regulation, journalists regulate themselves

    through their own created organ known as the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC).

    However, since this organ does not have the capacity to regulate the technical part

    of the media, particularly radio and television, RMC works with Rwanda Regulatory

    Agency (RURA) when the technical part of media regulation is needed. It is RURA

    therefore that also issues broadcasting licenses and frequencies.

    9.3.2 Preservation of national unity and reconciliation

    Figure 9.4: Logo of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission


    In Rwanda, unity and reconciliation can be defined as a consensus practice of citizens

    who have common nationality, who share the same culture and have equal rights;

    citizens characterized by trust, tolerance, mutual respect, equality, complementary

    roles interdependence, truth, and healing of one another’s wounds inflicted by their

    history, with the objectives of laying a foundation for sustainable development.

    Figure 9.5 : Members of a school Unity and Reconciliation club


    As earlier stated in Unit one, the Government of Rwanda has initiated different

    home grown and reconciliatory mechanisms including the creation of NURC and

    establishment of a revamped version of the traditional Gacaca courts in June

    2002 to promote unity and reconciliation among Rwandans. Beside these two

    programmes, other mechanisms have also been put in place such as the programme

    of Ndi Umunyarwanda, creation of villages for both perpetrators and survivors of

    the 1994 Genocide against the tutsi and rewarding the rescuers of the Tutsi during

    the Genocide.

    Gacaca courts were used as a restorative justice measure to deal with perpetrators

    on a communal level. In the implementation of the sentences pronounced by the

    Gacaca jurisdictions on Genocide convicts of the second category who pleaded

    guilty and confessed their role in Genocide, another innovation was also carried out.

    Since Rwandans who took part in the Genocide that devastated the country and

    destroyed the national development infrastructure, the Government designed a

    strategy to give them a role in the country’s reconstruction. In this regard, it was

    decided that such prisoners should have their terms commuted to community

    service of national interest. It is from this idea that a French acronym loosely

    translated as community service as an alternative to custodial sentence (Travail

    d’Intérêt Général: TIG) was conceived.

    Their community work includes building schools, construction of radical terraces

    to fight soil erosion, production of stones for road construction and building houses

    for the homeless. Thus, the prisoners are engaged in productive work instead of

    being a burden to the nation for their support in jail. The net worth of their work as

    of 09/11/2011 was estimated at Rwf 42 billion.

    Besides, TIG reinforced the national unity and reconciliation process in the sense that

    the prisoners given this kind of punishment were also involved in the rehabilitation

    of the houses of the genocide survivors or cultivation of their farms. It also enabled

    the convicts to acquire new professional skills to facilitate reintegration in society, in

    addition to the training in human rights. As a result, TIG also contributed to national

    economic development.

    In addition to Gacaca and especially TIG, other many efforts have also been made

    so as to unite and reconcile Rwandans. It is worth mentioning here the work done

    by the different non- government organisations in healing the wounds of both

    survivors and perpetrators of genocide. For instance, there are 40 housing units

    inside Kabarondo Reconciliation Village, built by Prison Fellowship Rwanda (PFR), an

    international charity group, for families of survivors of the 1994 genocide against

    the Tutsi where genocide survivors and perpetrators live in the same village and

    work together in their common small projects.

    Inter peace, an international peace building organization also operates in Rwanda

    as a societal healing and it uses the different healing approaches including the


    Group Approach that includes story-telling, testimonies, sharing of social emotions, peace education, active listening, drama, etc.

    Holistic Approach encompasses for instance socio-economic activities, legal

    aid, psychological interventions, interpretation, training on various skills development, dialogue and audio visual.

    Community approach comprises for instance radio, shows, dialogue, training

    workshops, film screenings and discussions, sports competitions, sports competitions, truth-telling and home visits.

    Individual Approach is made up of active listening, interpretation, story-telling,

    trust-building, confidence-building, etc.

    Catholic Relief Services, the official overseas humanitarian agency of the U.S.

    Conference of Catholic Bishops, has also played a critical role in helping with

    peace-building efforts in the country. Following the Genocide, the organization has

    worked closely with the local Church and government to implement reconciliation

    programs and structures. 

    As achievement, this organisation has contributed to the trainings of 40,000 leaders

    in conflict resolution.

    The programme of “Ndi Umunyarwanda “and clubs of unity and reconciliation

    in schools also play a significant role in uniting and reconciling Rwandans. Ndi

    Umunyarwanda is a program and a tool that will sustain cohesion among current

    and next generations.

    It was initiated in 2013 with a goal to build the national identity and to

    strengthen solidarity of Rwandan people, uphold their moral and spiritual values

    by first making them understand their rights as Rwandans.Ndi Umunyarwanda

    contributes to healing the wounds of Rwandan History and restoring social

    cohesion among Rwandans.  More specifically, Ndi Umunyarwanda spirit has

    considerably contributed to alleviate suspicion, frustration and mistrust among the

    citizens and has become a bridge to human development.

    The unity and reconciliation clubs in schools play an important role in education.

    They give the youths an opportunity to understand the country’s history and decide

    on the path to take from an informed point of view. For them, focus is put on conflict

    resolution, where students learn to solve disputes among themselves amicably,

    through the club of justice and peace. They also help students to fight against

    Genocide ideology and to grow in critical thinking.

    Rewarding the rescuers of the Tutsi during the genocide is another mechanism

    that is used to enhance unity and reconciliation in Rwanda. In fact, since 1994, the

    importance of the country’s programmes to build a cohesive national identity and

    educate citizens as a means of Genocide prevention is undeniable. Recently, Hutu

    people who, in 1994, despite the risk to their own lives, resisted the Genocide

    against their fellow Tutsi and, rescued potential victims fit the category of being

    selected and rewarded as Abarinzi b’Igihango na Gihanga cyahanze n’u Rwanda’

    (literally guardians of alliance with Gihanga, the founder of Rwanda). These individuals

    all resisted perpetrating the Genocide that targeted their fellow Rwandan Tutsi in


    The Government of Rwanda has now initiated the program of identifying how

    people who resisted the Genocide can be included in relevant programs like the ongoing campaign of Ndi Umunyarwanda and this plays a significant role in enhancing

    unity and reconciliation among Rwandans and promoting the envisioned national


    9.3.3. Maintenance of justice in Rwanda

    With the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that destroyed all the sectors of the life of

    the country, the judiciary needed to be rebuilt to meet the challenges created by that

    Genocide. To address this situation, the Government of National Unity committed to

    create a strong, responsive, professional and independent judiciary that Rwandans

    could trust and respect by reforming the judicial system and establishing of Maisons

    d‘Accès à la Justice (MAJ) that assist and plead, before all courts, for indigents.

    To meet this objective, the justice system was revised in 2003. With this judicial

    reform, the Ministry of justice had to oversee the functioning of the judicial police, the

    criminal investigation, the prosecution and the prison services and all these entities

    were separated with full financial and administrative independence including the

    Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court and the National Prosecution Authority.

    The High Council of the Public Prosecution is composed of persons from different

    organs with experience and expertise. The Council is responsible for taking decisions,

    recruitment and appointment of staff.

    The National Prosecution Authority has branches across the country and is

    headed by the Prosecutor General. It also has several special units such as the

    Economic and Financial Crimes Unit, Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit, Sexual and

    Domestic Violence Unit, all ideology and related Crimes Unit, Witness and Victims

    Protection Unit, all of which have helped in delivering justice.

    At the same time, the Inspectorate General of the Prosecution was created

    to oversee the functioning of prosecutors. It has a mechanism of evaluating

    prosecutors, and sanctioning or rewarding them according to their performance.

    Prosecutors in managerial and administrative positions have a limited term of

    office to ensure transparency, efficiency and accountability. All these initiatives

    have enabled the Prosecutor’s Office to handle more cases in courts of law than ever


    According to justice reforms of 2003, the structure of the Supreme Court was

    reduced from six separate chambers, each with its own president, to a single unit

    under the leadership of the Chief Justice. A new High Court of the Republic was

    also created and replaced the former four chambers of the Supreme Court. The High

    Court of the Republic has two lower levels, namely the Intermediate Court and the

    Primary Court (District). The new structure has had a positive effect on the efficiency

    of the High Court because it facilitates harmonisation of jurisprudence. 

    In addition, the Inspectorate General of Courts was established to regularly

    supervise the functioning of courts so as to evaluate court judges and personnel

    who are in turn rewarded in case they perform well while poor performances are

    sanctioned accordingly. Heads of courts, on the other hand, have a fixed term of


    In 2007, Commercial Courts were established by an organic law No. 59/2007

    of 16/12/2007 to settle commercial disputes. Commercial courts comprise the

    Commercial High Court and the Commercial Courts. Commercial Courts in the

    country are three namely Nyarugenge Commercial Court; Huye Commercial Court

    and Musanze Commercial Court.

    The reforms have also introduced “single judge seating” at all levels with the

    exception of the Supreme Court. This reform has contributed at a certain extent to

    the reduction of delays and backlogs, which had previously characterised Rwanda’s

    judiciary, in the disposal of cases.

    New kinds of courts like Gacaca jurisdictions and Abunzi (mediators) were initiated

    as home-grown solutions in the justice system. The historical background of their

    creation, structures, achievements and challenges will be developed in Unit 10.

    Through the Ministry of Justice, the Government initiated the Access to

    Justice Bureaus, referred to in French language as Maisons d‘Accès à la Justice

    (MAJ), in 2007. Now established in all 30 districts of Rwanda, MAJ serves as the

    first point of orientation with legal aid service for Rwandans. MAJ mainly provides

    legal information/education as well as legal advice. MAJ also aligns with the policy

    objective of a more decentralized and reconciliatory justice system that involves

    citizens. The Rwanda Bar Association (RBA) law grants MAJ staff powers to

    provide legal and judicial aid to indigents and needy people.

    MAJ staff may assist, counsel, represent and plead, before all courts, for indigents.

    They are also able to analyze cases, offer legal advice and mediation to parties,

    sensitize the population on their legal rights, assist prisoners and provide legal

    training to Abunzi.

    In Rwanda, there is also another means utilised in conflict resolution. This is based on

    law on arbitration and conciliation in commercial matters published on No 005/2008

    of 14/02/2008. This law defines “arbitration”: a procedure applied by parties to the

    dispute requesting an arbitrator or a jury of arbitrators to settle a legal, contractual

    dispute or another related issue while “conciliation” describes a process, whether

    referred to by the expression conciliation, mediation or an expression of similar

    import, whereby parties to the dispute request a conciliator to assist them in their


    Application activities 9.3

    1. Assess the different achievements made by the Government of

    Rwanda and especially the National Unity and Reconciliation

    Commission (NURC) to unite and reconcile the Rwandan population

    from its establishment in 1999.

    2. Describe the structure of the judicial system in Rwanda and analyse

    how justice is practiced in the country.

    3. Towards 2000, the Government of Rwanda placed an emphasis on the

    policy of decentralisation. Evaluate the achievements that have been

    made so far at the local administration level. Simultaneously discuss

    some of the challenges that still impede its realisation.

    4. In Rwanda, 1994 tremendous progress has been made in the industry

    of media. Discuss this assertion.

    5. Read the article 59 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.

    Come up with clear example showing that the Forum can help

    to understand the principle of collaboration between political

    organisations for the purposes of political dialogue, and building

    consensus and national cohesion.

    National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations brings together

    political organisations for the purposes of political dialogue, and building

    consensus and national cohesion. The functioning of the National

    Consultative Forum of Political Organisations is provided for by the organic

    law determining modalities for the creation of political organisations,

    their functioning and the code of conduct of their leaders.

    6. The second chapter of the Constitution, from article 10 to article 52,

    provides for the fundamental human rights and the duties of the

    citizen. Readthese articles and identify some (like 5) fundamental

    human rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of Humana


    7. The Gacaca jurisdictions match with which form of justice. Justify your

    answer basing on the programme of unity and reconciliation that the

    Government of Rwanda considers as the sine qua non condition for the

    rebuilding of the social fabric destroyed by the 1994 Genocide against

    the Tutsi.

    9.4. Democracy and justice in neighbouring countries: case

    studies of Tanzania and Kenya

    Activity 9.3.1

    After having analysed how democracy and justice are maintained in Rwanda,

    establish a comparison between the Rwandan democratic and judicial systems

    and those that are practiced in Tanzania and Kenya.

    9.4.1 Democracy in Tanzania

    The United Republic of Tanzania was established in April 1964, following the

    amalgamation of the former independent states of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

    Tanganyika attained independence in December 1961 under the leadership of

    Julius Nyerere. The transition to independence was achieved without violence and

    in 1964, the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.

    Tanganyika (Tanzania mainland) had a multiparty political system. The Tanganyika

    African National Union (TANU), established in 1954 was the overwhelmingly a

    dominant political party in pre independence Tanganyika. Other political parties

    were United Tanganyika Party (UTP), the African National Congress (ANC) and All

    Muslim National Unity of Tanganyika (AMNUT). In Zanzibar (Tanzania Islands) there

    were three important political parties prior independence.

    These included Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ZNP), ASP-Afro Shiraz Party and Zanzibar

    and Pemba Peoples Party (ZPPP).

    The multi- party general election in Tanganyika prior to independence took place

    in 1958, 1960 and 1962 when Tanganyika became a republic and Mwalimu Julius

    Nyerere as the first President. Although all the political parties struggled to bring

    independence in Tanganyika, soon after the attainment of independence, the

    ruling party (TANU) under the Chairmanship of Mwalimu Nyerere, denounced

    opposition parties and introduced the single party system in 1962.

    Tanganyika united with Zanzibar in 1964 which led to the birth of The United

    Republic of Tanzania in which TANU became the only political party in Tanzania

    Mainland and ASP-Afro Shiraz Party in Zanzibar after the dissolution of other

    political parties. This was followed by the introduction of the single party

    constitution in 1965.

    All general elections since 1965 to 1990 were held in a single party system, though

    they were competitive in nature. The single party political system did not give the

    citizens freedom to join in or form the political parties, even though they were not

    pleased by the ruling party. The presidential position had one candidate and a

    shadow or blank, in which the electorate was required to vote for YES for a candidate

    or NO for a shadow. This system violated the citizens’ rights of electing the

    leader they wanted. On February 5, 1977, TANU and ASP merged to form Chama

    Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) [meaning Party of the Revolution] a revolutionary state party.

    It became the sole legal political party in Tanzania.

    All candidates had to be approved by CCM and were permitted to campaign

    only under the CCM platform. Elections within a single party framework were

    competitive. For example in October 1985, there were 328 candidates competing

    for 169 elective seats in the National Assembly.

    The multi- party political system was officially reintroduced in 1992 after the

    collapse of the USSR in the 1990s and pressure from the donor countries (USA and

    Europe), the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund conditionalities

    forced the less developed countries including Tanzania to adopt the multiparty

    system in order to get financial assistance in terms of loans, grants and aids.

    Surprisingly, the majority of Tanzanians refused the introduction of multi- party

    due to the fear that the political parties will lead to civil wars and disruption of the

    long existing unity and peace. The late Mwalimu Nyerere played a major role in

    educating the Tanzanians on the importance of multi-party system. Unexpectedly,

    he was the one who banned the political parties soon after independence. He

    realized his mistakes and because of his influence and reputation as the father of

    the nation, multi-party system was officially instituted on July 1, 1992.

    This marked the era of multi-party system and democracy in Tanzania, where many

    political parties registered, including the ruling party (CCM) which was the first party

    to get the certificate of registration, followed by the Civic United Front (CUF) in

    Kiswahili, Chama Cha Wananchi and CHADEMA in Kiswahili Chama cha Demokrasia

    na Maendeleo (meaning in English Party for Democracy and Progress).There were

    also other many political parties and in 1995 there were 13 political parties that

    participated in the general election.

    Since 1995 multiparty elections have always been organised and the CCM has

    always managed to win all the presidential ones. The election results witnessed

    the return of the CCM to power with Benjamin Mkapa who received 62% of the vote

    while the opposition candidates amassed 38%. In the parliamentary elections,

    the CCM also won more seats than other political parties.

    The 2000 elections were not different from the 1995 elections with the CCM able to

    ensure that they were not operating on a level playing field. The abolition of state

    subsidies to political parties meant that the opposition was unable to fund their

    campaigns adequately. The problem of the differentiation between the CCM and

    the state remained.

    Although Tanzania has escaped the more overt political turmoil that its

    neighbouring countries have endured, in the aftermath of the 2000 multiparty

    elections, the country appears to be open to inter-ethnic rivalry largely due to the

    Zanzibar question which threatens the union itself.

    Zanzibar is the site of the greatest opposition to the ruling CCM party which has

    been in power since independence. The challenge faced by the former President

    Jakaya Kikwete was to deal with the dysfunctional economy and to meet the ever

    growing demands of its population which has seen a rapid decline of social services.

    The ideal of self-reliance which was espoused by Nyerere is no longer a choice, but

    increasingly a necessity.

    After the two presidential mandates of Mkapa in 2005, the CCM’s Candidate Jakaya

    Kikwete won the presidential election with an unassailable lead of 68% . By 2015,

    CCM’s margin of victory had been shortened to 18%. For the first time in Tanzania’s

    history, the opposition is a force to be reckoned with.  In 2015, Dr John Pombe

    Magufuli from the CCM political Party also won presidential elections and became

    on November 5, 2015 the fifth president of Tanzania. After all, the  CCM had been in

    power for decades, and meaning   seemed to herald continuity with the past.

    9.4.2 Democracy in Kenya

    The participation by citizens in political decision-making is an important aspect

    of a functioning democracy. It is very important that the citizens’ interests are

    represented in the different institutions and processes.

    Since the time of the independence of Kenya in 1963, the development of

    democracy and public participation have had mixed results. Kenya adopted

    a Westminster style of democracy with multi-party institutions and a federal

    system of government. There was a devolution structure of government, known

    as majimbo (Kiswahili term for regionalism), under which the country had seven

    autonomous regions, some of whose boundaries were coterminous with ethnic

    settlement patterns. Some of the numerically large groups have a region to

    themselves and therefore some regions are identifiable with ethnic groups. Each

    regional government was responsible for setting and implementing a broad range

    of policies.

    There were several political parties, the main ones being the Kenya African

    National Union (KANU) and the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). KANU’s

    membership included some of the large ethnic groups, the Kikuyu and the Luo,

    while KADU coalesced the numerically smaller ethnic communities, many of which

    feared domination by large groups after independence.

    The first government dismantled this set-up after independence. The ruling party,

    KANU, made it difficult for the regional governments to operate. The main

    opposition, KADU, joined KANU to form one party and govern with them. The

    government also introduced a series of constitutional amendments that centralised

    power in the presidency.

    These changes significantly constrained democratic participation. The government

    became increasingly intolerant of dissent. In 1966, some critics within government

    resigned their positions to form a new political party the Kenya People’s Union (KPU).

    Keen to consolidate power without rivalry, the government banned the opposition

    in 1969. This gave the then ruling party, KANU, unchecked dominance. More

    amendments to the constitution to centralise power in the executive followed.

    In 1982, Parliament changed the constitution to make Kenya a one-party state. The

    country remained as such until 1991 when pressure, through people’s struggles for

    democratic change and international pressure from multilateral and bilateral donors

    compelled the government to repeal this constitutional provision and provide for a

    return of multi-party democracy.

    This return to multi-party democracy was an important milestone in this respect: it

    marked the beginning of enhancing space for freedoms and rights. It ushered in a

    new beginning in which citizens could participate in public affairs, question leaders

    and hold them to account for their actions. In the 1990s, multi-party democracy was

    not yet exercised to fulfil such expectation but it still reproduced certain negative

    tendencies and needed to be enhanced.

    At the end of 2002, the coming to power of a new government seemed to make

    another new promise for the transition to democracy. There was a new beginning

    where some of these hopes were momentarily realised but the country

    experienced unprecedented electoral violence after a dispute over presidential

    election results in December 2007.This violence again eroded some of the gains in

    the area of democracy and political participation.

    In 2010, yet democracy values and principles of governance provided in the new

    constitution such as accountability, public participation and the rule of law were

    not fully practised. In fact, interplay of ethnicity, electoral system and struggles

    over executive power has constrained public participation and the democratic


    The new constitution has addressed some of these challenges by establishing

    strong checks on the powers of the executive as well as two levels of government:

    national and county. However, the electoral system remains largely unchanged and

    this led to contestations of the results of presidential elections at different periods.

    First of all, violence engulfed Kenya following a dispute over presidential election

    results in December 2007. The violence spread fast and split the country along

    two main ethno-regional blocs: the Kikuyu and Kalenjin. It also pushed the country

    towards the brink of civil war. The violence ended in February 2008 after

    mediation by the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities. The panel

    persuaded the two parties in the dispute, the Party of National Unity (PNU) of

    the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and the main opposition, the Orange

    Democratic Movement (ODM) of Raila Odinga, to sign a National Accord committing

    to end violence and to share power in a coalition government.

    The violence indeed occurred as a result of the failure to respond to long-standing

    governance issues. It continued to threaten the consolidation of democracy and

    it constrained political participation. Among these issues were the manipulation

    of ethnic identity by politicians, the lack of comprehensive constitutional reforms,

    centralisation of power in the executive, and the problems around the majoritarian

    electoral system.

    Figure 9.6 : Picture illustrating the post-electoral violence in Kenya in 2007

    Source :

    Kenya normalised fast and held a peaceful referendum for a new constitution

    in August 2010 and, following this achievement, the new constitution was

    promulgated and later Kenya held a peaceful election in March 2013. Attempts to

    make a new constitution had failed to deliver one for about two decades, but the

    National Accord signed in February 2008 to end t he violence, developed a

    framework and timelines for constitutional review and institutional reforms. The

    negotiations on the National Accord revealed that constitutional review, among

    other reforms, was urgently required to prevent a recurrence of violence. What

    is interesting in the evolving political economy dynamics, is that the two main

    ethnic communities that fought one another in the post-2007 election violence,

    the Kikuyu and Kalenjin, grouped together into a political alliance, the Jubilee

    alliance, which finally won the March presidential elections held in 2013 and those

    of 2017. The alliance had both the presidential (Kikuyu) and deputy presidential

    (Kalenjin) candidates Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto who were indicted by

    the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the post-2007 election violence. They

    were elected as president and deputy president in spite of indictment for crimes

    committed during the post-election violence.

    Figure 9.7 : The photo of Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya and his Vice-President William Ruto.Source:

    The 2010 constitution has addressed some of the obstacles that prevent

    consolidation of democratic gains. It has established two levels of government:

    national and county government. The County governments are given resources

    to undertake development in their areas. The powers of the president have also

    been reduced; the president cannot make appointments without the approval of

    Parliament. The constitution has secured the independence of the judiciary and

    Parliament and, therefore, the executive cannot compel them to tend to its interests.

    9.4.3 Maintenance of justice in Tanzania and Kenya

    Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political

    and  social rights and opportunities. The social justice is differently maintained in

    Tanzania and Kenya. However, the judicial system has some similarities since the

    two countries inherited a judicial system that is based on the British law, the former

    colonial master of both countries.

    The Tanzanian case

    Since independence Tanzania has gone through distinct policy episodes of social

    integration. In the first two decades of the post independence period Tanzania made

    deliberate efforts and took various initiatives to attain social integration.

    In this period Tanzania strived to build national unity and placed emphasis on

    human development and social policy consistent with the basic needs approach.

    This period was characterized by emphasis on investment in human development

    consistent with the basic needs approach. During this period an emphasis was

    placed on promoting the principles of human dignity, equality and freedom of the

    individuals, equality of opportunity in life and equal citizen political rights across all

    races and commitment to reduce income and wealth differentials in society and

    fight against corruption.

    In the same period, the Government of Tanzania deliberately downplayed religious

    differences and promoted religious tolerance. It was declared that the state was

    a secular state which worked with various religious denominations.Moreover, the

    Government adopted the policy of health for allavailing free medical services to

    all. Massive investments were made in health facilities and primary health care was

    given priority.The Government of Tanzania also made significant contribution in

    the provision of basic services. This has been done through direct funding of services

    such as health, education and water which are basic necessities to the population,

    and through provision of subsidies on basic goods such as food. All these are

    efforts to provide social protection to the population.

    Various policy statements on social security issues have been made and Acts

    passed in regard to the protection of some sections of the population against

    contingencies such as injuries and old age. In total these formal social security covered only a very small proportion of the population (less than 10%). Apart

    from the formal social protection schemes, there are also traditional and nontraditional informal social protection schemes. Tanzania, like many other countries

    in the developing world, has had strong informal/traditional safety nets built on

    family and/or community support and informal income transfers. The traditional

    social security systems are often based on customary rights, or on spiritual and

    religious grounds. They are often organized around family groups, kinship groups

    or neighbourhood and community groups. While it is recognized that over time

    traditional social system has tended to decay and change forms in response to the

    forces of urbanization and industrialization there are indications that family and

    community social support systems have remained the main safety nets, particularly

    among the rural poor and other vulnerable groups. In times of crises, individuals

    have depended on family and clan members and/or members of the community for

    assistance in the form of cash or in-kind, remittances to rural areas and facilitating

    settling in of new migrants into the urban areas.

    The villagization programme that was adopted was a more inclusive and

    country wide programme involving the replacement of the traditional system of

    rural settlements in which households were located often in isolated homesteads by

    the creation of larger and more viable villages which were perceived to be more

    viable economic units. The government’s efforts to deal with the challenges of

    smallholders, uneconomically small plots and challenges of providing social services

    to a scattered population took various forms but the most memorable policy stance

    was villagization, which involved the resettlement of rural population with view to

    facilitate the provision of social and economic infrastructure. Priority was given to

    education including adult education, health services and rural water supply. Villages

    were created in 1974 in which 60% of the population was relocated. The logic

    behind villagization was based on what was seen as ideal African traditional family

    whereby which was almost self-contained economic and social unit which provided

    and shared basic necessities of life on the basis of mutual respect and obligation.

    The principles of love, sharing and work which had prevailed in traditional African

    family units were expected to be carried into Ujamaa Villages.

    In fact, Tanzania made considerable achievements in human development and

    during that period, there was an economic progress but this model ran out of

    steam towards the end of the 1970s as exhibited by the way this development

    was interrupted by the economic crisis starting from the late 1970s and the early

    1980s. In response Tanzania adopted structural adjustment programmes which

    were meant to focus on efficiency gains and growth acceleration. 

    The second policy episode from1981 to 1995 was essentially a period in which

    Tanzania adopted adjustment and reforms which were aimed at restoring

    stabilization and growth but in the process it contributed to causing cracks into the

    social integration status that had been achieved in the previous two decades. In the

    third period (1996-2005) Tanzania embarked on more comprehensive economic

    and social policies in which social integration received attention again but this time

    in a new context of the market economy, competition and globalization.

    The Kenyan case

    Since the time of independence on December 12, 1963, Kenya has experienced

    periods of human rights violations including land clashes, massacres, arbitrary

    arrest, extrajudicial executions, and detention without trial, torture, electoral

    violence, grand corruption, and economic crimes. Most of these are directly or

    indirectly attributable to a constitutional order that concentrated power in the

    presidency and weakened other arms of government and civil society.

    For a period of at least two decades, Kenyans struggled to reform their

    constitution. This struggle ended in 2010 when the people of Kenya voted for

    a new constitution. The new Constitution establishes the framework for the

    restoration of constitutional democracy in Kenya. It strengthens the likelihood

    of accountability for past human rights abuses, of guarantees that they will not

    reoccur, and of reparations for victims namely these of violence that followed

    2007 presidential elections. The adoption of the new Constitution is an important

    milestone and a starting point in the long road to addressing the root causes of

    conflict in Kenya.

    The 2010 new Constitution focuses on making more inclusive citizenship

    through the new devolved system of government; reduced presidential powers

    and better separation of powers between the three arms of the government; a

    restructured and vetted judiciary; an expanded, enforceable bill of rights that

    includes social, economic, and cultural rights; security sector and land reforms;

    environmental protection, etc.

    The Kenyans are hopeful that this new constitution will play a key role in

    correcting the different errors of the past period in implementation of the social

    justice principles that the old constitution was not providing. Actually, before the

    vote of the new constitution, there were a number of failures in the provision of

    social justice. For instance, the old constitution had no clarity as to who the republic

    belongs. There was no specification on how people’s aspiration and needs were to

    be catered for. But the new constitution gives the Kenyans all the sovereign power,

    recognize the aspirations of all Kenyans for a government based on essential values

    of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law.

    These aspirations are very critical in the realization of a just, secure and peaceful


    In other words, the new Constitution establishes rules, values, and principles that

    if implemented will facilitate the realization of equality and inclusive citizenship.

    It promises to end the political manipulation of perceptions of marginalization

    and exclusion that has contributed to interethnic strife in Kenya. In this respect,

    the new Constitution seeks to address the root causes of interethnic conflicts, by:

    Establishing national values and principles of governance that seek to diffuse ethnic tensions often fuelled by perceptions of marginalization and exclusion;

    Reforming the electoral system, which has been used as an instrument

    of inclusion and exclusion, in sharing of national resources, with a view to

    ensuring that the voices of all segments of society are represented equitably

    in government and making elections less fractious;

    Creating devolution mechanisms that seek to enhance fairness in the

    sharing national resources; and establishing mechanisms to ensure fairness

    in land administration and to address historical land; injustices that have often

    reinforced perceptions of marginalization and exclusion and triggered ethnic

    conflicts, especially during elections.

    Further, the new Constitution seeks to facilitate government accountability, by

    seeking to circumscribe the exercise of power in the three branches of government

    in general, and the security agencies in particular.

     In doing so, the new Constitution promises to prevent future violation of human

    rights and the commission of economic crimes.

    Concerning the judicial system, Mainland Tanzanian law is a combination of British,

    East African customary law, and Islamic law. The courts at the lower levels are

    presided over by magistrates appointed by the chief justice. They have limited

    jurisdiction, and there is a right of appeal to district courts, headed by either resident

    or district magistrates. Appeal can be made to the High Court, which consists of a

    chief justice and 17 judges appointed by the president. It has both civil and criminal

    jurisdiction over all persons and all matters however, appeals from the High Court

    can be made to the five-members Court of Appeal and judges are appointed to

    the Court of Appeal and the High Court by the president on the advice of the chief

    justice and to courts at lower levels by the chief justice.

    In 1985, the Zanzibar courts were made independent to those of the mainland.

    Islamic courts handle some civil matters and cases concerning the Zanzibar

    constitution are heard only in Zanzibar courts. All other cases may be appealed to

    the Court of Appeal of the Republic.

    The judiciary is made up of various courts of judicature and is independent of

    other arms of the government. Tanzania adheres to and respects the constitutional

    principles of separation of powers. The Constitution makes provision for the

    establishment of an independent judiciary, and the respect for the principles of

    the rule of law, human rights and good governance.

    The Judiciary in Tanzania can be illustrated as follows: The Judiciary in Tanzania

    has four tiers: The Court of Appeal of the United Republic of Tanzania, the High

    Courts for Mainland Tanzania and Tanzania Zanzibar, Magistrates Courts, which

    are at two levels, i.e. the Resident Magistrate Courts and the District Court, both of

    which have concurrent jurisdiction. Primary Courts are the lowest in the judicial


    The structure of the Zanzibar legal system is as follows:

    figure 9.8: The structure of the Zanzibar legal system


    The entire court system is divided into a hierarchical system wherein the superior

    courts consist of Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, High court and Industrial court

    etc. whereas the subordinate courts are made up of Magistrate court, Kadhi court

    and others.

    Kenya is a country in which the Judiciary of Kenya is the system of courts which

    interprets as well as applies the law.  There are courts both at the federal level and

    the state level and each is responsible for its own set of functions and responsibilities.

    The Supreme Court is the Apex court which is comprised of the Chief Justice,

    The President, the deputy chief justice and five other judges.  The word of the

    Supreme Court is final and cannot be negated by any other court. All the other

    courts fall beneath this court.

    The Court of Appealis the court which handles the appeal cases from the High

    court as well as those as prescribed by the President.  This court comprises of not

    less than 12 judges and is headed by the President who is appointed by the Chief


    The High Court has the supervisory jurisdiction over all the lower or subordinate

    courts and other persons whereas the Industrial Court of Kenya was established

    for the purpose of handling issues or cases related to employment and industrial

    relations etc. Environment and Land Court is responsible for hearing and settling

    disputes which are related to the environment.

    The Subordinate Courts comprise the Magistrate Court, Kadhi Court and Courts

    Martial. The Magistrate Court is where the majority of judiciary cases are heard

    and these courts are located in each of the district of Kenya. Kadhi Court is the

    court which is responsible for hearing civil and criminal matters which are related

    to Islamic law.  Courts Martial is the military court of Kenya which mostly hears

    or settles those cases which are related to the Kenya Defense Forces. Appeals that

    move on from this court are heard by the High court.

    Figure 9.9: Kenya Court hierarchy


    Application activities 9.4

    1. Analyse the evolution of democracy process in Kenya.

    2. Assess the progress of democracy in Tanzania.

    3. Analyse the social justice in Kenya. Illustrate your response by articles

    from the Constitution of Kenya.

    4. What lessons do you draw from democratic process and social justice in

    Tanzania? Explain clearly your answer.

    End unit assessment

    1. One of the basic features of democracy is the separation of powers.

    Explain how this characteristic is stipulated in the Rwandan constitution.

    2. Account for meritocracy as one of the features of social justice.

    3. Evaluate the meetings held in Urugwiro Village in the democratisation

    process in Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the


    4. Write an essay form in not more than 800 words on how democracy is

    maintained in Rwanda.

    5. Assess the key achievements of the National Consultative Forum of

    Political Organisations.

    6. Analyse the circumstances of the conception of the Travail d’Intérêt

    Général (TIG). Evaluate the achievements made thanks to this work

    that involves Genocide convicts of the second category who pleaded

    guilty and confessed their role in Genocide.

    7. Research on internet and examine the process of reconciliation in

    Kenya after the violence that engulfed this country following a dispute

    over presidential election results in December 2007.

    9.5 Glossary

    Altruistic:Showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others

    Apology:A formal written defence of something you believe in strongly

    Austerity:The trait of great self-denial (especially refraining from worldly pleasures)

    Bicameral:Composed of two legislative bodies

    Blog:A shared online journal where people can post daily entries about their

    personal experiences and hobbies

    Bolster:Support and strengthen

    Covenant:A formal agreement between two or more parties to perform or not

    perform some action

    Distrust:The trait of not trusting others or Doubt about someone’s honesty

    Grievance:A complaint about a (real or imaginary) wrong that causes resentment

    and is grounds for action

    Legitimacy:Lawfulness by virtue of being authorized or in accordance with law

    or the property of being genuine or valid, not being a fake or forgery

    Lucrative:Producing a sizeable profit

    Marginalise:Relegate to a lower or outer edge, as of specific groups of people

    Neoliberal:Having or showing belief in the need for economic growth in addition to

    traditional liberalistic values

    Neoliberalism:A political orientation originating in the 1960s; blends liberal

    political views with an emphasis on economic growth

    Privilege:A special advantage, immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all or a right

    reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or

    official right)

    Reckon with: Take account of

    Righteousness:Adhering to moral principles

    Setback: An unfortunate happening that hinders or impedes; something that is

    thwarting or frustrating

    Spectrum:A broad range of related objects, values, qualities, ideas or activities

    Venture:An investment that is very risky but could yield great profits or a

    commercial undertaking that risks a loss but promises a profit

    Vet: Examine carefully



    Home Grown Initiatives (HGIs) are Rwanda’s brain child solutions to economic

    and social development. They are practices developed by the Rwandan

    citizens based on local opportunities, cultural values and history to fast track

    their development. Being locally created, HGIs are appropriate to the local

    development context and have been the bedrock to the Rwandan development

    successes for the last decade.

    After the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, Rwandan economic structure was devastated

    none was hoping that the county should be rebuilt and continues its development

    process. After this period, Rwandan government has adopted several programs

    and policies to boost Rwandan economy and to promote the general welfare of the


    HGIs had a significant impact on recipient households and the community. In

    terms of social impact, Home Grown Initiatives have contributed to beneficiary

    households through the increased access to health and education services,

    shelter, improved nutrition, social cohesion and sustained participation in

    decision making at community level. 

    Key unit competence

    Critique how home-grown solutions contribute to self-reliance (Abunzi, Gacaca,

    Girinka, Imihigo, Itorero, Ingando, Ubudehe, Umuganda, umwiherero,).

    Learning objectives

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Explain the concepts of home-grown solutions and self-reliance and their contribution to national building;

    Analyse the contributions of home grown solutions towards the good

    governance, self-reliance and dignity in Rwanda;

    Examine the challenges encountered during the implementation of

    home - grown solutions.

    Introductory activity

    Discuss how Rwandan people were handling their problems in traditional

    society in different domains such as medicine, education, agriculture, justice,

    leisure, arts, handcraft and environment and then propose which methods

    from Rwandan traditional society should be applied to our modern society to

    handle problems. Write your answer on not more than one page.

    10.1 Concepts of home-grown solutions and self-reliance

    Activity 10.1

    1. Examine in which context has Rwanda initiated her proper innovations

    such as Gacaca, Abunzi, Itorero, Umwiherero and Girinka to achieve

    economic and social development and write your response in not

    more than 15 lines.

    2. Read and use your knowledge on Umuganda to comment on the

    following statement:

    “Our country was once known for its tragic history. Today, Rwanda is proud

    to be known for its transformations…When your achievements are a result

    of hard work, you must be determined to never slide back to where you once

    were…What we have achieved to date shows us what we are capable of and

    Umuganda is an integral part of achieving even more…Umuganda is one of the

    reasons we are moving forward, working together and believing in our common

    goal of transforming our lives and the lives of our families”, President P. Kagame

    at Ndera on October 30, 2015.

    Home -Grown Initiatives (HGIs) are Rwanda’s brain child solutions to economic

    and social development. They are practices developed by the Rwandan

    citizens based on local opportunities, cultural values and history to fast track

    their development. Being locally created, HGIs are appropriate to the local

    development context and have been the bedrock to the Rwandan development

    successes for the last decade.

    HGIs are development/governance innovations that provide unconventional

    responses to societal challenges. They are based on:

    National heritage

    Historical consciousness

      Strive for self-reliance

    HGIs include Umuganda (community work), Gacaca (truth and reconciliation

    traditional courts), Abunzi (mediators), Imihigo (performance contracts), Ubudehe

    (community-based and participatory effort towards problem solving), Itorero

    and Ingando (solidarity camps), Umushyikirano (national dialogue), Umwiherero

    (National Leadership Retreat) and Girinka (One cow per Family program). They are

    all rooted in the Rwandan culture and history and therefore easy to understand

    by the communities.

    10.1.1 Abunzi – Community mediators

    The word abunzi can be translated as “those who reconcile” or “those who bring

    together”(from verb kunga). In the traditional Rwanda, abunzi were men known

    within their communities for personal integrity and were asked to intervene in

    the event of conflict. Each conflicting party would choose a person considered

    trustworthy, known as a problem-solver, who was unlikely to alienate either

    party. The purpose of this system was to settle disputes and also to reconcile

    the conflicting parties and restore harmony within the affected community.

    Abunzi can be seen as a hybrid form of justice combining traditional with

    modern methods of conflict resolution. The reintroduction of the Abunzi system

    in 2004 was motivated in part by the desire to reduce the accumulation of

    court cases, as well as to decentralise justice and make it more affordable and

    accessible for citizens seeking to resolve conflicts without the cost of going to

    court. Today Abunzi is fully integrated into Rwanda’s justice system.

    Conflict resolution through community participation

    Historically, the community, and particularly the family, played a central

    role in resolving conflicts. Another mechanism for this purpose was  inama

    y’umuryango (meaning ‘family meetings or gatherings) in which relatives would

    meet to find solutions to family problems. Similar traditions existed elsewhere,

    such as the dare in Zimbabwe. These traditional mechanisms continue to play

    important roles in conflict resolution regarding land disputes, civil disputes

    and, in some instances, criminal cases.

    The adoption of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in Rwanda emerged

    from the recognition of a growing crisis in a judiciary where it had become almost

    impossible to resolve disputes efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. The

    Government of Rwanda concluded that modern judicial mechanisms of dispute

    resolution were failing to deliver and so the decision was taken to examine

    traditional mediation and reconciliation approaches as alternatives. By doing

    so, it would not only help alleviate the pressure on conventional courts but also

    align with the policy objective of a more decentralised justice system. In addition,

    the conflict resolution mechanisms rooted in Rwandan culture were perceived

    as less threatening, more accessible and therefore more intimate. Those who

    referred their cases to Abunzi were more comfortable seeking mediation from

    within their community, which afforded them a better understanding of the

    issues at hand.

    Establishment of the mediation committees

    In 2004, the Government of Rwanda established the traditional process of

    abunzi as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

    Established at the cell and sector levels, abunzi primarily address family disputes,

    such as those relating to land or inheritance. By institutionalizing Abunzi, low

    level legal issues could be solved at a local level without the need to be heard in

    conventional courts. Citizens experiencing legal issues are asked to first report

    to abunzi, cases not exceeding 3,000,000 Frs (for land and other immovable

    assets) and 1,000,000 Rwf (for cattle and other movable assets). Cases of these

    types can only be heard in a conventional court if one party decides to appeal

    the decision made at the sector level by the mediation committee. 

    As the Abunzi system gained recognition as a successful method to resolve

    conflict and deliver justice, the importance of providing more structure and

    formality to their work  increased. Consequently, the abunzi started receiving

    trainings on mediating domestic conflicts and support from both governmental

    and non-governmental organisations to improve the quality of their mediation


    Organisational structure

    The mediation committees that make up the Abunzi operate at a cell level

    in the first instance (initial cases) and at a sector level in the event of appeal

    (appeal cases). According to the law establishing the structure of abunzi,

    the committee is composed of twelve people known for their integrity, who

    reside respectively in the concerned cell and sector and who are recognised for

    their ability to reconcile differences. These mediators are elected by the Cell

    Council and the Sector Council respectively for a renewable term of five


    The mediation committee, at the cell and sector level, is headed by a bureau

    composed of a president and a vice-president elected by their peers. Claims

    made to the abunzi are received by the Executive Secretary who in turn

    forwards them to the mediation committee. If the Executive Secretary is

    unable to receive the claim, the request is delivered to the chairman of the

    mediation committee. The relevant council (cell or sector level) is then notified.

    Functioning of the mediation committees

    In order to initiate a case, one of the parties must first submit a complaint

    to the Executive Secretary of the cell  verbally or in writing so that it can be

    registered by the mediation committee. The applicant must provide a brief

    outline of the case to inform the proceedings, after which the mediation

    committee can summon parties and decide on the venue, as well as the date

    and time for hearing the case.

    As outlined in Article 17 of the 2010 Abunzi Organic Law on the Organisation,

    Competence and Functioning of Mediation Committees, the parties agree on

    three mediators to whom they submit their case. When the parties cannot agree

    on mediators, each party chooses one mediator, and the two chosen mediators

    choose the third. Where parties agree on one mediator, that mediator chooses

    two others from within the mediation committee. Parties have no right to refuse

    a mediator or mediators chosen via this procedure. When the case involves a

    police officer or a soldier, the nearest commander of the police force or army

    is required to assist the mediators. Abunzi must settle the litigation within one

    month from the day the litigation is registered by the mediation committee.

    If the summoned party fails to appear at the hearing, a summon is issued

    informing them that the mediators will make a decision on the case at the

    next hearing regardless of their absence. If the summoned party fails again to

    attend on the new date, the applicant and the mediation committee choose one

    mediator each and the chosen two select the third one to examine the case in

    the summoned party’s absence. However, if the summoned party is considered

    by the Committee to have offered an acceptable reason for non-attendance,

    the matter can be postponed to a later date.

    In most cases, the mediation hearing is public, unless decided otherwise by

    mediators. Other members of the mediation committee not chosen to settle the

    matter may participate in the mediation session but do not have the right to

    make a decision. When settling a case, mediators hear from each of the parties

    in conflict and from any available witnesses. During those hearings, advocates

    are allowed to assist the parties but they cannot represent or plead for any


    In each instance, the mediators are obliged to first strive to conciliate both parties

    but where this proves impossible, they render a decision in all honesty and in

    accordance with the laws and local customary practices. When the mediators are

    successful at reconciling the parties, prosecution does not occur.

    After considering the case, the mediators withdraw to make a decision. The

    mediators’ decision is taken by consensus or by the absolute majority of votes in

    the event that a consensus cannot be reached at. 

    Recorded minutes of the proposed settlement are signed by mediators and the

    concerned parties when the mediation procedure is completed. In all cases, the

    decision is written, signed on each page and available within ten days from the

    day of the decision.

    Mediators who fail to do this may face disciplinary action for not meeting the

    Standard of Conduct established by Order of the Minister of Justice.

    The minutes of a case taken to Abunzi contain the following:

    1. Identification of the parties

    2. A summary of the dispute

    3. Arguments put forward by the involved parties

    4. The mediation decision with which all parties agree

    5. The mediation decision with which one of the parties does not agree, if


    6. The date and the place where the mediation session took place

    7. Signatures or finger prints of parties in conflict

    8. The mediators’ names as well as their signatures or fingerprints

    9. The reporters’ name as well as their signature or fingerprints

    The mediation minutes are closed with the seal of the mediation committee

    and kept by the Executive Secretary of the cell, who then submits them to

    the concerned parties. Any dissenting opinion held by a mediator will also be

    included in those minutes. The decision taken by the mediators, and agreed

    upon by all parties, will then serve as a compromise for those parties.

    The mediators’ decision is carried out voluntarily, but in the event that one party

    refuses to comply with the decision, it will be enforced through a request to the

    President of the Primary Court.

    Appealing decisions of mediation committees

    Either party can appeal  the mediators’ decision at the sector or cell level within a

    period of one month from the day the written decision was handed down. Once

    received by the mediation committee at the sector level, mediators will only

    examine aspects of the case deemed objectionable by the appealing party.

    There is no filing fees associated with the appeal process.

    If a party is not satisfied with the decision taken at the sector level, the party

    may refer the matter to the Primary Court within a month of notification of the

    sector level decision. However, filing an action before a Primary Court will require

    payment of filing fees.  As with all appeal cases, minutes from the mediation

    session will be provided to the Primary Court, which is obliged to consider only

    those aspects of the earlier decision to which one of the parties objects.

    Any member of the Mediation Committee may be suspended  for a maximum

    of a month in the event of exhibiting bias or other misconduct. The decision to

    suspend one of its members must be taken by two thirds of the Committee. The

    affected mediator has an opportunity to challenge the suspension. In the event

    that the Electoral College finds the concerned mediator unable to further fulfil

    his/her duties, then the mediator will be dismissed.

    Legal competence of mediation committees

    Disputes over land and other immovable assets whose value does not exceed

    3,000,000 Rwf or US $4,762

      Disputes over cattle and other movable assets whose value does not exceed

    1,000,000 Rwf or US $1,587

    Disputes relating to alleged breaches of contract where the case in question

    does not exceed the value of 1,000,000 Rwf, or US $1,587, with the exception

    of central government, insurance and commercial contractual obligations

    Employment disputes between individuals where the value is less than 100,000

    Rwf or US $159

    Family disputes other than those related to civil status

    Successions when the matter at issue does not exceed 3,000,000 Rwf or US


    With respect to criminal matters, Article 9 allows for Mediation Committees to

    preside over cases involving “the removal or displacement of land terminals and

    plots, any form of devastation of crops by animals and destruction of crops when

    the value of crops ravaged or destroyed does not exceed three million Rwandan

    francs (3,000,000 Rwf ) or US $4,762, theft of crops when the value of crops does

    not exceed three million Rwandan francs (3,000,000 Rwf ) and larceny (theft)

    when the value of the stolen object does not exceed three million Rwandan

    francs (3,000,000 Rwf ).

    Civil and low level criminal cases can only be heard by the Mediation

    Committees when both parties reside within their jurisdiction (Article 10). In

    the event that either the defendant or the complainant resides outside the

    committee’s jurisdiction, then the case will be brought before the competent

    authorities. The mediation committees do not have jurisdiction over cases

    involving the state and its entities or public or private associations and

    companies endowed with legal status.

    10.1.2 Gacaca – Community courts

    The word gacaca refers to the small clearing where a community would

    traditionally meet to discuss issues of concern. People of integrity (elders and

    leaders) in the village known as inyangamugayo would facilitate a discussion

    that any member of the community could take part in. Once everyone had

    spoken, the inyangamugayo  would reach a decision about how the problem

    would be solved. In this way, Gacaca acted very much as a traditional court.

    If the decision was accepted by all members of the community, the meeting

    would end with sharing a drink as a sign of reconciliation. If the parties were not

    happy with the decision made at Gacaca, they had the right to take their case to

    a higher authority such as a chief or even to the king.

    One aspect particular to traditional Gacaca is that any decision handed

    down at the court impacted not only the individual but also their family or clan

    as well. If the matter was of a more serious nature and reconciliation could not

    be reached, the  inyangamugayo  could decide to expel the offenders or the

    members of their group from the community.

    The most common cases to come before Gacaca courts were those between

    members of the same family or community. It was rare for members of other

    villages to be part of the courts and this affirmed the notion of Gacaca as a

    community institution.

    Colonisation had a significant impact on the functioning of Gacaca and in 1924

    the courts were reserved only for civil and commercial cases that involved

    Rwandans. Those involving colonisers and criminal cases were processed under

    colonial jurisdiction. While the new justice systems and mechanisms imported

    from Europe did not prohibit Gacaca from operating, the traditional courts saw

    far fewer cases. During the post colonial period, the regimes in power often

    appointed administrative officials to the courts which weakened their integrity

    and eroded trust in Gacaca.

    The Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 virtually destroyed all government and

    social institutions and Gacaca was no different. While Gacaca continued after the Genocide, its form and role in society had been significantly degraded.

    Contemporary Gacaca as a home-grown solution

    Contemporary Gacaca was officially launched on June 18, 2002 by  President

    Paul Kagame. This took place after years of debate about the best way to give

    justice to the survivors of the Genocide and to process the millions of cases that

    had risen following the Genocide.

    Contemporary Gacaca draws inspiration from the traditional model by

    replicating a local community-based justice system with the aim of restoring the

    social fabric of the society. In total, 1,958,634 genocide related cases were tried

    through Gacaca. The courts are credited with laying the foundation for peace,

    reconciliation and unity in Rwanda. The Gacaca courts officially finished their

    work ten years later on June 18, 2012. 

    Gacaca first began as a pilot phase in 12 sectors across the country one per

    each province as well as in the City of Kigali. After the pilot, the courts were

    implemented across the country and the original Organic Law No. 40/2000

    (January 26, 2001) was replaced by the Organic Law No. 16/2004 (June 19, 2004)

    which then governed the Gacaca process.

    The aims of the Gacaca were to:

    expose the truth about the Genocide against the Tutsi

    speed up genocide trials

    eradicate impunity

    strengthen unity and reconciliation among Rwandans

    draw on the capacity of Rwandans to solve their own problems.

    These activities were carried out at three levels of jurisdiction: the Gacaca Court of

    the cell, the Gacaca Court of the Sector, and the Gacaca Court of appeals. There were

    9013 cell courts, 1545 Sector courts and 1545 Courts of Appeal nationwide.

    The following principles guided the Gacaca process:

    Classification of genocide suspects into categories based on the gravity of the

    charges brought against them. Opportunity was given to genocide suspects

    to admit and confess to their crimes and to ask for forgiveness; when their

    confessions were accepted, their sentences were reduced.

    Special sentencing for those who committed genocide crimes as minors. For

    example, those over 14 but under 18 years old were ordered to follow a rehabilitation program in a correctional centre.

    Similar to conventional courts, the defendants in Gacaca had the right to appeal the judgment of the first hearing and to receive retrials in cases where the

    law was not observed during the first hearing.

    With the introduction of the Gacaca law of 2004, these four categories were revised

    down to three to streamline the process.The offences constituting to the crime of

    the Genocide were classified into 3 categories. Apart from the acts of torture and

    the dehumanising acts on a dead body, the first category contained the same

    accusations as provided for by the Organic Law of 2001, the 2nd and 3rd categories

    of the old law were merged to make category 2, the fourth category became the


    Functioning of Gacaca

    While Gacaca courts were given competence similar to other judicial systems,

    they also had the special competence of investigating the manner in which crimes

    were committed, a task normally carried out by the prosecution department.

    Judges in Gacaca courts

    The public elected the judges who presided over the hearings in Gacaca courts,

    known as inyangamugayo (people of integrity in their community). The election

    of  inyangamugayo  was conducted countrywide from 4-7 October 2001; other

    elections were held to replace inyangamugayo who were no longer able to serve on the courts. 34.3% of the inyangamugayo were women, and 65.7% men.

    Criteria to be elected as inyangamugayo

    To be of Rwandan nationality

    To have his or her residence in the Cell where he or she needs to present his or

    her candidature

    To be at least 21 years of age

    To be a person of good morals and conduct

    • To be truthful and characterised by a spirit of truth telling

    • Not to have been sentenced to a penalty of at least six months of imprisonment

    • Not to have participated in the Genocide or other crimes against humanity

    • To be free of sectarianism

    • To have no history of dismissal for indiscipline.

    The National Service of Gacaca Courts organised general training sessions for

    all Gacaca inyangamugayo  countrywide and special training sessions for the

    courts that demonstrated need for supplementary training. Inyangamugayo also

    received training relating to the amended Organic Law governing the functioning

    of Gacaca Courts before starting any Gacaca activities.

    As part of a capacity building exercise for inyangamugayo, the National Service

    of Gacaca Courts established a team of 551 trainers including 106 Gacaca

    Court Coordinators and 445  inyangamugayo judges selected on the basis of

    the knowledge and skills they demonstrated. These  inyangamugayo  mainly

    comprised of school teachers, civil servants and business people.

    Analysis of the cases

    After gathering the information about the case presented to the court, it was

    analysed by the  inyangamugayo  of the Gacaca Court at the cell level. These

    judges then prepared a file for those who were accused of committing crimes.

    Based on the gravity of the crimes allegedly committed, the suspect was put in

    one of the three categories described above.

    After the inyangamugayo had prepared the file and categorised it appropriately,

    it was then submitted to the court with the competence to judge it. The files of

    the first and second categories were submitted to the Gacaca court of the sector,

    while those in the third category remained in the Gacaca court of the cell.

    During this investigative phase, the number of suspects increased significantly

    which placed a strain on the courts’ ability to deliver timely justice to victims.

    As a result, the Organic Law governing the functioning of Gacaca was revised.

    This transferred a large number of genocide suspects in the first category to the

    second category.

    Gacaca hearings were public, except those in camera as decided by the court,

    or upon the request of any interested party and decided with a pronounced

    judgment for reasons of public order. Deliberations of the inyangamugayo were

    conducted in private. Every Gacaca court held a hearing at least once per week

    usually beginning at 8:30am and finishing at 4:00pm.

    Whoever was to be summoned to appear before the court, whether accused,

    witness, victim or any other person, had to be informed at least seven days

    before the trial. If the defendant had neither a known address nor residence in

    Rwanda, the summons period was one month.

    At every hearing, the president of the court requested all those present to

    observe a minute of silence in memory of the victims of genocide. Before

    testifying, the witness had to take an oath and swear to tell the truth. The sessions

    were governed by a set of eight rules which ensured the proper and respectful

    functioning of the hearing. These included, those present raising their hand to

    speak, a prohibition on insults or threats and an obligation to always tell the

    truth among others.

    10.1.3 Girinka Munyarwanda- One Cow per Poor Family Programme

    The word girinka (gira inka) can be translated as ‘may you have a cow’ and

    describes a centuries’ old cultural practice in Rwanda whereby a cow was given

    by one person to another, either as a sign of respect and gratitude or as a

    marriage dowry.

    Girinka was initiated in response to the alarmingly high rate of childhood

    malnutrition and as a way to accelerate poverty reduction and integrate livestock

    and crop farming.

    The programme is based on the premise that providing a dairy cow to poor

    households helps to improve their livelihood as a result of a more nutritious

    and balanced diet from milk, increased agricultural output through better soil

    fertility as well as greater incomes by commercialising dairy products.

    Since its introduction in 2006, more than 203,000 beneficiaries have received

    cows. Girinka has contributed to an increase in agricultural production in

    Rwanda - especially milk products which have helped to reduce malnutrition

    and increase incomes. The program aimed at providing 350,000 cows to poor

    families by 2017.

    Traditional Girinka

    Two methods, described below, come under the cultural practice known as

    gutanga inka, from which Girinka is derived.

    Kugabira: Translated as “giving a cow”; such an act is often done as a sign of

    appreciation, expressing gratitude for a good deed or to establish a friendship.

    Ubuhake: This cultural practice was a way for a parent or family to help a son to

    obtain a dowry. If the family was not wealthy or did not own cattle, they could

    approach a community or family member who owned cows and requested

    him/her to accept the service of their son in exchange for the provision of

    the cows amounting to the dowry when the son marries. The aim of ubuhake

    was not only to get a cow but also protection of a cow owner. This practice

    established a relationship between the donor and beneficiary. An informal but

    highly valued social contract was established which was fulfilled through the

    exchange of services such as cultivating the farm of the donor, looking after the

    cattle or simply vowing loyalty.

    For centuries the cow has been considered as a symbol of prosperity in Rwanda

    and was used in barter trade before colonisation. For these reasons, the whole

    chain of social relationships across the country has been built around cattle for

    generations. This remains true up-to-date.

    The 20th century experienced a dramatic shift in the social understanding of what

    it meant to own cattle in Rwanda. Before colonisation, there was little distinction

    between cattle keepers and those who cultivated. Herders and cultivators often

    worked together to achieve greater agricultural production. During this time

    while owning cattle was associated with being rich, herders and cultivators alike

    faced the challenges of drought, poor soil fertility and the country’s topography.

    The arrival of colonisation, however, brought a change in these understandings

    and cultural practices. The cow was used to divide Rwandans along “ethnic” lines

    and cattle became a symbol of elitism and a commodity reserved only for a

    portion of the country’s people.

    While significant progress had been made since the genocide in improving the

    livelihoods of its people, Rwanda continued to face high levels of poverty and

    childhood malnutrition. It was with these indicators in mind that Girinka was

    established in 2006.

    Contemporary Girinka

    Girinka was introduced in 2006 against a backdrop of alarmingly high levels of

    poverty and childhood malnutrition. The results of the  Integrated Household

    Living Conditions Survey 2 (EICV 2)  conducted in 2005 showed rural poverty

    at 62.5%. The Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA)

    and Nutrition Survey showed that 28% of Rwanda’s rural population were foodinsecure and that 24% of the rural population were highly vulnerable to food


    The survey showed that in some parts of the country (such as Bugesera), up to

    40% of the households were food insecure. The Demographic Health Survey of

    2005 indicated that 45% of Rwandan children under the age of five had

    moderate chronic malnutrition and 19% had severe chronic malnutrition. At that

    time, 90% of the Rwandans lived in households that owned some farming land,

    and more than 60% of the households cultivated less than 0.7 hectares of land,

    according to the EICV2. It was these factors that provided the catalyst for the

    Girinka programme.

    The objectives of the programme are as follows:

    Reducing poverty through dairy cattle farming.

    Improving livelihoods through increased milk consumption and income generation.

    Improving agricultural productivity through the use of manure as fertilizer.

    Improving soil quality and reducing erosion through the planting of grasses

    and trees.

    Promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans based on the cultural

    principle that if a cow is given from one person to another, it establishes trust,

    respect and friendship between the donor and the beneficiary. While this was

    not an original goal of Girinka, it has evolved to become a significant aspect of

    the program.

    The program is structured in two phases. First, a community member identified

    as someone who would greatly benefit from owning a cow is given a pregnant

    dairy cow. That person benefits from its milk and manure production. Beneficiaries

    are then obliged to give the first born female calf to another worthy beneficiary in

    their community. This is known as the ‘pass on’ principle, or kuziturirana/kwitura.

    Girinka has been described as a culturally inspired social safety net program

    because of the way it introduces a productive asset (a dairy cow) which can

    provide long-term benefits to the recipient. Approved on 12 April 2006 by Cabinet

    decision, Girinka originally aimed to reach 257,000 beneficiaries; however,

    this target was revised upwards in 2010 to 350,000 beneficiaries by 2017. The

    Government of Rwanda was initially the sole funder of the Girinkaprogram but

    development partners have since become involved in the program. This has led

    to an increase in the number of cows being distributed.

    Girinka is one of a number of programs under Rwanda’s Vision 2020, a set of

    development objectives and goals designed to move Rwanda to a middle income

    nation by the year 2020. By September 2014 close to 200,000 beneficiaries had

    received a cow.

    10.1.4 Imihigo – Performance contracts

    The word Imihigo is the plural Kinyarwanda word of umuhigo, which means to

    vow to deliver. Imihigo also include the concept of guhiganwa, which means to

    compete among one another. Imihigo practices existed in pre colonial Rwanda

    and have been adapted to fit the current challenges of the Rwandan society.

    Traditional Imihigo

    Imihigo is a 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 challenge that arises. Leaders and chiefs would publicly

    commit themselves to achieving certain goals. In the event that they failed,

    they would face shame and embarrassment from the community. Definitions

    however vary on what constitutes a traditional Imihigo. Some have recalled it as

    having a basis in war, where warriors would throw a spear into the ground while

    publicly proclaiming the feats they would accomplish in battle. 

    Contemporary Imihigo

    Imihigo were re-initiated by Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, in March 2006.

    This was as a result of the concern about the speed and quality of execution

    of government programs and priorities. The government’s decentralisation

    policy required a greater accountability at the local level. Its main objective

    was to make public agencies and institutions more effective and accountable

    in their implementation of national programs and to accelerate the socioeconomic development agenda as contained in the Vision 2020 and Economic

    Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) policies as well as the

    Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

    Today, Imihigo are used across the government as performance contracts and

    to ensure accountability. All levels of government, from the local district level

    to ministries and embassies, are required to develop and have their Imihigo

    evaluated. Members of the public service also sign Imihigo with their managers

    or head of institution.

    While Imihigo are now widely used across government, it first began at the

    district level. When developing its Imihigo, each local government administrative

    unit determines its own objectives (with measurable indicators) taking into

    account national priorities as highlighted in the national as well as international

    strategy and policy documents such as the MDGs, Vision 2020, EDPRS, District

    Development Plans (DDPs) and Sector Development Plans (SDPs). The Imihigo, at

    both planning and reporting phases, are presented to the public for the purpose

    of accountability and transparency. The mayors and province governors also

    sign the Imihigo or performance contracts with Rwanda’s President committing

    themselves to achieving set objectives. The Imihigo process ensures the full

    participation and ownership of citizens because priorities are developed at the

    grassroots level.

    Between 2006 and 2009 a limited evaluation process took place whereby the best

    ten performing districts from across the nation were reviewed (two from each

    province and the City of Kigali). Each province and the City of Kigali would rank

    the performance of their districts with the top two then communicated to the

    national evaluation team. This team then conducted their own review and ranked

    them from 1-10. This approach suffered from significant limitations including

    the fact that it was not possible to objectively compare the performance of all

    districts because while one province may have had better performing districts

    than another, this system did not allow that to be discovered. Due to these

    shortcomings, a nation-wide district Imihigo evaluation exercise was conducted

    in 2010 for all the thirty districts. A national evaluation committee with technical

    expertise and experience conducts this process.

    Undertaken by a multi-sector team of experts from government, the private

    sector and civil society institutions, the first Imihigo evaluation was launched on May

    11, 2010 and completed on June 17, 2010. The evaluation exercise was significant

    because it was the first time that the Government of Rwanda had thoroughly

    assessed the degree to which district priorities and targets were realised against

    their Imihigo. The exercise acknowledged key achievements and challenges in

    the areas of planning, implementation, reporting and communication.

    Principles and objectives of Imihigo

    Imihigo are guided by the following principles:

    Local: Each district decides what goes into its  Imihigo. However alignment with

    national priorities is required.

    Ambitious: Pledges are made to achieve only what has not already been gained or


    Excellence: Imihigo is about outstanding performance.

    Imihigo aims at:

    speeding up implementation of the local and national development agenda.

    promoting accountability and transparency.

    promoting result-oriented performance.

    instilling innovation and encourage competitiveness.

    engaging stakeholders (citizens, civil society, donors, private sector, etc) in

    policy formulation and evaluation.

    promoting zeal and determination to achieve set goals.

    instilling the culture of regular performance evaluation.

    Imihigo preparation process

    Imihigo and action plans are used by the Government of Rwanda to define

    goals, targets and objectives. While different in their purpose, the two tools

    are interlinked. The action plan is a set of activities to be achieved within a set

    time period, usually a period of one year. Imihigo are a subset of the action plan

    showing priority activities to be used as a performance measure.  The action

    plan may contain any number of activities of a routine nature such as payment

    of salaries whereas Imihigo define targets that have a significant impact on

    economic development, poverty reduction, good governance and social


    When Imihigo are developed, the Rwandan Government leaders are advised

    to ask some key questions before including activities in Imihigo. Activities

    that answer positively to the questions outlined below are given priority


    1. Will the activity impact positively on the welfare of the local population

    (water access, transport, energy access, schools, etc.)?

    2. Does it create jobs for the local population?

    3. Does it create income generating opportunities for  the population/local


    4. Does it have an impact on poverty reduction?

    5. Is it a priority for the residents in the area?

    6. Does the activity have synergy with development of other areas (an

    activity may have potential to impact development in neighbouring


    7. Is the activity sustainable or are the results sustainable?

    8. Is there ownership from the local population for the activity?

    9. Does it help to achieve the national targets and is it linked to the national

    and international priorities, programs or policies (MDGs, EDPRS, Vision


    10. Can the activity produce quality results/outputs with minimum resources?

    11. Can it improve the way services are delivered or reduce costs?

    12. Does the activity promote social cohesion (unity and reconciliation)?

    13. Does the activity reduce social disturbances (insecurity, drug abuse,

    prostitution, environmental degradation, conflicts, corruption, etc.)?

    14. Does it address key cross cutting issues (gender, HIV/AIDS, environment,

    social inclusion and youth)?

    15. Has the source of funds for implementation been determined?

    16. Is it realistic and can it be achieved?

    Imihigo is the result of a participatory process of identifying and implementing

    priorities from the grassroots to the national level. In the process of identifying

    priorities, each level demonstrates its contribution to the achievement of the

    development goals. The table below describes who prepares Imihigo from the

    individual to provincial level.

    Step 1: Identification of national priorities by the central government

    Each ministry identifies national priorities to be implemented at local levels

    for which they have earmarked resources that they will transfer to local


    Consultation on the following policies and programs occurs:

    Vision 2020.

    Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).

    Government of Rwanda programs and policies.

    National Leadership Retreat and National Dialogue resolutions.

    Cabinet resolutions.

    Three Year Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

    Five Year District Development Plan (DDP).

    Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

    Seven Year Government Program.

    Where they do not have earmarked resources, line ministries identify how the

    resources, whether financial or non-financial, can be mobilised (both national

    and local).The central government consolidates the priorities paying special

    attention to areas of quick wins and synergy while avoiding duplication.

    Step 2: Communication of national priorities to the local government

    The list of central government priorities is communicated and discussed with

    local government leaders at a forum of central and local government leaders.

    Step 3: Identification of local priorities

    District leaders  consult their District Development Plans (DDPs). Consultative

    meetings with different stakeholders are held at province/Kigali City, districts,

    sector, cell and village levels to discuss and consolidate the emerging priorities.

    Step 4: Preparation and approval

    Firstly, districts consult their respective DDPs and national priorities as

    communicated in the forum/meeting between central and local governments.

    Secondly, local and national priorities at district level are consolidated.

    Thirdly, the draft (for district and province/City of Kigali) is discussed with

    Quality Assurance Technical Team (from the Ministry of Local Government and

    Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning). Fourth, priorities are presented to

    stakeholders. Finally, priorities are approved.

    The Quality Assurance Technical Team was set up to assist the districts and

    provinces/Kigali City in preparing tangible Imihigo that respond to national

    targets. The Quality Assurance Technical Team is composed of members of the

    Imihigo evaluation team, the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO), the Ministry of

    Local Government (MINALOC) and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

    (MINECOFIN) as well as all sector ministries that are part of decentralisation


    Ministry of Health

    Ministry of Education

    Ministry of Agriculture

    Ministry of Infrastructure

    Ministry of Trade and Industry

    The team gives regular feedback to district planners during the process of

    preparing Imihigo. District leaders across Rwanda are asked to prepare plans

    that are realistic, take into account the cost of delivering services as well as the

    available resources. To make sure that proper monitoring and evaluation can

    be conducted, indicators, targets and outputs must be clearly identified in the

    planning process.

    Monitoring and evaluation

    A full evaluation of Imihigo takes place once a year. Evaluation teams are

    established to carry out the process in all districts (each province and the City of

    Kigali). The terms of reference for the team are distributed to all team members

    beforehand to ensure proper understanding of the exercise.

    The evaluation team is made up of people with skills in planning, monitoring

    and evaluation (this might include a director general, coordinators and experts).

    Objectivity is also assessed to make sure that any person with potential bias is

    excluded from the team.

    The methodology for the evaluation (including scoring) is developed and

    communicated to local government in advance of the evaluation exercise. The

    evaluation used is a standard template developed against the Imihigo of each


    After analysing the Imihigo reports received from the districts, the evaluation

    team conducts field visits to specific activities for verification and assessment


    After the field visits and verification of selected activities, the team scores/

    assesses performance against Imihigo targets and provides a written report.

    Assessment and evaluation of Imihigo at local levels below the sector level is

    managed by the district including setting up the planning, reporting, evaluation

    guidelines and timelines consistent with the higher level framework.


    Districts report their Imihigo progress to the provincial level on a monthly

    basis. Reporting to the national level is completed quarterly (in line with

    the timelines of the EDPRS). An assessment of the progress in implementing

    Imihigo is done after six months, while a full evaluation is done at the end of

    each fiscal year. The assessment and evaluation of Imihigo is conducted by the

    National Evaluation Team whose composition is shown in the table above.

    10.1.5 Itorero - Civic education


    Using internet and textbooks in your school library, explain in not more than

    500 words your understanding of civic education with specific examples to


    Traditionally Itorero was a traditional institution where Rwandans would learn

    rhetoric, patriotism, social relations, sports, dancing, songs and defence. This

    system was created so that young people could grow with an understanding

    of their culture. Participants were encouraged to discuss and explore Rwandan

    cultural values. Itorero was reintroduced in 2009 as a way to rebuild the nation’s

    social fabric and mobilise Rwandans to uphold important cultural values.

    Traditional Itorero

    As a traditional school, itorero trainers planned daily activities according to

    different priorities and every newcomer in itorero had to undergo initiation,

    known in Kinyarwanda as  gukuramo ubunyamusozi. The common belief was

    that intore were different from the rest of the community members, especially

    in matters of expression and behaviour because they were expected to be

    experts in social relations, quick thinkers and knowledgeable. Each Itorero

    included 40 to 100 participants of various age groups and had its own unique

    name. The best graduates would receive cows or land as rewards.

    The tradition of Itorero provided formative training for future leaders.

    These  community leaders and fighters were selected from  intore  (individuals

    who took part in Itorero)  and were trained in military tactics, hand to hand

    combat, jumping, racing, javelin, shooting and endurance. They were also

    taught concepts of patriotism, the Rwandan spirit, wisdom, heroism, unity,

    taboos, eloquence, hunting and loyalty to the army.

    Itorero was found at three levels  of traditional governance, the family, the

    chief, and the king’s court. At the family level, both girls and boys would be

    educated on how to fulfil their responsibilities as defined by the expectations

    of their communities. For example, the man was expected to protect his family

    and the country, while the woman was expected to provide a good home and

    environment for her family. Adults were also asked to treat every child as their

    own in order to promote good behaviour among children.

    At the chief level, a teenage boy was selected by either his father or head

    of the extended family to be introduced to the chief so that he could join his

    Itorero. Selection was based on good behaviour among the rest of his family

    and his community.

    At the king’s court level, the person selected to join this highest level of

    Itorero could either be the son of a man who went through the king’s Itorero or

    a young man who distinguished himself while in the chief’s Itorero. The king

    could also select the young man who would join his Itorero based on his own

    observations of the candidate in action.

    Both the chief and king’s itorero trainings lasted for long periods of time to

    test the perseverance of the participants. Those who performed well would

    be rewarded with cows, allowed to return home and get married, or were

    nominated to various national duties.  Intore  who distinguished themselves

    were called Intore zo ku mukondo, which translates as the ‘frontline Intore’.

    During colonisation, traditional Itorero gradually disappeared because the

    core values taught did not align with the structures established in society. In

    1924, the colonial administration prohibited classic Itorero. The Itorero during

    and after the colonial period were different in the sense that they focused

    on singing and dancing, whereas the other core civic education components

    of Itorero, such as respect and good relationships with others, were no longer


    Contemporary Itorero

    In the after math of the Genocide against the Tutsi, the Government of Rwanda

    reintroduced Itorero in view of societal transformation. This HGS translated as

    Civic Education Program, was adopted following the 4thUmwiherero (National

    Leadership Retreat) in February 2007.

    Contemporary Itorero includes physical activities along with classes on

    Rwandan history that reintroduce some of the cultural values lost during

    colonisation. Training is adapted for the group participating in Itorero. For

    example, health workers have been trained on activities relevant to their

    profession, while local leaders have been trained on service delivery and good


    National Itorero Commission

    The Government of Rwanda established the National Itorero Commission with

    the objective of mobilizing Rwandans to uphold important cultural values

    and the culture of  intore. The commission was entrusted with developing

    a program that  allowed Rwandans from diverse backgrounds to undertake

    personal development and contribute to the wellbeing of the communities

    where they live or that they serve. The Itorero program provides opportunities

    for participants to enhance positive values, build a sense of responsibility

    through patriotism and gain professional knowledge.

    The values at the core of contemporary Itorero are unity, patriotism,

    selflessness, integrity, responsibility, volunteerism and humility.


    Itorero is designed for all Rwandans. Different curricula have been developed

    to suit the program’s varied participants.

    Children of seven years and above take part in their imidugudu, villages, to help

    them grow up to become responsible citizens. Compulsory National Service

    (Urugerero) is designed for those between the ages of 18 and 35 who have

    completed secondary education.

     Others keen to participate are given the opportunity to do so according to

    their professional backgrounds.

    Rwandan citizens living abroad also join  Urugerero  and a number of young

    Rwandans have organised Itorero in cities including London and Brussels.

     Non-nationals desiring to participate and provide service to the country

    can also do so. University graduates and retired people who participated

    in Urugerero  before and wish to do so again are also given the opportunity

    to join Itorero.    Participants come from each administrative level across the


    Below is a table which explains who joins Itorero and from which level:

    The word Ingando comes from the verb kugandika, which means going to

    stay in a place far from one’s home, often with a group, for a specific reason.

    Traditionally, the term ingando was used in the war context. It represented a

    temporary resting place for warriors during their expeditions, or a place

    for the king and the people travelling with him  to stay. In these times of

    war, ingando was the military camp or assembly area where troops received

    briefings on their organisation and mission in preparation for the battle. These

    men were reminded to put their differences behind them and focus on the

    goal of protecting their nation.

    The term Ingando has evolved in contemporary Rwanda to describe a place where

    a group of people gather to work towards a common goal. Ingando trainings

    served as think tanks where the sharing of ideas was encouraged. Ingando

    also included an aspect of Umuganda. The trainings created a framework for

    the re-evaluation of divisive ideologies present in Rwanda during the

    colonial and post colonial periods. Thus, ingando was designed to provide

    a space mainly for the young people to prepare for a better future in which

    negative ideologies of the past would no longer influence them.

    The other aim of Ingando is to reduce fear and suspicion and encourage

    reconciliation between genocide survivors and those whose family members

    perpetrated the Genocide. Ingando trainings also serve to reduce the distance

    between some segments of the Rwandan population and the government.

    Through Ingando, participants learn about history, current development

    and reconciliation policies and are encouraged to play an active role in the

    rebuilding of their nation.

    Main objectives of contemporary ingando

    Providing a platform for the exchange of ideas and experience among


    Encouraging Rwandans to better manage their communities.

    Encouraging self-reliance within the community.

    Promoting a culture of volunteerism among Rwandans.

    Leading every section of the population towards peace and reconciliation.

    Promoting social cohesion through civic education.

    Assisting in building shelters for disadvantaged genocide survivors and other

    vulnerable citizens.

    A range of topics such as the man and the universe; the History of Rwanda,

    human rights and conflict management; the Rwandan nation; good

    governance and the economy and social welfare are discussed during ingando.

    Ingando trainings restarted in 1997 and were organised by the Ministry

    of Youth, Sports and Culture. The first contemporary Ingando was held in

    Karangazi, Nyagatare District, and Eastern Province and brought together

    young people, students and others from the region of Byumba. The event

    facilitated the social reintegration of  recently returned refugees who had come

    back from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After the National Unity and

    Reconciliation Commission (NURC) was established and organised Ingando

    trainings from 1999. These trainings received logistics and financial support

    from the government and non-governmental agencies including:

    Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) for the lists of high school graduates going

    to Universities;

    Ministry of Health (MINISANTE) for health-related presentations;

    Ministry of Internal Security (MININTER) for the security of the camps and its


    Ministry of Defence (MINADEF) for the morning sports activities;

    World Food Program;

    UNICEF for mothers participating in the trainings.

    These trainings had a socio-economic aspect as they included community

    service activities and allowed for the demystification of the government. The

    trainees wore military uniform to make them at ease around the military,

    reduce any fear associated with the uniform and  so they could experience

    life outside of their comfort zones and learn how to survive  physically and

    mentally  during difficult times. The trainings aimed at changing the negative

    perceptions about different aspects of the government and reduce the

    distance some people perceived between themselves, the government and its

    policies.   Ingando aimed to teach participants how to face certain challenges

    and overcome them.

    Ingando graduates learned new skills to help them find new ways to become

    more financially stable and organise themselves into cooperatives. In the case

    of students, those who went to Ingando showed their aptitude at resolving

    conflicts and fighting genocide ideologies in their schools and universities.

    The trainings for genocide perpetrators also helped during the Gacaca

    trials as participants talked about the roles they played during genocide

    and confessed their crimes. Telling the truth helped to create an environment

    that allowed for the perpetrators to return to their villages and do community

    service activities to help rebuild the lives of the victims.

    The activities of Ingando included various groups of students until 2007

    when another Home Grown Solution,  Itorero  (Civic Education Program) was

    launched. Students in Rwanda and abroad began participating in Itorero, which

    focused on the reintroduction of lost cultural values in order to strengthen

    different communities. 

    The groups that continue to take part in Ingando are those striving to be

    reintegrated into mainstream society, such as former combatants who recently

    returned home, war veterans, and those who worked in the informal sector.

    10.1.7 Ubudehe – Social categorisation for collective action and mutual


    Ubudehe refers to the long-standing Rwandan practice and culture of collective

    action and mutual support to solve problems within a community. It is one

    of Rwanda’s best known Home Grown Solution because of its participatory

    development approach to poverty reduction. In 2008, the program won the

    United Nations Public Service Award for excellence in service delivery. Today

    Ubudehe is one of the country’s core development programs.

    The origin of the word Ubudehe comes from the practice of preparing fields

    before the rainy season and finishing the task in time for planting. A

    community would cultivate clear the fields together to make sure everyone was

    ready for the planting season. Once a community had completed Ubudehe for

    everyone involved, they would assist those who had not been able to take

    part, such as the very poor. After planting the partakers gathered and shared

    beer. Therefore the focus of traditional Ubudehe was mostly on cultivation. It

    is not known exactly when Ubudehe was first practiced, but it is thought to date

    back more than a century.

    At the end of a successful harvest, the community would come together to

    celebrate at an event known as Umuganura. Everyone would bring something

    from his/her own harvest for the celebrations. 

    This event would often take place once the community’s sorghum beer

    production was completed.

    Ubudehe was an inclusive cultural practice involving men, women and

    members of different social groups. As almost all members of the community

    took part, the practice often led to increased solidarity, social cohesion, mutual

    respect and trust.

    Colonisation and the introduction of a cash-based economy weakened the

    practice of Ubudehe as some members of the community were able to recruit

    some people to perform agricultural works for payment. While this trend

    occurred across the country, in some places Ubudehe was still practiced until

    the 1980s.

    Contemporary Ubudehe

    Contemporary Ubudehe is a poverty reduction initiative by the Government of

    Rwanda which provides communities with the skills and support necessary to engage

    in problem solving and decision making for their development. This programme

    was conceived through a set of meetings of political, social, legal and religious

    leaders between 1998 and 1999 known as the Urugwiro Debates. These gatherings

    discussed the most pressing issues concerning national reconstruction after

    the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.  The Urugwiro Debates prioritised policies

    and programs that promoted collective action and that upheld the principles of


    After Urugwiro Debates, Ubudehe was reintroduced into Rwandan life in 2001

    as way to better involve communities in their development by setting up

    participatory problem solving mechanisms. The program helps citizens to use

    local institutions to achieve goals set by the community. 

    The program was seen as a way to strengthen democratic processes and good

    governance through greater community involvement in decision making

    process. In this regard, Ubudehe creates opportunities for people at all levels of

    the society, especially the village level, to interact with one another, share ideas,

    create institutions and make decisions for their collective development.

    Ubudehe has its roots in the Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) whereby

    citizens would self identify as poor or otherwise according to a set of criteria.

    The objective of the PPA was to help community groups and some poor

    households to create their own problem solving strategies.

    Evolution of Ubudehe

    The programme was reinstituted and launched in a pilot phase in Butare

    prefecture (known today as Huye) by the Ministry of Finance and Economic

    Planning and the Ministry of Local Government in 2001. The pilot covered all

    769 cellules in the prefecture and was funded through a €1 million grant from

    the European Union. The pilot was carried out as a way for the government to

    test the methodology of Ubudehe as well as to demonstrate its potential for

    nationwide adoption. After a positive assessment at the end of the two year

    pilot, Ubudehe was rolled out nationally.

    The national roll out of Ubudehe took place between 2004 and 2006 as the

    programme was officially adopted as a national policy overseen by the Ministry

    of Local Government. Funding of €10 million (8,000,000,000 RWF) was provided

    by the European Union. In 2005, an additional €200,000 (160,000,000) was

    injected into the program.

    A consolidation of Ubudehe took place between 2007 and 2012. This was

    at the same time as an administrative restructure which saw the creation of

    14,837 villages (umudugudu) as the lowest level of government organisation.

    In 2011-12, Ubudehe was conducted in ten districts and in 2012-13 Ubudehe

    was conducted in 15 districts. 

    The Government of Rwanda planned to carry out Ubudehe in the 20 districts

    by 2014.

    How Ubudehe works

    Identifying and analysing the problems facing the community and determine

    a priority problem to be addressed.

    Planning the activities and resources needed for addressing the prioritised

    problem through a collective action plan (Ubudehe).

    Putting in place a system to manage the identified collective action.

    Assisting people to classify the level and type of poverty that exists in their

    community and reach a common understanding of this classification.

    Drawing up the social map of the cell showing the names of household heads,

    their social category (different categories are again decided by the people

    themselves) and development infrastructure.

    Helping communities define their development priorities.

    Bringing communities together to discuss and decide upon the most

    effective and efficient ways to achieve poverty reduction and their

    development priorities.

    Helping communities establish ways of funding their development plans, at a

    group and individual level.

    To achieve these aims, participating villages across Rwanda come together over

    a period of four to seven days (at times convenient to the community such as

    after farming activities) to complete the Ubudehe process. This process takes

    place at the beginning of the financial year. 

    Meetings are chaired by the President of the local Ubudehe Committee and the

    village leader. They usually last for three hours each day. Ubudehe takes place at

    both the umudugudu (village) and household level through similar processes.

    The first three steps described below are carried out every two years while the

    remaining are carried out each year.

    Determine the poverty profile as perceived by the people themselves.

    Determine the causes and consequences of poverty.

    Submit the action plan to an applicability test for all stakeholders to see if the

    strategies are the best to solve the identified problem.

    Check if collective action principles are respected.

    The management committee, elected by the community, local technicians,

    local authorities and other stakeholders approve the execution of the collective

    action and engage to safeguard and respect the principles of collective action.

    After this process, funds are made available to support the identified Ubudehe

    collective action.

    At the household level, one household is chosen to undergo the Ubudehe

    process to assist it in overcoming poverty. The purpose of singling out one

    household is to provide the community with a model that can be followed.

    The household’s coping strategies are analysed before the following process is

    undertaken with the assistance of trained Ubudehe facilitators. A compatibility

    test is then carried out by people of integrity in the community (inyangamugayo)

    to make sure that the retained strategy is appropriate and will be of good use

    to the household. The household members finally accept and sign for the funds

    that are accorded to them. They agree that the funds supporting the execution

    of their strategy will have a rotating character.

    A key part of Ubudehe is the residents of a community defining the levels of

    poverty that exist in their village. This process takes place every two years and

    the information is used to decide development priorities as well as who should

    benefit from other social security programs and Home Grown Solutions such

    as Umuganda and Girinka. 

    10.1.8 Umuganda – Community work

    In simple terms, the word Umuganda means community work. In traditional

    Rwandan culture,  members of the community would call upon their family,

    friends and neighbours to help them complete a difficult task.

    Umuganda can be considered as a communal act of assistance and a sign of

    solidarity.  In everyday use, the word ‘Umuganda’ refers to a pole used in

    the construction of a house. The pole typically supports the roof, thereby

    strengthening the house.

    In the period immediately after independence in 1962, Umuganda was only

    organised under special circumstances and was considered as an individual

    contribution to nation building. During this time, Umuganda was often

    referred to as umubyizi, meaning ‘a day set aside by friends and family to help each other’.

    On February 2, 1974, Umuganda became an official government programme

    and was organised on a more regular basis – usually once a week. The Ministry

    of District Development was in charge of overseeing the program. Local leaders

    at the district and village level were responsible for organising Umuganda and

    citizens had little say in this process. Because penalties were imposed for

    non-participation, Umuganda was initially considered as forced labour.

    While Umuganda was not well received initially, the programme recorded

    significant achievements in erosion control and infrastructure improvement

    especially building primary schools, administrative offices of the sectors and

    villages and health centres.

    After the Genocide, Umuganda was reintroduced to Rwandan life in 1998

    as part of efforts to rebuild the country. The programme was implemented

    nationwide though there was little institutional structure surrounding the

    programme. It was not until November 17, 2007 with the passing of Organic

    Law Number 53/2007 Governing Community Works and later on August 24,

    2009 with Prime Ministerial Order Number 58/03 (determining the attributions,

    organisation, and functioning of community work supervising committees

    and their relations with other organs)  that Umuganda was institutionalised in


    Today, Umuganda takes place on the last Saturday of each month from 8:00 a.m.

    and lasts for at least three hours. For Umuganda activities to contribute to the

    overall national development, supervising committees have been established

    from the village level to the national level. These committees are responsible

    for organising what work is undertaken as well as supervising, evaluating and

    reporting what is done.

    Rwandans between 18 and 65 are obliged to participate in Umuganda. Those

    over 65 are welcome to participate if they are willing and able. Expatriates

    living in Rwanda are also encouraged to take part. Those who participate in

    Umuganda cannot be compensated for their work – either in cash or in kind. 

    Today close to 80% of the Rwandans take part in monthly community work.

    Successful projects have been developed for example 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 (48,000,000,000 RWF.

    While the main purpose of Umuganda is to undertake community work,

    it also serves as a forum for leaders at each level of government (from the

    village up to the national level) to inform citizens about important news and

    announcements.  Community members are also able to discuss any problems

    they or the community are facing and to propose solutions together. This

    time is also used for evaluating what they have achieved and for planning

    activities for the next Umuganda a month later. 

    10.1.9 Umwiherero – National leadership retreat

    Umwiherero, translated as retreat, refers to a tradition in Rwandan culture

    where leaders convene in a secluded place in order to reflect on issues affecting

    their communities. Upon return from these retreats, the objective is to have

    identified solutions. On a smaller scale, this term also refers to the action of

    moving to a quieter place to discuss issues with a small group of people.

    In modern times, the Government of Rwanda is drawing on this tradition

    to reflect on, and address the challenges the country faces on an annual

    basis. Umwiherero is organised by the Office of the President in conjunction

    with the Office of the Prime Minister. The President chairs Umwiherero during

    which presentations and discussions centre on a broad range of development

    challenges, including economics, politics, justice, infrastructure, health,

    education and others. Contemporary Umwiherero was intended exclusively

    for senior public officials but has evolved to include leaders from the private

    sector as well as civil society.

    Since its inception, organisers of Umwiherero have adopted numerous initiatives

    to improve the implementation of resolutions agreed upon at each retreat.

    By 2011, these efforts resulted into noticeable improvements in planning,

    coordination, and accountability leading to clearer and more concise priorities.

    In 2011, six priorities were identified, down from 174 in 2009, allowing for

    more effective delivery and implementation of Umwiherero resolutions.

    Application activity 10.1

    1. Use your own words to explain the following concepts of home-grown

    solutions: umuganda, imihigo and ubudehe.

    2. Compare the traditional umuganda and contemporary umuganda.

    3. Discuss the reason why Rwanda adopted home-grown solutions to

    social and economic development.

    4. Basing on the concepts of home-grown initiative, identify and explain

    other examples of home-grown initiatives found in Rwanda not stated

    in the section 10.1.

    5. Use the internet and other available documents to discuss how

    Agaciro is a home-grown initiative.

    10.2 Contribution of home-grown solutions towards good governance, self-reliance and dignity

    Activity 10.2

    “Akimuhana kaza imvura ihise”[in English: help from neighbours never comes in

    the rain it comes after ].Discuss this Kinyarwanda proverb in reference to the

    concepts of home-grown solutions.

    As part of the 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 Governance and Home -Grown

    Initiatives (GHI) - culturally owned practices translated into sustainable

    development programmes.

    The cultural based policies have contributed a lot in helping getting some

    socio-economic solutions that were not possible to get otherwise.

    10.2.1 Contribution of abunzi

    As the abunzi system gained more recognition as a successful method

    to resolve conflicts and deliver justice, the importance of providing more

    structure and formality to their work increased.

    During the fiscal year ending June 2017 for example, mediation committees

    received 51,016 cases. They were composed of 45,503 civil cases representing

    89.1% and 5,513 penal cases received before the amendment of the law

    determining organization, jurisdiction, and competence and functioning

    of mediation committees. A total of 49,138 cases equivalent to 96.3% were

    handled at both sector and cell levels. 38,777 (76.0%) cases received by

    mediation committees were handled at cell level, 10,361 (20.3%) cases were

    mediated at sector level whereas only 3.6% were undergoing at the end of the

    year. The number of cases received by mediation committees increased at the

    rate of 30.9% over the past three years.

    The Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) conducted an investigation into public

    perceptions of some of the benefits of Abunzi in comparison to ordinary

    courts. Those surveyed highlighted the following positive attributes:

    The reduction of time spent to settle cases (86.7%).

    Reduction of economic costs of cases (84.2%);

    The ability to mitigate conflicts between litigants (80.1%).

    Other advantages mentioned are the participation of citizens in the mediation

    process (67.3%) and freedom to choose a judge by the complainant and defendant (56.7%).

    Best Practices

    The best practices from mediation committees are as follows:

    Pre-hearing counselling:  Before cases are heard, mediators call on  both

    complainant and defendant to emphasize the importance of social cohesion

    and conflict resolution through community mediation. In some instances,

    both parties may opt to withdraw the case at this point, and come instead to a

    mutual agreement. In other cases, litigants are more inclined to accept, rather

    than appeal, the mediation decision as a result of the counseling.

    Reduced social distance between parties and mediators:  Since mediators are

    members of the same community from which disputants come, the latter feel

    less intimidated and more comfortable expressing themselves during those

    sessions, whether in public or in camera.

    Integrity over legal  literacy: The majority of the participants insisted that the

    question of integrity, which determine the selection of mediators, confer

    more “trust and confidence” in the committees and fostered an environment

    in which justice prevailed.

    Parties’ freedom to choose mediators: This was another factor highlighted by

    participants who felt that the freedom to choose mediators helped ensure

    equal treatment during mediation and reduced the likelihood of corruption.

    Win-Win approach: During mediation, Abunzi avoid referring to either party as

    “winner” or “loser” as these words could create resentment and further contribute to the atmosphere of conflict. The goal of these mediations is to find

    lasting solutions through reconciliation, hence the avoidance of such words.

    10.2.2 Contribution of Gacaca courts

    Gacaca courts officially finished their work on June 18, 2012 and by that time

    a total of 1,958,634 genocide related cases were tried throughout the country.

    As earlier mentioned Gacaca is credited with laying the foundation for peace,

    reconciliation and unity in Rwanda.

    Number of trials judged by Gacaca per category

    10.2.3 Impact of Girinka

    Girinka has led to a number of significant changes in the lives of the poorest

    Rwandans. The impact of the program can be divided into five categories

    including agricultural production, food security, livestock ownership, health

    outcomes, unity and reconciliation.

    Agricultural production

    Girinka has contributed to an increase in agricultural production in Rwanda,

    especially milk products. Milk production has risen due to an increase in the

    number of cows in the country and because beneficiaries have received cross

    breeds with better productive capacity than local cattle species. Between 2000

    and 2011, milk production increased seven fold allowing the Government of

    Rwanda to start the One Cup of Milk per Child program in schools. Between

    2009 and 2011, national milk production increased by 11.3%, rising to 372.6

    million litres from 334.7 million litres. Over the same period, meat production

    increased by 9.9%, according to the Government of Rwanda Annual Report


    The construction of milk collection centres has also increased and by February

    2013, there were more than 61 centres operational nationwide with 25 more due

    to be completed by the end of 2013.

    Most of the beneficiaries produce enough milk to sell some at market,

    providing additional income generation. The manure produced by the cows

    increases crop productivity, allowing beneficiaries to plant crops offering

    sustenance and employment as well as a stable income. Girinka has also allowed

    beneficiaries to diversify and increase crop production, leading to greater food


    Food Security

    According to the  Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis and

    Nutrition Survey  (CFSVA) conducted in March/April 2012, almost four in five

    (79%) or about 1,717,000 households had acceptable food consumption and

    could be considered food secure. Others either had poor food consumption

    (82,000 households, representing 4% of all the households) or borderline food

    consumption patterns (378,000 households, 17%), adding up to a total of 21%

    of food insecure households in Rwanda. These figures show a 7% decrease in

    food insecure households since 2006 at which time the figure was 28% according

    to the CFSVA report of 2006.

    Livestock ownership

    The   Third Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV III)  of 2012

    indicated that 4% of all Rwandan households received a cow under the OneCow per Poor family policy. The highest rate was seen in the Eastern Province

    (7%). Animal production and the integration of livestock into smallholder

    farming is a key contributor to food security. Animal products are a good source

    of proteins and lipids and, in times of crisis, livestock functions as a shock

    absorber, contributing to the resilience of poor households. 

    According to the  CFSVA and Nutrition Survey 2012, 70% of all households in

    Rwanda own some type of livestock. Results of the EICV III of 2012 showed that

    in comparison to 2005/2006, higher proportions of households are now able to

    afford cattle at 47% nationally (up from 34%). The survey also showed that the

    percentage of livestock-owning households owning cattle increased to 47.3% in

    2012, up from 34.4% in 2005/2006.

    Health outcomes

    While Girinka cannot be credited with single-handedly for improving the

    health outcomes across Rwanda, the program has certainly played a part in

    reducing the level of malnutrition across the population, in particular among

    children under five years. According to the  Demographic Health Survey  of

    2010, the percentage of stunted children fell from 51% in 2005, to 44% in 2010,

    and the percentage of underweight children fell from 18% to 11%.

    Reconciliation and unity

    Girinka has played a significant role in post genocide reconstruction in Rwanda.

    During the colonial period, the cow was used to divide Rwandans along

    ethnic lines and cattle became a symbol of elitism and a commodity reserved

    only for a portion of the country’s people.

    Girinka has changed what it means to own cattle in Rwanda. While the

    symbolism of prosperity is still attached to the cow, by giving cattle to the

    poorest in society, the program has helped to end the divisive perception

    surrounding owning cattle. The ‘pass on’ component of Girinka, whereby a

    recipient gifts the first born calf to a neighbour, has helped to rebuild social

    relationships which had been destroyed during the 1994 Genocide against

    the Tutsi. This is because the giving of a cow to someone or “Gutanga Inka”

    translated as “sealing a bond of friendship” remains a cultural practice owned,

    understood and valued by Rwandans.

    10.2.4 Contribution of Imihigo

    Since its introduction, Imihigo has been credited with improving accountability

    and quickening the pace of citizen centred development in Rwanda. The

    practice of Imihigo has now been extended to the ministries, embassies and

    public service staff.

    Once the compilation of the report on Imihigo implementation has been

    completed, the local government entity presents it to stakeholders including

    citizens, civil society, donors and others. After reviewing the results, stakeholders

    are often asked to jointly develop a way forward and this can be done by utilising

    the Joint Action Development Forums (JADF).

    Since the inception of Imihigo in 2006, the following results and best practices were


    SACCOs (Savings and Credit Cooperatives) and payment of teachers’ salaries and

    arrears: Good progress was made in mobilising citizens to join SACCOs and

    reasonable funds were mobilised. Although most of the SACCOs obtained

    provisional licenses from the National Bank of Rwanda to operate as savings and

    credit cooperatives, they needed to mobilise more member subscriptions in

    order to realise the minimum amount required to obtain full licenses. Most of

    all SACCO at the sector level needed adequate offices. In addition great efforts

    were made to ensure that teachers were paid their monthly salaries on time.

    9YBE (Nine Years Basic Education): All districts evaluated made substantial

    progress in classroom construction, made possible by the willingness of the

    community to play a role in the districts’ development programmes, particularly

    Imihigo. This was as a result of awareness raising campaigns and mobilisation

    efforts to encourage citizens to own their development activities.

    VUP (Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme): Programmes implemented under VUP

    substantially improved the welfare of citizens and facilitated the implementation

    of government policies such as SACCO, terracing and road construction. 

    Community assemblies (Inteko z’Abaturage):  The function of Community

    Assemblies was reasonably understood, taking place once a month to

    resolve various community problems. This was evidenced by the fact that very

    few unresolved problems reached the district level.

    Citizen participation and ownership of government programmes:  Most of the

    citizens contacted during the field visits were aware of, and actively participated

    in government programs especially the health insurance scheme, SACCOs,

    12YBEs, Girinka and adult literacy. Citizen participation in the Imihigo process

    was especially visible in rural areas.

    Health statistics such as those of maternal and child mortality, accessibility of

    maternal and child care, and accessibility to health insurance (Mutuelle de Santé)

    revealed improved levels of health care for Rwandans.

    Land use consolidation: Through programs such as Umuganda, TIG (Travail

    d’Intérêt Général, meaning community service done by prisoners) and the one

    village one product program, selected crops such as wheat, Irish potatoes,

    coffee, tea, and beans were cultivated extensively.

    Improvement of agricultural  production:  Significant efforts were made by the

    districts in mobilizing and advising farmers on how to improve farming, notably

    among which was land use consolidation (maize, rice, coffee, tea, cassava,

    potatoes, banana and beans) which helps to guarantee national food security.

    Infrastructure development:  A significant number of infrastructure projects

    were completed including roads and bridges, hospitals  and  health centres,

    classrooms and  toilet facilities, houses for vulnerable people, modern markets,

    selling points, drying grounds, street lighting and housing development

    in urban areas, trading centres and administrative offices. There was great

    improvement in distribution of electricity and water in both urban and rural

    areas. In addition, there was evidence in most districts of small scale factories

    being started, especially those involved in agro-based products being initiating.

    Greening and beautification:  Reasonable effort was made to plant grass and

    flowers at most public buildings such as district, sectors and cell offices, schools,

    health and trading centres. In other places, especially at district level, pavements

    were laid. Land registration improved drastically where the lowest performing

    districts have registered 60% of lands.

    Rural settlement(imidugudu):  There was a general improvement in mobilizing

    citizens to build in areas set aside for communal villages. This was accelerated

    by setting up basic infrastructure like roads, water supply and power. The

    eradication of grass thatched houses and the construction of houses for

    vulnerable people was also a contributing factor to this success. 

    10.2.5 Contribution of Itorero

    The contribution of Itorero as a home-grown solution towards good governance,

    self-reliance and dignity is observed through Itorero activities described above.

    Capacity building for Itorero ry’Igihugu: structures of Intore were elected from

    villages up to sector levels in 2009. Later on in 2012, Itorero ry’Igihugu was

    officially launched in primary and secondary schools. From November 2007

    up to the end of 2012, Itorero ry’ Igihugu had a total of 284,209 trained Intore.

    The number of Intore who have been trained at the Village level amounts

    to a total of 814 587. Those mentored at the national level are the ones who go

    down to mentor in villages, schools, and at various work places. In total, 1 098

    599 Rwandans have been mentored nationwide.

    Instilling the culture of unity, truth and hard work among Rwandans: in 2009, Itorero

    ry’Igihugu was launched in all districts of the country. Each district’s regiment

    presented their performance contracts at that colourful ceremony marked

    by cultural festivals. Each district’s Intore regiment publically announced its

    identification name. At the national level, all the 30 district Intore regiments

    comprised one national Itorero, but each district regiment has its identification

    name. Each district regiment can have an affiliate sub-division which can, in turn,

    also have a different identification name. There is also Itorero for Rwandans in

    Diaspora that has the authority to develop its affiliated sub-division.

    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 necessarily 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.

    Achievements Made Through Urugerero Program:Plans to implement Urugerero

    (National Service) started towards the end of 2012 and the actual implementation

    started in 2013. Despite this short time, however, Urugerero program has started

    to yield impressive results. Students who completed Secondary School since

    2012 went through Itorero mentorship.

    Upon the completion of the prescribed course, participants were given the

    certificates, but later on they had to undergo practical exercise of Urugerero

    organized through various activities designed to promote social cohesion and

    community wellness in particular, and boost national development in general.

    The achievements of Urugerero can be categorized as follows:

    Sensitizing Rwandans on the eradication of genocide and its ideology.

    Encouraging all Rwandans to participate in activities organized to

    commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi .

    Sensitizing the community on the importance of mutual health insurance.

    Sensitization on adult literacy.

    Sensitizing the community in general and the youth in particular, to fight

    against drug abuse.

    Sensitizing the community on the importance of legalizing their marriages

    especially for families that are just cohabitating.

    Organizing meetings at village levels aimed at educating the community on

    Rwandan cultural values, unity, patriotism, and development.

    Sensitizing the community to participate in ceremonies organized to honour

    the national heroes and the International Women’s Day.

    Educating the population on personal hygiene and cleanliness of their


    Sensitizing the population on environmental protection.

    Sensitizing the communities on the culture of saving via SACCOs and other

    nearby banking institutions.

    In line with the above achievements, Urugerero participants did different

    activities related for instance to data collection; service provision and delivery;

    communal work; promotion of volunteerism in national development

    programmes and partnership with other stakeholders.

    Partakers in Urugerero did data collectionrelated to illiterate people; people

    not yet registered for mutual health insurance; potential tax payers; school

    drop outs and children of school going age who are not yet in school; illegal

    marriages. Making inventories of districts’ properties was also done by Urugerero


    Other Urugerero activities are related to manual community work such as

    vegetable gardening for family consumption; shelters construction for

    vulnerable families; participation in the construction of cell offices and their

    compounds’ landscaping.

    In the area of environmental protection, Intore constructed terraces and planted

    trees as a measure of preventing soil erosion,

    Regarding activities related to service provision and delivery, some groups of

    Intore in Urugerero opted to demonstrate how speedy and exceptional service

    could be rendered while working with various public offices. This kind of

    support work was done in Health Centers, Cell offices, District offices, especially

    in the services relating to issuing of documents, data entry in computers and

    customer care. 

    Intore contributed to activities related to the Volunteer Services in National

    Development Programmes. In the Rwandan culture, “volunteerism” means

    rendering a sacrificial and selfless service out of love either to a national cause or

    to a needy neighbour. 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 include those of

    community mediators, various councils, community health workers, Community

    Policing Committees/CPCs, Red Cross volunteers, etc.

    Regarding partnership with other Organs/Stakeholders Itorero ry’ Igihugu as a homegrown educational institution was revived to complement existing Government

    organs and initiatives, civil society organizations, and religious institutions in their

    work of moulding Rwandans with appropriate moral values.

    It is in this regard that Itorero ry’Igihugu has sought partnership with these

    institutions, especially for the purpose of harnessing synergy in availing

    resources (financial, human and materials) with the aim of speeding up the

    desired transformation. Each stakeholder has contributed in the programs

    of Itorero ry’ Igihugu and this has made Itorero, an exemplary partnership


    10.2.6 Impact of Ingando

    Ingando has contributed significantly to the national unity and reconciliation in

    Rwanda. This is especially true for the early years of the programme (between

    1996-1999) when most participants were returning combatants or Rwandans

    afraid or unsure of their new government. Special attention was paid to social

    justice and helping participants understand government strategies to improve

    social welfare. This approach was key in ensuring that the progress made in

    reconciliation was sustainable. 

    At a consultative forum in 2001, a number of observations were made that

    are indicative of the progress towards national unity, reconciliation and

    development. These included rejection of genocide ideology, a desire to be

    involved in safeguarding national security and having equal access to education

    as well as being part of the national army and the police force.

    This consultative forum also gathered strong and positive recommendations

    from Rwandans throughout the country on the necessity to teach love and

    truth denounce wrongdoing and encourage forgiveness among people, foster

    tolerance, promote the culture of peace and personal security, as well as

    promoting development and social welfare for all Rwandans.

    Between 1999 and 2010, more than 90,000 people took part in the Ingando

    trainings organised by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission.

    10.2.7 The contribution of Ubudehe

    Ubudehe has been recognised internationally as a highly successful

    development program. In 2008, Ubudehe was awarded the United Nations

    “Better Management: Better Public Service” Award. 

    One of the most significant impacts of Ubudehe is the way in which it has

    transformed citizens’ engagement with their own development. Much of the

    twentieth century in Rwanda was characterised by centralised planning and

    delivery of services with little or no involvement from local communities.

    Ubudehe has changed this and, coupled with decentralisation efforts, has

    changed the way Rwandans participate in decision making processes that

    affect their lives. Ubudehe has achieved almost nationwide coverage and

    communities across Rwanda are now actively involved in developing their

    own social maps, visual representations and collection of data to the extent of

    poverty in their village.

     This information is used to determine national development objectives against

    which the national government and its ministries are held accountable.

    The way in which Ubudehe has brought communities together for collective

    action based on their own priorities is also considered a major achievement of

    the programme. The provision of a bank account to each community has enabled

    thousands of community led actions such as purchasing livestock, undertaking

    agriculture activities, building clean water facilities, classrooms, terraces, health

    centres as well as silos for storing produce. In 2006-2007, 9,000 communities

    undertook different projects through Ubudehe and in 2007-2008 that number

    rose to 15,000. 2010 saw over 55,000 collective actions by communities with

    the assistance of 30,000 Ubudehe facilitators.

    At least 1.4 million people, around 20% of the population, have been direct

    beneficiaries of Ubudehe. Between 2005 and 2008, around 50,000 people were

    trained on Ubudehe concepts and procedures.

     This has resulted in a greater level of skills available to the community at the

    local level helping Ubudehe to be more effective.

    10.2.8 Contribution of Umuganda

    Umuganda is credited with contributing to Rwanda’s development, particularly

    in the areas of infrastructure development and environmental protection.

    Common infrastructure projects include roads (especially those connecting

    sectors), bridges, heath centres, classroom construction (to support the 9

    and 12 )Years of Basic Education programs), housing construction for poor

    and vulnerable Rwandans (often to replace grass-thatched housing) and the

    construction of local government offices and savings and credit cooperative


    Environmental protection projects undertaken include tree planting and

    terracing to fight erosion, wetland rehabilitation, renewable energy

    construction and crop planting.

    From 2007 to 2010/11, the activities valuated at 26,397,939,119 Rwf consisted

    mainly of  the construction of houses for vulnerable people, roads, classrooms

    for the Nine Year Basic Education Programme (9YBE), health centres, public

    offices, tree planting, terracing and other infrastructures to protect against


    To measure the impact of Umuganda and encourage greater participation, the

    Government of Rwanda introduced the National Umuganda Competition in

    2009. The aim of the competition is to create awareness of the best projects

    carried out, award communities that have completed good initiatives and to

    encourage communities to plan properly and maintain what they have achieved.

    The competition includes all levels of Rwandan society from the village up to

    the national level. The best activity in each district is awarded with a certificate

    and funding for future projects, and th

    e best three projects in each province are

    awarded prizes. The best three projects from across Rwanda are awarded a

    cash prize of between US $1,500 (1,200,000 RWF) and $2,300 (1,840,000 RWF).

    Umuganda is also credited with assisting in reconciliation and peace building in Rwanda. This is because neighbours are brought together to build their

    community and have the opportunity to discuss problems and solve them


    10.2.9 Impact of Umwiherero

    For a few days every year, leaders from all arms of Government come under

    one roof to collectively look at the general trajectory the country is taking

    and seek remedies to outstanding problems.  Initially, Umwiherero had been

    designed exclusively for senior public officials but it has evolved to include

    leaders from the private sector as well as civil society. Provided for under the

    constitution, Umwiherero is chaired by the Head of State and during this

    time, presentations and discussions centre on a broad range of development

    challenges including but not limited to the economy, governance, justice,

    infrastructure, health and education. 

    Since its inception, organizers of Umwiherero have adopted numerous

    innovative initiatives to expedite the implementation of resolutions agreed

    upon at each retreat.  Since then, the results are quantifiable. These efforts

    have resulted in noticeable improvements in planning, coordination, and

    accountability leading to clearer and more concise priorities. 

    As discussions go deep in exposing matters affecting the well being of the

    people of Rwanda, poor performers are reprimanded and those who delivered

    on their mandate are recognized.

    Umwiherero provides a platform for candid talk among senior officials. For

    example, an official raises a hand to mention his/her superior who is obstructing

    a shared development agenda. The said superior is then given a chance to

    explain to the meeting how he/she intends to resolve this deadlock. 

    The retreat sets a scene for every leader to be held accountable. Ultimately,

    this provides an opportunity for leaders to forge a better future for Rwanda.

    The organization, implementation and outcomes of Umwiherero have vastly

    improved and significant achievements recorded. The focus has been to

    make number of key priorities that makes it easier for meaningful discussions

    and effective implementation. The retreats are also credited with significantly

    improving coordination and cooperation between government ministries and

    agencies. This time round, priorities might not be just small in number, but much

    more challenging and tougher. 

    Application activity 10.2

    1. Analyse the impact of abunzi as a home-grown initiative.

    2. Discuss the contribution of home-grown initiatives to social and

    economic development of Rwanda.

    3. Analyse the contribution of home-grown initiatives to unity and

    reconciliation of Rwandans.

    4. Evaluate the role of umuganda as a home-grown solution.

    10.3 Challenges encountered during the implementation of home - grown solutions

    Activity 10.3

    Discuss in not more than 500 words challenges encountered in Girinka

    programme and how they can be handled.

    10.3.1 Challenges of Abunzi

    Some of the challenges encountered during the implementation of abunzi are: 

    Inadequate legal knowledge: While most mediators acknowledged that they

    received training session on laws, they expressed a desire to receive additional training on a more regular basis to enhance their knowledge of relevant


    Insufficient mediation skills:  Mediators also expressed a desire to receive

    additional training in professional mediation techniques in order to improve

    the quality and effectiveness of their work.

    Lack of permanent offices: In some areas, mediation committees do not always

    have workspace reserved for them and must share space with the staff from

    cells and/or sectors offices; this sharing can sometimes result in the loss or

    mix-up of case files.

    Incentives: A number of mediators complained that the incentive promised to

    them and their families in the form of “mutuelle de santé” (health insurance) was not always forthcoming.

    Transportation for field visits: According to a study conducted by RCN Justice

    & Démocratie in 2009, mediators complained about not always being able to

    afford transportation to perform site visits when reviewing cases. While each

    chairperson at the appeal level received a bicycle, it has been recognised that

    field visits for all mediators have been very difficult in some cases. This can

    result in delays in the mediation process.

    Communication facilities: To perform their duties, mediators have to communicate among themselves or with other institutions, but they are not given a

    communication allowance. This proves problematic at times and can lead to

    financial stress for some when they are obliged to use their own money to

    contact for instance litigants and institutions.

    10.3.2 Challenges of Gacaca courts

    Below are challenges faced during implementation of Gacaca.

    At the beginning of the data collection phase at the national level, 46,000

    Inyangamugayo representing 27.1% of the total number of judges, were

    accused of genocide. This led to their dismissal from Gacaca courts.

    Leaders, especially in the local government, were accused of participating in

    genocide constituting a serious obstacle to the smooth running of Gacaca.

    In some cases there was violence against genocide survivors, witnesses and


    Serious trauma among survivors and witnesses  manifested during Gacaca


    In some cases there was a problem of suspects fleeing their communities and

    claiming that they were threatened because of Gacaca.

    In some cases there was corruption and favouritism in decision making.

    10.3.3 Challenges of Girinka

    The following are the major challenges faced by the Girinka programme:

    In some cases, the distribution of cows has not been transparent and

    people with the financial capacity to buy cows themselves were among

    the beneficiaries.  This issue was raised at the National Dialogue Council 

    (Umushyikirano) in 2009 and eventually resolved through the cow recovery

    programme. This program resulted in 20,123 cows given to unqualified

    beneficiaries (out of a total of 20,532 wrongly given) redistributed to poor


    A lack of feed factories in the country has hindered efforts to properly

    feed some of the cattle affecting their health and productivity. The Ministry of

    Agriculture worked with investors who have shown interest in building feed

    factories in Nyagatare, Kayonza and Kicukiro.  In some instances, the cost of

    management inputs has been high and in some districts there has been a

    delay in utilisation of earmarked fund. Decentralisation of the programme has

    helped address this.

    Provision of additional services (especially veterinary services and artificial insemination) has been limited in some cases due a shortage of skilled staff with

    relevant training. This has affected the cows’ milk production and the ‘pass on’


    With regards to bank loans, some farmers received cows that were overpriced.

    As a resolution, farmers who were overcharged are required to pay the bank the

    actual cost of the cow only through a new contract with the difference paid by

    those who were responsible for over costing.

    Poor management by inexperienced farmers has increased the mortality for

    some cows. A shortage of land requires an intensification program in cattle

    management practices which can sometimes have adverse impacts on the cows

    such as increase in disease prevalence. To address this, beneficiaries now receive

    training about modern farming practices prior to receiving their cow.

    10.3.4 Challenges of Imihigo

    While Imihigo has provided the Government of Rwanda and citizens with a way to

    hold leaders to account, some challenges listed below have been identified from

    the 2010-2011 evaluation report:

    There is a planning gap especially on  setting and maintaining logic and

    consistency: objectives, baseline, output/targets and indicators

    Setting unrealistic and over-ambitious targets by districts was common. Some

    targets were not easily achievable in 12 months. For example, construction of

    a 30 km road when no feasibility study had been conducted or reducing crime

    by 100%.

    In some districts low targets were established that would require little effort

    to implement.

    The practice of consistent tracking of implementation progress, reporting and

    filing is generally still weak.

    Some targets were not achieved because of district partners who did not fulfil

    their commitments in disbursing funds -  especially the central government

    institutions and development partners.

    There is a weakness of not setting targets based on uniqueness of rural and

    urban settings.

    Setting targets that are beyond districts’ full control was observed:  For example,

    construction of stadiums and development of master plans whose implementation

    is fully managed by the central government.

    There was general lack of communication and reporting of challenges faced that

    hindered implementation of the committed targets.

    10.3.5 Challenges of Itorero

    During its implementation, Itorero faced a series of challenges including:

    Inadequate staff and insufficient logistics for the monitoring and evaluation of

    Itorero activities;

    Training modules and internal regulations and procedures governing Itorero

    programmes not yet refined;

    Low level of understanding the important role of Itorero ry’ Igihugu on the part

    of partners;

    Districts lack sufficient training facilities;

    Some Itorero mentors lack sufficient capacity to train other people;

    The National Itorero Commission does not get adequate information on partners’ commitment to Volunteer Services;

    A number of various institutions in the country have not yet started considering voluntary and national service activities in their planning.

    Low understanding of the role of Itorero especially at the village level;

    Existence of some partners who have not yet included activities relating to the

    promotion of Ubutore culture in their plan of action.

    10.3.6 Challenges of Ingando

    Ingando has contributed significantly to national unity and reconciliation

    in Rwanda. But when the programme was established, it faced significant

    challenges including a lack of trust between participants and facilitators as well

    as low quality facilities. These issues were slowly overcome as more resources

    were dedicated to the programme. 

    10.3.7 Challenges of Ubudehe

    The major challenges of Ubudehe can be divided into categorisation and project



    In some cases, village members have preferred to be classified into lower poverty

    levels as a way to receive support from social security programs such as health

    insurance and Girinka. To overcome this, household poverty level categorisation

    takes place publically with all heads of households and must be validated by the

    village itself.

    In the event that community members dispute the decision made by their village,

    they are entitled to lodge a complaint and appeal in the first instance to the

    sector level. The Ubudehe Committee at the sector level conducts a visit to the

    household and either upholds or issues a new decision. If community members

    remain unhappy with the decision they can appeal in the second instance to the

    district level. The final level of appeal is to the Office of the Ombudsman at the

    central government level.

    Project Implementation

    The major challenges of project implementation are with the community

    choosing a project and then completing the project.

    Communities sometimes have difficulty defining the problems affecting their

    development and struggle to know how best to prioritise the projects and

    select the most crucial project to execute. Challenges also sometimes arise

    when communities are required to choose one household to act as a model for

    the village. This can be a point of contention because that household receives

    significant resources to carrying out its Ubudehe development plan.

    To overcome these challenges, the programme has increased training provided

    to communities on how to select and prioritise projects. In deciding which

    household will be the model for the village, the community is required to vote

    which helps members support the decision.

    At the household level it has been observed that some beneficiaries have

    struggled to manage the funds or resources they received. In some cases,

    households spent the money on things other than their project or sold the

    livestock they received. To overcome this challenge, the Ubudehe Committee at

    the village level has been tasked to provide regular follow up and support.

    10.3.8 Challenges of Umuganda

    The challenges faced by Umuganda fall into two broad categories: planning and

    participation. In some areas of the country, poor planning has led to unrealistic

    targets and projects that would be difficult to achieve without additional

    financing. In urban areas, participation in Umuganda has been lower than in

    rural areas.

    To address these challenges, the team responsible for Umuganda at the

    Ministry of Local Government has run trainings for the committees that oversee

    Umuganda at the local level.

    These trainings include lessons on monitoring and evaluation, how to report

    achievements, the laws, orders and guidelines governing Umuganda as well as

    responsibilities of the committee.

    To overcome the issues of low participation rates in some areas of the country,

    especially in urban areas, an awareness raising campaign is conducted through

    documentaries, TV and radio shows to inform Rwandans about the role

    Umuganda plays in society and its importance.

    A mobilisation strategy is currently being devised which includes ideas about

    how to streamline the laws and policies governing Umuganda so that they

    are more easily understood. This is also to ensure that they are in line with the

    National Community and Local Development Strategy. The City of Kigali is also

    embarking on a process to find the best ways to encourage those living in urban

    areas to take part in Umuganda.

    The Ministry of Local Government has begun a partnership with South Korea to

    learn from the community work practice there known as Saemual Undong. This

    is part of attempts to learn from the best practices all over the world as well as

    share Rwanda’s experience with other countries. 

    10.3.9 Challenges of Umwiherero

    The first four years of Umwiherero saw questionable results. The organisation of

    the retreat was often rushed, objectives were poorly defined and few tangible

    results could be measured.

    This led President Paul Kagame to establish the Strategy and Policy Unit in the

    Office of the President and the Coordination Unit in the Office of the Prime

    Minister. At the same time, the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs was set up to improve

    the functioning of the Cabinet. These two newly formed units were tasked with working together to implement Umwiherero.

     While the first retreat organised by the two new teams suffered from similar

    problems to previous retreats, improvement was noticeable.

    Following Umwiherero in 2009, Minister of Cabinet Affairs served as head of

    the newly formed steering committee tasked with overseeing the retreat. The

    steering committee was comprised of a 14 team members. Alongside the steering

    committee, working groups were set up to define the priorities to be included

    on the retreat agenda. This process was overseen by the Strategy and Policy Unit

    who developed a concept paper with eleven priority areas to be approved by

    the Prime Minister and the President.

    Since that time the organisation, implementation and outcomes of Umwiherero

    have vastly improved and significant achievements have been recorded.

    The focus on a small number of key priorities has made it easier for meaningful

    discussions to be had and for effective implementation to take place. For

    example, the number of national priorities agreed upon by participants fell from

    174 in 2009 to 11 in 2010 and to six in 2011. The retreats are also credited with

    significantly improving coordination and cooperation between government

    ministries and agencies.

    Application activity 10.3

    1. Analyse challenges encountered in the implementation of Gacaca


    2. Using internet, reports, media and your own observation discuss the

    challenges met by abunzi.

    3. Discuss the key challenges in the Imihigo planning process and


    End Unit assessment

    1. Assess the achievements and challenges of Umuganda in social and

    economic sector and propose what can be done to improve it.

    2. Explain the contribution and challenges of Umwiherero on economic

    development and good governance and what can be done to improve


    3. Discuss the contribution of Ubudehe to dignity and self-reliance.

    4. Analyse the contribution of Girinka to poverty reduction.

    5. Discuss the social impact of Abunzi and its contribution to unity and



    Challengesadthe situation of being faced with) something needing great mental

    or physical effort in order to be done successfully and which therefore tests a

    person’s ability

    Contribution: something that you do or give to help produce or achieve

    something together with other people, or to help make something successful

    Dignity: calm, serious and controlled behaviour that makes people respect you

    Goal: an aim or purpose

    Governance: way of using controlling influence on something, on a country or


    Leadership: the set of characteristics that make a good leader 



    This eleventh unit first of all defines the term conflict as a reality of social life

    which can exist at all levels of society. It also adds that the conflict has the

    attribute of being dynamic and not inherently negative or positive. It further

    says that the conflict exists when there is an interaction between two or more

    individuals, groups or organizations where at least one side sees their thinking,

    ideas, perceptions, feelings or will contradicting with that of the other side and

    feels that they cannot get what they want because of the other side.

    Different types of conflicts have also been provided in this unit. These include

    intra-personal conflicts, inter-personal conflicts, intra-group conflicts, intergroup conflicts, intra-state, inter-national and inter-state conflicts. Therefore, in

    general the above conflicts can be grouped into two main parts internal conflicts

    between individuals and inter-state conflicts.

    In the conflict prevention and resolution, different measures have to be adopted

    and respect certain rules and procedures. In fact, the preventive measures of

    conflicts are based on conflict analysis and assessment from local communities

    to the national level and international level. To make this analysis, it is necessary

    to understand the background and history of the events and identify all relevant

    groups involved and factors and trends that underpin conflicts.

    Once the conflict breaks up, the measures to resolve it would be taken by the

    community, nation and international community headed by the United Nation

    Organisation. Main measures that can be used are negotiation and mediation.

    However, in resettling conflicts, there are still different challenges to handle. Most

    of them are the lack of conflict mechanism and programmes in local community

    which can hinder the prevention and resolution of conflict in the community. At

    international level, as a challenge there is the unwillingness of the United Nation

    Organisation to develop such mechanisms and programmes.

    Key unit competence

    Explore ways of preventing and resolving conflicts and violence at national and

    international levels.

    Learning objectives

    At the end of this unit, I should be able to:

    Describe organs responsible for preventing and resolving conflicts and

    violence at national and international levels;

    Analyze different ways of preventing and resolving conflicts and violence;

    Assess the challenges encountered during the prevention and resolution of

    conflicts and violence.

    Introductory activity

    From the apparition of human kind on the earth, conflict has been obvious. By

    reading books and doing a research on the internet, account for various ways

    through which conflicts may occur and suggest ways to solve them. Analyze again

    the challenges may be encountered while dealing with conflict.

    11.1 Organs and actors responsible for preventing and
    resolving conflicts and violence at national and

    international levels

    Activity 11.1

    Analyze and discuss various actors involved in preventing and resolving conflict

    and violence at national and international levels.

    Conflict is a reality of social life and exists at all levels of society. Conflicts are as

    old as the world itself. We learn from history about individuals being in conflict

    with each other because of various reasons.

    11.1.1 Causes of conflicts

    The conflict was already evident in the thinking of the European theorists of

    the early modern period. For Nicholas Machiavelli, conflict was a result of the

    human desire for self-preservation and power.

    For Hobbes, the three ‘principal causes of quarrel’ in a state were competition

    for gain, fear of insecurity, and defense of honour. For Hume, the underlying

    conditions for human conflict were relative scarcity of resources and limited

    altruism. For Rousseau, the “state of war” was born from “the social state” itself.

    The trend has not changed even today. Individuals, villages, tribes, political

    parties, nations and other types of groups engage in conflicts. Practically each

    of us has in one way or the other been involved in conflicts either at family level,

    workplace, and many other places.

    Generally, a conflict exists when there is an interaction between two or more

    individuals, groups or organizations where at least one side sees their thinking,

    ideas, perceptions, feelings or will contradicting with that of the other side and

    feels that they cannot get what they want because of the other side.

    Four main causes of conflict

    Structural factors : such as weak states, security concern and ethnic geography;

    Political factors: example discriminatory political institutions, exclusionary national

    ideologies, intergroup and elite politics;

    Economic factors: example widespread economic problem, discriminatory

    economic system, poverty, unequal access to national resources and modernization.

    Cultural factors: example cultural discrimination, problematic group histories,

    emerging dehumanizing ideologies, etc.

    Conflicts are dynamic and are not inherently negative or positive. They can

    facilitate growth or bring harm to the people involved. Having differences is

    something that is ‘natural’; it is how we express such differences and what we do

    that can lead to positive or negative experiences for us and those around us. If

    we look at conflicts from a positive point of view, they can be a source of positive


    The escalating or “going up” factors are what contribute towards turning a

    conflict into something negative or destructive. The de-escalating or going

    down factors are the factors that help to channel the conflict energy into

    something positive and constructive. The way conflicts are seen can determines

    how to deal with them.

    Conflict escalation and de-escalation

    Conflict and violence are linked but are not identical. Violence is very often an

    expression of conflict, a way of carrying out conflicts. Violence can be used:

    As an instrument of repression by a more powerful conflict party, wishing to

    impose its interests upon others;

    As an instrument for the articulation of interests by the weaker conflict parties,

    especially if they do not know other ways;

    When conflict parties fail to find other means of carrying out conflicts (dynamic

    of escalation).

    11.1.2 Types of conflicts

    Intra-personal conflicts: some are conflicts within a person such as

    psychological conflicts and decision making conflicts in one person. Though

    intra-personal conflicts may play a part in social conflicts, they are not the

    subject matter of conflict transformation work but more a concern of therapy

    or counselling.

    Inter-personal conflict: conflicts between two or a small number of people;

    Intra-group conflicts: conflicts within smaller (team, organization, family) or

    larger groups (religious community, within elites in a country, etc.);

    Inter-group conflicts: conflicts between groups, like organizations, ethnic

    groups, political parties;

    Intra-state: conflicts within a country;

    Inter-national, inter-state conflicts: Conflicts between two or more countries

    or states.

    There are no conflicts that are entirely similar and special features always have

    to be kept in mind. There are rules, norms and understandings that try to resolve

    each type of conflict.

    Domestic disputes are resolved by counsellors or psychologist provided by the

    government; for labour disputes, trained mediators or arbitrators might work

    well. A similar process can apply to international disputes where a third party is

    brought in as discussed later.

    11.1.3 Role of the state in conflicts

    The state is, according to political science definition, the only legitimate

    user of physical violence in a society. Thus, it is almost by definition involved

    whenever there is an armed conflict in society. The control of violence is not

    the only distinguishing feature. There are also fiscal, territorial and ideological

    monopolies. All these roles make the state an actor in conflict as well as an object

    of conflict.

    If the state is not capable of performing some of these functions, its strength as

    an actor diminishes. This is one of the causes of the phenomenon of warlords

    that can be observed in different parts of the world and the phenomenon of

    state failure which received particular attention since the 1990s.

    The dilemma of state in prevention and conflict resolution can be summarized as

    follows: if the state is powerful (totalitarian system), it creates counteraction, fear

    among the population and pay high cost of the repression in case of resistance;

    if it is weak (failed state enable to maintain, order, and collect taxes) it can be


    There are many forces which can compete against the state. These forces include

    the companies interested in the extraction of minerals, the religious groups

    wanting to institute their own order, the political groups ethnically oriented

    searching for control of the power. A weak state can create intrastate wars, and

    a strong state may do the same. Both may also lead to regional/international


    To find the “ideal” state for lasting peace is not easy. Liberal democracy has been

    identified as an appropriate model, but it may not be applicable in every context

    and be sufficient to handle all the world’s conflicts.

    Traditionally, a firm distinction has been drawn between international and

    internal conflicts. The first can be handled by the international institutions (such

    as the UN, the International Court of justice and regional organizations), and the

    later treated as “home affairs”. 

    Figure 11. 1: International conflicts resolutions

    Figure 11.2: Modelling of international social conflicts

    Internal conflicts, which consist of interactions among individuals, groups

    and peoples brought together inside the same borders, are, according to this

    thinking, left to the domains of the states themselves and placed outside of

    the international bodies. Internal affairs can be submitted to the international

    community if the legitimate, the government, ask for such an intervention. This

    is a basic principle of the UN Charter and was seen as an untouchable principle

    during the Cold War. 

    The separation of interstate conflicts from other conflicts is well established.

    Most interstate conflicts dealt with territorial issues, notably changes of borders

    and the recuperation of an occupied territory, and control over government. The

    Cold War saw many interstate interventions to remove or support incumbent

    regimes (unilateral interventionism) by a major power. In fact, a larger number

    of current governments have come to power through non-democratic process,

    coups, revolutions, civil and dynastic arrangements with the support of external


    A more complex situation is if the external actor is supporting a non-state actor

    in the other country. This support is regarded as intervention in an internal

    conflict between a non-state actor (the rebels) and the government or, in fact,

    an interstate conflict where the external actor is only using the non-state actor.

    The internal conflicts must be linked to regional dimensions and with the

    international efforts to deal with the problems posed by internal conflicts.

    Internal conflicts have always implications for regional stability. Neighbour

    states can be innocent victims of internal conflicts, but they are also active

    contributors to military escalation and regional instability (“spill over”,

    “contagion”). Two aspects of the regional dimension of internal conflicts have to

    be considered: the effects of internal conflicts on neighbouring states (refugee

    problem, economic problem, military problem, instability, war) and the actions

    taken by these states with respect to these conflicts (humanitarian, defensive,

    protective and opportunist intervention).

    Ancient explanation of internal conflicts given like “ethnic grievances” is no more

    appropriate because internal conflicts are caused often by power struggles

    and ideological differences. Bad leaders are the bigger problem. To prevent this

    type of conflict, long term efforts aimed at underlying conditions that make

    violent conflicts more likely to happen (economic, political, cultural), focus on

    the decisions and actions of domestic elites.

    11.1.4 Conflicts and the global system

    States and governments are part of the global system. Other actors are very

    active on the regional and international level. One of the most important is

    the armed- non- states actors. Few of these organizations are recognized by

    international community and certainly not by the states against which they are

    fighting. They are instead defined variously as terrorists, gangs, bandits, criminal

    groups and so on. Such descriptions may sometimes be accurate, sometimes


    Some of these organizations enter into negotiations or even win wars. Their

    leaders may then appear as reasonable or even enlightened statespersons

    despite the labels that have been put on them previously (for instance, Nelson

    Mandela in South Africa). Sometimes the organizations turn into political

    parties or legitimate armed structures (integrated in national armies). Other

    organizations are still recorded as uncivilized, and cruel (the al-Qaida network

    led by Osama bin Laden).

    Recently (in the 1990s) new groups of actors emerged such as:

    The private companies of mercenaries very active in Africa, South America and

    Middle East. They are also militias or paramilitaries; they are locally recruited,

    operate with obscure finances and often directed by a leader with political


    The trans-state organizations like arms dealers trading in small arms, merchants

    dealing in minerals controlled by governments or non-state actors, drug

    traders engaged in international cartels and coalitions, or monetary transfers

    and money laundering to support war efforts;

    The non-governmental organizations (NGO) called also civil society organization (CSO); they have the ability to act in transnational giving quick answers

    that few actors can;

    The legitimate multinational companies operating all over the globe. They

    may be involved in the early phases of conflict, as the exploitation of resources

    may be at the heart of social dynamics, leading to armed conflict.

    The large number of non-state actors illustrates the shortcomings of focusing

    only on the interstate system. Many of the non-state groups would not have

    been able to sustain themselves without access to other countries.

    The term “global system” is appropriate because it includes all these groups

    and organizations with numerous different types of actors who use violence as

    means to achieve their objectives.

    Armed conflicts

    “According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), for example, the

    number of active armed conflicts decreased from 52 to 49 in 2016. However,

    despite this reduction, 2016 confirms the trend for there to be a significantly

    larger number of conflicts in the past three years compared to the period 2007–

    13. Comparisons over a longer period show that the number of armed conflicts in

    recent years has been equivalent to the number in the period 1990–92. The two

    periods 1990–92 and 2014–16 constitute two distinct peaks in the post-cold war

    era. Much of the increase in the number of conflicts in 2014–16 stemmed from

    the spread of the Islamic State (IS), which often transformed active conflicts and

    led them to be recorded as new conflicts in UCDP data. Of the 49 active conflicts

    in 2016, 2 were fought between states (India–Pakistan and Eritrea–Ethiopia)

    and the other 47 were fought within states and over government (22), territory

    (24) or both (1). There is a clear recent pattern for a larger share of intrastate

    conflicts to involve troops from other states on the side of one or both of the

    warring parties. In 2016 over one-third (38 per cent) of intrastate conflicts were

    internationalized in this way. Most of these (13 out of 18) were fought against

    Islamist organizations” ( Sipri year book 2017, Uppsala 2018, p.2).

    Negotiation on international level to resolve conflicts has become a common and

    frequent practice. Many ways are available to deal with conflict. In most cases

    conflicts are resolved through efforts of trained government representatives or


    This is an old tradition by which ambassadors were personal representatives of

    one sovereign to the court of another. In modern times, electronic communication

    has supplanted the individual diplomat when it comes to the establishment of

    important international agreements, but the role of person-to-person contact,

    even at the highest levels, remains important.

    The process of conflict resolution is like a debate. However, diplomacy and

    negotiations have elaborated rules and customs. During the Cold War, it

    was common to think that if leaders of two major groups meet and talk over

    their disagreements, as concerned human beings, peace between longtime

    adversaries might be possible. Unfortunately, in some summits between big

    powers negotiations were merely artificial; maybe they have improved the

    international atmosphere but few things changed. At other times, summit

    meetings made things worse because of bad will.

    Third parties can also serve as “fact finders”, for example on a disputed border,

    identify the number of political prisoners, how large the military forces, economic

    situation in a particular region. International organizations have used also them

    in various “commissions of inquiry” to evaluate conflicting claims.

    Third parties fulfil the diplomatic functions in mediation and arbitration.

    Mediators make suggestions that might be agreeable to both sides. Adherence

    to their suggestions is voluntary. By contrast, in arbitration both sides agree in

    advance to accept the judgment of the arbitrator.

    There is no guarantee that all disputes can be resolved by negotiations. A positive

    outcome requires a degree of goodwill and a desire to reach an agreement. It

    also requires to “bargain in good faith”. There have been cases in which good

    faith was not shown. Such cases are exceptions, because the desire for non

    violent conflict resolution appears to be strong and widespread.

    Application activity 11.1

    1. Discuss the various organs responsible for preventing and solving


    2. Using internet, textbooks, media, analyze causes of armed conflicts in

    Africa taking as case study one of the following countries: Sierra Leone,

    South Soudan, Somalia, Liberia, Mali, Libya, Nigeria, DRC, Central

    African Republic.

    3. By giving clear historical examples, distinguish national conflict of

    international conflict.

    11.2 Strategies used to prevent and resolve conflicts and violence

    Activity 11.2

    By doing your own research through the internet and books, analyze the ways that

    can be used in preventing and solving conflict and violence.

    Because conflicts are an integral part of human interaction, one should learn

    to manage them in order to prevent escalation and destruction. Throughout

    history, individuals and groups used a variety of ways to resolve their disputes or

    conflicts, trying to reach a resolution acceptable to all parties. There is a common

    belief in all cultures that it is better to resolve disputes/conflicts and to reach an

    agreed compromise, because conflict can be a destructive force.

    Much can be learned about the different ways in which conflicts have been

    prevented in the past. In older practices, resolving disputes was considered a

    domain reserved for the wise and the elders of the community (mostly men)

    or for religious leaders. But now, conflict prevention has become an important

    focus of interest for everyone.

    11.2.1 Conflict analysis

    In dealing with conflicts, it is necessary to have a better understanding of the

    dynamics, relationships and issues of the situation. A detailed analysis of the

    conflict from a variety of perspectives must be carried out by exploring the

    specific issues and problems that relate to it. This practical process is what

    is called “conflict analysis”. It helps to plan and carry out better actions and

    strategies by facilitating to:

    Understand the background and history of the current events;

    Identify all the relevant groups involved;

    Understand the perspectives of all these groups and to know more about how

    they relate to each other;

    Identify factors and trends that underpin conflicts;

    Learn from failures as well as successes.

    The whole dynamic conflict analysis is to be able to move from an attitude of “I

    don’t know what the real cause of the conflict is!” to “Now I know why we have this


    It is therefore important for the person or group analyzing a situation to gather data

    about the positions, values, issues, interests and needs of each party in conflict.

    Positions They are what the person says and demands. They contain an

    understanding of the situation, the outcome of the conflict and the role that the

    conflicting party plays in it. Very often they contain a value as a justification or

    legitimization. Positions are formal, official and very often public.

    Values are basic principles which are held to be very important and may be used to

    justify positions. They can be cultural norms, laws, ethics, etc.

    Issues are what the parties claim the conflict is about. They are specific and concrete.

    Very often factual problems are less important than relationship problems, though

    conflicts are usually framed in factual terms.

    Conflicting parties are motivated by their own interests. They may be expressed but

    often they are hidden. Frequently, an actor may have several interests in a conflict.

    As interests are not essential human needs, they are negotiable and their relative

    importance may change with time.

    Needs are the fundamental, essential requirements for human survival. They relate

    to security, identity, community and vitality of human life. They are not negotiable,

    but they may be satisfied in different ways. They are usually unstated or disguised.

    Figure 11.3:Interest and needs

    Factors related to attitude, behaviour and context of each side have also to be

    analyzed. The purpose is to see how these influence each other; to relate these to

    the needs and fear of each party; to identify a starting point for the intervention in

    the situation. For example, a context that ignores the demands of one group is likely

    to lead to an attitude of frustration, which in turn may result in protests.

    There are different practical operations which are accomplished in order to achieve

    appropriate strategies and actions of resolving a conflict. The most important are:

    Stages of conflict

    Conflicts change over time, passing through different stages of activity, intensity,

    tension and violence. It is helpful to recognize and analyze each stage (see the

    next figure).There are:

    Pre-conflict: period when there is an incompatibility of goals between two or more

    parties, which could lead to open conflict;

    Confrontation: when the conflict has become more open;

    Crisis: the peak of the conflict, when the tension and/or violence is most intense.

    This is the period of war, when people on all sides are being killed;

    Outcome/Consequence: One way or another the crisis will lead to an outcome:

    defeat, or perhaps call for a cease-fire (if it is a war), negotiations either with or

    without the help of a mediator. At this stage the levels of tension, confrontation and

    violence decrease somewhat with the possibility of a settlement.

    Post conflict: the situation is resolved in a ways that leads to the end of a violent

    confrontation, to decrease the tension and to more normal relationships between

    the parties. The problems are not completely addressed, that is why another crisis

    can happen again.

    Figure 11.4: Stages of conflicts

    It is a list of data (years, months, days, location, and actors) which depicts events

    in a chronological order. It shows a succession of events and gives examples in

    the history of the country. People of opposing sides may have different histories,

    emphasize different events, describe them differently, and attach contrasting

    emotions to them. The aim of using timelines in this way is to try to arrive at a

    “correct” or “objective” history of the conflict and to understand the perceptions

    of the people involved. The timeline is also a way for people to learn about each

    other’s history and perceptions of the situation. The aim to reach is the point

    where the parties in a conflict can accept that others may have valid perceptions,

    even if these are opposed to their own.

    Conflict mapping

    Mapping is a technique used to represent a conflict graphically, placing the

    parties in relation both to the problem and to each other. When people with

    different view points map their situation together, they learn about each other’s

    experiences and perceptions.

    Conflict tree

    This exercise answers the following questions:

    In many conflicts there will be a range of opinions concerning questions such as:

    What is the core problem?

    What are the root causes?

    What are the effects that have resulted from this problem?

    What is the most important issue for our group to address?

    The Conflict Tree offers a method for a team, organization, group or community

    to identify the issues that each of them sees as important and then sort these

    into three categories:

    1. Core problem(s)

    2. Causes

    3. Effects

    This tool offers also a way of identifying positive and negative forces and to

    assess their strengths and weaknesses.


    There is a range of factors or forces called the ‘pillars’. If we can identify these

    pillars and try to find ways to remove them or minimize their effect on the

    situation, we will be able to topple a negative situation and build a positive one.

    Figure 11.6: Conflicts mapping pillars

    Having looked at the pillars that support the conflict, problem or unjust situation,

    the next step is to devise definite actions or strategies that could address each

    pillar and weaken or remove it. The Pillars tool can help to see at a glance how

    feasible it is to intervene.

    This diagram does provide an opportunity to consider which other individuals,

    groups or organizations could become allies, and to learn from their constructive

    actions already taking place.

    Figure 11.7: Land conflicts pillars in Rwanda


    Conflicts can have more than one level. With this method, key parties or actors at

    each level are identified. This type of analysis helps to locate resource people who

    are strategically placed and embedded in networks that connect them vertically and

    horizontally within the conflict. These are people who have the ability to work with

    counterparts across the lines of division. Therefore they can be key allies for working

    within the various levels as well as working simultaneously at all levels.

    11.2.2 Intervention in conflict

    Dealing with conflicts is called differently: “conflict management,” “conflict

    resolution”, “conflict transformation”, “conflict mediation”, “consensus building”, etc.

    Most of the theorists and practionners prefer to use “conflict resolution”.

    Nations, groups, and individuals have tried throughout history to manage conflicts

    in order to minimize the negative and undesirable effects that they may pose to


    The possible outcomes can be win-lose (one wins, the other loses), or compromise

    (parties settle their difference or win-win). But the common outcome in violent

    conflicts is that both parties lose. 

    Because conflicts are an integral part of human interaction, one must learn

    to manage them, to deal with them in a way that will prevent escalation and

    destruction, and come up with innovative and creative ideas to resolve them.


    Negotiation is a process in which parties to a conflict discuss directly possible

    outcomes. Parties exchange proposals and demands, make arguments, and

    continue the discussion until a solution is reached, or an impasse declared. The

    goal of negotiation is to reach an agreement that is acceptable to all parties, to

    which they remain committed, and which they indeed implement.

    In negotiations there are many approaches to resolving the conflict. For

    example, negotiators can focus on the discussion about the interests of parties.

    Because there are many interests underlying any position, a discussion based on

    interests opens a range of possibilities and creative options, but positions may

    not be reconciled and can lead to the fail of the negotiations. That is why the

    dialogue on interest should be transparent, in order for the parties to arrive at

    an agreement that will satisfy the needs and interests.

    Another possibility is when the parties attempt to resort to what they consider to

    be their rights. This means appealing to the court (local, national or international)

    in a legal process in which the law is the dominant feature.

    Negotiations are based on the following basic principles:

    1. Separate the people from the problem: The participants in a negotiation

    have with different perceptions, beliefs, viewpoints and emotions. Taking

    positions makes things worse because people tend to identify with their

    position and feel that they are personally attacked when their position is

    threatened. In negotiation the “people side” must be treated separately

    from the factual issues. Ideally, participants should also see themselves

    working side by side attacking the problem, not each other.

    2. Focus on interests, not positions: The object of negotiation is to satisfy

    underlying needs and interests. To take and hold on a position will not

    lead to agreements that take care of human needs. Thus the focus should

    be on interests.

    3. Invent options for mutual gain: Trying to decide on an agreement

    under pressure will not lead to good results. In negotiation partners

    must take time to look for a wide range of possible solutions before

    trying to come to an agreement. If there are many options, there is more

    chance of finding solutions which advance shared interests and reconcile


    4. Use objective criteria: Agreement must reflect some fair standards. These

    standards are not subjective criteria of one participant; rather they should

    be shared by all participants and objectively verifiable.

    5. Finally, active listening is the most important and difficult skill needed for

    negotiator or mediator to succeed in the negotiation process.

    On international level, it was a common understanding, in recent past, that

    only diplomats conducted international negotiation and agreements between

    countries. Negotiating today is not restricted to the diplomatic corps; it involves

    also various actors such as professional people, experts, non-governmental

    organizations, local interested groups, local authorities, international entities,


    Today it is realized that conflicts and the issues involved are very complex. For

    this reason, the international negotiation process is also more complex, because

    of the various interdependencies between countries; the outcomes can affect

    other nations, a region, or the world.


    Mediation is a process that employs a neutral/impartial person or persons to

    facilitate negotiation between the parties to a conflict in an effort to reach a

    mutually accepted resolution. It is a process close to negotiation.

    The mediator’s role is multiple: to help the parties think in new and innovative

    ways, to avoid rigid positions instead of looking after their interests. In general,

    the mediator not only facilitates but also designs the process, and helps the

    parties to get to the root of their conflict, to understand their interests, and

    reach a resolution agreed by all concerned parties. He/she uses tools such as

    active listening, open-ended questions, and his/her analytical skills.

    The mediators, who are hired, appointed, or volunteer to help in managing

    the process, should have no direct interest in the conflict and its outcome, and

    no power to render a decision. The parties agree on the process, the content

    presented through the mediation, and the parties control the resolution of the


    Because the participation of the parties and the mediator is voluntary, the

    parties and/or the mediator have the freedom to leave the process at any time.

    The mediator may decide to stop the process for ethical or other reasons, and the

    parties may decide that they are not satisfied with the process. The agreement,

    which is reached between the parties, is voluntary; the parties own it and are

    responsible for implementing it. The agreement is validated and ratified by the


    Mediation has a special advantage when the parties have ongoing relations that

    must continue after the conflict is managed. Since the agreement is by consent,

    none of the parties should feel they are the losers. Mediation is therefore useful

    in family relations, disputes between neighbours, in labour relations, between

    business partners, and political parties. It creates a foundation for resuming the

    relation after the conflict has been resolved.

    There are several different approaches and mediation models: the model of comediation, the model of a single mediator, and the model of a panel of mediators.

    Co-mediation has many advantages, but only if the mediators are compatible and

    know how to work together. If however the mediators do not know one another,

    or are not compatible, the process may work better with a single mediator. 

    Cultural issues play a major part in international negotiation, and have a

    significant impact on it. Issues such as personal relations, mode of bargaining, and

    hierarchy, are culturally based; they need to be considered during negotiations

    between different nations, societies, or ethnic groups.

    Single mediation is a very common model which is used for many reasons,

    and because mediators enjoy working alone and be in control of the process.

    Experienced mediators who work alone do excellent work.

    The model of a panel of mediators is used in very complex cases that involve

    multi-party mediation. The models vary in terms of the methods, the techniques,

    the process of mediation, and in the particular circumstances of the conflict in


    Mediation plays an important role in international conflicts. The mediator in

    international conflicts can be a private individual who is an international figure,

    a religious personality, an academic scholar, a government representative, an

    international organization, or some other person or body, depending on the

    nature of the dispute.

    West African Women as Ambassadors of Peace—The Mano River Story

    “Women were struggling for peace across the Mano River countries of Sierra

    Leone, Liberia, and Guinea throughout the 1990s. But their successes were shortlived as conflict in one country inevitably affected the others. In 1999, believing

    that the solution could be found through regional peace efforts, women from

    the three countries joined together to form the Mano River Women’s Peace

    Network (MARWOPNET). Lobbying regional security organizations, training

    women in communities, issuing public declarations, organizing protests and

    directly meeting with leaders across the region became the network’s trademark.

    In recognition of their important role in bringing the parties to the table,

    MARWOPNET was a signatory to the August 2003 peace agreement in Liberia.

    The UN recognized their efforts in December 2003, awarding them the annual

    United Nations Prize for Human Rights”. (INCLUSIVE SECURITY, SUSTAINABLE

    PEACE: A Toolkit for Advocacy and Action, London: 2004)

    In individual conflicts the mediator is an impartial neutral third party. In

    international conflicts the mediator is not always impartial, or neutral, and

    may have his/her own agenda, status, interests, and power, which may be used

    during the process. In that case, the mediator becomes part of, and party to, the

    negotiation process.

    The mediation process works under three basic principles. One, the principle

    of the parties self-determination which means parties resolve their differences

    without coercion but freely. This also means that the mediator helps them to

    make informed choice or decision. Two, the mediator is impartial, meaning that

    the mediator has no personal interest or benefit in the issue. Three, the mediator

    should keep proceedings private and confidential.

    Application activity 11.2

    1. Take any case of conflict and analyze its pillars using the diagram

    showing the issues and dynamics of the conflicts

    2. Make analysis on how the conflict develops.

    3. The negotiations are the common way used in helping people in

    conflict. Do any analysis and discussions on the basic principles of


    11.3 Challenges encountered during the prevention 

    and resolution of conflicts and violence

    Activity 11.3

    By using internet, textbooks, journals and reports make a research on prevention

    and resolution of conflicts and violence and examine the challenges encountered by

    the peacemakers in conflict prevention and resolution process.

    Solving conflicts completely is impossible. We have seen that conflict is part of

    the daily life. What is needed to achieve a lasting peace is to prevent escalation

    so that it does not become crisis with killings of human beings and destruction

    of social and material structures.

    Practitioners say that peace begins within each individual and then spread

    out. This implies not only examining one’s life and making changes that are

    consistent with one’s beliefs life but also identifying those personal attitudes

    and behaviour that reinforce systems of oppression. Such self-examination may

    lead to some painful recognitions and decisions recognizing how one’s life may

    have at times contributed to the oppression of others. The question is that not

    everyone is ready to engage in that process unless there is awareness action

    with that aim. This can be initiated by the state, the international institutions or

    civil society organizations.

    Lack of conflict mechanism and programmes in local community can hinder

    the prevention and resolution of conflict in the community. Not all countries or

    communities have such experience. Rwanda is among the countries who have

    elaborated such kind of programmes because of its particular tragic experience. 

    The government has established mechanisms to protect and fight against

    genocidal ideology and to resolve conflicts on the community level (like

    Mediation and Gacaca courts). Public and private media are also involved in this

    education campaign as well as some civil society organization like Never Again,

    for example.

    Peace operations in Africa

    “Africa remained the primary focus of peace operations. As recommended in the

    report by the UN High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (the HIPPO

    report), the UN, the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities

    and Regional Mechanisms are deepening their partnerships. Funding African

    operations is still one of the main challenges. In 2016 the AU Assembly of Heads

    of State and Government decided to increase the AU contribution to the funding

    of all AU peace support operations to 25 per cent by 2020, by means of a 0.2 per

    cent import tax on “eligible imports” into the continent. However, African actors

    will remain dependent on external funding in the short to medium term and

    some external actors—particularly the EU and its member states—are becoming

    less generous and more demanding. This presents financial challenges for several

    African peace operations, some of which face potential closure as contributors

    consider withdrawing their troops” ( SIPRI YEAR BOOK 2017, Uppsala: 2018, p.7).

    Minimizing oppressive personal relationships may be a prerequisite for helping to

    alleviate the oppression of others. The world will be better and less violent place

    if each individual makes peace in his or her own life (inner peace). Commitment

    in the struggle for peace may require conflict – preferably non violent – with

    existing authorities if meaningful change has to happen.

    The best scenario is a national context which is conducive because sensitive to

    conflict prevention and resolution by having appropriate policies, especially the

    programmes targeting to fight against the potential roots of conflict or to solve

    those which have emerged.

    On a wide scene, contemporary armed conflicts encompass different levels from

    international level (global, regional, bilateral), through national state level, down

    to societal level. This is what makes them so hard to resolve or transform.

    The ambivalent role played by the state at the national level, the same time the

    main actor on the international scene, obliges actors in conflict transformation,

    to operate simultaneously at all these levels, including vertical relations up and

    down across the levels from the grassroots up to the international, and horizontal

    relations across and between all the social actors involved.

    There has been a shift from seeing third-party intervention as member of external

    agencies towards appreciating the role of internal ‘third parties’ or indigenous

    peacemakers. Instead of outsiders offering the space for addressing conflicts,

    the emphasis is on the need to build constituencies and capacity within societies

    and to learn from domestic cultures how to manage conflicts in a sustained way.

    Emphasis is placed on the importance of indigenous resources and local actors.

    The world has become one global village. Distances are smaller, communication

    means are easier and faster, and the economy has become a major factor in

    international relations. A conflict between two or more countries may affect a

    whole region. We live in a new and changing world, in which negotiation plays a

    major role in resolving these conflicts.

    The multilateral arena is more complex than bilateral because there are many

    parties, and many issues and interests are at stake. The international community

    has not yet been able to manage this complex situation.

    Key challenges to conflict prevention remain in international affairs. Many states

    in the South are concerned that conflict resolution can be abused as a pretext for

    the big powers to violate the sovereignty of the weak. These concerns have been

    somewhat verified in the past couple of years. It is the case of recent operations

    in Libya.

    Concerns about violations of sovereignty persist, as do suspicions about

    the underlying motivations behind the use of military power for ostensibly

    humanitarian purposes, and perceptions that, even when well-intentioned,

    the application of force can potentially have troubling and unpredictable


    In the field of conflict prevention, the prevailing perception about the

    performance of the international community is that recent attention on the issue

    has been more rhetorical than practical in addressing emerged and ongoing


    Lack of international community ownership regarding some crises: the actions

    of the United Nations are limited with insufficient humanitarian activities and in

    some cases (like in Darfur crisis), the international community’s will is oriented by

    the big powers such as the USA and China. To some extent, China was mandated

    to play a more role to end the conflict in Darfur. Therefore, the conflict became

    insignificant to the UN which delays the action to be taken in order to stop it.

    Unwillingness of the UN to develop a conflict resolution mechanism capable of

    managing crisis also is another challenge in process of conflict resolution. This

    unwillingness is a result of the misperception of the existence of glob threats by

    states and non-states actors.

    Such willingness can be also resulted from the division within international

    community based on different interests each member state can find in conflict.

    In case of intra-state conflict, some states are not able to address the menace

    of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in polity with functional

    policies. This enables different groups to get armed and able to challenge the

    national security. As a result, the government is seen as a weak and failed state.

    Even the civil society is not able to act in order to prevent the conflict.

    Some states also failure to tackle the immediate and root causes of conflict

    holistically. After many years of neglect the government can fail to really solve

    many cases of injustice, poverty, unemployment and issues of resource control.

    In addition, the state failure to address early warning signs and early response

    systems can greatly affect the conflict prevention and resolution.

    Conflict and the feminization of poverty

    “Violent conflict is often said to be a trigger for the “feminization of poverty,”

    meaning that women are increasingly found among the ranks of the poor. This

    happens partly because of the increasing proportion of households headed

    by, and dependent on, women (usually around 30–40 percent in post conflict

    transition societies). Female-headed households are thought to be particularly

    vulnerable. One difficulty female-headed households may face is inadequate

    labor resources, especially in agricultural communities, because there are few

    adult men and the adult women are occupied with domestic work. Another

    is that without men they are not well linked into the networks that control

    marketing, supplies, community decision-making and have poor links to power

    structures. Despite their vulnerability in society at large, there are also instances

    where members of female-headed households fare better than others, since

    female caregivers prioritize the family’s welfare. Also depending on the cultural

    conditions and the extent to which war has diminished traditional male roles in

    the economy, women often find new public outlets for trading and other incomegenerating activities. In Somaliland, the absence of government regulation

    has provided opportunities for business to flourish. This has been positive for

    women in some ways, because they now occupy increasingly important roles

    in trade. But such changes are often temporary. Typically, after war, women

    are forced out of jobs and put under pressure to give control of resources to

    men. The challenge for those wishing to support female household heads is

    to increase their entitlements (i.e. strengthen their position when it comes to

    making claims on authorities or on other members of the community). This can

    be done by changing legislation and policies, raising awareness among women

    of their rights and supporting their efforts to voice their needs. However, this

    is difficult to achieve when all households are likely to be unusually vulnerable

    and when new systems of governance and legislation are not yet in place.

    In these circumstances women rely more extensively on mutual support”.


    Advocacy and Action, London, 2004)

    Application activity 11.3

    1. In the section 11.3 you have been exposed to the challenges faced

    during the prevention and resolution of conflicts and violence.

    From your own research, suggest the appropriate solutions to those


    2. Discuss with example the involvement of western countries in conflicts

    as a challenge to armed conflict resolution in Africa.

    3. Explain how natural resources constitute challenges to conflict


    End Unit assessment

    1. “Conflict is a reality of social life and exists at all levels of society”. Discuss

    this assertion

    2. In January 2000, over half of the countries in Africa were affected

    by conflicts (gsdrc.ogr/document-library/causes-of-conflicts-in-Africa/).

    Analyze the causes and impacts of conflicts in sub Saharan Africa.

    3. While solving conflicts, one among the ways used is negotiations.

    The mediator must fulfill some qualities to be said as good mediator.

    Explain the basic qualities that may possess a good mediator.

    4. Explain challenges that may occur when resolving a family conflict.

    5. Based on your personal experience, what kind of conflict that may

    rise at school? Explain their possible causes and how they can be



    Ambivalent: Uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow

    Constituency: The body of voters who elect a representative for their area or a

    district represented by one or more elected officials

    Dilemma: State of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between

    equally unfavourable options

    Escalating: Increasing in extent or intensity

    Incumbent: Necessary (for someone) as a duty or responsibility; morally binding

    Practitioner: Someone who practices a learned profession

    Prerequisite: Something that is required in advance

    Ratify: Approve and express assent, responsibility, or obligation

    Sovereignty: Government free from external control

    Therapy: the act of caring for someone (as by medication or remedial training etc.)

    Unpredictable: Not occurring at expected times or Not capable of being foretold