Kangura No. 40

Editorial: Habyarimana Should Take Hutu Demands Into Consideration

When Habyarimana took power on 5 July 1973, he founded his politics on “unity” and “peace.” This politics had objectives, given the then ethnic and regional disturbances. The disappointing thing is that this politics favored only the Tutsi ethnic group at the time when the vast majority of the people continued to be oppressed. What is unfortunate is that these Tutsis to whom he did good mocked at him instead of thanking him.

Habyarimana had treated the Tutsis so well that the Hutus said he was also Tutsi, all the more so as he himself never hid it. In fact, he constantly declared that he would spare no effort to satisfy the Tutsis as if he had been mandated to do so. The Tutsis had been privileged for a long time under the Habyarimana regime. They were privileged in schools, business and government. They even gave their daughters in marriage to Hutus who held posts of responsibility. The Tutsis continued to enjoy these privileges up to the point where they convinced themselves that they must attack Rwanda and regain power. Thus, they attacked on 1 October 1990! And Habyarimana said “We have had a surprise attack!” And yet, had he been vigilant and taken advice from his Hutu kinsmen instead of having a good time with the Tutsis, the situation would not have degenerated that much.

It is said that uniting with a Tutsi is tantamount to owing lightning a debt, which is totally correct. Is it normal that the Tutsis that Habyarimana had protected and to whom he had granted favors should betray him by overthrowing him? He should bear the consequences, as he is the one who admitted them in his entourage. They accuse him of all ills: dictatorship, lack of democracy, authoritarianism and absence of freedom.

Yet, when the country was attacked on 1 October 1990, Habyarimana turned to the majority Hutu people whom he had despised for a long time, and the latter intervened immediately. In tandem with the Rwandan Armed Forces, they defeated the Inyenzi and their accomplices. Shamefully, Habyarimana promised the Hutus that he would avenge their kinsmen killed on the battlefield. Soon after, he changed his language stating that it was necessary to forget vengeance and rather turn towards reconciliation. One would say the Tutsi had once again cast a spell on him! At the same time, the Inyenzi continued to shoot at the innocent population and to evict them from their property. The people were filled with consternation! At the moment, the population wants to know tow the Head of State wants them to reconcile with the Inyenzi after their defeat, whereas on their arrival and looted. Is it a crime to defend oneself? On close examination, it may be said that the population had offended the Inyenzi when they defended themselves. On the contrary, if that were possible, then it would have been their place to tender an apology. Why does Habyarimana continue to attach himself to the Tutsis who have shown him that they do not want him?

The majority people have just won the war and are now involved in a political fight. If Habyarimana continues to lead a good life with his Tutsis, he must understand that the majority people remain vigilant. They will no longer be surprised by attacks, for forewarned is forearmed. The majority people will no longer tolerate being left out of the government resulting from the Arusha talks. We should be pleased that the Head of State has begun to listen to the people’s voice. At the request of Members of Parliament (the people’s representatives), the President of the Republic took an important decision to change the leader of the Rwandan delegation to these talks. The traitor, Ngurinzira, has been removed and replaced by James Gasana, Minister of Defense. Thus, the plan of Nsengiyaremye and his envoy, Ngurinzira, to sell the country has been thwarted, even though this is not sufficient. The President of the Republic should request officially the amendment of provisions of the accords signed recently by Ngurinzira, which impede the interests of the majority people. In fact, it has turned out that the people are criticizing these provisions, which have caused the country-wide disturbances and many victims.

Finally, time has come for President Habyarimana to take advice from the Hutus, his kinsmen, for the Inkotanyi will not spare him the day they seize power.