Independence Day: July 01, 1962
Head of state: Paul Kagame
Head of government: Dr. Edouard Ngirente
Political system: Presidential Republic
Democracy Status Index (BTI): Rank 96 of 137 (2020)
Corruption Index (CPI): Rank 51 of 180 (2019)
Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Rank 11 of 54 (2019)
Form of government, constitution and separation of powers
According to commit4fitness, Rwanda is a presidential republic. Today’s constitution was adopted by referendum on May 26, 2003 with 93% yes-votes, with an overwhelming turnout of 89.9%. It has been in force since June 4, 2003. Special features are the definition of a spectrum of institutions that are suitable to promote the process of national unity and reconciliation, such as the office of the “Ombudsman”, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission for the Fight against Genocide.
The new constitution allows for a multi-party system. The formation of exclusionary parties, among other things according to ethnicity, religion or gender, is expressly prohibited.
Furthermore, the rule that the parliamentary majority party may not represent more than 50% of the cabinet members was enshrined in the constitution. It takes into account elements of modern attitudes, especially those relating to equality. For example, a women’s quota of 30% is stipulated in public administration and in parliament. After the last elections, this led to a representation of women in the National Assembly of over 60%, the world’s strongest parliamentary representation of women.
The president is determined in general elections. The parliament consists of two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. The political parties gather in the “political parties forum” (voting forum), where decisions are made by consensus.
Formal state structure and regional state structure
Rwanda has carried out a comprehensive administrative reform since 2001, which has been in effect since January 1, 2006. As early as 2001, a local reform created the basis for self-government at the district level. Since the beginning of 2006, the Republic of Rwanda has been divided into five instead of the previous ten or twelve provinces: four new provinces named after the cardinal points and the capital Kigali.
The provinces (Intara) are divided into districts (Akarere) and sectors (Umirenge). The former 121, then 106 municipalities (Communes) were merged to 30 more influential districts. The sectors have also been merged and given more opportunities for organization and political participation. Instead of 1545, there have been 416 sectors since the beginning of 2006, each with up to 28,000 people.
The background to this reform is the genocide of 1994. The current government is convinced that the former centralized system favored genocide, in which orderly, effective counter-movements were hindered. The aim of the reform is to achieve greater participation and a say in the development of the country among the broader population. Germany – within the framework of promoting “good governance” as a development priority – is supporting Rwanda through GIZ in implementing the decentralization program.
The visible success of the decentralization program in Rwanda can be attributed more to the enforcement power of its authoritarian national government and less to the acceptance of the population.
Both the Tutsi kings of the epochs before and during the colonial era and the Hutu rulers (Kayibanda and Habyarimana) during the independence aspirations and after independence are treated by parts of society mainly with regional and ethnically discriminatory policies as well as with atrocities against Associated with members of the other population group. They often arouse extremely emotional resentment in individual groups. The dominant figure in Rwanda’s recent history is the incumbent President Paul Kagame.
Paul Kagame enjoys within the country high popularity. For the majority of Rwandans, he is a hero. One of his special merits is the restoration of order, security and stability in Rwanda after the genocide. In 1994, as the leader of the rebel army, he managed to end the genocide. Subsequently, under his leadership, the completely destroyed country managed to return to normal within a few years that had hardly been thought possible. A rapid socio-economic transformation of the country that continues to this day was then set in motion. To this end, the government relied on a policy of unity, consensus and reconciliation. The repatriation of almost all people displaced in the course of the genocide and their reintegration played a key role.
Internationally, the reputation of President Paul Kagame is rather ambivalent. On the one hand he is praised as a visionary, on the other hand he is insulted by some of his critics as a dictator. Basically, the dynamic development he initiated in the country is praised. His strict surveillance of the political arena, on the other hand, is heavily criticized.