Recent Developments In Rwanda
- Reconciliation: We are working towards reconciling and reuniting the population after three decades of politics based on an ideology of division and exclusion, which resulted in genocide.
- Inclusive government: Banishing the politics of exclusion and establishing an inclusive transitional government comprising 5 parties in government and 8 parties in parliament. Power-sharing agreements ensured that the President of the Republic, the President of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister were from different parties.
- New Constitution: A constitution-making process lasting for 2 years took place. Views gathered from the people across the country in ‘town-hall’ meetings. Once the draft was completed, it was put to the people again in a referendum and was endorsed in May 2003 by 93% of the vote. It was the first time in the nation’s history that people have been given the opportunity to actively contribute to the constitution-making process.
- Governance reforms: The aim was to dismantle the over-centralised state apparatus and replace it with a decentralized system of government that gives more power and resources to local government structures. The process was completed in 2002/3.
- Democratisation: Democratization of all levels of administration. The process began in 1998 with elections at the village level, followed by elections at the district level in 2000, and elections for the National Assembly, Senate and President in 2003.
- Transparency and accountability: Institutions and legislation have been put in place to ensure accountability and prevent abuse of public office. As a result Rwanda has been recognized by the World Bank Institute as the developing country with the lowest level of corruption.
- Improved government performance: To improve overall government performance, particularly service delivery.
- The Government has established peace and security throughout the country. Today Rwanda is among the most peaceful and secure countries in the east and central African sub-region.
- The Government has closely monitored security threats to the country and taken appropriate action to ensure safety and security of the people of Rwanda.
- The Government has actively encouraged voluntary repatriation of refugees, particularly in the DR Congo and Tanzania.
- The Government has absorbed ex-FAR soldiers who did not commit any crimes during the Genocide, into the RPA/RDF. 15,000 were absorbed into RPA at a time when they were 40,000; some held very senior positions, e.g. present and former Ministers of Defence were ex-FAR officers.
- A new national Police force was established, replacing and streamlining the functions of the former Gendarmerie and Communal Police.The size of the armed forces has been reduced while being further professionalised and better equipped
- The Government is building a strong, well-trained and independent judiciary.
- The Government has brought to justice over one hundred thousand people accused of genocide related crimes within a reasonable period of time.
- The Government has encouraged confessions, apology and rehabilitation of offenders.
- The Government has established the GACACA court system to try cases of lower level responsibility.
Since 1994 the following have taken place:
- Kick-started the economy after the genocide
- Embarked on poverty reduction programmes
- Began a process to eradicate the culture of dependence
- Re-focus the economy to emphasize innovation and competitiveness
- Overhauled the tax system including establishing a semi-autonomous tax authority (Rwanda Revenue Authority), enacted new tax laws, increased tax collections
- Began the process of integrating the Rwandan economy into the regional and global economy
- Registered 7% economic growth every year since 1995
- Reached the Completion Point and the Decision Point to qualify for debt reduction under HIPC Initiative
- Support for genocide survivor groups, especially orphans and widows, and child-headed households.
- Health services: improvement in the quality of treatment and care at existing health facilities, and expansion in the number of these facilities.
- Education: Expansion of tertiary educational institutions, establishing the Kigali Institute of Education, the Kigali Health Institute and the Kigali Institute of Education. Enrollment at tertiary institutions has increased ten-fold since before 1994. The number of students that have graduated from tertiary institutions between 1994-2004 is three times the number that graduated in the thirty years before 1994. For Primary education, the Government aims to introduce universal primary education in 2005, although 80% are enrolled in schools presently.
- Women in development: The government needed to address the problem of the exclusion of Women, and to empower them politically and economically. The constitution states that 30% of cabinet, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies must be comprised of women. Today Rwanda has highest percentage of female legislators followed by Sweden. Government has promoted economic empowerment programmes and the new constitution guarantees women’s marriage and inheritance rights.