Following the 2003 Constitution, Rwanda is a multi-party,
single-state republic. The head of state, the president, is
elected to the general elections for seven years (may be
re-elected once). The legislative assembly is a two-chamber
parliament consisting of a Senate and a House of
Representatives. The Senate (Umutwe wa Sena) has 26
members; 12 elected by the local prefectures, eight
appointed by the president, four by political organizations
and two by higher education institutions. The election
period is eight years. The House of Representatives (Umutwe
w'Abadepite) has 80 members elected for five years. 53
are elected in direct elections, 24 are reserved for women
and elected from the prefectures, and three are appointed by
Rwanda is divided into 12 prefectures, led by a governor
appointed by the president and assisted by elected councils.
AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of RW and its meanings of Rwanda.
The judiciary includes a Council of State with
administrative jurisdiction and a right of disposal;
together they constitute a constitutional court. There is a
Supreme Court and provincial court in the prefectures. The
legislation is based on German and Belgian examples. - As
for the war criminal court after the 1994 genocide, see
International Criminal Court in Rwanda.
Two Rwanda nationals, Catholic priest Wenceslas
Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, were arrested in France
in July and will face trial for their 1994 genocide.
The country continues to build the democratic structures
after the genocide. This applies to both political
structures and mass media. However, it is not a process
without problems. There are reports of journalists
disappearing, and in 2006 the government closed a period of
Radio France International when it critically reported on
President Kagame and the RPF.
In February 2008, a Spanish judge issued international
arrest warrants against 40 former Rwandan officers for their
role in the 1994 genocide.
In 2008, Kagame launched the Vision 2020 development
plan, which over 12 years will make Rwanda the island of
middle-income country with inspiration from China, Singapore
and Thailand. Elements of the plan were infrastructure
expansion, better governance, increased agricultural
productivity, development of the private sector as well as
improvements in health care and education. In 2011, the
Ministry of Economy and Planning analyzed how far the
country had come in the plan. Out of 44 goals, 66% were on
the right track, 11% were on the watch list, and 22% were in
serious trouble. The biggest problems were in population
development, poverty and the environment. An independent
study in 2012 by Belgian researchers was uplifting. In
particular, there were great advances in health and
education, but also in creating favorable conditions for the
private sector. However, the Belgian study pointed to a
serious problem when focusing on growth at all costs. This
had meant that the rich had become much richer, while the
poor had not experienced the great improvements.
In a 2009 broadcast, CNN characterized Rwanda as Africa's
greatest success: political stability, economic growth (per
capita income tripled over 10 years) and international
integration. The government is considered one of the most
effective and honest in Africa. In 2008, the country had
become the first in the world to elect a parliament in which
the majority were women.
As a result of the breakup with France in 2006, the
country joined the British Commonwealth in
November 2009. It is one of just two members who do not have
a British colonial background. The year before, the
government announced that English will become official
language in line with the other three, and the country is
increasingly gearing towards English-dominated East Africa,
where it also plans to join the East African Shilling if it
becomes a reality in 2010 -15.
Kagame is strongly critical of the West's role in Africa.
The West did nothing to prevent the 1994 genocide, and it
does everything to keep Africa's goods out of the world
market. In contrast, in 2009, he praised China: "The Chinese
bring what Africa needs: investment and money to governments
In December 2009, the country became the first free
landmine, in accordance with the Ottawa Treaty.