Rwanda Government and Politics

Following the 2003 Constitution, Rwanda is a multi-party, single-state republic. According to, 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 organizations.

Rwanda Country Flag

Reference: Rwanda Flag Meaning

Administrative division

Rwanda is divided into 12 prefectures, led by a governor appointed by the president and assisted by elected councils. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of RW and its meanings of Rwanda.

The judiciary

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 and businesses”.

In December 2009, the country became the first free landmine, in accordance with the Ottawa Treaty.

Rwanda Head of Government

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