What Do You See When You Look At Rwandan Rulers Of The Past 130 Years (1886-2016)?

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As we mourn the passing of King Ndahindurwa, we ought to reflect on where Rwanda is coming from and headed. We have a deeply troubled history. Depending on our ethnicity, we see a different history. This is understandable. Because Rwandan history is always told by each new ruling regime that hijacks our history for regime’s own purposes.

There is, however, one thing that no sane Rwandan can deny.

We have one of the most violent history the world has ever seen. And this has been going for the past 130 years almost nonstop.

Crucially, Rwanda HAS NEVER experienced peaceful transfer of power from one ruler to the next. Each ruler has been deposed violently or died mysteriously.

Here is summary of the violence 1886-2016:

* 1886 – Kanjogera and her brothers Ruhinankiko and Kabale staged a coup d’etat, killing King Rutarindwa who was made co-ruler by his father Rwabugiri in 1889. Kanjogera imposed her own 9 year old Musinga.

* 1931 – Musinga was deposed by the Belgians who crowned his son Rudahigwa.

* 1959 – Rudahigwa died in 1959 in Bujumbura-Burundi under mysterious circumstances, and replaced by Ndahindurwa.

* 1961 – Ndahindurwa and the Rwandan monarchy were overthrown; he died in exile in the U.S. in October 2016.

* 1962 – Kayibanda elected president.

* 1973 – General Habyarimana carried out a coup d’état that deposed Kayibanda; Kayibanda cabinet was massacred, while he was allegedly starved to death in December 1976.

* 1994 – General Habyarimana assassinated by downing the aircraft in which he was traveling along with his Burundian counterpart.

* 1994 – General Kagame took over, initially ruling through a figurehead – Bizimungu – and directly from 2000 onwards. Kagame is poised to rule until 2034 according to the new constitution.

Kagame will have ruled Rwanda for 40 years by 2034. Kagame is of course assuming that he will not suffer what previous Rwandan rulers suffered in the last 130 years which is as follows:

* Rutarindwa – killed in a coup d’état.
* Musinga – overthrown by the Belgians.
* Rudahigwa – died mysteriously.
* Ndahindurwa – overthrown and died in exile.
* Kayibanda – overthrown & starved to death.
* Habyarimana – assassinated.

The bigger question faces us Rwandans. How will we escape this catastrophic history? We will never escape this prison until Rwandans stop lying to each other by conveniently subverting history to serve their own selfish ends.

As was famously stated, nations get governments they deserve.

David Himbara

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