Electoral/Political Party Reform: Arusha Accord - 4 August 1993

Protocol of Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front on Power-Sharing within the Framework of a Broad-Based Transitional Government (4 August 1993)

Article 61

All the political parties registered in Rwanda at the signing of this Protocol as well as the RPF shall be represented in the Transitional National Assembly, on condition that they adhere to and abide by the provisions of the Peace Agreement. To that effect, all these parties and the RPF should, prior to the establishment of the Broad-Based Transitional National Assembly and the Broad-Based Transitional Government, sign a Political Code of Ethics whose principles are spelt out in Article 80 of this Protocol. Since the RPF and the political parties Participating in the current Coalition Government are automatically, directly or indirectly bound, as a result of the Protocol of Agreement on the Rule of Law signed by the two parties to the negotiations, the political parties which do not participate in the said Government should, from the time of the signing of the Protocol of Agreement on Power-Sharing, demonstrate their commitment to abide by the principles governing the Protocol of Agreement on the Rule of Law, to support the peace process and to avoid engaging in sectarian practices and in any form of violence. Such commitment shall constitute a prerequisite for their participation in the Transitional National Assembly and it is incumbent upon the two parties to the negotiations to see to it that such commitment is real.

Article 80

In a declaration signed by their authorised representatives, the political forces called upon to participate in the Transitional Institutions shall undertake to:

1. Support the Peace Agreement and work towards its successful implementation;

2. Promote national unity and national reconciliation of the Rwandese people:

3. Abstain from all sorts of violence and inciting violence, by written or verbal communication, or by any other means;

4. Reject and undertake to fight any political ideology or any act aimed at fostering discrimination based mainly on ethnic, regional, sexual or religious differences;

5. Promote and respect the rights and freedoms of the human person;

6. Promote political education among their members, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Rule of Law;

7. Work towards a system whereby the political power serves the interests of all the Rwandese people without any discrimination;

8. Respect the secularism of the Rwandese State;

9. Respect national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country.

Protocol of Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front on the Rule of Law (18 August 1992)

Article 10

Elections shall be organised in such a way that transparency is guaranteed and fraud eliminated through the establishment of efficient supervision mechanisms including, if the need arises, enlisting the assistance of International Observers. The prior and full explanation of the citizens' rights and civic duties including the issues at stake in the elections is their inalienable right as a way of avoiding any form of political manipulation.

Implementation History

1993

No Implementation

Provisions related to electoral or political party reform were designed to ensure inclusive politics with a Political Code of Ethics binding on all parties. No developments occured this year. 

1994

No Implementation

After the genocidal violence of 1994, Article 80 was interpreted as banning political parties based on ethnic identity. By banning parties formed based on ethnic identity, Rwanda enacted political reforms aimed at institutionalizing cross-cutting, multi-ethnic or secular political parties. This ban included the former President Habyarimana’s party, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development, and the extremist Hutu Coalition for the Defense of the Republic1 These changes would become part of the 1995 constitution. 

  • 1. "Some 2,000 Former Soldiers Train for Rwanda's New Military," Agence France Presse, October 15, 1994
1995

Intermediate Implementation

The electoral reform provisions of the Arusha Accord became part of the new constitution signed on May 5, 1995. The new constitution consisted of: 1. Constitutional items singled out from the constitution of 10 June 1991; 2. The Arusha peace agreement, signed on 4 August 1993; 3. The RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front] declaration of 17 July 1994 establishing national institutions; 4. The agreement signed on 24th November 1994 between political parties which were not implicated in the previous year’s genocide; In a 57 member national assembly, 55 members voted in favor of the new constitution and two abstained; The Arusha peace accord was part of the new constitution, but the new constitution also included RPF’s declaration of July 1994 and the protocol agreement of November 1994.

1996

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1997

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1998

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1999

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2000

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2001

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

2002

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed. 

Postscript: The transitional period was terminated in 2003 and the new constitution effectively bans ethnic parties in order to promote inter-ethnic and national reconciliation. Once the new constitution came into effect in June 2003, the elections were held based on party list proportional representation.2