Organizedpolitical activity in Kinyaga emerged only slowly in the 1950s. Political cleavages increasingly came to be based on ethnic identity, but initially they were more precisely drawn along class lines many “poor Tuutsi” considered themselves part of the populist movement. Hutu political organization in Kinyaga was launched during 1956 by the appearance of Soma, a newspaper oriented toward publicizing the arbitrary use of power by the chiefs and the discrimination in the society against the powerless. The paper was founded and edited by Aloys Munyangaju, a former seminarian from Save (near Astrida). Munyangaju’s background illustrates how the socioeconomic transformations discussed in previous chapters shaped the Hutu leadership.

Although originally from central Rwanda, Munyangaju had moved to Kinyaga in 1947 to work for a private company in Bukavu. Perhaps in part because of his “outside” experience (both in central Rwanda and in the Congo) he quickly came to identify with the plight of Hutu in Kinyaga; in 1953 he was one of only two Hutu to serve on the Shangugu Territorial Council. He was a prime figure in the initial articulation of dissent in Kinyaga, looked to as mentor by many of the early Kinyagan Hutu activists. Moreover, Munyangaju’s educational background in Catholic mission schools and at the Grand Séminaire of Nyakibanda acquainted him with ideological alternatives to the Rwandan system of exploitation. Similarly, his “old boy ties” in the Catholic mission network provided an important network of relations with Hutu leaders in other areas of the country who themselves had come through mission schools.

Munyangaju’s employment in Bukavu reinforced this sense of intellectual autonomy, and also made material resources available to him, independent of the politico-economic structures of Rwanda. A degree of economic independence, enhanced status, and (probably) ambitions for greater mobility were one dimension of this: neither family ties nor employment was under the scrutiny of Kinyagan chiefs. In addition his contacts in Bukavu provided access to other Hutu and to printing facilities. The newspaper Soma was printed in Bukavu, and distributed through a network of people sympathetic to Munyangaju’s ideas, many of whom themselves had been forced to seek work in the Congo. Economic autonomy outside Rwanda was thus instrumental in the ability of these Hutu leaders to seek autonomy from Tuutsi rule within the country.

There were similar pockets of identity-autonomy within Kinyaga itself. These were especially important in areas only recently placed under central control, where the memory of independence was strongly alive and where the structures of the colonial state were closely identified with Tuutsi rule. In 1958-1959 a series of articles appeared in the Catholic weekly Kinyamatekacastigating the system of unrestrained chiefly power and the exploitation by Tuutsi, particularly in the Bukunzi-Busoozo-Bugarama chiefdom of Kinyaga. What is particularly interesting is that the articles were written by a man who had been born and raised in Bukunzi and who was currently residing there. It will be recalled that the inhabitants of Bukunzi and a neighboring (ex)-kingdom, Busoozo, were exclusively Hutu until Tuutsi chiefs were introduced from 1925. After the conquest of Bukunzi and Busoozo by Belgian-led troops in 1925, the Tuutsi chief Rwagataraka had been authorized to send in his clients to rule these areas -a good example of collaboration between Tuutsi and Belgians for complementary but not necessarily identical goals. The people of these areas had tenaciously maintained their identitive autonomy, and their resentment against Tuutsi control was particularly strong. In this respect Bukunzi and Busoozo resembled the northwesternareas of Rwanda (Gisenyi and Ruhengeri) where Tuutsi were few and their rule insecure. In such areas, the Rwandan central court exercised only a nominal presence before the European arrival; Tuutsi power in the area was extended (often in brutal ways) under European rule, but was never very secure.

The author of the articles in Kinyamateka had been educated at mission schools and was a primary-school teacher at the rime the articles appeared. Teaching, like wage employment, provided economic and ideological outlets similar to those available through work in Bukavu. The articles also illustrated the active role of the Catholic Church in providing material resources, a distributive infrastructure for the paper through the mission network, and moral support and encouragement for those who sought to question the system.

Administrative innovations during the 1950s introduced by Rwanda’s king and the Belgian administration (in response to growing rural

discontent within Rwanda as well as pressure from the United Nations Organization) had heralded the later emergence of open debate over the Hutu-Tuutsi problem. At three-year intervals from 1948, the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations sent a Visiting Mission to tour Ruanda-Urundi for several weeks. The reports of these Visiting Missions expressed shock at the inequalities in Rwandan social and political structures and called on the Belgian authorities to undertake a program of progressive “democratization” to prepare the population for self-government. The 1948 Visiting Mission urged the Administration to democratize the whole political structure as far as possible and as speedily as circumstances permit. The masses must by degrees be led to take part in the choice of their leaders, and in sanctioning important decisions, the final aim being to achieve an increasingly widespread electoral system.

The 1954 Visiting Mission’s report noted the cleavages in the social and political structures of the Trust Territory:

The factors which normally unify a society, such as a common status, suffrage, racial equality, human rights and freedoms, have yet to be fully estabilished in Ruanda-Urundi.

A decree issued on July 14, 1952 by the Belgian administration represented a step toward reform. The decree provided for the introduction of councils at the levels of the subchiefdoms and Territories and the retention of existing councils at the chiefdom and country levels. In accordance with the 1952 decree and a measure of application issued on Jully 10, 1953, electoral colleges at the subchiefdom level were selected in 1953 for each subchiefdom by the local subchief, with the consent of his chief (Chef de Chefferie) and the Territorial Administrator. The subchiefdom electoral colleges chose from among their number the members of the subchiefdom councils. Members of the councils at higher levels of the administrative hierarchy were then selected from this base by a complicated series of indirect elections. As Jacques Maquet and Marcel d’Hertefelt have pointed out, the reform initiated by the 1952 decree was really quite modest—the elections did not involve a popular consultation (since the basic unit, the subchiefdom electoral college, was formed on the basis of nomination by the subchief ), and the councils were therefore hardly representative of popular sentiment.” But in many areas some Hutu were selected to serve on the subchiefdom council; later these same people often played an active role in the party polities of the late 1950s.

Three years later, in the 1956 councilor elections, subchiefdom electoral colleges were chosen by popular vote; however, the councils themselves were chosen indirectly, through the electoral colleges. The period of preparation for the election of the subchiefdom electoral colleges in 1956 was also quite brief. In Cyangugu Territory, for example, only twenty-seven days elapsed between the time when the Territorial Administrator met with the chiefs and subchiefs to explain the purpose and procedures of the elections and the day on which voting began (September 30, 1956). Munyangaju’s newspaper, Soma, carried some pre-election coverage in Kinyaga, and in some areas the Catholic missions played a role in informing the population and influencing the choice of candidates. The pre-election period was so brief, however, that many people may not have understood the meaning of the vote, and there was little opportunity for organization or campaigning in support of candidates.

The 1956 councilor elections were nevertheless important in terms of the emergent Hutu political activism, with a particularly significant impact on the cadre of Hutu local leaders. Hormisdas Kanyabacuzi, one of the early Kinyagan Hutu activists, is a good example of this. First selected to serve on his local subchiefdom and chiefdom council in 1953, Kanyabacuzi was later elected for a second term on both councils in 1956. He found his work as a councilor to be a radicalizing experience and a major impetus to join APROSOMA:

—What lad you to think about joining the [Aprosoma] party?

Before, when I was on the subchiefdom and the chiefdom councils and I saw what the Tuutsi were doing against the Hutu, I said to myself: if ever we had a place where we could speak out so that they would let the Hutu free, if only we had someone to listen to us…

One day at a chiefdom [council] meeting the chief brought a letter stating that a Hutu who normally cultivated for a Tuutsi did not have to do this [anymore], unless the latter gave him money. Then one of the subchiefs said, “Why do you say that, since Kanyabacuzi is there and so he is going to prevent our subjects from working.” Then they said to him, “Chief, why do you say that, when you should have told us this only among ourselves?”

Then I said, “Since this has become a law, then I will not tell lies, and I will go to notify my fellows.” That other one [the subchief] remained annoyed, very annoyed that I had heard that. It was I alone who was on the chiefdom council, I was the only Hutu. All the others were Tuutsi. And even onthe subchiefdom council I was alone with only one other Hutu.

In 1956 only the members of the electoral colleges at the lowest level of the administrative hierarchy (the subchiefdom) were chosen by popular vote. In 1956 as in 1953, the councils themselves (at the subchiefdom, chiefdom, territory, and country levels) were chosen by indirect vote, and this tended to favor the incumbent authorities. Given the lack of grassroots organization, the contral of voting procedures by the subchiefs, and the limited experience of the population in general with the meaning and mechanisms of popular elections, the 1956 results are not fully representative. However, certain general observations can be made.

In Kinyaga the proportion of Tuutsi elected to the subchiefdom electaral colleges in 1956 was 46.3 percent-higher than the all-Rwanda figures. This might be explained in part by the proportionately larger percentage of Tuutsi in the Kinyagan population, and the “multiplier effect” of greater Tuutsi organization and political control in areas of higher Tuutsi concentration. Still, significant regional differences in voting patterns were evident in Kinyaga, patterns manifested even more clearly later in the 1960 communal elections.

At the national level, the results of the 1956 elections indicated that the Tuutsi still controlled powerfuI political resources. The percentage of Tuutsi elected to the subchiefdom electoral colleges, for example, was twice their percentage of the population as a whole; while they constituted only 16.5 percent of the population, Tuutsi held 33.08 percent of the places on the subchiefdom electoral colleges. On the other hand, Hutu, who made up 82.74 percent of the population, held only 66.72 percent of the electoral college places.Clearly, a significant percentage of Hutu had voted for Tuutsi candidates.

Nevertheless, the 1956 elections were far from encouraging for Tuutsi powerholders. The representation of Tuutsi on the electoral colleges at the subchiefdom level had declined significantly frorn 1953 (by 20 percent), and the explosive potential of ethnic voting blocks in direct popular elections could not be ignored. The politics of the next four years were greatly conditioned by this realization, by the anticipation of elections scheduled to be held again in 1959, and by the expectation that the end of colonial rule was imminent.

Perhaps in anticipation of these changes, Belgium appointed a new Governor-General of Ruanda-Urundi in 1955. He was Jean-Paul Harroy, an astute and dynamic administrator who was only 45 years old at the time. Harroy was appalled at the conduct of Tuutsi chiefs in Rwanda. He deplored the fact that many Tuutsi authorities showed no interest in development of the welfare of their people; their major concern was to enrich themselves. To this end, Harroy observed, they used various forms of extortion to extract from rural dwellers everything but the “strict minimum the latter needed to survive. In the early 1950s, Harroy discovered, tensions in the rural areas were already much more serious than official reports let on. By the mid-1950s, conflicts had become even more severe:

Violent incidents involving some deaths, although localized, cannot have been rare.

On this subject I heard many stories in which, for example, in the hills the safety of a [European] agricultural agent or a physician carrying out a vaccination program was not assured, for the Hutu population -aroused by whom?- wanted to attack their Tuutsi assistant….

“Order” then had to be reestablished by a police action during which the traditional authority [Tuutsi] would profit from the occasion, which be had sometimes himself provoked, to “teach [them] a lesson.” . . . Certain of these lessons gave rise to main cruel acts.

And unfortunately, lacking the power to do otherwise, or sometimes for the sake of convenience, the Belgian official on the spot closed his eyes to such brutal practices.

Galvanized by such conditions, Hutu leaders began to take an increasingly assertive public stance. They demanded political, economic, and cultural changes and democratization of the political system. Tuutsi “traditionalists” at court reacted vociferously in defense of established privilege; the king, rather than serving as an impartial mediator, tended to side with these Tuutsi. This, in turn, generated more aggressive verbal attacks from Hutu leaders. The main Hutu participants in the political infighting at the national level were literate men; most of them were connected with the church network, and they shared a common educational background in church mission schools and common grievances over blocked mobility.

The success of their campaign would depend on the extent to which they could claim and use mass support. By 1954, the writings of one of the more prominent Hutu leaders, Grégoire Kayibanda, had begun to recognize the importance of linkages between educated elites (“évolués”) and the concerns of rural people. Kayibanda argued that the Catholic elites, rather than rejecting rural people, should attempt to help them “to struggle against their moral, intellectual, and economic distress.” Ideally, according to Kayibanda, a rural évolué “spend[s] time with [people on the hills], chats with them often, knows their aspirations better, their distress, their complaints, and sees better the injustices of which they are the victims.Such an approach was important not only to combat Tuutsi hegemony, but also to protect Hutu leaders from being implicated as accomplices of the oppressive system. Kayibanda warned his fellow Hutu évolués not to take on airs and separate themselves from the concerns of the masses:

These islands of Europeanized intellectuals could sooner or later find themselves uprooted by pitilessly mounting waves of the exasperated popular masses. This “populace” which supposedly is “dormant” also poses a problem and if the rural évolués were not there, their absence would hasten the day when the “populace,” harrassed and worn out, not discerning very clearly any more “the brothers who do nothing for them,” would be opposed not only to exoticism, but also, and even more intensely, to their brothers of the same race.

Kayibanda recognized and was attempting to respond to a growing con sciousness of oppression among rural people, the majority of whom were Hutu. To make these connections the national leaders often relied on people such as Kanyabacuzi in Kinyaga. Such activists, although often still linked to the land, were also engaged in other forms of work, as catechists, primary school teachers, truckdrivers, traders, artisans. They were, as Lemarchand suggests, a form of “rural proletariat.”

An important resource for protesters at both the national and local levels was access to the press through which critics of the system could make their views known. Two of the men who later became major Hutu leaders, Grégoire Kayibanda (later President of the PARMEHUTU party) and Aloys Munyangaju (Vice President and later President of APROSOMA) achieved prominence as journalists/editors for Catholic periodicals. While a school teacher in Kigali during the late 1940s, Kayibanda published a series of articles in L’Ami, a monthly journal published by the Catholic diocese at Kabgayi. In 1953 Kayibanda moved to Kabgayi to become Secretary in the Education Inspection division and editor of L’Ami. From 1955 through 1957 he served as lay editor of Kinyamateka. Munyangaju, who in 1956 had founded and edited Soma in Kinyaga, assumed in 1958 the editorship of Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique, a French-language daily newspaper published by the Catholic press in Bujumbura.

Through articles in these publications, Kayibanda, Munyangaju, and ailier Hutu publicized their cause among Europeans, particularly the Belgian administration, the Catholic missionary hierarchy, and external observers such as the United Nations. They strove to raise the consciousness of the rural poor, to “gutega amatwi” (open their ears), giving voice to rural dwellers’ complaints and suggesting ways to combat oppressive conditions.

The debates published in Kinyamateka gave voice to attitudes and discussions that were occurring at the grassroots level in many areas of the country. Evidence presented in earlier chapters of this study belies a view of Hutu peasants as unaware that they were being oppressed and exploited. Local level data from Kinyaga corroborate the conclusion reached by Ntezimana, a Rwandan scholar who has studied the role of the press in the Rwandan Revolution:

Not to be attributed to an “intelligentsia” which would have played the role of catalyzing element, the [protest] movement engaged in Kinyamateka and in Temps Nouveaux d’Afrique did not arise as instantaneously as if may seem. It did not come out of a vacuum. The spectacular increase of articles from year to year, the diversity of subjects considered, the extension of the phenomeno

to the whole country, the receptivity on the part of readers and, as a corollary, the growth in numbers o printed, show that Kinyamateka, without following a preconceived plan . . , responded to a long-awaited [need] on the part of the people and addressed their long-standing concerns. The press did no more than bring out into the open and canalize, directly or indirectly, a climate which preceded it by many years, or even decades.

In addition to the press the Hutu counter-elite skillfully used organizational networks and political ties forged through the Catholic Church. Through their activities in the church, educated Hutu lay leaders found opportunies to gain status and recognition denied them in the sphere of state politics. Large church celebrations were an occasion for such leaders from different regions to come together; for example, the celebration in 1950 of Save Mission’s Fifty-Year Jubilee is remembered by many Hutu leaders as the first occasion when Hutu from different areas discussed together the issues of political and economic inequalities and Tuutsi discrimination against Hutu. This was also the year in which the Legion of Mary was introduced in Rwanda. The Legion, of which Kayibanda was president in the late 1950s, provided a ready context for communication. By 1959 the Legion had established a chapter at each of the Catholic missions in the country and could claim a total of 6000 members.”

After the 1956 elections, the Belgian government and Tuutsi authorities failed to introduce reforms, and protesting Hutu began to doubt possibilities for peaceful political change. Positions became increasingly polarized, and opportunities for compromise diminished. As Theda Skocpol has observed, the reaction of the state in times of crisis is a crucial variable in the growth and outcome of revolutionary protest, and extemal power considerations (the situation of the state in the international context) are often critical to the capacity of the state to deal with revolutionary challenges. These considerations are applicable in the Rwandan case, all the more so because of the dual character of rule in the country -Belgian and Tuutsi.

Neither the king nor the High Council (Conseil Supérieur) of Rwanda used their power and prestige to respond to Hutu demands. Umwami Rudahigwa, apparently influenced by the more traditionalist Tutsi at court, helped to defeat a proposal in 1956 to provide separate representation for Hutu on the Governor’s Council of Ruanda-Umndi.” Like the umwarni, the High Council took the position that the main issues to address in Rwanda were economic and social; they refused to define the problem as one of ethnic discrimination. The composition of the Council was in itself not reassuring to Hutu. During the crucial period 1956 to 1959, this group (the highest advisory body of the state) included only three Hutu, less than 6 percent of its mernbership. Such Hutu underrepresentation is especially significant if one considers that the High Council was expected to assume legislative functions when Rwanda was granted self-government by Belgium.

The High Council’s position was articulated in 1957, shortly before the visit of the United Nations Visiting Mission. In its “Statement of Views,” the Council called for accelerated progress toward self-government, with emphasis on extension of educational opportunities, broadening of political participation, and social and economic reforms. But the staternent recognized only one type of discrimination in Rwanda -the segregation between Africans and Europeans; there was no mention of the Hutu–Tuutsi problem. The High Council thus followed the umwami‘s lead by not recognizing discrimination against Hutu.

Hutu leaders replied to the High Council’s statement with the “Manifesta of the Bahutu” signed by Kayibanda and eight other Hutu. This document was sent to Governor Harroy in Bujumbura in March 1957. The signatories, noting that they could have included the signatures of a million other Hutu, vociferously asserted the centrality of the “Hutu-Tuutsi problem” and the need for Belgian government recognition of it. They opposed elimination of legal distinctions between Hutu, Tuutsi, and Twa on identity cards, for this would make it impossible, the Manifesto argued, to determine what progress was being achieved toward more egalitarian political structures. The Hutu–Tuutsi problem, claimed this Manifesta, lay primarily in the political, socioeconomic, and cultural monopoly held by Tuutsi:

The problem is above all a problem of political monopoly which is held by one race, the mututsi; political monopoly which, given the totality of current structures becomes an economic and social monopoly; political, economic, and social monopoly which, given the de facto discrimination in education, ends up being a cultural monopoly, to the great despair of the Bahutu who see themselves condemned to remain forever subaltern manual laborers and still worse, in the context of an independence which they will have helped to win without knowing what they are doing. The buhake is no doubt abolished, but it is replaced even more by this total monopoly which is largely responsible for the abuses about which the population is complaining.

The Manifesto pointed to disaffection among rural Hutu youth (and some Tuutsi who had become impoverished) who wandered about, “fleeing the travail-corvée (work-corvée), [which is] no longer adapted to the situation and psychology of today. [Such youths] no longer accept the discipline of coercion which in any case gives rise to abuses which the authorities seem to ignore. Fathers were finding it difficult to feed their familles: “a substantial number are not without thinking that the Belgian Government is linked to the nobility for their total exploitation.” But on the other hand, the European was important as a constraint on Tuutsi exploitation, “not because [people] think the European is perfect, but because it is necessary to choose the lesser of two evils. Passive resistance to many of the orders of subchiefs is only a consequence of this disequilibrium and this malaise.” Finally, the Manifesto noted the chagrin of the Hutu seeing themselves “quasi-systematically relegated to subordinate positions.”

As solutions to these problems the Manifesto recommended rapid changes in Rwanda’s political and social system. A change in attitude was required, away from the view that only Tuutsi could serve as elites. Specific policies to remedy the poverty and powerlessness of Hutu should include the abolition of corvées (workers on roads and other public works should be hired regularly, paid wages, and protected by social legislation) and the legal recognition of land rights, with each person having land sufficient for agriculture and pasturage: “the bikingi [pasturages of the bourgeoisie] would be suppressed.” Other demands of the Manifesto called for establishment of a rural credit fund to help agriculturalists and artisans, codification of laws and customs, a lowering of social (ethnic) barriers in school admissions and distribution of scholarship funds, and the establishment of social centers for women and girls in the rural areas.

In mid-1957 Kayibanda formed an organization, Mouvement Social Muhutu (Hutu Social Movement), designed to promote the objectives articulated in the Hutu Manifesto. Several months later, Joseph Habyarimana Gitera, one of the signatories of the Manifesto, formed his own group, l’Association pour la Promotion Sociale de la Masse. Gitera, like Kayibanda and Munyangaju, had attended school at the Petit Séminaire of Kabgayi and the Grand Séminaire at Nyakibanda. But unlike Kayibanda, who was a teacher and leader of several organizations, Gitera was a small-businessman with a brickworks near Astrida. Gitera founded his own journal, Ijwi rya Rubanda Rugufi (Voice of the Little People) in which he engaged in impassioned, vitriolic attacks on the monarchy and the Kalinga drum, symbol of royalty. He called upon rural people to oppose their Tuutsi oppressors, by force if necessary.

The tone of Gitera’s protest was more vindictive and messianic than the writings of Kayibanda; it was Gitera whom the Tuutsi conservatives most feared. Yet Kayibanda was the better tactician, quietly building an organization at the grass roots, based on a structure of local cells, with a party organizer on each local hill. From Kabgayi Mission, Kayibanda was in a strategic position to contact Hutu in the areas around the mission and in the north, where the Tuutsi population was small; in both areas, anti-Tuutsi sentiment ran high.

MSM and APROSOMA represented two substantially divergent approaches in their ideology and tactics. Kayibanda’s association, later transformed into the Parti du Mouvement de l’Emancipation Hutu in 1959, stressed liberation of Hutu and took a strongly anti-Tuutsi stance. APROSOMA, by contrast, called for freedom of all oppressed groups in Rwanda, Hutu as well as poor Tuutsi. For both groups, of course, the monopoly of power and wealth held by Tuutsi chiefs and the abuses perpetrated by them were a central issue, but the differences between the leaders were real. Further study is needed of the roots of this cleavage among the Hutu counter-elite. Regional considerations were undoubtedly important; Munyangaju and Gitera, the major leaders of APROSOMA, were both from Astrida region, and Munyangaju lived for a decade in Kinyaga. Kayibanda and Bicamumpaka, leaders of PARMEHUTU, were from the central and northwestem regions of the country, respectively.

On July 25, 1959, Umwami Mutara Rudahigwa died in Bujumbura of what was officially reported as a brain hemorrhage. His successor, Kigeri Ndahindurwa, was chosen by conservative Tuutsi elements, who named him without consulting the Belgian authorities. The death of Rudahigwa and the subsequent choice of Ndahindurwa can be considered as an “accelerator” to revolutionary activity, as defined by Chaimers Johnson, for these events exposed the inability of the Belgian administration to impose its will; the failure of the administration to influence the choice of a new umwami made it clear that the Belgians were no longer in full control of the situation. The death of Rudahigwa acted as an accelerator also in that it convinced the Hutu that they had to organize more rapidly in preparation for violent confrontation.

Rwanda was a simmering caldron from August through October 1959. Tension was heightened hy expectancy. The report of a parliamentaly commission from Belgium, which had visited Rwanda earlier in the

year, was expected to appear soon, and elections were due at the end of 1959. Many speculated over what form the elections would take; a flurry of party organization took place in expectation of the announcement. Meanwhile, both Tuutsi and Hutu protesters tried to build up their coercive capabilities. APROSOMA and PARMEHUTU, the two major Hutu parties, escalated their demands for social justice and the redistribution of power and privilege. Feeling their own position threatened by the Hutu stand, leaders of the newly formed Tuutsi monarchist party, the Union Nationale Rwandaise (UNAR), resorted to coercion and violence to prevent people from joining the Hutu parties. A moderate Tuutsi party was organized by younger educated Tuutsi évolués, many of them employees of the administration. This party, the Rassemblement Democratique Rwandais (RADER) called for progressive reforms, a constitutional monarch, and democratization of political structures. CitizenshipOrganizedpolitical activity in Kinyaga emerged only slowly in the 1950s. Political cleavages increasingly came to be based on ethnic identity, but initially they were more precisely drawn along class lines many 'poor Tuutsi' considered themselves part of the populist movement. Hutu political organization in Kinyaga was launched during 1956...AMATEKA