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History, Independence

Kayibanda, Rwandan Patriotic, Rwanda independence, coup attempt, defense minister

At the insistence of the United Nations trusteeship council, Belgium granted Rwanda independence on July 1, 1962, with Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the Parmehutu (now renamed the Democratic Republican Movement; MDR), as president. The MDR won the elections in 1965 and 1969.

In 1963 some exiled Tutsi returned to Rwanda as a rebel army. Although unsuccessful, the takeover attempt prompted a large-scale massacre of Tutsi by the Hutu, followed by periodic ethnic violence. At the same time thousands of Hutu victimized in Burundi took refuge in Rwanda. In July 1973 the defense minister, General Juvenal Habyarimana, led a bloodless coup that ousted Kayibanda. Habyarimana, a Hutu from the north, charged that Kayibanda favored southern Hutu and was trying to monopolize power. Both parliament and the MDR were suspended after the coup. Political activities resumed in 1975 with the formation of a new ruling party called the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (NRMD). In 1978 a new constitution was approved, and President Habyarimana was confirmed in office for another five years. After thwarting a coup attempt in 1980, he was reelected without opposition in 1983 and again in 1988. In 1990, Belgium and several Central African nations sent troops to Rwanda to oppose an uprising by the Tutsi-backed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a movement of Tutsi refugees and moderate Hutu, invading from Uganda. A new constitution authorizing the establishment of a multiparty democracy became law in 1991, and a prime minister was appointed to organize a transitional government in preparation for multiparty elections in 1995.

Article key phrases:

Kayibanda, Rwandan Patriotic, Rwanda independence, coup attempt, defense minister, RPF, transitional government, rebel army, new constitution, uprising, parliament, troops, Uganda, Burundi, insistence, opposition, prime minister, establishment, president, Belgium, power, leader, law, formation, office, preparation, years, Development, MDR


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