THE ARUSHA PEACE ACCORD (IN MEMORY OF THE RWANDA GENOCIDE APRIL 7, 1994 - JULY 1994)
We hear the term or word Arusha Accord, what actually is the Arusha Accord, what was the intention of the drafters,negotiators and parties to this Accord? Was it the Accord’s real intention to create equal or fair opportunities amongst parties or to empower one party to the agreement and to the detriment of the other? Did the Arusha Accord exposed the greed and selfishness of Political leaders in Rwanda? Was the Accord meant to create peace after a long lasting civil war between the Rwandan Government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Can we safely conclude that the Arusha Accord which was meant to bring lasting peace to Rwanda led to the Rwanda Genocide? We shall soon find out.
WHAT IS THE ARUSHA PEACE ACCORD?
The Arusha Accords is the official peace Agreement between the government of the Republic Rwanda and the Rwandese Patriotic Front.
The Arusha Peace Agreement or Arusha negotiations were a set of five accords or protocol signed in Arusha, Tanzania on August 4, 1993, by the Government of Rwanda and the Rebel Force (RPF) under mediation to end a 3 year Rwanda civil war.
The Arusha Accords was organised by the United States, France and Organisation of African Unity ( now African Union). The talk began July 12, 1992 and lasted until June 24 1993.
WHAT WAS THE INTENTION OF THE ACCORD
The Arusha Accord envisioned the establishment of a Broad-Based Transitional Government which would include the insurgent RPF and the 5 political parties that has composed a temporary government since April 1992 in anticipation of General Elections.
Under the Arusha Accord, there were 21 cabinet post in the Transitional Government, National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) the former ruling party was given 5 post including Defence portfolio. The Rwanda patriotic front got the same number including the portfolio of interior and the role vice prime minister. The major opposition party was, The Republican Democratic Movement was given 4 post, including the office of the Prime Minister assigned to Faustin Twagiramungu. The Social Democratic Party and Liberal Party was given 1.
The Rwanda Patriotic Front was granted participation in the National Assembly and was further agreed by both parties that the RPF troops would be incorporated and allowed to join the National Rwanda Army. the Accord made provision for the establishment of a military composed of 60 percent government troops 40 percent RPF. It was agreed that the transitional government and National Assembly would be established no more than 37 days after signing the Accords. The transitional period was limited to 2 months after which general elections would be held.
The delegations signed the Protocol on August 3 1993 and President Habyarimana and RPF President Alexis Kanyerengwe signed the day after even though neither side did not trust the intention of the other. It is said that the Arusha Accord favoured the Rwandese Patriotic Front because of disagreement within the Government.
The Opposition Foreign Minister, Boniface Ngulinzira led the government delegation rather than Rwanda President Juvenal Habyarimana. The Foreign Minister repeatedly vetoed the delegations decisions and the Arusha Accord stripped many powers from the Office of the President, transferring them to the Transitional Government. The only option left for President Habyarimana was to stall the process of the Arusha Accords. This very act of President Habyarimana led to the most horrific genocide of the 20th Century.
On April 6, 1994 (24 years ago) the most unfortunate event occured, the airplane of President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down as it flew towards the kigali airport, killing President Habyarimana of Rwanda and also President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, a Hutu.
This assassination led to the massacre which began the next day and over 800,000 tutsi within the period of 100 days were massacred.
This tragic violence of Genocide could have been prevented if only there was foreign intervention early enough to stop the signs when it was in its warning stage.
According to the National Security Archive, by January 1994, it was reported that Political Parties increased training of armed militias and were distributing weapons to civilians.
The Arusha Accords, was bound to fail because it abhors major inconsistencies facing the Rwanda Nation and these were beyond the powers of the Accord.
The tensions that grew during power-sharing negotiations leaked into the streets of Rwanda, clearly linking the tense political discussions to outbreaks of violence. The US Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Rwanda, Joyce Leader, wrote in August 1992: "…we can anticipate a new wave of internal insecurity, in some form or another, as peace talks proceed, especially if internal differences over power-sharing integration of [military] forces become acute."
Complicating the Arusha negotiations were the various splits among the political parties within the Rwandan government delegation. This is evident in various reports from US observers and the Rwandan delegation's reports sent back to President Habyarimana in Kigali. Major disagreements were: how the militaries would be integrated, the size of the overall force, and what proportions of RPF and former government forces would make up the new Rwandan Armed Forces. The RPF and Rwandan government also disagreed about how to choose which soldiers and officers would be demobilized, how to successfully integrate them back into society, and security concerns about the demobilization process.
The cause of the Rwandan Genocide was more of power sharing, leadership and interest of political groups than just a mere ethnic violence and disagreement.
The Rwandan Genocide is a long gone issue but the Scars remain even after it has been healed, The World learned it lessons, Africa and specifically Rwanda learned its lessons even after the damage has been done. The solution to any peaceful Negotiation is a always a peaceful Negotiation.
By Lord Reginald Sagay,
Lord of the League of Justice.