Domestic Tourism Safaris | Rwanda
OFFICIAL NAME : Republic of Rwanda
POLITICAL SYSTEM:Unitary state with multiparty democracy
NEXT ELECTION DATE : 2017
CONSTITUTION : New constitution adopted 4th June 2003
INDEPENDENCE : 1st July 1962
CAPITAL CITY : Kigali
MAIN CITIES/TOWNS : Kigali (capital), kamembe (Western province),
Ruhengeri (Northern Province, Gisenyi (Northern Province)
TIME ZONE : GMT + 2 hours
CURRENCY : Rwanda Franc (RWF)
LANGUAGE : Kinyarwanda, French and English (official), Swahili.
PHONE CODE : + 250
LOCATION : East Africa, Central Africa
GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES 2000’S , 30000’E
BORDER COUNTRIES : Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic
SIZE : 26,338sq.km
Water 1,390 sq
Land 24,968 sq.km
COASTLINE : Landlocked
TEMPERATURE : Two rainy seasons (February to April, November
of January) mild in mountains with frost and possible temperature 240 (Maximum of 340 during the day and minimum of 100 at night) Average in Kigali 190.
CLIMATICAAL CONDITIONS: Tropical but mild because of elevation: two rainy
Seasons: March – May and October – November, front and snow possible in the mountains
GDP (2008 EST) : $ 3.4 billion
GROWTH RATE : 11.2% (2008 estimates)
GDP PER CAPITAL (2008 EST) : $370. Purchasing power parity 2006
estimates; $ 1,600
MAJOR RELIGIONS : Christian 93%, Muslim 5% and other 2 %
POPULATION : 0.6 Million
POPULATION GROWTH RATE : 2.7%
LIFE EXPECTANCY BIRTH : 48 YEARS
HISTORY OF RWANDA
Rwanda was already a politically and culturally unified nation with a centralized administration and a king, the Mwami, since the 16th century. Its borders encompassed areas that today are part of Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was formed by a people in whom the Twas (Descendants of the pygmies), Hutus (farmers) and Tutsis (livestock breeders) comprised a single ethnic group and spoke the same language, Kinyarwanda.
In 1885 the congress of Berlin defined Ruanda – Urundi (present – day Rwanda and Burundi). From 1900 the catholic white fathers, eclipsing Germany’s influence, established a sort of third power alongside the Mwami and the colonizer.
In 1916 German troops marched into the Belgian Congo, prompting Belgium to enter Rwanda. After the First World War the League of Nations entrusted the administration of Ruanda – Urundi to Brussels, with the mission of granting it statehood in the long term. From 1923 to 1962 the Belgians turned the distinctions between Hutus and Tursis into a system of government. In 1931 they had king Mutara III Rudahigwa require everybody to carry an ethnic identity card, instituting a formal separation between the communities. The basis for belonging to the Tutsi group was ownership of at least 10 head of livestock; every body else was considered Hutu.
THE ARTIFICIAL HUTU – TUTSI DIVIDE
In the 1950s the Belgian administration and the white fathers exploited Hutu opposition to independence advocates, who had joined forces under the banner of the Rwandan Nation Union (UNAR). In 1956 the Mwami demanded the Belgian’s departure and statehood and the party for the Emancipation of the Hutu people (Parmehutu) was founded.
Its leader, GregoireKayibanda, opposed independence and preached “social revolution”. In March 1957 a document called Note on the social Aspect of the indigenous Racial problem in Ruanda, better known as the Bahutu’sMnifesto, imposed the artificial idea of two separate peoples, one of which was portrayed as the other’s historic opressor.
The first genocidal massacres took placve in 1959, driving 300,000 Tutsis into exile.
INDEPENDENCE AND A SINGLE PARTY
The Republic of Rwanda was proclaimed on 28 January 1961 and GregoireKayibanda was elected president on 26 October. Rwanda became independent on 1 July 1962 in a context verging on one war. Massacres in 1963, 1964 and 1973 drove tens of thousands of Tutsis into exile. On 5 July 1973 General Juvenal Habyarimana seized power in Kigali.
In 1975 he founded the National Revolutionary movement for Development (MRND), which became the single party, and began forging closer ties with France. The political climate quickly worsened as Tutsi refugees who had fled the Massacres organized an armed movement, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR), on other side of the Ugandan border.
DICTATORSHIP AND CIVIL WAR
On 1 October 1990 the FPR launched its first offensive against Kigali. French troops intervened on the side of the regime. Talks began in 1992 and the following year the Arusha (Tanzania) Accords led to the formation of a coalition government including the MNRD and FPR. In November 1993 French soldiers left Rwanda and were replaced by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), incharge of overseeing implementation of the Arusha Accords.
The Habyarimana regime eventually came around to the idea of sharing power, but Hutu extremist refused. They planned out the extermination of the Tutsi population before unleashing the genocide in April 1994. Only 4 July 1994 the FPR took control of the capital. Officials fled and the killing ended, but the Country was battered. 18 years later, Rwanda has become for many an example of Political stability and economic and social development.
THE “LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS”
Rwanda covers approximately 26,432 sq km (slightly smaller than Belgium) in the heart of the African continent just below the equator. The country’s terrain earned it the nick – name “Land of a Thousand Hills” The highest point is 4,507m at Mount Karisimbi in the north – west’s volcanic range. The lowest (950m) is in the Rusizi valley near the Congolese border. The central region, where Kigali is located (1,400m), features a series of plateaus with an average elevation of 2,000m.
Rwanda has a temperate equatorial climate with two rainy seasons (100 to 200 days precipitation a year); a long one from mid – February to mid – May and a short one from mid – September to mid – December. The elevation makes temperatures pleasant; 16 to 17oC in the volcano region, 18 to 21oC in the central area and 20 to 24oC in the lowest lands. The average temperature in Kigali is 19oC
Colonization spurred the growth of Catholicism and gave it the leading role it has today; nearly 56.5% of Rwandans are Catholic, while 26% are protestants or members of evangelical or Pentecostal churches. In cities, where there are communities of Indo – Pakistani shopkeepers and businessmen, 4.6 of the population practice a moderate form of Sunni Islam. Every big city has a mosque while Kigali has a dozen.
THE RWANDAN CONSTITUTION
The constitution of the Republic of Rwanda was approved by referendum on 26 May 2003 and promulgated on 4 June.
It states that “all the power derives from the people. No group of people or individual can vest in themselves the exercise of power” Rwanda’s first presidential and legislative elections took place in August and September 2003.
THE RWANDAN FLAG
The flag was adopted in 2001. It features three horizontal stripes; green stands for hope and prosperity, yellow for economic development and blue for happiness and peace. The sunburst in the blue stripe symbolizes unity, transparency and the struggle against ignorance.
THE NATIONAL MOTTO
The National Motto is Ubumwe, Umurimo, Gukundaigihugu – unity, work, patriotism).
SOUGHT – AFTER ASSETS
Rwanda has a temperate climate all year, an exceptional atmosphere of security in every region and conditions that make it easy to get around. The major tourist sites are a one – to five hour drive from Kigali. The country’s central location makes it a good base for travelling to Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Business Tourism, already a major resources given Rwanda’s economic dynamism, is likely to grow even more after the 2012 opening of the Kigali convention center which will be able to host prestigious international conferences.