PATTERNS OF STATE COLLAPSE AND RECONSTRUCTION IN
CENTRAL AFRICA: Reflections On The Crisis In The Great Lakes.©
In a matter of days last October, a large
swathe of eastern Zaire erupted into an orgy of violence, sending tremors
through the Great Lakes region and beyond. What brought Armageddon to the
shores of Lake Kivu were the search and destroy operations launched by units
of Rwanda's Armée
Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) on a Hutu refugee population of over a million
people distributed among a dozen camps, many of which had been used as launching
pads for cross-border raids into Rwanda and Burundi (1).
The awesome nemesis visited upon the refugees is both epilogue and beginning.
It brings to a close the threats posed to the Rwanda state by Hutu extremists,
and opens up a new chapter in the tortured history of Zaire (now renamed
the Democratic Congo Republic [DCR]). The violence unleashed by the APR
had its source in Zaire, but its logic came from Rwanda; the Kabiliste insurrection,
on the other hand, has a logic of its own, but its impetus came from Rwanda.
Out of the dialectic that so closely links
retribution to insurrection emerged--or resurfaced --a "revolutionary"
movement dedicated to the overthrow of Mobutu's dictatorship: Laurent-Desire
Kabila's Alliance des Forces Démocratique
pour la Libération
du Congo (AFDL). Its spectacular success, only six months after its birth,
in carrying the banner of "liberation" to the gates of Kinshasa
is a commentary on the extent of popular disaffection generated by the Mobutist
state--and, parenthetically, on the naiveté of those analysts who failed
to recognize, or refused to admit, that its disease, like that of Mobutu
himself, was very clearly terminal.
This is not the place to speculate about the long-term impact of the seismic
aftershocks sweeping across the Great Lakes region and the neighboring states.
The aim here is to reflect on what the current crisis tells us about the
patterns of decay and collapse affecting the state systems of Rwanda, Burundi,
and Zaire, and briefly consider the prospects
for reconstruction. But first something must be said of the human costs
of the crisis, and its geopolitical implications for the region.
THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL
Ostensibly aimed at Habyalimana's "willing executioners" -- i.
e., the so-called Interhamwe and remnants of the ex-Forces Armées
(FAR), together accounting for approximately seven per cent of the refugee
population--the destruction of the camps sowed chaos and bloodshed in much
of North and South Kivu, causing massive social dislocations and untold
casualties among civilians. How many died in the course of the attacks is
any one's guess; estimates vary from a few thousand to tens of thousands.
There can be little doubt, however, about the fate of the survivors.
To the loss of approximately one million lives resulting from the Rwanda
genocide and its aftermath must now be added at least 300,000 "unaccounted
for" among those refugees who could not or did not want to go back
to Rwanda, as well as thousands of Banyarwanda residents of North and South
Kivu, Hutu and Tutsi, who died of hunger or disease, or at each other's
hands, or fell under the blows of the rampaging Zairian soldiers or the
bullets of Kabila's troops. If any credence is to be given to the report
recently published by Médecins
Sans Frontières accusing the AFDL of pursuing a "deliberate strategy
of elimination of all Rwandan refugees, including women and children,"
genocide is evidently not the monopoly of any single state or community.
In the history of man's inhumanity to man, few chapters are as horrific
as the carnage suffered by Hutu and Tutsi since 1972.
Behind the wreckage of the refugee camps and ensuing human tragedy lies
an underlying design, for which Vice-President Kagame of Rwanda and President
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda deserve full credit. The aim was to combine several
objectives: first and foremost, to bring to a halt the armed incursions
mounted from the camps in North Kivu and thus restore security on Rwanda's
western border; second, to extend the search and destroy operations in North
Kivu to the camp sites in and around Uvira (South Kivu) where some 150,000
Barundi refugees of Hutu origins had found shelter since 1995, and in so
doing deal a crippling blow to Leonard Nyangoma's Conseil National pour
la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD), the leading faction of the
Hutu rebellion in Burundi; third, to deny two of Uganda's armed opposition
movements, Tabliq and the West Nile Liberation Front (WNLF), access to safe
havens in Zaire; fourth, to pave the way for Kabila's "second coming",
and in so doing repay Mobutu in kind for his military assistance to the
Habyalimana government after the October 1990 invasion, and subsequent covert
support of the Interhamwe militias.
On each count, the Kagame-Museveni strategy succeeded beyond all expectations.
Built around a hard-core faction of ethnic Tutsi from North and South Kivu
(the so-called Banyamulenge) and with the backing of APR units, Kabila's
AFDL emerged as the spearhead of a local rebellion which quickly snowballed
into a mass movement. Unlike what happened during the 1964-65 eastern rebellion,
Kabila's second try at capturing power was conducted with considerable skill;
the evidence indicates the AFDL leader made excellent use of the lessons
learned from his more experienced "sponsors"(Kagame and Museveni).
Amazingly, the fall of Kinshasa, on May 17, with hardly a shot fired, anticipated
by a month Kabila's earlier prediction of capturing the capital by mid-June.
What all this adds up to is a fundamental alteration of the geopolitical
map of former Belgian Africa. In Burundi, the Hutu rebellion has yet to
recover from the loss of its privileged sanctuaries in and around Uvira.
While Burundi appears to be sinking ever deeper into the near anarchy of
an endless civil war, Rwanda is discovering the costs of refugee repatriation.
Here the security gains achieved by the destruction of the refugee camps
must be weighed against the infiltration of scores of Interhamwe and ex-FAR
through the return to their homeland of half a million refugees (approximately
half of the total refugee population living in the camps in Zaire and Tanzania).
Countless murders of civilians are reported to have been committed by Hutu
extremists, in turn provoking retributions in kind by the Rwanda military.
In Zaire, the Mobutu era has come to an end, but the contours of the successor
state remain uncertain. What does emerge with reasonable clarity is Kabila's
heavy indebtedness, politically and militarily, to his external patrons.
His meteoric rise from obscurity to the presidency of the Democratic Congo
Republic (DCR) could not have happened without their military
backing; similarly, his capacity to maintain himself in power will depend,
to a large extent, on their continued support. For Kabila to ignore the
circumstances of his military prowess would entail costs that he cannot
afford. Rwanda and Uganda (along with Angola) are now key players in the
regional power equation, and will probably remain so for the foreseeable
THE CHALLENGE TO CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
Looked at from a broader perspective, the crisis in the Great Lakes challenges
a sizable slice of received wisdom about "the clash of civilizations".
As will be remembered, the phrase borrowed from Samuel Huntington's celebrated
Foreign Affairs article (2), refers to the mortal threats to world peace
posed by fundamental cultural incompatibilities among civilizations. That
the Huntingtonian model is singularly inappropriate to explain the agonies
of Rwanda and Burundi is made abundantly clear by their remarkable cultural
homogeneity. It would be difficult indeed to imagine any two groups in the
continent that have more in common in terms of language and culture, history
and social organization, as Hutu and Tutsi. Nor does Huntington's reference
to "the bloody clash of tribes in Rwanda" (3) to describe the
horrors of 1994 bring us any closer to resolving the paradox of ethnically
diverse, yet culturally coherent, societies dissolving into genocide.
Political exclusion, not clashing civilizations, is the key to conflicting
identity formation in each state. To view Hutu and Tutsi as "tribes"
can only make for confusion. Unlike what can be observed in virtually every
other African society, where "tribes" are juxtaposed against each
other in cookie cutter fashion, in Rwanda, and to a lesser extent in Burundi,
ethnic relations revolved around a vertical system of stratification in
which Tutsi and Hutu stood in ranked relationship to each other, with the
Tutsi minority claiming the lion's share of power, wealth and status, and
the Hutu majority assuming a more modest position on the traditional totem
pole. What we are dealing with are not "tribes" in the usual (and
misleading) sense of the word, but status groups, whose distinctiveness
was reinforced by occupational differences between the Tutsi pastoralists
and the Hutu agriculturists (4) .
In this kind of ethnically stratified pecking
order lies an extraordinary potential for violent conflict. All it takes
is for ethnic entrepreneurs to manipulate this potential for political advantage.
Nowhere is the temptation to tap this potential greater than in an electoral
context where appeals to ethnicity translate into a victory of the majority
and defeat of the minority. This is the instrumental face of ethnicity,
which in Rwanda, as in Burundi, quickly led to the reconstruction of ethnic
selves in Manichean terms, in short to a constructivist frame of ethnic
The threats posed to the state in both instances
are inseparable from the introduction of the vote, and more generally
from the ethos of democracy. The collapse of their state systems can best
be seen as the ineluctable outcome of a head-on collision between the
"premise of inequality" inherent in their traditional value
orientation and the egalitarian message of liberal democracy. In vertically
structured, minority-dominated societies, the verdict of the polls is
never neutral, any more than the state systems to which they give birth.
Rather than a "society-wide epiphany," to use Thomas Carothers'
phrase (6), the result is violent conflict.
It is one thing to admit the potential for
violence inherent in the electoral process, and quite another to gauge
the scale of ensuing conflict. What needs to be underscored is that both
states have experienced violence on a genocidal scale, and in both cases
violence has generated massive outflows of refugees to neighboring territories.
Theories of state collapse make little or no mention of the implications
of genocide, both as an empirical fact and a phenomenon that profoundly
alters the perceptions that one group has of the other. A notable exception
is Alex De Waal's (7) lucid commentary on "the genocidal state":
"Rwanda," he wrote,
is more than another collapsing
state. The interim government of Rwanda is fighting for the right -- as
it sees it -- to free itself from the moral claims of the rest of the
world. This requires not just the eradication of the Tutsi minority but
the annihilation of the human-rights and democracy movement in Rwanda,
and all the values it stands for. In this furnace extremist politicians
are reforging the identity of the Hutu people. It is frightening to watch.
In a society exonerated of moral constraints,
and where the capture of power implies domination of one group by another,
killing becomes a moral duty. The preservation of ethnic hegemony is perceived
as a condition of physical survival, and the elimination of rival claimants
the only means by which survival can be assured. Conversely, in such circumstances,
the excluded community feels free to retaliate in kind. "An eye for
an eye" becomes a license to kill. The result is endless bloodshed.
In this hellish universe of mutually inflicted mass murder no one can
claim innocence, nor is there any room for reconciliation and compromise.
As a result, the obstacles that stand in the path of state reconstruction
are exceptionally daunting.
Nor indeed is there any room in contemporary
discourse on state collapse for the rise of armed refugee movements organized
outside their homeland with the active support of external actors. Although
the significance of the phenomenon transcends the cases at hand to include
Somalia, Chad and Liberia, it is in Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire that the
collapse of state systems is most patently traceable to insurgencies born
of refugee flows (8).
What needs to be stressed here is the potentially
explosive mix arising from the involvement of conflict-generating refugee
diasporas in electoral processes, a phenomenon made dramatically clear
by the recent history of Rwanda. The decomposition of the state machinery
on the eve of the genocide is traceable to the projection of electoral
competition onto intra-Hutu power struggles involving alliances, real
or presumed, with the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), the external vehicle
of Tutsi interests.
There are significant variations on this
theme in Burundi and Zaire. In Burundi, the emergent Hutu-dominant state
system born of the transitional elections of June 1993 was virtually blown
to bits by the military coup of October 21, a move patently aimed at reversing
the verdict of the polls. The assassination of the newly elected Hutu
president, Melchior Ndadaye, did more than bring to a halt a five year
transition to multiparty democracy; it created a deep split within Ndadaye's
party (the Front Démocratique
du Burundi -- Frodebu), between those who still wanted to give democracy
a chance, and those who felt that recourse to force was their only option.
Ambushed by extremists on both sides of the political spectrum, the Burundi
state expired under the combined assault of Tutsi militias and army men,
on the one hand, and Hutu rebels, on the other, the latter for the most
part identified with the armed wing of the Frodebu in exile, now renamed
the Conseil National pour la Défense
de la Démocratie
In eastern Zaire the nationality issue --
who has the right to vote and who doesn't--lay at the heart of the "Kivu
war" of 1993, pitting Banyarwanda (Hutu and Tutsi) against so-called
"native" Zairois. More recently, the withdrawal of their citizenship
rights was seen by many Tutsi as perfectly consistent with the threats
voiced by the South Kivu authorities against "foreigners" and
the exceptionally brutal "cleansing" operations directed against
them by the Interhamwe and local units of the Forces Armées
Zairoises (FAZ) in early 1996. After the wholesale slaughter of Tutsi
civilians in Mokoto, in April 1996, thousands of them left the Masisi
area to find refuge in Rwanda. The result of all this, as we now realize,
was to create a set of mutually reinforcing conditions for a tactical
alliance between the Banyamulenge and the APR, culminating in the shooting
up of the refugee camps in October 1996 and the rise to power of Kabila.
The significance of such critical moments
and events -- whether traceable to the surge of refugees across boundaries,
the holding of transition elections or the intervention of the military
-- points to yet another flaw in theories of state collapse: the very
limited attention paid to triggering events in sharpening the edge of
conflict, and accelerating the process of internal decomposition. A case
in point is William Zartman's (9) casual dismissal of "turning points,
warning signals, thresholds, or pressure spots," all of which offer
important clues to an understanding of the disintegration of state systems
in former Belgian Africa. Although there can be no quibbling over Zartman's
characterization of state collapse as a "long-term degenerative disease",
there is more to it than a "slippery slope" phenomenon. To these
challenging thoughts we shall return in a moment. Let us, for the time
being, take a closer look at the regional dimensions of state collapse.
REGIONAL FAULT LINES: The Kin-Country Syndrome
However wide of the mark the "clash of civilizations" may be
in uncovering the roots of the Hutu-Tutsi conflict, what Huntington (10)
refers to as the "kin country syndrome" is basic to an understanding
of the process of escalation in the Great Lakes. Where ethnic fault-lines
cut across national boundaries, conflict tends to spill-over from one
arena to the next, transforming kin solidarities into a powerful vector
of transnational violence. An action-reaction pattern sets in whereby
victims in one setting become aggressors in the other. Such, in a nutshell,
is the essence of the kin-rallying syndrome behind the escalation of violence
in the region.
In such circumstances, as Huntington (11)
reminds us, "conflict does not flow down from above, it bubbles up
from below." At the heart of this bottom-up dynamic lies a phenomenon
whose devastating effects are nowhere more dramatically revealed than
in the three states under consideration -- the transformation of refugee-generating
conflicts into conflict-generating refugees.
A critical aspect of regional escalation
lies in the presence in each country of a large number of refugees, most
of them with searing memories of the violence they experienced -- or inflicted
-- in their homelands. Refugee flows can best be seen as the vehicles
through which emotions are unleashed, ethnic ties manipulated, collective
energies mobilized, and external support secured. What is at stake here
is not simply the physical survival of human beings, but the political
survival of specific ethnic communities. Whether as instruments in the
hands of extremists for extracting assistance from humanitarian agencies,
making deals with local authorities, or forging alliances with local kin
groups -- or indeed as a political resource used by host governments or
secondary level participants to further their foreign policy goals --
refugee movements, as one observer noted, are intensely political: "they
create domestic instability, generate interstate tension and threaten
Much of the history of Hutu-Tutsi confrontations in Rwanda and Burundi
is indeed reducible to the polarization of group identities that has accompanied
the movement of refugee populations from one state to the other. Consider,
for a moment, what happened in Burundi in the wake of the Rwanda revolution
(1959-1962): of all the factors that have contributed to sharpen the edge
of the Hutu-Tutsi conflict none has been more decisive than the flight
into Burundi of some 60,000 Tutsi refugees from Rwanda in 1960-61, rendered
homeless by Hutu-instigated violence, many mourning the death of relatives
(13). By 1990 their number had grown to 180,000. Little wonder if some
took an active part in the Burundi genocide of Hutu in 1972. But by then
the shoe was on the other foot, with more than 50,000 Hutu from Burundi
seeking asylum in neighboring states. Another major exodus of Hutu took
place after the so-called "Ntega and Marangara incidents", in
1988, when in the wake of a local uprising thousands of Hutu fled to Rwanda
to escape retribution from the army. Until the 1994 genocide in Rwanda,
the most significant of such migrations took place immediately after Ndadaye's
assassination, in October 1993, and the subsequent killing of thousands
of Tutsi civilians by Hutu. As the all-Tutsi army proceeded to restore
"peace and order" with its customary brutality, an estimated
300,000 Hutu poured across the boundary into Rwanda. As much as the devastating
news of Ndadaye's death, their presence in Rwanda contributed in no small
way to sharpen ethnic tensions. Although the evidence is lacking, there
is every reason to believe that among the participants in the 1994 genocide
were a fair number of Hutu from Burundi.
If domestic instability and interstate tensions are prominent features
of the "kin country" syndrome in Rwanda and Burundi, the threats
to regional security posed by the Kabiliste insurrection are equally clear.
So also is the part played by violence-generating refugees in precipitating
the crisis that paved the way for the insurrection.
To get our bearings on the significance
of ethnic fault lines in North and South Kivu, and properly grasp the
factors behind the abrupt reconfiguration of the social landscape of the
area, we need to go back in time to the pre-genocide situation. A glance
at the ethnic map of eastern Zaire reveals notable contrasts with what
can be observed in Rwanda and Burundi. First and most obvious is the co-existence
within the same provincial arenas of so-called "Banyarwanda"
(Hutu and Tutsi) and a variety of ethnic communities indigenous to the
region (Hunde, Nande, Banyanga, etc.). In 1993 the Banyarwanda were said
to represent approximately half of the total population of 3.5 million
in North Kivu. Of these, approximately 80 percent were Hutu and 20 per
cent Tutsi (14). Furthermore, although neither Hutu nor Tutsi are a homogeneous
lot, until recently the tendency among the "native tribes" has
been to lump them together as "Banyarwanda," and to use the
label as synonym for "foreign intruders." That a sizable number
of them happened to be long-time residents of the area, that many were
born in Zaire, or traced the origins of their families to pre-colonial
migrations, seemingly made no difference.
Looked at in terms of clan and regional ties, and length of residence,
there are of course marked differences among both Hutu and Tutsi. Some
Hutu clans migrated into North Kivu long before the advent of colonial
rule. The same is true of the Tutsi. Especially relevant in this regard
is the case of the Banyamulenge, a Tutsi sub-group of South Kivu, numbering
in the tens of thousands (15). The label, in its pre-genocide connotation,
suggests a sense of identity derived from the locality where they first
settled, that is "the people of Mulenge." The Banyamulenge are
only one of a number of Banyarwanda communities that might be referred
to as "the early settlers," people who migrated to North and
South Kivu in the early or mid-nineteenth century, if not before; another
category are the so-called "transplantes" i.e., the thousands
of workers (mostly Hutu) who were brought to the Kivu at the request of
the colonial administration to work on tea and coffee plantations; a third
group are the mostly Tutsi refugees who left Rwanda in the early sixties
during the Hutu revolution, numbering anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000.
For all these differences, the Banyarwanda never ceased to be seen by
the soi-disant Zairois otherwise than as foreigners, and therefore disqualified
to claim citizenship rights. No other issue has had a more decisive impact
on the rise of a collective self-awareness among the Banyarwanda than
the withdrawal of their citizenship rights by the 1981 Nationality Act
(16). After the RPF invasion of Rwanda in 1990 incipient Hutu-Tutsi tensions
began to emerge, but these were consistently kept in check by their common
awareness of anti-Banyarwanda sentiment among "native tribes."
With the massive outpouring of Hutu refugees and Interhamwe from Rwanda
in 1994 the Banyarwanda frame of reference quickly dissolved into a rigid
Hutu-Tutsi dichotomy. An instant sea-change occurred both in the perceptions
that the Banyarwanda had of each other, and in the images that Hutu and
Tutsi projected of themselves in the social milieu of eastern Zaire. The
"kin-country syndrome" asserted itself with a vengeance, driving
Hutu and Tutsi, irrespective of other distinctions, into opposing camps.
Meanwhile, the communities indigenous to North Kivu began to cast about
for tactical alliances. While "native" Hutu joined hands with
the Interhamwe, FAR and Hunde elements against the "native"
Tutsi, the latter responded by casting their lot with the RPA (Rwandan
Patriotic Army), but not before thousands of them had been slaughtered
by Interhamwe and FAZ elements in the Spring of 1996.
Before long the Banyamulenge label was freely used as an all-encompassing
identity marker by all Tutsi in Zaire, irrespective of regional ties or
length of residence. Behind this curious case of ethno-genesis lies a
clear political objective: to openly proclaim their Zairian roots and
their full rights to Zairian citizenship. At the semantic level at least
the term Banyamulenge has settled once and for all the nationality issue.
This is not the place for a full-scale discussion of how the fault-line
war in eastern Zaire escalated into a regional conflict, with Rwanda,
Uganda, and to a lesser extent Burundi, as secondary participants, and
Angola and the Sudan as tertiary parties. Suffice it to note that the
collapse of the Zairian state could not have happened so swiftly, and
with so little resistance from the FAZ, unless the Mobutist state had
already shown alarming signs of decomposition.
STATE COLLAPSE: The Longue Durée
State decay does not happen overnight. It is a long-term process, which
brings to mind Braudel's 'long duration' (longue durée)
dimension. Although the Braudelian facet of state collapse applies to
all three countries, the cases of Rwanda and Burundi reveal contextual
specificities that mark them off sharply from their neighbor to the west.
In bi-ethnic, vertically structured social arenas, exclusionary policies
are a major source of erosion of state legitimacy. With the benefit of
hindsight, one can better appreciate the long-term implications of such
policies for the Rwanda state. The more or less systematic exclusion of
Tutsi residents in Rwanda from meaningful political participation (beyond
a quota system that left few illusions in the minds of its presumptive
beneficiaries), along with the refusal of virtually every government to
allow the Tutsi population in exile to return to their homeland, made
the Rwanda state doubly vulnerable. It created a deep and lasting sense
of alienation among the resident Tutsi population--in time making them
highly receptive to the appeals of their kin-group in exile -- while providing
the exiles with justification for the 1990 invasion.
There is an obvious parallel between the exclusion of Tutsi in Rwanda
and of Hutu in Burundi, except for the fact that the latter formed the
overwhelming majority of the population. Moreover, the exclusion of Hutu
in Burundi occurred more gradually, at a later stage, and did not reach
completion until the 1972 genocide, when anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000
Hutu were massacred in the wake of an abortive insurrection, and tens
of thousands forced into exile. Again, at no time did they benefit from
anything comparable to the massive military and logistical support extended
by Uganda to the RPF. What needs to be stressed is that in both Rwanda
and Burundi, ethnic exclusion resulted in the birth of an ethnocratic
state made all the more vulnerable by the rapid shrinking of its power
base (of which more later).
As the recent history of the Banyarwanda in eastern Zaire cruelly shows,
the denial of their citizenship rights was certainly a factor in the concatenation
of events leading to the unraveling of the Mobutist state. Unlike what
happened in Rwanda and Burundi, however, ethnic exclusion did not hold
the same implications. As long as it involved peripheral communities --
the Banyarwanda in Kivu, the Luba in Shaba, the Bakongo in the Lower Congo
-- the threats to the center seemed manageable. Although very much part
of Mobutu's manipulative tactics, ethnic exclusion has never been a systematic,
guiding principle of Zairian policies. If anything, the striking policy
inconsistencies surrounding the nationality question in the Kivu are better
seen as the symptom rather than the cause of the incoherence of the Mobutist
The threat of Malthusian trends is the second major source of state erosion
that needs to be stressed, in part because it gave justification to the
first. Long before they reached the edge of the precipice both states
were faced with demographic pressures which neither had the capacity to
contain. Rwanda and Burundi claim the highest population densities in
the continent. At the turn of the century each state had a population
of roughly 1.5 million. Today their combined populations are close to
15 million. In comparative terms this is as if one third of Zaire's population
were enclosed in a space one-sixtieth of its size. While raising serious
questions about the long-term viability of their state systems, the ever-expanding
size of their population retrospectively explains the past reluctance
of their governments to accept the return of large numbers of refugees.
Moreover, it focuses attention on land shortage as a major ingredient
of ethnic strife (particularly in Rwanda, but also in eastern Zaire) and
the inability of the state to develop policies designed to reallocate
land effectively and equitably, the reason in part being that land eventually
became a key resource in the arsenal of the state to build faithful clienteles
among privileged social groupings.
We touch here on a third aspect of the long-term processes of state decay,
with relevance to all three cases at hand: the shrinking of the political
bases of state authority. Nothing is more revealing of the weakening of
the Rwanda state under Habyalimana than the steady erosion of its power
base. The shift of power accomplished by the revolution, from Tutsi to
Hutu, uncovered deep regional fractures among Hutu, northerners vs. southerners,
Bashiru vs. Bagoye, etc. As the regional struggles over patronage intensified,
the point was reached where power and authority tended to gravitate increasingly
around the presidential household and his immediate family, the so-called
akazu ("small house" in Kinyarwanda). At the time of the RPF
invasion, on October 1, 1990, the Rwanda state was little more than a
caricature of the neo-patrimonial polity.
Much the same contraction of the political
arena can be seen in Burundi. From 1972 onwards, power became the exclusive
privilege of Tutsi-Hima elements from the south (Bururi), a situation
that came to reflect the dominant position of Tutsi-Hima officers in the
military. If nothing comparable to the akazu phenomenon characterized
the Burundi situation, there can be little doubt about the inherent fragility
of a state system where key decisions are made by a handful of army officers,
and where the army itself is subject to ceaseless internecine struggles.
The overall implications are well summed up by Rothchild and Groth (17):
Because state institutions are
fragile and lacking in effectiveness and legitimacy, they are a poor vantage
point to mediate the struggle between competing groups. Unable to channel
participation along predetermined lines, the overloaded state becomes
isolated and aloof from society, unable to structure the relations between
social interests or between these interests and itself.
Nowhere is this loss of legitimacy and growing
isolation more palpably evident than in Zaire. For a quarter of a century
the Mobutist state was able to compensate for its lack of internal legitimacy
by drawing huge dividends from its international status as the staunchest
ally of the United States in Africa. The end of the Cold War could not
but sharply increase its international isolation and legitimacy deficit;
bartering its anti-communist credentials for external assistance was no
longer a feasible option. Just as Mobutu owed his rise to power to the
incidence of East-West rivalries in the continent, in the last analysis
the collapse of the Zairian state must be seen as a casualty of the Cold
Intimations of the mortality of the Mobutist
state were felt long before its downfall. Its multiple afflictions have
been diagnosed in considerable detail by Turner and Young (18). Some are
rooted in the cumulative effect of economic and financial constraints
ranging from the plummeting of copper prices in the 1970s and the ineptitudes
of "Zairianisation", to a growing debt burden and a widening
gulf between a soaring supply of money and the availability of basic commodities,
leading to runaway inflation. Others are clearly traceable to Mobutu's
own neo-patrimonial style, which conjures up mixed images--Bula Matari
working in tandem with the Medellin cartel or Cosa Nostra. The result
has been a process of political involution centered around a handful of
rent-seeking cronies, leading to what Crawford Young pithily describes
as "self-cannibalization": "the state consumes itself to
live for another day". "The decay of the public realm,"
he goes on to note (19),
is marked by a cumulative deflation
of the state apparatus in terms of its competence, probity and credibility.
Institutions of rule lose their capacity to translate public resources
into sustenance of infrastructures or valued amenities. A pervasive venality
surrounds most public transactions. As a consequence, the subject comes
to experience rule as simple predation; the aura of the state as powerful
and nurturant protector vanishes.
While the image of the state as protector
receded, that of the state as predator came increasingly into focus. To
compensate for the unpaid salaries of his troops, Mobutu in effect gave
them a blank check to ransom and loot. The privileged ethno-regional clienteles
built around the Ngbandi-dominated Division Spéciale
(DSP) only reinforced the disaffection of the troops, whose principal
source of livelihood was plunder and theft. The phenomenon was already
patently clear in the early 1990s if not earlier, and became all more
threatening during the Kabiliste insurrection. For the majority of the
troops sent out to crush the rebellion the purpose of their assignment
was not to defeat the enemy, but to take maximum advantage of the situation
to engage in one "pillage" after another. As the tide began
to turn many ended up selling their weapons to potential rebels, or joining
In the catalog of forces that conspired to
produce the ultimate collapse of the state in Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire,
some are specific to their history and socio-ethnic configurations, others
to the complex pattern of interaction arising from the "kin-country"
syndrome. Yet in all three states emerges a common denominator: the extension
of the dysfunctions of the state to their militaries. The privatization
of the Zairian army and its propensity to instigate civil violence for
purposes of personal profit, the active participation of the FAR in the
Rwanda genocide, and the murderous intervention of the Burundi army to
block the transition to democracy--all are reflective of the declining
capacity of the state to control its instruments of coercion. From all
evidence, the Weberian definition of the state may well provide a more
useful thread for identifying the roots of its disintegration than some
of the more fashionable extant taxonomies (20).
TRIGGERS AND THRESHOLDS
In an otherwise inspired essay, Zartman (21) makes surprisingly short
shrift of the multiplier effect of decisive events on processes of state
collapse. His use of metaphors is revealing: "What is notable in
these scenarios (of state collapse) is the absence of clear turning points,
warning signals, thresholds, or pressure spots. . . The slippery slope,
the descending spiral,and the downward trend are the mark of state collapse
rather than deadlines and triggers."
The least that can be said of this curiously
ahistorical construction is that it is difficult to reconcile with the
evidence at hand--not unlike trying to explain the fall of the French
monarchy without reference to the seizure of the Bastille, the Tennis
Court Oath, or the Flight to Varenne. Triggers are not to be dismissed
lightly, least of all when directed against entire ethnic communities--or
when perceived as such. From this vantage the October 1, 1990 invasion
of Rwanda by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) can only be seen as a watershed.
Against heavy odds, almost four years later, the RPF was able to claim
victory, but at an appalling cost.
Immediately seen by the Habyalimana government
as evidence of a Tutsi conspiracy, the invasion was the signal for arresting
tens of thousands of Tutsi civilians, and not a few Hutu, throughout the
country. In the capital city an estimated 100,000 people were brought
at gun point into the national stadium for questioning. Only months later
were they finally allowed to return home. By then, however, ethnic violence
had crossed new thresholds of intensity. In January and February 1991,
in response to a daring RPF raid on the Ruhengeri jail, local Hutu militias
massacred hundreds of Bagogwe pastoralists (a Tutsi subgroup). This was
only the first in a series of anti-Tutsi pogroms culminating in March
1992 with the cold-blooded massacre of thousands of Tutsi civilians in
the Bugesera region. Predictably, the Tutsi invaders for their part showed
little restraint in dealing with Hutu civilians in the "liberated"
areas. Tens of thousands are said to have been slaughtered by advancing
RPF troops. By January 1993, an estimated one million Hutu civilians were
forced into camps throughout the country. Only if one remembers their
desperate condition--having lost all their possessions and sometimes their
relatives--and the depth of anti-Tutsi sentiment, can one understand why
so many of them ended up supplying the bulk of Habyalimana's "genocidaires."
With the assassination of Burundi's first elected Hutu president, on October
21, 1993, another threshold was crossed in the rising tide of ethnic hatreds.
In Rwanda, Ndadaye's murder carried enormous symbolic significance. The
message, in its devastating simplicity, came through loud and clear: "You
just cannot trust the Tutsi!" Relayed in the countryside by thousands
of panic-stricken refugees, the warning also found an immediate echo in
the media, including the racist Radio Mille Collines. Not only did the
news of Ndadaye's death virtually destroy the fragile consensus built
around the Arusha accords; from then on the Hutu militancy was clearly
on the ascendant, transforming the state into a battle ground between
moderates and radicals.
The third, most lethal trigger was the two
surface-to-air missiles that brought down President Habyalimana's plane
over Kigali, on April 6, 1994, killing, along with Habyalimana and his
closest aides, President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi. To this day the
identity of the men who fired the missiles remains a mystery (22). Most
Hutu, however, immediately detected the hand of the RPF behind the dastardly
deed. The killings began within hours.
As the Rwanda state finally collapsed, awash
in a sea of blood, its counterpart in Burundi was barely able to sustain
the backlash of the genocide next door. As in a game of mirrors, reflecting
symmetrical images, the Rwanda genocide quickly entered the consciousness
of the Tutsi community of Burundi in the form of a self-fulfilling fantasy,
giving retrospective justification to Ndadaye's assassination, thus becoming
part and parcel of what Paul Veyne calls "l'imagination constituante"(23).
The killings in Rwanda were not just an omen of what could happen to the
Tutsi in Burundi; genocide had already happened. What some erroneously
viewed as a spontaneous explosion of violence after Ndadaye's death, was
nothing less than genocide. Indeed, it was part and parcel of Ndadaye's
dastardly plans (which is why he had to be killed). It mattered little
that (a) Burundi was the scene of the first genocide recorded on the continent,
and (b) that it was a genocide of Hutu by Tutsi. The only point that mattered
for the more militant elements of the Tutsi community was to capture the
moral high ground by holding the majority of Frodebu politicians collectively
responsible for the genocide of their kin group. The drawing of a wholly
arbitrary line of demarcation around the "genocidaires" also
meant drawing of state boundaries. As parliament ceased to function, and
as governments were made and unmade by pressures from the street, orchestrated
by Tutsi militias, what was left of the state fell into the hands of the
Tutsi-dominated army, which to this day remains the principal arbiter
Space limitations do not permit more than
the briefest reference to the equally devastating impact of the Rwanda
genocide in eastern Zaire. Here again it is the catalytic effect on group
identities that needs to be stressed. With the massive surge of Hutu refugees
into the Goma area, followed in early 1996 by countless atrocities committed
by Interhamwe against local Tutsi, collective identities quickly sorted
themselves out into rival communities. Once allies and victims in their
fight for Zairian citizenship, they suddenly turned against each other
with appalling ferocity. Long before eastern Zaire became the launching
pad of Kabila's revolution, by courtesy of Vice-President Kagame, North
Kivu had been the scene of a hideous slaughter of Banyarwanda in 1993
(24). As much as anything else about the Zairian state, its inability
to come to grips with the nationality question, and with the roots of
the 1993 carnage, revealed the extent of its paralysis.
If the foregoing does illuminate certain
critical dimensions of state collapse, it also hints at some of the more
intractable problems that lie ahead on the road to reconstruction.
PROSPECTS FOR RECONSTRUCTION
After the descent into hell, comes the purgatory
of national reconstruction. Each of the three states under consideration
is entering this somewhat opaque halfway house with uneven indulgences,
and at different speeds. Although Rwanda has already made commendable
progress, Congo/Zaire has barely crossed the threshold of redemption.
Only in Burundi is the state fated to remain in limbo for the foreseeable
future. Clearly, given the extreme fluidity of the regional context, any
attempt to assess the prospects for reconstruction must be highly speculative.
By way of a starting point, two remarks are worth noting. Firstly, only
in Rwanda has something resembling a state system re-emerged from the
chaos of genocide; in Burundi and Zaire, on the other hand, the nearest
thing to the state is what Misha Glenny, in his classic work on the fall
of Yugoslavia, calls "the parastate," i.e. "the mutant
offspring of an expiring failed state. . . boasting certain essential
attributes of a normal state but grotesquely lacking in others"(25).
Because of its much greater degree of "stateness," Rwanda was
able to play a critical role in destabilizing Burundi's "genocidaires"
in exile and in "facilitating" the Zairian transition. There
is every reason to believe that Rwanda will expect substantial dividends
in return, primarily in the form of continued influence in Kinshasa and
Secondly, just as Habyalimana's Rwanda was
the model polity which many Hutu would have liked to transpose into Burundi,
many are the Tutsi politicians in Bujumbura, including some that might
be described as "moderates," who today look to Kagame's Rwanda
for inspiration. Kagame's Rwanda has all the earmarks of an ethnocracy,
but with just enough power sharing at the top to enlist a measure of Hutu
collaboration. Thus, if the substance of power is to remain in Tutsi hands,
via the military, no effort should be spared to give Hutu elements willing
to collaborate a prudent share of participation in decision-making.
Even the most cursory glance at the pattern
of reconstruction in Rwanda cannot fail to notice the characteristic traits
of a military ethnocracy. The emergent polity is one in which the 45,000
strong, all-Tutsi army provides the critical underpinning of the formal
government institutions. Key decisions are made by Kagame and his trusted
lieutenants, flowing from the top down. The appointed parliament is little
more than a fig leaf that barely conceals the dominant position of the
RPF. The civil service, the judiciary, the economy, the schools and university
are all under Tutsi control (26). The closest thing to a constitution
are the Arusha accords of August 1993. Although intended to provide the
basis for an all-embracing power-sharing formula, extending to the armed
forces, the accords have been consistently "adapted" and manipulated
to serve the policy goals of the regime. Efforts to rebuild the judicial
system are proceeding with less than optimal results. While the trials
of genocide suspects are said to be relatively fair, there are still some
100,000 Hutu languishing in Rwanda's jails. Quite aside from the fact
that approximately half of the detainees are said to have been incarcerated
for reasons having little to do with their presumed involvement in genocide,
but rather as the quickest way for their neighbors to grab their property,
the conditions in which most prisoners are being held can only be described
With ethnic violence picking up momentum
in the north -- largely as a result of armed raids by repatriated Interhamwe
and ex-FAR, inevitably followed by a devastating retribution in kind by
the APR -- the prospects for enlarging the ethnic base of the state appear
extremely remote. The implications transcend the Rwanda arena. In Burundi,
where the radical fringe of the Tutsi community remains extremely sensitive
to the lessons of Rwanda, there are signs that the current efforts at
mediation will be violently rejected by certain units of the army and
the militias, with the Bagazistes trying to draw maximum advantage of
the situation to further advance their ethnocratic claims. In Zaire/Congo,
any move designed to curtail the influence of Rwanda's "near abroad"
will probably be met with stiff resistance from Kagame, and indeed from
the Banyamulenge currently in charge of the security and the local administration
in North and South Kivu. Clearly, issues of ethnicity will continue to
set the key parameters for reconstruction in all three states. Which brings
us to a brief consideration of the impending avatars of the Kabiliste
take-over in the DCR.
The difficulties facing Kabila are inscribed,
in part, in the circumstances of his astoundingly rapid military victory.
Three factors are particularly worth noting: (a) the critical role played
by Banyamulenge elements trained in Rwanda in cementing the politico-military
armature of the rebellion; (b) the all-pervasive, overwhelming anti-Mobutu
sentiment that infused the civil society, and caused hundreds of thousands
of Zairians to cast their lot with the rebels, long before they even came
into view; (c) the widespread assumption among anti-Mobutist forces that
"liberation" means a swift transition from dictatorship to democracy.
For Kabila to break out of the ethnic enclave
in which he is now entrapped is a key priority if his reconstruction project
is to gain legitimacy. The task will not be easy. With the rapid advance
of the rebellion into the interior, a growing number of Zairians from
almost every province were brought into the armed forces of the Alliance,
thus diluting the salience of the Banyamulenge presence in the military,
but not to the point of allaying fears of "foreign domination."
Banyamulenge form the hard core of Kabila's troops; many occupy key positions
in the administrative machinery of North and South Kivu. Anti-Banyamulenge
feelings run high in both provinces, particularly among Hunde and Babembe.
Despite efforts to incorporate Bashi elements in the provincial power
structure their loyalty is open to question. The same is true of the Baluba/Kasai,
who bitterly resent the exclusion of their "favorite son" (Etienne
Tshisekedi) from the ruling government coalition. Kabila is thus faced
with a Hobsons's choice: failure to meet the imperative of a broadly based
coalition, meaning also a genuine effort to scale down the influence of
the Banyamulenge in the Kivus and elsewhere, can only lead to a loss of
legitimacy; turning against the architects of his victory against Mobutu,
on the other hand, would be tantamount to political suicide.
Kabila must bear the unanticipated costs
of a military conquest that quickly outpaced his capacity to put in place
a viable administration. The abrupt collapse of the Mobutist state has
created a political vacuum that has yet to be filled. The most notable
exception is North and South Kivu. Even so, the picture conveyed to outside
observers is one of considerable improvisation, with little attention
paid to the potential support that could be derived from the civil society.
If the situation in the Kivus is any index, many are the civil society
organizations (CSO) that could have provided the social ballast needed
to reconstruct the new polity, but so far their place in the new dispensation
appears extremely nebulous. Many have been torn apart by ethnic rivalries
born of the rebellion; some were simply dismantled, while others were
brought under the tight control of Alliance cadres. Fear that the CSOs
could transform themselves into "contre-pouvoirs" is all pervasive.
In the absence of a civil society capable
of providing effective linkages with the state, the day-to-day tasks of
administering the liberated territories have been entrusted to the Commissaires
de Zone. Although in many instances local incumbents were allowed to remain
in office, there can be little doubt as to where power lies -- in the
hands of the Commissaires, acting hand in hand with local units of the
armed forces. Though decidedly more disciplined than the FAZ, at times
the enforcement of discipline on the civilian population is ominously
reminiscent of the Bula Matari scenarios. "The attitude of the army,"
according to a first-hand witness, "is designed to bring back a taste
of civic mores ('kuleta morale'), with an introduction of the chicotte.
. . What is unacceptable by any modern standard of justice is the fact
that whip lashing (on the legs) takes place on the spot, lying down face
on the ground, by the same people who observe the alleged misdemeanor"
(27). If this testimony -- eerily evocative of the most somber of Tshibumba's
paintings (most notably "Colonie Belge") -- is any indication,
recourse to force could figure prominently in Kabila's strategies of state
reconstruction. This impression is strongly reinforced by the deliberate,
wanton killings of tens of thousands of Hutu refugees at the hands of
Alliance troops, prompting the EU Head of Humanitarian Affairs Commission,
Emma Bonino, to describe the killing grounds of eastern Zaire as a "slaughter
As the foregoing plainly suggests, the focus
of Kabila's efforts at reconstruction is less on democracy than on the
creation of spaces for discipline and moralization. In view of his own
background as an Afro-Marxist guerrilla fighter during the 1964 rebellion,
and his subsequent checkered career, it is easy to see why the virtues
of the Civic Culture should only have a limited appeal to his projet
de société. His early exposure to Marxism has left an ideological
legacy that points to a systematic effort at the re-socialization of Zairian
society. In the Kivu this finds expression in the ideological seminars
conducted by the secrétaires
charges de la coordination, in which the emphasis is on a class analysis
of Zairian society; in terms of organization the aim is to reach out to
the grassroots through the local cells (Chembe Chembe) set up to assist
the administration; ultimately it is for centrally appointed village officials
to filter and sanction the "general will" expected to emanate
from the rural masses. It is evidently far too early to draw definitive
conclusions from the situation observable in the Kivus; the ambivalence
of Kabila's project (28) is well captured in the description offered by
a recent visitor to eastern Zaire:
Whereas certain statements of the
AFDL (Alliance des Forces Démocratiques
pour la Libération
du Congo) (interviews with Kabila, etc.) stress a liberal approach, the
ideological courses to which all functionaries are subjected rather stress
a Marxist approach (class struggle, national bourgeoisie, etc.). An article
in the Rwandese official newspaper La Nouvelle Releve (no. 339 of 7/4/97)
gives yet another viewpoint, which centers around "a new social order
in a rural environment" comparable to the ideas of Guinea-Bissau's
Cabral for an African Socialism. Summarized in very short order, it states
that organizing the rural society is first and foremost in solving the
country's problems. This can be concretized in three points: changing
political structures in favor of small producers, changing the mode of
production, and increasing the productivity. To enable this accelerated
development, a combination of state efforts (parastatals) and private
efforts (via cooperatives) will be necessary.
It will be some time before the contours
of the new state can be discerned with any degree of precision -- beyond
what few tentative conclusions one may draw from the profile of the newly
appointed government. Whether the expectations of the Zairian/Congolese
masses can be met in time to prevent a major political backlash remains
unclear. What is beyond doubt is that more will be required than a formal
commitment to democracy, or Afro-Marxism, to reinvigorate private enterprise,
restart the production of the industrial and manufacturing sectors, get
the parastatals back on the rails, and restore the infrastructures. From
Mobutu's kleptocratic rule Kabila has inherited a devastated economy,
a society driven by ethno-regional enmities, plagued by deep poverty and
shocking social inequalities, a country which, as one rebel radio broadcast
noted, "has been crushed to a pulp." Rebuilding the DCR on the
ashes of the Zairian state promises to be a Herculean task. Whether Kabila
proves equal to the challenge remains to be seen.
This paper was prepared for presentation
at the XVIIth World Congress of the International Political Science Association,
17-21 August 1997, Seoul, South Korea, Copyright IPSA 1997. None of the
views set forth in this paper are to be attributed to USAID or any other
agency of the US government; I claim full responsibility for all errors
of fact or interpretation.
(1) The question of how many refugees returned
to Rwanda, and how many stayed behind, is a highly controversial issue.
By and large pro-Rwanda analysts tend to greatly inflate the number of
returnees (up to 700,000) and scale down the number of those who stayed
in Zaire. Typical of this tendency to manipulate statistics is the following
statement from a US official in Kigali: "Half a million refugees
did not remain behind, but only about 100 to 200,000. . . . The UNHCR
and NGOs grossly over-counted the refugees by mistake or probably more
likely for their own motives -- continued western funding" (Personal
communication). According to UNHCR figures, the total refugee population,
before October 1996, was in the order of 1.1 million distributed among
some fifteen camps from Mugunga in the north to Uvira in the south. Some
316,000 were reported in the camps around Bukavu, 715,000 around Goma,
and 180,000 around Uvira, of whom 117,000 were Barundi. Assuming that
as many as 700,000 returned to Rwanda, which has yet to be confirmed,
this still leaves some 400,000 "unaccounted for." For an excellent
survey of the refugee situation in eastern Zaire see the special issue
of Dialogue ("Les Oublies de l'Afrique des Grands Lacs"), No.
196 (February 1997), as well as Johann Pottier's outstanding discussion,
"The 'Self' in Self-Repatriation: Closing Down Mugunga Camp (Eastern
Zaire)", forthcoming, in Richard Black and Khalid Koser, eds., The
End of the Refugee Cycle? Refugee Repatriation and Reconstruction, Bergahm
(2) Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of
Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order." Foreign Affairs,
V. 72, N. 3, Summer 1993, p22(28). The Clash
of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1996.
(3) Ibid. , p. 28.
(4) For further elaboration on this theme,
see René Lemarchand, Burundi: Ethnic Conflict and Genocide. New York:
Cambridge University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1995.
(5) For an illuminating discussion of the
constructivist and other models of ethnicity, see Crawford M. Young, "The
Dialectics of Cultural Pluralism: Concept and Reality", in Crawford
M. Young, ed., The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism. Madison: University
of Wisconsin Press, 1993, p. 21. On the role of intellectuals in fashioning
the constructivist face of ethnicity in Rwanda and elsewhere, see Michael
Chege, "Africa's Murderous Professors", The National Interest,
(6) Thomas Carothers, "Which Democracy
Should We Export", Harper's Magazine, September 1996, p. 19.
(7) Alex De Waal, "The Genocidal State",
Times Literary Supplement, July 1994, n. 4761, p.3. For an illuminating
background discussion of the Rwanda genocide, see David Rieff, "An
Age of Genocide: The Far-Reaching Lessons of Rwanda", The New Republic,
January 26, 1996.
(8) On the genesis of refugee flows, see
Myron Weiner, "Bad Neighbors, Bad Neighborhoods: An Enquiry into
the Causes of Refugee Flows", International Security, vol. 21, No.
1 Summer 1996, pp. 5-42.
(9) William Zartman, "Introduction:
Posing the Problem of State Collapse", in William Zartman, ed., Collapsed
States. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1995.
(10) Huntington, op. cit., p. 272.
(11) Ibid. , loc. cit.
(12) G. Loescher, "Refugee Movements
and International Security", Adelphi Paper No. 268, International
Institute of Strategic Studies, London 1992, quoted in Liisa Malkki, "Refugees
and Exile: From 'Refugee Studies' to the Rational Order of Things",
Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 24, 1995, pp. 504.
(13) For the historical background, see
René Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi. New York and London: Pall Mall
Press and Frederick Praeger, 1970.
(14) See Filip Reyntjens and S. Marysse.
eds., Conflits au Kivu: Antecedents et Enjeux. University of Antwerp:
Center for the Study of the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Dec. 1996.
(15) The size of the Banyamulenge population
in South Kivu remains an enigma; the figures cited vary from 35,000 to
200,000 (see Reyntjens and Marysse, op. cit.). An educated guess would
suggest at least 60,000, possibly more; the figure of 200,000, cited by
International Alert and other NGOs, seems grossly exaggerated. Part of
the confusion may stem from the failure to take into account the changing
definition of Banyamulenge: after the attacks on the refugee camps, the
term came to designate all Tutsi, regardless of whether they came from
North or South Kivu, or their length of residence in Zaire. See the outstanding
analysis in James Fairhead, "Demographic Issues in the Great Lakes
Region", Save the Children Conference on Practical Approaches to
the Crises of the Great Lakes, Sunridge Park, London, 24-26 March 1997.
"Statistics from 1991 in Rwanda," Fairhead writes, "suggested
a catastrophic scenario within the next 25 years." Present populations
average 600 people per usable ha, with average rural population density
set to increase to c. 1000-1500 inhabitants per sq. km in 2015, with average
farms of less than 1 ha on which 8-12 people must live." Population
projections for Burundi and eastern Zaire, he adds, suggest equally problematic
scenarios. See Johann Pottier, "Social Dynamics of Land and Land
Reform in Rwanda: Past, Present and Future", SOAS, University of
London. Typescript, April 1997.
(16) The 1981 Nationality Act limited Zairian
citizenship only to those persons able to show they had an ancestor belonging
"to one of the tribes established in Zaire since 1865," thus
repealing the 1972 law granting citizenship rights to all Banyarwanda
established in Zaire before January 1950. Not only did the 1982 Act disqualify
those tens of thousands of Banyarwanda and Barundi who came into Zaire
at the request of the Belgian authorities, along with Tutsi elements who
fled the Rwanda revolution; even more exasperating was the absurdity of
a piece of legislation that made it virtually impossible for anyone to
comply with provisions given that (a) the boundaries of Zaire in 1885
had yet to be fixed, and (b) proof of a pre-1885 ancestry is impossible
to establish in juridical terms. For further details on the nationality
issue, see Jean-Claude Willame, Banyarwanda et Banyamulenge; Violences
Ethniques et Gestion de L'Identitaire au Kivu Paris: L'Hartmattan, 1997)
(17) Donald Rothchild and Alexander J. Groth,
"Pathological Dimensions of Domestic and International Ethnicity",
Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 110, No. 1, 1995, p. 74.
(18) Crawford M. Young and Thomas Turner,
The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State. Madison: University of Wisconsin
(19) Crawford M. Young, "Reflections
on State Decline and Societal Change in Zaire" Typescript, January
1997, p. 2.
(20) See, for example, Jean-Germain Gros,
"Towards a taxonomy of failed states in the New World Order: decaying
Somalia, Liberia, Rwanda and Burundi", Third World Quarterly, Vol.
17, No. 3 1996, pp. 455-471, where the author valiantly wrestles with
five categories of failed polities: "anarchic states", "phantom
or mirage states", "anaemic states", "captured states",
and "states that failed in vitro (they are called aborted states)."
(21) Zartman, op. cit., p. 9. The other
side of this methodological coin is an overly functionalist approach to
the subject of state collapse. "Why do states collapse," asks
Zartman. "Because they can no longer perform the functions required
for them to pass as states" (p. 5). What would the author reply to
a doctor who would explain the death of his patient by gravely announcing
that he/she could no longer perform the functions required to stay alive?
(22) For an instructive, although inconclusive,
effort to solve the mystery, see Filip Reyntjens, Rwanda: Trois jours
qui ont fait basculer l'histoire Brussels: Institut Africain/CEDAF, and
L'Harmattan: Paris, 1995.
(23) Paul Veyne, Les Grecs ont-ils cru à
leurs mythes? Essai sur l'imagination constituante Paris: Le Seuil, 1983.
This myth has been largely endorsed by the UN Commission in charge of
investigating the circumstances of Ndadaye's assassination.
(24) For an excellent first-hand account,
see Davis Orr, "Kivu Province Becomes a War Zone", Focus on
Africa, Vol. 4, No. 4 October-December 1993, pp. 5-8.
(25) Michael Glenny, The Fall of Yugoslavia
London: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 263.
(26) According to a reliable source, out
of a total of approximately 5,200 students registered at the National
University in Butare, 5,000 are Tutsi and 200 Hutu.
(27) Anon., "Tupemata morale: Report
of a Field Trip to South-Kivu", May 1-8,1997, p. 3.
(28) Ibid., p. 2.