When Political Leadership Fails: The Case of the Rwandan Genocide

This paper examines the role of weak political leadership in shaping and leading to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. By studying the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods in Rwanda, I test key aspects of weak political leadership on three political leaders (Grégoire Kayibanda, Juvénal Habyarimana and Paul Kagame).  Using the political leaders as case studies, the results point to the necessity of considering weak political leadership as a factor in creating and sustaining an environment of political tension whose climax led to the genocide. The paper supplements rather than challenge other mainstream arguments and research on the causes of the Rwandan genocide and/or genocides. To eliminate bias, it is important to note that this paper has been researched on and written not based on personal opinions but rather through the lens of a political analyst and objectivity. 

Written by Pierre Dushime 

Dushime (B.A. Hons.’19) is a graduate of Political Science at Concordia University and an incoming BCL/JD candidate at the McGill University Faculty of Law. Dushime has sought to enrich the student body’s experience through offering various services and holding positions of Vice-President of the Political Science Student Association, Chief of External Affairs of the Concordia Model United Nations Conference, sports team caption of Concordia’s delegation to the Jeux de la Science Politique. 

 

Highly engaged in his community, Dushime volunteers at the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) since 2016. He has held positions of Youth Project Leader, executive/core member of the CCR Youth Network and currently serves as its Chairperson. His work with the CCR Youth Network was remarkable as he was later nominated by the CCR and selected to serve as one of the 18 Canadian youth to the first Youth Advisory Group to the federal Minister and Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees. 

Edited by Manisha Kumar

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