In 1982, Uganda began a massive and violent
displacement of refugees from Rwanda, while their homeland
did not allow their return. Entire villages were burned down
by the Ugandan army, leaving 10,000 people without homes or
In 1986, Ugandan President Musenevi declared that
Rwandans who had stayed in the country for over 10 years
would automatically receive Ugandan citizenship. Relations
between the two countries improved, and in 1988 both
presidents signed a declaration confirming the fraternity.
general Habyarimana now took a number of new steps in his
leadership by conducting a democratic opening. First, a
National Development Council was formed, designed to
formulate a coherent policy for the country's various
economic and social aspects. After that, a crisis package
was implemented which, after all, produced positive
financial results. Finally, he released over 1000 political
prisoners and took precautions to safeguard the prisoners'
human rights in the prisons.
Habyarimana was re-elected in 1988. On December 26 of
that year, one-third of Parliament's 70 seats were elected,
including 11 women elected. But only 2 of the newly elected
members of parliament belonged to the Tutsi minority. That
same year, 60,000 Hutu refugees from neighboring Burundi
entered the country.
On September 30, 1990, Fred Rwigyema led a rebellion and
invaded the country from Uganda. He was a senior officer who
belonged to the Tutsi minority. President Habyarimana asked
for help from Belgium, France and Zaire, and troops from
these countries played a crucial role in fighting the rebel
offensive, despite fighting in the capital as well. An
intervention by Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens in
October created a ceasefire between the parties.
At the end of January 1991, 600 Rwandan People's Front
troops invaded the country from Uganda, but a month later
they were shot back. In March, a ceasefire agreement was
signed that allowed political prisoners and prisoners of war
to be released. At the same time, President Habyarimana
vowed to open negotiations to initiate a democratic opening.
In June of that year, he signed a new constitution to
guarantee a multi-political system. At the same time, the
post of Prime Minister was created, freedom of the press was
introduced, the president was limited to being able to sit
for 2 periods of 5 years and a division of power
in society was introduced.
In March 1992, at least 300 Tutsis were executed and
another 15,000 were forced to flee the Mugesera region. The
leaders of the two main opposition parties, the Democratic
Republican Movement and the Liberal Party, placed the
responsibility on the incidents on the government, and
especially on the government party's militia of young hutus.
In early 1993, President Juvenal Habyarimana rejected an
agreement signed in Arusha between the Rwandan delegation
led by Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye, the Democratic
Republican Movement and the rebels organized in the Rwanda
Patriotic Front (RPF). The RPF was led by Alex Kanyarengue
and was formed by Tutsis in exile who were critical of
ethnic hutu domination in the country.
The president refused to share power with the RPF, which
required 5 ministerial posts. He also refused to include the
partisans in the regular army and to allow the repatriation
of Tutsi refugees from Uganda and Tanzania.
Although the two sides had respected the ceasefire since
August 1992, in February the RPF interrupted negotiations
and launched a new offensive. The front brought most of the
country under its control and pledged to occupy the capital.