Patronage: The process of appointing persons to government positions on the basis of political support and work rather than on merit. It is also called the ‘spoils system’.
Clientship: The state of being under the protection of a man of wealth and influence (patron) and a client. The genocide which took place in Rwanda and which, according to most estimates, has claimed the lives of about a million people in the most atrocious ways imaginable while causing the displacement of about half of its 7.5 million people has led to one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the history of the World.
Today, while the international community is trying by all means to solve this problem or at least to alleviate the suffering of millions of the victims of these atrocities, the questions which Rwanda presents to the World are those raised by that central horror: Why did it happen and whether it can be rooted in ethnicity, clientship, inequality or colonial rule; What could have the international community done to prevent it; What should have the international community done when it was happening; what can it do now that it has happened; and what should be done to prevent similar crisis from reoccurring in the future? These are, I believe, some of the main questions around which any current or future debate on this crisis should be focused in any attempt to understand and solve the crisis in Rwanda.
For the specific purpose of this paper I will attempt to answer or at least to shed some light on the first of the five questions stated in the previous paragraph.
THE COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE
The origins of the three main ethnic groups: Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Until now the origins of Rwanda’s three main ethnic groups’ remains clouded in mystery. The Twa Pigmies who continue to live in the North of the country and constitute only 1% of the population are believed to have been the first inhabitants. Hutu, mainly farmers, are the largest group
References: Kamukama, D. (1993) The Rwandan Conflict. Its Roots and Regional Implications. Fountain publishers ltd. Kampala. Lemarchand, R. (1970) Rwanda and Burundi. Maquet, J.J. (1961) The Premise of Inequality in Ruanda. OUP. Newbury, C. (1988) The Cohesion of Oppression. Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960. Colombia university press. New York.