The contentious relations between the different components of the Rwandan society and nation, especially the conflict of power between the Hutu and the Tutsi, on the one hand, and within these groups, on the other, have created and crystallized the ethnic and regional identities to the detriment of national identity and unity.

This radicalization of the political relations has reached a level such that, in an ordinary democracy, the political majority inevitably would be equivalent to the ethnic majority. Hence, the ordinary democracy would not resolve the ethnic and regional nature of the conflicts.

In order to eliminate the detrimental use of ethnic groups and regions in the competition for power, reassure and restore confidence of the minority ethnic and regional groups, and to guarantee true reconciliation, the consensual democracy is proposed..

Definition of the Consensual Democracy

The consensual democracy has the following goals:

#1 Prevent the majority group from exercising absolute power

#2 Ensure effective representation of all the components of the society in all political institutions, in a form and manner to:

  • allow them to participate effectively to the decision-making process and
  • protect their vital interests in case they would be threatened, at any level of the management of the country.

#3 Build a free, fair, and just society grounded in strong and sustainable institutions

Requirements of the Consensual Democracy

The implementation of Consensual Democracy in Rwanda requires the following steps:

  • The mutual recognition of the different ethnic and regional groups that compose the Rwandan Nation;
  • Political courage to acknowledge and face the tragic History of the country as well as the responsibility of the different actors that fashioned it;

  • The demystification of all the crimes committed in Rwanda under the colonial and feudal eras, the first and second republic, as well as under the current system of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR), born out of and feeding on the horrors that have been ravaging Rwanda and the region for the last two decades;

  • The organization of a highly inclusive inter- Rwandan conference among of all groups be they political, regional and other, with the mission to debate outstanding issues and propose adequate solutions, for effective democratization and durable national reconciliation;

  • The creation of a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission” with the mandate to identify the root causes and the effects of the Rwandan tragedy, to facilitate confessions and pardons, to setup a system of reparations in favor of the victims and to put in place prevention mechanisms for future potential catastrophes. The Commission will have to promote reconciliatory and soothing justice.

Guiding Principles

  1. The respect of the universal principles of the democracy;

  2. The political system will be sufficiently balanced to guarantee the State of Law where all the citizens of the country enjoy their liberties and basic rights, and have the equal opportunities. This balance will be done at all levels of power: the Legislative, The Executive, and the Judiciary. In this framework, the constitution, the law on the political parties and the electoral law will follow this principle.

  3. The National Assembly will have two branches: the Lower House and the Senate. The members of the Lower House will be elected by direct universal suffrage in every prefecture/region. The Senate will be composed according to the parity principle between all the ethnic groups, all while taking into account regional and other sensitivities within these ethnic groups. The number of Senators will be reduced to the strict functional minimum. The Senators will be elected in every prefecture, by direct universal suffrage, as the tops from the lists established by ethnic groups.

  4. The Senate will approve the major decisions of the Lower House. The joint assembly of the Lower House and the Senate will approve the nominations of the members of the Government, the President and the vice Presidents of the Supreme Court, the members of the Joint Command of the Army and the Ambassadors.

  5. A Prime Minister chosen by the Party that will have won the parliamentary elections will head the Government. The Prime Minister will freely form a governmental team in the framework of national unity. The Government will be accountable to the National Assembly.

  6. The President of the Nation of Rwanda will be elected by the joint assembly of the two branches of the National Assembly in a special meeting. He will not be involved in the daily management of the country. He is the supreme Commander of the armies. He is the custodian of the institutions through messages addressed to the Nation at the New Year, national holidays and in other special circumstances, acceptation of the credential letters, the presiding of the swearing ceremonies by the members of the Government, the National

  7. Assembly, and the Supreme Court, and the promulgation of the laws. All adult Rwandan citizens are eligible to the post of President of the Rwandan Nation.

Other Provisions

  • The decision mechanisms must allow every ethnic or regional group to use its veto power in matters of constitutional amendments or against other decisions that would go against its vital interests. In this case, the debate on the subject must be suspended while awaiting the decision of the competent instances regarding the legitimacy of the claims.

  • The Prefects and the Burgomasters will be elected through the direct universal suffrage in the framework of the administrative decentralization. The prefectorial and communal Counsels will have to be inclusive from the viewpoint of the ethnic groups and regions.

  • The practical implementation mechanisms of these guiding principles will be determined with the help of an expert commission. The National Democratic Congress will seek the help of experts in the area if forming the commission.

  • The National Democratic Congress, the duly mandated representatives of the coalition governmental of Kigali, and other opposition political groups will agree on the duration of the transition as well as on the composition and the functioning methods of the transitional institutions.