Rwandan Patriotic Front
Published 9th September, 2013
The Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF (FPR in French) was founded in 1987 from Tutsi refugees in Uganda.
The RPF started life as an armed group who returned to Rwanda in 1987 and started an insurgency in the country. By 1992 the group had made considerable gains in the north of the country and forced the government of the day into peace talks in August 1993 which subsequently resulted in the Arusha Accord.
In 1994, despite the Accord, or perhaps because of it, members of the Rwandan armed forces and the government turned on the Tutsi minority following the death of President Habyarimana. Although the RPF armed forces had largely withdrawn as a result of the Accord, they returned when close to one million people were massacred, mostly Tutsi’s, between April and June 1994. They quickly overtook the government forces and entered the capital Kigali on 4th July 1994.
On 17th July 1994 the RPF announced that Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, would be the new President of Rwanda and Paul Kagame was to be his Vice-President. Bizimungu resigned in March 2000 and was replaced by Kagame.
The first multi-party elections in the country didn’t take place until 25th August 2003. Paul Kagame won 95.1% of the vote to become President and the RPF took 58 of the 80 seats in the new Chamber of Deputies.
For the 2008 election the RPF formed a coalition with six other parties and won 42 of the 80 seats. This election was perhaps most notable for electing 45 women Deputies, giving women a majority in parliament. The election was, however, marred by the boycott of the official opposition.
In 2010 Paul Kagame won the presidential for his second term with 93.08% of the vote, but the election was marred by violence, especially against opposition officials.