National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development
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|National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development|
|Politics of Rwanda
National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (French: Mouvement républicain national pour la démocratie et le dévelopement, MRND), from its foundation in 1975 until 1991 named the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (Mouvement Révolutionaire National pour le Développement) was the ruling political party of Rwanda from 1975 to 1994 under President Juvénal Habyarimana. From 1975 until 1991, the MRND was the only legal political party in the country. It was dominated by Hutus, particularly from President Habyarimana's home region of Northern Rwanda. The elite group of MRND party members who were known to have influence on the President and his wife - as well as to be responsible for the planning of the Rwandan Genocide - are known as the akazu.
The party was founded a year after Habyarimana's 1973 coup d'état that ousted the first post-independence president Grégoire Kayibanda and led to the ban of his Parmehutu party that had been dominated by Hutu from the southern part of the country. The MRND succeeded the Parmehutu in its position of the dominant state party. Rwanda's constitution was changed, making it officially a single-party state
Habyarimana has been described as relatively moderate though he (and his regime) are said to have used propaganda methods of the extreme right, ethnically discriminating against the Tutsi (albeit less extreme than their predecessors), advanced a conservative social agenda and were anti-communist. The party had institutional structures that paralleled the government structures at each level, down to the sector and cell. Habyarimana was the president of the party, and as such was the only candidate for president of the republic. However, in a minor concession to democracy, voters were presented with two MRND candidates at Legislative Assembly elections. The party's name was changed after the legalization of opposition political parties in 1991.
After the RPF invasion in 1990, members of the MRND created the magazine Kangura. The youth wing of the party, the interahamwe, was later developed into a militia group that played a key role in the 1994 genocide. After Habyarimana's death in April 1994, hardline elements of the party were among the chief architects of the Rwandan Genocide. After Rwanda was conquered by the rival Tutsi-dominated Rwandese Patriotic Front led by Paul Kagame, the MRND was driven from power and outlawed.
The Coalition for the Defence of the Republic, which played a large role in the Rwandan genocide, was a hard-line faction of the MRND that became a separate party.
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