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Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement
Founded 1957
Dissolved 1973
Headquarters Kigali, Rwanda
Ideology Hutu supremacy[1]
Politics of Rwanda
Political parties

Parmehutu (acronym of French: Parti du Mouvement de l'Emancipation Hutu; English: "Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement"), also known as MDR-Parmehutu (Mouvement démocratique republicain—Parmehutu; French: "Parmehutu—Democratic Republican Movement") is a now-defunct political party of Rwanda and Burundi. The movement emphasised the right of the majority ethnicity to rule and asserted the supremacy of Hutus over Tutsis. It was the most important party of the "Hutu Revolution" of 1959–61 that led to Rwanda becoming an independent republic and Hutus superseding Tutsis as the ruling group.[1]

It was founded by Grégoire Kayibanda in June 1957 (called the Hutu Social Movement until 25 September 1959) as a political party of Hutu nationalists who fought for the emancipation of the oppressed Hutu majority. Kayibanda overthrew the Tutsi monarchy of Mwami Kigeri V in 1961 and appointed a government of Hutus.

Parmehutu had already dominated in the 1960 local elections: 2390 of 3125 elected communal councillors and 160 of 229 burgomasters belonged to this most radical and best organised among Hutu parties.[2] After independence, in July 1962, Kayibanda became the first elected president of Rwanda. By 1965, it was the only legal party in the country. Under the Parmehutu rule Tutsis were severely discriminated against, persecuted and repeatedly massacred,[3] leading to hundreds of thousands of Tutsi fleeing the country. The 1963 massacres of Tutsi were described by Bertrand Russell as the worst since the Holocaust; in 1967 another 20,000 Tutsi were killed.[4]

In the coup d'état of July 1973, Kayibanda was ousted by his cousin Major-General Juvénal Habyarimana who, like other leaders from Rwanda's north (abakonde), felt marginalised by the Southern-dominated Parmehutu regime.[5] The Parmehutu party was suspended. It was officially banned two years later when Rwanda became a single-party state of Habyarimana's new National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) that was dominated by Hutu from the northern and northwestern parts of the country.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Niesen, Peter (2013). Political party bans in Rwanda 1994–2003: three narratives of justification. Ethnic Party Bans in Africa (Routledge). p. 113. 
  2. ^ Somerville, Keith (2012). Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred: Historical Development and Definitions. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 164. 
  3. ^ Mckinney, Stephanie L. (2012). Narrating genocide on the streets of Kigali. The Heritage of War (Routledge). p. 160–161. 
  4. ^ Aspegren, Lennart (2006). Never again?: Rwanda and the World. Human Rights Law: From Dissemination to Application — Essays in Honour of Göran Melander. The Raoul Wallenberg Institute human rights library 26 (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers). p. 172–173. ISBN 9004151818. 
  5. ^ Somerville, Keith (2012). Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred: Historical Development and Definitions. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 167.