Dominique Mbonyumutwa

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Dominique Mbonyumutwa
1st President of Rwanda
In office
28 January 1961 – 26 October 1961
Succeeded by Grégoire Kayibanda
Vice President of the Court of Appeals of Rwanda
In office
30 October 1961 – 30 October 1964
Personal details
Born January 1921
Gitarama, Rwanda[1]
Died 26 July 1986(1986-07-26) (aged 65)
Brussels, Belgium[2]
Political party MDR-Parmehutu
Spouse(s) Sophie Mbonyumutwa
Profession Teacher

Dominique Mbonyumutwa (January 1921 – 26 July 1986) was a Rwandan politician who served on an interim basis as the first President of Rwanda, from 28 January to 26 October 1961, following the abolition of the Rwandan monarchy. He took over by overthrowing the monarchy under King Kigali V Ndahindurwa and declaring Rwanda a republic, resulting in the 1961 referendum.

Mbonyumutwa was of Hutu ethnicity, and was respected by the population both before and after his presidency. On 1 November 1959, while serving as a sous-chef (equivalent to a district mayor today), he was assaulted by a group of Tutsi youth in Byimana in Southern Province. Due to his national popularity, this incident was a trigger for the 'social revolution' of 1959 which eventually brought down the monarchy while driving hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsi into decades-long exile.

Mbonyumutwa was succeeded as president by Grégoire Kayibanda a few months before Rwanda's independence. After his presidency, he maintained a position in Rwandan politics by serving as Vice President of the Rwandan Court of Appeals and holding an honorary position as Chancellor of National Orders in service of later president Juvenal Habyarimana.[3] He died in July 1986 in Belgium and was buried in Gitarama Stadium, the site where the Republic was proclaimed in 1961, as a recognition to the country. In 2010 his remains were exhumed and reburied in a public cemetery due to the plans to re-develop the stadium.


Political offices
Preceded by
King Kigeri V of Rwanda
President of Rwanda
28 January 1961 – 26 October 1961
Succeeded by
Grégoire Kayibanda