National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development

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National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development

Mouvement républicain national pour la démocratie et le développement
PresidentJuvénal Habyarimana
FounderJuvénal Habyarimana
Founded1975 (1975)
Banned1994 (1994)
Succeeded byForces for the Defense of Democracy
(not legal successor)
HeadquartersKigali, Rwanda
Hutu Power Radio (Radio)
Youth wingInterahamwe
IdeologyHutu Power
Social conservatism[2]
Political positionFar-right
International affiliationNone
Colours     Black
Party flag
Flag of the MRND.jpg

The National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (Mouvement républicain national pour la démocratie et le développement) was the ruling political party of Rwanda from 1975 to 1994 under President Juvénal Habyarimana. Between 1975 and 1991, when it was known as the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (French: Mouvement Révolutionaire National pour le Développement, MRND), the MRND was the only legal political party in the country. It was dominated by Hutus, particularly from President Juvenal 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 are known as the akazu.[4]

Following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the MRND was banned.


The party was established by Habyarimana on 5 July 1975,[5] exactly two years after he had ousted the first post-independence president Grégoire Kayibanda in a coup d'état. Habyarimana established a totalitarian state and banned the Parmehutu party, which had been dominated by Hutus from southern Rwanda.[6] The MRND succeeded the Parmehutu in its position of the dominant state party.[7] A new constitution was approved in a 1978 referendum, making the country a one-party state in which every citizen was automatically considered to be a member of the MRND.[8][9]

Presidential elections were held in 1978 with Habyarimana as the sole candidate. He was re-elected with 99% of the vote.[10] Parliamentary elections followed in 1981, with two MRND candidates contesting each of the 64 seats. Habyarimana was re-elected again in 1983 and 1988, whilst parliamentary elections were held under the same system in 1983 (with the National Assembly enlarged to 70 seats) and 1988.

The party's name was changed after the legalisation of opposition parties in 1991. The youth wing of the party, the interahamwe, later developed into a militia group that played a key role in the Rwandan Genocide.[7] After Habyarimana's death in April 1994, hardline elements of the party were among the chief architects of the genocide; the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), which played a significant role, was originally a hard-line faction of the MRND that became a separate party.

After Rwanda was conquered by the rival Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front led by Paul Kagame, both the MRND and the CDR were driven from power and banned in July 1994.[11]


Habyarimana was described as relatively moderate,[12][13] though he (and his regime) are said to have used propaganda methods of the extreme right,[4] ethnically discriminating against the Tutsi (albeit less extreme than their predecessors),[13][14] advanced a conservative social agenda[2] and were anti-communist.[3]


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. After the RPF invasion in 1990, members of the MRND created the magazine Kangura.

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Party candidate Votes % Result
1978 Juvénal Habyarimana Unknown 98.99% Elected Green tickY
1983 Juvénal Habyarimana Unknown 99.97% Elected Green tickY
1988 Juvénal Habyarimana Unknown 99.98% Elected Green tickY

Chamber of Deputies elections[edit]

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position
1981 Juvénal Habyarimana 2,100,770 100%
64 / 64
Increase 64 Increase 1st
1983 Juvénal Habyarimana 2,364,592 100%
70 / 70
Increase 6 Steady 1st
1988 Juvénal Habyarimana 2,701,682 100%
70 / 70
Steady Steady 1st

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Bauer, Gretchen (2011). Sub-Saharan Africa. Women in Executive Power: A Global Overview. Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 9781136819155.
  3. ^ a b Butare-Kiyovu, James (2010). "Discovering and Addressing the Root Causes of Genocide in Rwanda". International Development from a Kingdom Perspective. William Carey International University international development series. WCIU Press. p. 159. ISBN 9780865850286.
  4. ^ a b 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. 173. ISBN 9004151818.
  5. ^ Guichaoua, André (2015). From War to Genocide: Criminal Politics in Rwanda, 1990–1994. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780299298203.
  6. ^ Mckinney, Stephanie L. (2012). Narrating genocide on the streets of Kigali. The Heritage of War. Routledge. p. 161.
  7. ^ a b Niesen, Peter (2013). Political party bans in Rwanda 1994–2003: three narratives of justification. Ethnic Party Bans in Africa. Routledge. p. 113.
  8. ^ Aimable Twagilimana (2007) Historical Dictionary of Rwanda, Scarecrow Press, p. 116.
  9. ^ Constitution de la République Rwandaise du 20 décembre 1978, Art. 7: "Tout Rwandais est de plein droit membre du Mouvement révolutionnaire national pour le développement."
  10. ^ Elections in Rwanda African Elections Database
  11. ^ Robert E. Gribbin (2005) In the Aftermath of Genocide: The U.S. Role in Rwanda, iUniverse, p153
  12. ^ Murphy, Sean D. (1996). Humanitarian intervention: The United Nations in an evolving world order. Procedural aspects of international law series. 21. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 243. ISBN 0812233824.
  13. ^ a b Feher, Michael (2000). Powerless by Design: The Age of the International Community. Public Planet Series. Duke University Press. p. 59. ISBN 0822326132.
  14. ^ Somerville, Keith (2012). Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred: Historical Development and Definitions. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 167.