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‘Resolved to fight the ideology of genocide and all of its manifestations’: the Rwandan Patriotic Front, violence and ethnic marginalisation in post-genocide Rwanda and Eastern Congo

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posted on 2023-06-07, 16:13 authored by Larissa R Begley
Using ethnographic data and James Scott’s (1990) concepts of public and hidden transcripts, this thesis examines fow the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) government's public transcript has been institutionalised through the use of 'genocide ideology' laws. It is concerned with understanding how the RPF’s use of ‘genocide ideology’ is a mechanism to facilitate a continuum of violence, which I argue has led to ‘ethnic’ marginalisation. ‘Genocide ideology’ is a legally abstract term that refers to discourses that contest – consciously or unconsciously - the government narrative regarding the 1994 genocide. As focusing strictly om the public transcript does not tell the whole storry about power relations between the RPF government and Hutu, it also explores hidden transcript. This is necessary as the Rwandan government employs the category of ‘genocide ideology’ to silence dissent and to justify arbitrary arrest. For example, since taking power, the RPF government has strived to eliminate the Hutu/Tutsi identities, replacing the divisive identities with ‘Rwandan.’ Those who use Hutu/Tutsi identities outside the context of the genocide are considered génocidaire sympathisers and legally guilty of ‘genocide ideology’. I argue that within the public RPF transcript on the genocide, the victim/perpetrator dichotomy has become intertwined with Tutsi/Hutu identities, creating a hierarchy of victimhood. I concluded by arguing that the violence, fear and marginalisation experienced by participants through the government’s use of the public transcript in conjunction with ‘genocide ideology’ laws is causing resentment, which could lead to further conflict.


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