Transforming DR Congo through research and public policy


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Recrutement de nouveaux étudiants en Agribusiness

Contexte, présentation et objectifs

Environ 20 à 40% de l’économie de la RDC est enracinée dans l’agriculture et plus de la moitié de la population de la RDC participe à des activités agricoles pour soutenir leurs moyens subsistance. La capacité d’ajouter de la valeur au secteur agricole par la transformation de la valeur et des activités entrepreneuriales peut être une force clé pour la croissance agricole et le développement économique en RDC. En réponse à cette opportunité, l’UCBC a lancé le premier département pour les études en Agribusiness dans la Faculté des sciences économiques et de gestion à l’UCBC. Agribusiness studentsL’Agribusiness implique des activités commerciales liées à la ferme. L’Agribusiness s’intéresse à toutes les étapes requises pour envoyer un produit agricole au marché : gestion, production, traitement, distribution et transformation des produits agricoles ainsi que la commercialisation et vente d’agro-produits.

Grace au département de l’Agribusiness, les étudiants de l’UCBC sont formés et équipés pour devenir la prochaine génération des chefs d’entreprises et d’entrepreneurs capables de créer et de soutenir des agro-entreprises qui favorisent l’épanouissement humain et le bien-être commun en RDC.

Contenu, organisation et opportunités

Qu’es-ce que l’Agribusiness? L’Agro-industrie implique ce qui suit :

  • Transformation et ajout de valeur.
  • Services de données et de l’information sur la ferme agropastorale et l’agroalimentaire. Economics students at okapi afia
  • Gestion, Production, Traitement, Distribution des biens et servives agricoles .
  • Production agricole à la transformation au détail.
  • Marchés locaux, régionaux et internationaux et chaine d’approvisionnement.
  • Connaissance du marché.
  • Compréhension du climat des affaires nationales et locales.
  • Comprendre les réalités de la RDC : contexte politique, culturel, social, économique, environnemental et juridique.
  • Economie, gestion, marketing, finance, droit, fiscalité et cadres réglementaires, commerce, politique, ventes, logistique.

La formation est étalée sur 4 années de Licence (L1=350$, L2=400$, L3=450$ & L4=500$) qui équivaut à 8 semestres. Les Frais académiques se payent à la RAWBANK soit en totalité, soit en cinq tranches réparties équitablement et payables tous les deux mois, soit : le 24 Octobre, le 1er Décembre, le 1er Février, le 1er Avril et le 1er Juin. Hormis les Frais académiques, nous avons des Frais connexes dont notamment les Frais d’inscription=15$, Minerval du à l’Etat=10$, Frais de Laboratoire=10$, Frais du Comité Etudiants=5$ et Frais Carte Etudiant=5$. Les Frais de transport et de restauration sont IMG-20170807-WA0001facultatifs et sont fixés par la Logistique.

La formation en Agribusiness comporte des cours fondamentaux, des cours généraux ainsi que des cours de spécialisation. Ces études d’Agribusiness se conforment aux standards internationaux du système LMD. Les étudiants qui se démarquent sont promis par des bourses d’études tout au long de leur formation. A part la formation académique, les études d’Agribusiness sont soutenues et appuyées par l’IRI(Institut de Recherche Intégrée) dans une approche holistique.  La promotion du genre est respectée aussi bien durant la formation que dans les chaines des valeurs agricoles.

Débouchés professionnels et Projets

A l’issue de la formation, le licencié est un cadre supérieur qui possède les compétences scientifiques, techniques et économiques. Il pourra être amené à exercer des fonctions dans les domaines suivants :

  • la recherche appliquée et contrôle de la qualité ;
  • la gestion de la production de produits agricoles ;
  • la gestion de la transformation de produits agricoles ;
  • la gestion de la distribution des produits agroalimentaires ;IMG_7391
  • la gestion et l’administration des entreprises agro-industriels ;
  • la vulgarisation commerciale des produits agricoles et agro-industriels;
  • la commercialisation des produits dérivés et des intrants agricoles ;
  • les techniques et gestions agricoles ;
  • l’enseignement agroéconomique.

En 2017 et 2018, les étudiants de l’Agribusiness deviendront des participants actifs dans les agro-entreprises en explorant le secteur du café de la RDC à chaque étape de la chaine de valeur du café (production, traitement, distribution et logistique ainsi que la transformation des produits et services liés au café). En outre, les étudiants de l’Agribusiness de l’UCBC recevront une formation parascolaire dans le secteur du café Juhudi_Coffee Value chainainsi que l’accès à des stages, à des projets d’apprentissage des services et à un nouveau laboratoire de café à l’UCBC. Le secteur du café en RDC est l’une des caractéristiques les plus importantes de l’économie de l’Agribusiness de la RDC et, le café est l’exportation numéro 1 du Congo en termes de revenus et de volume. Ce faisant, les étudiants de l’Agribusiness acquerront des compétences transférables et des connaissances stratégiques utiles dans les secteurs de l’Agribusiness.

Conditions d’admission

La formation en Agribusiness est ouverte à tous les lauréats des humanités générales et techniques (A2) ou autre diplôme équivalent pour être admis en 1ère année (L1).
Pour la 2ème année (L2), avoir validé tous les crédits en L1 (conformément au règlement académique) Pour la 3ème année (L3), avoir validé tous les crédits en L2.

Concernant la procédure d’inscription, se reporter à la rubrique scolarité.

Conditions de validation

La délivrance du diplôme est subordonnée à :

  • une présence et la participation active des étudiants du programme ;
  • une obtention des crédits nécessaires pour l’ensemble constitué par des UE obligatoires, transversaux et optionnels y compris le rapport de stage ;Agribusiness Scholarship Award picture
  • une évaluation sous deux formes : deux sessions normales semestrielles et une session de rattrapage annuelle.

La nature des épreuves varie selon les matières enseignées. Plusieurs modalités peuvent être combinées : examens pratiques, examens écrits et/ ou oraux, sous forme de travail individuel ou de groupe, en contrôle continu et en examen terminal.
Les coefficients correspondent aux crédits.

Responsables

Coordonnateur du Département de l’Agribusiness : Ass Ir Joseph MATHE (+243 994 025 586)

Secrétaire académique : Mr Innocent BORA UZIMA


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Sondage sur les Conflits fonciers et propriétés foncières dans le quartier Masiani, Beni, RDC

Masiani Map.JPGL’élaboration d’un sondage visant à mesurer la satisfaction, la perception et la connaissance des habitants du quartier Masiani faces aux différents services de l’administration foncière dont ils bénéficient s’inscrit dans le cadre du développement et de la compréhension de la problématique des conflits fonciers.  Cette enquête sur les parcelles effectuée en janvier 2017 dans le quartier Masiani[1] a consisté d’une étude des questions majeures portant sur les propriétés foncières, la gouvernance foncière, ainsi que les conflits fonciers et la justice dans l’est de la RDC en général et dans la ville de Beni en particulier. Elle permettra de comprendre les engins majeurs à prendre à compte dans le processus de la modernisation et/ou de la réforme du système d’information de l’administration foncière de Beni.

La superficie du quartier Masiani est estimée à 15km2 avec une bonne partie inhabitée et est inscrit dans le contexte du milieu péri-urbain. Avec une population totale estimée à 14858 dont 8311 femmes et 6547 hommes soit 2701 ménages[2] . Notre échantillon, pris au hasard, s’est donc focalisés sur les parcelles de la partie habitée pour lesquelles nous possédons les informations géographiques et représente 20% soit 196 parcelles de 999[3] parcelles déjà cartographiées. Sharing the Land + Beni Atlas_page10_image8.jpg

L’objectif de cette enquête était de comprendre le niveau de conflit foncier dans notre champ d’intervention, d’identifier la catégorie de personne les plus vulnérables   par le conflit, d’épingler les problèmes d’accès à la terre et d’identifier les risques relatifs au manque de document mais aussi la perception de la population par rapport aux services offerts par l’administration foncière de Beni.

Vous pouvez lire le rapport complet ici: Rapport de l’enquete de masiani.

[1] Un de 30 quartiers de la ville de Beni choisi comme site pilote dans le développement et implémentation du système d’information foncière pro-pauvre.

[2] Moyenne selon les statistiques du PNUD année 2014, la taille moyenne d’un ménage étant de 5,5.

[3] Cartographie participative effectuée dans la première phase du projet Sharing the Land visant le développement d’un modèle de sécurisation foncière et la visualisation propriétés et des conflits fonciers.


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Revitalizing Coffee in DRC

Editor’s Note: this blog post originally appeared on the blog of IRI’s parent organization, Congo Initiative, on 16 May, 2017. 

Coffee is DR Congo’s number one agricultural export in terms of both revenue and volume.[1]  Endowed with a favorable climate, rich soil, and abundant rainfall, DRC has the environmental conditions to produce some of the best coffees in the world. Despite its promise, DRC’s coffee sector has yet to fulfill its potential. But, that could be changing and UCBC’s Agribusiness Center is helping in the effort to revitalize the coffee sector.

From the colonial era onwards, coffee exports provided the backbone of North Kivu’s economy, the province where Beni and UCBC reside. However, in the late 1980s the proliferation of coffee wilt disease (tracheomycosis) resulted in a severe downturn in production. The subsequent wars between 1996 and 2003 further depressed the market and destabilized both producers and exporters. Ongoing violence and insecurity has further compounded the challenges of DRC’s coffee sector resulting in a weak economy, complex logistics and supply chains, problematic or non-existent critical infrastructure, and ineffective governance including onerous formal and informal tax and regulatory burdens.[2] These factors resulted in DRC’s official coffee production falling from about 130,000 metric tons in the 1980s to about 20,000 metric tons in 2014, according to CoffeeLac, a major exporter of Congolese coffee.

Members of the UCBC Agribusiness Team

While there are significant challenges in revitalizing DRC’s coffee sector, there’s a lot of opportunities for both local production and consumption of coffee as well as the exportation of coffee internationally. Global coffee consumption is on the rise at a growth rate of 1.3%, meaning DRC has the potential capacity to make a big play in supplying Robusta and specialty grade Arabica to meet increasing global demand.


“DRC needs people specialized in the management of agricultural values chains like those receiving training at UCBC.”


Earlier this year, over thirty guests from local and international agricultural sector met at UCBC for workshops with students and teachers on these agricultural values chains and new perspectives on agribusiness in Beni and Lubero territories. Mr. Ivan Godfroid, director of VECO R.D. Congo, explained how local farmers face diverse and unique challenges.

“The coffee we produce locally has a lot of potential to help the economy of the region rise. The biggest issue with local producers is not only the transformation of crops into end products, but also the means of taking products from production areas to markets.  The producer often loses and ends up earning less than what he/she invests,” he said.

Recipients of ECI scholarships

In response to these challenges, the workshop discussed the organization of producers into cooperatives, identifying existing markets, and the development of research and training through universities like UCBC.

“DRC needs people specialized in the management of agricultural values chains like those receiving training at UCBC,” Godfroid said.

UCBC’s agribusiness program seeks to empower young students and aspiring agribusiness entrepreneurs through an agribusiness curriculum. Partner Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) is a key supporter, providing scholarships to 10 female agribusiness female students in an effort to also promote women studies in agribusiness.

“An opportunity like this was a real need for students in the domain. Today, I can understand and envision what I am becoming through my training in agribusiness at UCBC. Before these workshops, I could not imagine how coffee or cocoa can be produced locally and transform someone’s life,” explained Hekima Kalumbi, one of UCBC’s agribusiness students. Kalumbi has already started a small business of selling retail coffee and cocoa on UCBC’s campus.

 

Juhudi Duparc, Agricultural GIS & Data Analyst, works on a coffee map

The Center is also collaborating on a project led by ECI and Élan-RDC that will result in an interactive DRC Coffee Atlas dashboard containing coffee-related maps, data and cupping information. The dashboard will help promote outside investment and interest in DRC’s coffee sector. Moreover, in an effort to increase the percentage of Congo-captured value in the coffee value chain, ultimately improving livelihoods in DRC, the Center is expanding research on the domestic market for coffee.

In late May, the 3rd annual Saveur du Kivu (Kivu Flavor) will take place in order to celebrate the reemergence of DRC’s specialty coffee sector which has the potential to play a crucial role in DRC’s economic stability. The event demonstrates the possibilities achieved through collaborative efforts and partnerships, but also, the important role UCBC’s Agribusiness Center and future agribusiness leaders play in helping revitalize the coffee sector in Congo.

[1] International Trade Centre. “Country Brief: Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Accessed: 31 March, 2017. Available: http://www.intracen.org/country/democratic-republic-of-the-congo/.

[2] DRC is ranked 184 out of 189 countries on the ease of doing business, according to the World Bank in 2016. What’s more, DRC is one of the most challenging places to do business ethically.


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Batangi Mbau et Baswagha Madiwe

Projet de digitalisation et cartographie des droits fonciers des chefs terriens et concessionnaires des Groupements Batangi Mbau et Baswagha Madiwe, en territoire de Beni.

Maps of Batangi Mbau and Baswagha Madiwe

Objectif global: Mettre en place le  plan foncier rural en cartographiant  les concessions des chefs terriens dans  le groupement Batangi Mbau et Baswagha Madiwe grâce à la technologie du système géographique d’information.

Objectifs spécifiques:

  • Développer un modèle d’appui à l’administration foncière  dans la sécurisation  et l’utilisation des sols dans les milieux ruraux
  • Produire des cartes qui permettront de visualiser les limites des concessions et des terres des chefs terriens dans Batangi Mbau et Baswagha Madiwe.
  • Réduire les conflits des limites des terres dans les zones agricoles et des grands investissements.
  • Contribuer à l’implantation d’un modèle de sécurisation des terres des paysans.
  • Développer un modèle des plans de lutte contre la déforestation et la protection des patrimoines 

Résultats escomptés

Les principaux résultats attendus pour ce projet sont :

  • Un modèle de plan foncier et de sécurisation des terres rurales est développé et mis en place.
  • La réduction des conflits fonciers dans le groupement Batangi Mbau et Baswagha Madiwe.
  • Une base de données géographique des informations du registre foncier et des cartes digitales des concessions des groupements Batangi Mbau et Baswagha Madiwe est mise en place.

IMG_9704Trouvez ici-bas le résumé des réalisations, observations et propositions qui ont été faites pour l’exécution de ce projet dans le délai prévu et avec les ressources nécessaires:

Il a été constaté que les autorités du secteur Beni-Mbau et des deux groupements sont bien informés sur le projet et sont déjà entrain d’appuyer et de soutenir le projet de cartographie dans ce deux groupements, et ont exprimé que la sécurisation des terres serait un besoin primordial vu les multiples conflits qui s’accentuent entre concessionnaires, les vasceaux et les localités, entre concessionnaires, coutumiers et agriculteurs.

Il reste important de signaler qu’aux niveaux des groupements de Batangi-Mbau et Baswhaga Madiwe, les chefs des localités semblent être organisés et que seulement dans trois localités (Mbau III, Mbumbi, Mababwanga) que les travaux de cartographie pourront être exécuté. La raison en est que, faute de contexte politique de la région, rien que les chefs de ces localités sont prêts à accueillir la cartographie des concessions dans leurs localités. D’autres par contre pensent que ce projet de sécurisation foncière constituerait une menace pour leurs terres. « Les terres peuvent être identifiées et cartographiées pour qu’elles soient reprises par l’état congolaise ou encore attribuer aux étrangers», se disent certains. Ceci a constitué un blocage énorme pour ce projet dans ce groupement. A cela s’ajoute également la non accessibilité des certaines localités due au défaut d’infrastructure routière dans le groupement de Batangi-Mbau, de la situation sécuritaire des groupes armés dans ces endroits, tueries et violations des droits de l’homme. Il se pose également une contrainte de retrouver les chefs terriens, vassaux, et paysans qui la plupart ont fui leurs localités à cause des tueries qui se multiplient dans le territoire de Beni. IMG_9720

Une localité dans le groupement de Batangi-Mbau (localité de Bingo) après concertation avec le chef de localité a accueilli les travaux de cartographie alors que le registre foncier initié par SYDIP évolue lentement.

De ce fait, Les efforts de la cartographie ont été focalisés dans les quatre localités listées ci haut ayant compris et acceptés le projet. Ce travail a connu la participation effective des chefs des groupements et de secteur, chefs de ces quatre localités, chefs des collines, paysans et l’équipe STL dans la collecte des coordonnées géographiques.


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IRI staff visit GLTN in Nairobi

UCBC’s IRI is partnering with GLTN for piloting the STDM tool in Masiani Neighborhood based on the Sharing the Land‘s previous mapping of Beni town, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Sharing the Land team traveled to Nairobi for a learning and planning sessions.  Lobo Ngumba and Serges Vuthegha from the Christian Bilingual Univesitey of Congo (UCBC) visited Mashimoni settlement with UN-Habitat and GLTN in order to learn how the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) is being  piloted through PAMOJA TRUST NGO. STDM is a pro-poor and gender-sensitive land tool developed by Global Land Tool Network  (GLTN) with the goal of promoting security and property right for all.

Serges_Archip in Nairobi with GLTN (Feb 2016)

L to R: Lobo, Bénoit, Serges, Valio

Sharing the Land started developing the first digital map of Beni, North Kivu, DRC on which other information where build on such as roads names, land marks… a map of land ownership claims were also developed using a participatory approach (community engagement). Sharing the Land will  continue to build on this foundation by utilizing GLTN’s land tools like STDM, which provide an adaptable model for developing an effective land administration system and promote secure land tenure.

Serges Vuthegha, GIS Manager, Sharing the Land 

 

 


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Sharing the Land on USAID Impact Blog

Sharing the Land: Using Mapping Technology to Resolve Disputes

In my country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, land is the lifeblood of the population: It nourishes people, allowing them to prosper and grow. However, ineffective management of this land has also led to conflict and violence.

Today’s technologies offer an opportunity for citizens to be better tenants of the land.

As the project manager for the Sharing the Land initiative, I work with a team to help local communities improve the way they manage land ownership and address disputes. GPS data gathered from satellites is one tool that we’ve introduced to solve land-based conflicts. We also use household surveys to gather information on conflict, a family’s assets or demographics.

Once the team has plotted this information on interactive maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), anyone with internet access can visualize and better understand land ownership in the city of Beni in North Kivu province. Our goal is to have these interactive maps up and running from both a public website and the Christian Bilingual University of Congo library.

Continuing reading here: https://blog.usaid.gov/2016/02/sharing-the-land-using-mapping-technology-to-resolve-disputes/


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A Review of Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda

Longman, Timothy Paul. Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010.

Nearly twenty two years ago in Rwanda, Christian leaders and laypersons contributed to the massacre of their neighbors only a few days after celebrating Easter. During the violence that enveloped “the land of thousand hills” between April and July 1994, an estimated 500,000 to one million Tutsi and their perceived Hutu and Twa allies were killed in a country in which nearly 90% of the population identified as Christian. In Christianity and Genocide in Rwanda, Timothy Longman seeks to explain both how and why Christians became involved in the 1994 genocide.

Rwandan Christians did not contribute to the genocide due to a nominal faith; instead, Longman’s forceful narrative claims that “something in the nature of Christianity in Rwanda made it unable or unwilling to restrain genocide.” Longman, the Director of the African Studies Center and Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston University, argues Rwanda’s churches were not simply implicated in the genocide because of the disturbing contribution of individual Christians. Rather, he contends that Rwanda’s churches were deeply culpable as social institutions. Longman’s book describes the formation and development of Christianity in Rwanda from its genesis in 1900 during colonialism through the end of the genocide in 1994. His narration illumines the complex ways that Rwanda’s churches politicized ethnicity, authorized autocratic and discriminatory governments, and promoted obedience and acquiescence to Rwanda’s political institutions.

Christianity and Colonialism

Since Christianity’s inception in Rwanda, first Catholic, and later Protestant, missionaries have sought to cultivate intimate relationships with Rwanda’s political powers in order to secure influence and power in the country. The first Catholic missionaries, the Society of Missionaries—better known as the White Fathers—entered into Rwanda with the goal of obtaining the favor of Rwanda’s kingdom. Longman argues that the White Fathers were convinced that Christianity would thrive in Rwanda by maintaining a cozy alliance with the colonial administration and the Rwandan kingdom. They believed that if royal court elites converted to the faith, then the masses would follow suit.

In their efforts to obtain the favor of Rwandan elites, the White Fathers partnered with the German colonial administration in expanding and consolidating the Rwandan monarchy’s control over the autonomous regions in Rwanda. When the remaining independent kingdoms resisted assimilation or when challenges to the Monarch’s power emerged, the White Fathers sided with the Rwandan royal court. Additionally, when the Belgian colonial powers took over Rwanda from the Germans following their defeat in World War I in 1916, the White Fathers continued to pursue Tutsi elites with various tactics, including the provision of educational opportunities for Tutsi youth.

The White Fathers now collaborated with the Belgians to require King Musinga to legalize Christian mission in 1917, and again in 1931 to replace Musinga with his son, Rudahigwa, in order to install a king more favorable to Christianity. Eventually, the White Father’s efforts in befriending the royal court paid off. Following the conversion of the Tutsi elite to Christianity in 1930s, a significant portion of the kingdom’s population converted throughout the next decade. To many missionaries, the widespread acceptance of Christianity by the 1940s confirmed the value of sustaining an intimate connection between Rwanda’s churches and the state.[1]

The racialization of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa

Seeking to convert the political elites of the Rwandan kingdom was rooted not only in a pragmatic desire to obtain converts, but was also funded by racial theories prominent in Europe at the time. The Belgians and the White Fathers “observed” distinctions between Hutu and Tutsi to be basically racial and social, flattening out regional variation, lineage, clan, existing political institutions and the relative flexibility associated with Hutu and Tutsi prior to the arrival of the missionaries in Rwanda. Accordingly, the White Fathers and the Belgians attributed any sign of nobility, power and “civilization” to the Tutsi, who they perceived to be superior and fit to rule to the Hutu and Twa.

While categories like Hutu or Tutsi are likely very old in Rwanda’s social discourse, these identities are not primordial, static, and immutable. A few years before the arrival of the first missionaries, the kingdom of central Rwanda experienced thirty years of expansion and consolidation under the rule of King Kigeri Rwabugiri (c. 1860-1895). Rwabugiri concentrated and centralized power through various socio-political structures. It is in this context, that Longman contends that Hutu and Tutsi started to become less fluid categories, obtaining greater ethnic salience, corresponding with a difference in social status. And while this process of increasing ethnic stratification began before the colonialists arrived, Hutu and Tutsi were inscribed with new and more ridged meanings during the colonial period.

Despite the fact that there were Hutu chiefs and elites, as well as poor Tutsi, the White Fathers and Belgians facilitated the development of Hutu and Tutsi into rigid and highly stratified racial categories by legally inscribing them through identity cards in the 1930s. These identities also corresponded to various political, economic and ecclesiastical advantages and disadvantages. While Tutsi enjoyed access to property rights and roles in important institutions, Hutu, on the other hand, faced disadvantages through taxes, forced labor, and discrimination. The White Fathers and Belgian colonial administration did not create ethnicity in Rwanda, and many Tutsi elites manipulated the socio-biological ideologies of the Europeans to secure power and advantages. Nevertheless, the White Fathers and the colonial powers inscribed Hutu, Tutsi and Twa with new meanings, resulting in a more stratified society marked by these enduring identities.

Christianity in post-colonial Rwanda

Following World War II, sensibilities concerning human rights and colonialism began to change, prompting young missionaries to advocate for the interests of the Hutu. By providing Hutu with educational opportunities in church schools, the European missionaries “foster[ed] a new Hutu elite who challenged the injustices of the Rwandan system and eventually, after a popular revolt in 1959 drove Tutsi chiefs from office, and assumed political power,” according to Longman. During this time, the Catholic Church, like the Belgian colonial administration, transferred its allegiance from the Tutsi elite to the Hutu elite. In this way, the Church continued to participate in Rwanda’s ethnic politics as it sought establish local parishes as hubs of political power.[2]

Between 1959 and 1990, Rwanda’s Catholic and Protestant leaders, in many ways maintained the pattern it followed since Christianity’s inception in Rwanda, by aligning themselves and their churches with those in political power. After the revolution that culminated in Rwanda’s independence in 1962, the new Hutu-led regime under Grégoire Kayibanda maintained intimate “personal and official” connections with Catholic hierarchy, despite pressing for political independence from the Church. And when Juvenal Habyarimana grabbed power after a military coup in 1973, he eagerly cultivated important relations with both Rwanda’s Catholic and Protestant churches, recognizing their political clout. Rwanda’s church leaders responded, by and large, through fostering obedience to the Habyarimana regime. Thus, given the general support Rwanda’s churches offered those in power, Rwanda’s churches failed to provide a substantial opposition to the waves of violence that occurred against Rwanda’s Tutsi in 1959, 1965 and 1973—despite being directly affected by it. Rwanda’s churches and Christian leaders failed to condemn the violence, setting an important precedent for future violence.

This pattern of providing explicit and implicit support to those in power continued through the presidency of Juvenal Habyarimana, as Catholic and Protestant leaders aligned themselves and their churches with those in political power. During the Habyarimana regime, a system of patron-client relationships developed between the Habyarimana government and church leaders, channeling government resources and political positions as rewards for support of the political authorities. And while Rwanda’s churches and leaders came into conflict with the state from time to time, compromise generally prevailed.

During the 1980s and 1990s, a confluence of new theological developments and grassroots democratic activism within Rwanda’s churches furnished fresh provocations against Christianity’s affiliation with state power. Nevertheless, in aggregate, Rwanda’s churches impact on democratic reform was mixed with some groups and individuals advocating reform of various kinds, while other Christian leaders perceiving these reforms as threats to their established power. More specifically, Longman argues that church leaders sought to “remain relevant within the changing political context and to respond to internal pressures,” providing “mild endorsements of political reform” as long as it did not subvert their personal power and kept their opposition in check.

Rwanda’s churches and Genocide

The genocide, which occurred in a span of 100 days, was perpetrated in the context of a civil war that took place between October 1990 and August 1993. Catalyzed by the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana after his plane was shot down in April 6, 1994, massacres erupted across Rwanda, as the genocidal plan was set into motion by elites of the post-Habyarimana government and military. Longman reveals that even though Protestant and Catholic leadership did not participate in the planning of the genocide, “clergy, catechists and other church employees used their knowledge of the local population to identify Tutsi for elimination,” while in several cases church staff killed parishioners and neighbors.

Yet, the Rwandan churches did not simply commit sins of commission, but sins of omission as well: most church leaders failed to name and rebuke the genocide. This tacit support of violence enabled many Christians to perceive the genocide as consistent with Christian practice and belief. As such, Rwanda’s Christian leaders cultivated an atmosphere where “good, practicing Christians could kill their neighbors without feeling that they were acting inconsistently with their faith,” Longman argues.

While there were Christians and churches that—prompted by their Christian beliefs—actively resisted and condemned the genocide, by and large, Rwanda’s churches and Christian leaders failed to act as an impediment to the systematic slaughter of up to 1 million Tutsi along with the murder of Hutu and Twa who took a stand against the genocide and the interim Rwandan government.

Conclusion

Taken as a whole, Longman’s book demonstrates that instead of establishing an alternative to state power by resisting ethnic discrimination, opposing violence and attending to Rwanda’s marginalized, many of Rwanda’s Christian leaders and churches fomented a situation in which genocide was possible and sometimes even encouraged. Longman’s analysis of the church’s role in the genocide establishes his book as an essential contribution to the already large body of scholarship on the Rwandan genocide.

The church is indebted to Longman for offering a book, which raises important questions for Christians as the church remembers the devastation of the 1994 genocide and contemplate the witness of the church today. What does it look like for Christians in Rwanda to embody forgiveness and repentance given the culpability of the church in the past? How can Rwanda’s churches cultivate an identity and unity rooted in Jesus Christ that challenges ethnic or political allegiances? How ought Christians relate to the Rwandan government today given Rwanda’s churches past relationship to political power structures? If fear, social pressure and obedience were some of the drivers of the mass participation in the genocide, how can faith, hope and love shape Christian witness in Rwanda today?

[1] While Longman emphasizes the actual desire of the Catholic missionaries to obtain influence among the elites of the royal court, in Rwanda Before Genocide, J.J. Carney argues that there was a tension built into the actions of the first missionaries. On the one hand, Carney affirms Longman’s assertion: the missionaries did seek to convert the political elites. On the other hand, Carney suggests that the Catholic church’s earlier movements into Rwanda were also marked by reaching out to poor and marginalized Hutu and Tutsi. See J. J. Carney. Rwanda Before the Genocide: Catholic Politics and Ethnic Discourse in the Late Colonial Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

[2] J.J. Carney points out Longman’s failure to highlight the significant roles of Archbishop André Perraudin and Bishop Aloys Bigirumwami in advancing “social justice, democracy, and Hutu rights [that] shaped the contours of postcolonial Rwandan politics.” Moreover, Carney suggests that Perraudin’s “pro-democracy and pro-social” agenda disrupts Longman’s neat and clean depiction of Rwandan Christianity as top-down chauvinism (Carney, Rwanda before the Genocide, n. 8, p. 286).