Words and power in conflict - Rwanda under M.R.N.D. rule

Allan T. Moore

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Rwanda under the rule of President Juvenal Habyarimana and the M.R.N.D government was a de facto totalitarian governed society, and throughout Habyarimana’s twenty-one year rule, it has been established that there was clear propaganda and hatred directed toward those citizens identified as Tutsi through their national identification records. This article examines the effects of centralised power harboured by Habyarimana and the M.R.N.D. during this time utilising a theoretical framework based on the intersection of complementary theory from Foucault, Dahl and Weber. The methodology includes a novel Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of transcribed speeches delivered by Habyarimana and Leon Mugesera, as well as a short ethnography of the author’s own experience of visiting memorial sites in Rwanda. Conclusions are reached that bring in analysis of Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance and argue that contrary to some opinion on the matter, it is not unreasonable to expect a degree of restriction of free speech under a limited set of circumstances when a society such as Rwanda’s has suffered previous mass extreme victimisation as a result of past abuse of the power-knowledge-discourse relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages32
JournalPeace and Conflict Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • peace
  • conflict
  • power
  • propaganda
  • Foucault
  • Popper
  • Rwanda
  • critical discourse analysis
  • speeches
  • politics
  • freedom of speech
  • Habyarimana
  • Mugesera


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