Rwanda under the rule of President Juvenal Habyarimana and the MRND 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 centralized power harbored by Habyarimana and the MRND during this time utilizing 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 victimization as a result of past abuse of the power-knowledge-discourse relationship.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Allan Moore is a lecturer in criminology and criminal justice at University of the West of Scotland. He is a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and of the Society of Legal Scholars. Dr. Moore has been researching power in the African context since 2007 with a main focus on the African Great Lakes region.


Rwanda, Genocide, Power, Discourse, CDA, Paradox of Tolerance, Ethnography, MRND, Juvenal Habyarimana, Leon Mugesera, Hate speech, Freedom of Expression, Knowledge

Publication Date








To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.