Tito Rutaremara

Chief Ombudsman
Government of Rwanda
Focus Area(s)
Civil Service
Critical Tasks
Extending services to insecure or remote areas
David Hausman
Country of Reform
Place (Building/Street)
Office of the Ombudsman
Date of Interview
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tito Rutaremara, chief ombudsman of Rwanda and former secretary-general of the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), offers an account of his role first in building the rebel movement and then in restoring basic services to the country after the rebel victory in the war of 1994. As the civilian leader of the RPF between 1987 and 1993, Rutaremara led the training of the movement's “political cadres”—civilian members who were in charge of organizing Rwandan refugees in exile and then organizing the Rwandan population immediately after the war. The political cadres, trained in the bush in an ideology that emphasized Rwandan unity and participatory democracy, built the RPF by founding cells, each of which had an elected executive committee. The committees resolved basic disputes within cells and contributed to the recruitment of new members. Finding that this decentralized structure helped the RPF grow quickly, Rutaremara adopted it as a method of restoring order in Rwanda both in the so-called demilitarized zone established by the Arusha negotiations in the early 1990s and immediately after the war and genocide of 1994. Using the country’s existing administrative borders, RPF political cadres held elections for executive committees to bury bodies and coordinate the delivery of basic services such as health care and food.

Case Study:  Government Through Mobilization: Restoring Order After Rwanda's 1994 Genocide

Full Interview

66 MB
Tito Rutaremara Interview
At the time of this interview, Tito Rutaremara was chief ombudsman of Rwanda. After obtaining a Ph.D. in urban and rural planning in France, he returned to Rwanda to join the Rwandese Association of National Unity in 1987. Soon after his return, that organization renamed itself the Rwandese Patriotic Front and elected Rutaremara as secretary-general. Under his leadership, the organization began a massive expansion, recruiting hundreds of thousands of members in the space of a few years. After the RPF's victory in the 1994 war, Rutaremara became a member of Parliament, and later served as chairman of the country’s Constitutional Commission.
Rwandese Patriotic Front
Not specified