Since mid-1999, Rwandan authorities have identified a new threat to security: the "army of the king". The king or umwami of Rwanda, Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, was overthrown by the Hutu-led revolution which began in 1959 and was driven into exile in 1961. Resident for a long time in Kenya, the fifty-nine-year-old former ruler has more recently led a quiet life in a suburb of Washington, D.C. He has disavowed any link to an armed resistance group and insists that he would return to rule Rwanda only if a majority of Rwandans wanted the monarchy restored and expressed this wish, perhaps through a national referendum.10
General Kagame has welcomed the return of the king as a private citizen but has threatened to crush any who attempt to restore him to power by force of arms. According to an account published in the Rwandan press in December 1999, Kagame stated in reference to a supposed "army of the king," "Whoever will come (by [the] gun) will definitely die. . . . We are ready."11
Between November 15 and 20, 1999 local authorities in Nyamirambo, a section of the capital city, Kigali, detained more than 200 young people on the charge of being part of the "army of the king". They arrested the young men on the streets, where they had supposedly been awaiting transport to take them to places where they would receive military training. The young men were detained in the local lockup for two days and then handed over to the Department of Military Intelligence (DMI), which reportedly released them after they had confessed to unspecified crimes.12
Unlike previous opposition groups identified solely with Hutu, the monarchists include both Hutu and Tutsi. Kigeri Ndahindurwa is Tutsi but by custom the king represented all Rwandans, not just those of one ethnic group. Many of his Tutsi supporters are genocide survivors who find that the current government fails to satisfy their demands for justice and assistance. These Tutsi deplore the lack of progress in prosecutions for genocide as well as the prosperity of government officials grown rich from corruption while many survivors-particularly widows and orphans-struggle in abject misery. A growing number of survivors resent the government attempt to justify military operations abroad by the supposed need to protect them from further genocide. Other Tutsi, who returned from exile in Burundi or the Congo, have found their hopes for rapid success blocked by the predominance of those who returned from Uganda. Some Tutsi soldiers of the RPA, both survivors of the genocide and those from Burundi and the Congo, say they have no wish to fight the war in the Congo. They want that conflict settled by negotiations, even if this means coming to terms with the insurgents.13
The multi-ethnic nature of the monarchist group poses a major challenge to authorities who previously could discredit opposition groups for being composed only of Hutu and for including persons implicated in the genocide. Now both the RPF and the government are themselves increasingly criticized for being dominated by Tutsi. Although they continue to talk about the multi-ethnic sharing of power, about nationalism, and about reconciliation, the RPF and the government have progressively excluded all the major Hutu leaders who once participated in power. Since the start of the year, the RPF and its political allies have engineered the replacement of Pierre-Celestin Rwigema as prime minister by Bernard Makuza. Although both are Hutu of the same political party (Democratic Republican Movement, MDR), Rwigema had an independent base of power, which he had expanded during his five years as prime minister, while Makuza, who returns from an ambassadorial post abroad, has no significant base of his own. Similarly, the RPF, acting with the National Assembly, forced the resignation in March of President Pasteur Bizimungu, the one Hutu who had been included in the inner circle of power since the early days of the RPF. After a brief period of indecision, the Rwandan Supreme Court named General Kagame as interim replacement for Bizimungu. The government and the assembly voting together then selected Kagame to serve as president for the remaining three years of the transitional period. The other candidate for president, also a Tutsi, was Charles Murigande, currently the secretary-general of the RPF.10 Interview with King Kigeri V Ndahindurwa, broadcast on BBC, February 28, 2000. 11 "More Students Leave for Exile," Rwanda Newsline, no. 05, December 24, 1999-January 2, 2000, p. 32. 12 Kinyamateka, no. 1540, November, II, 1999, p. 4. 13 Human Rights Watch interview, by telephone, March 27, 2000.