Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

‘Even if I am not here, there are so many eyes’: surveillance and state reach in Rwanda*

  • Andrea Purdeková (a1)

Abstract

Based on seven months of fieldwork research, the present article explores the nature and ‘reach’ of the state in post-genocide Rwanda, and its effects on decentralisation, participation and assertion of voice at the local level. Rwanda as a case of a ‘strong’ African state is explored through a number of lenses: the vertical structure (administrative and information apparatuses of the state); the lateral structure (multiple responsibilities, imihigo, indirect control); the spectrum of state-led ‘local’ activities; and, last but not least, the ‘counterweights’ to the state. The article suggests an increasing penetration of state in terms of surveillance as well as exactions (couched in terms of umusanzu or contribution) and control over voice at local level. Decentralisation amounts to mere ‘dispatching of control’, making central power more, not less, effective.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All
*

The author wishes to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the article.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Ansoms, A. 2009. ‘Re-engineering rural society: the visions and ambitions of the Rwandan elite’, African Affairs 108, 431: 289309.
Asiimwe, A. 2008. ‘Why our own “imihigo” outshines World Bank's “Doing Business”’, The New Times Kigali 29.12.2008.
Begley, L. 2009. ‘The other side of fieldwork: experiences and challenges of conducting research in the border area of Rwanda/Eastern Congo’, Anthropology Matters 11, 2, available at: http://nomadit.net/ojs/index.php?journal=anth_matters&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=17&path%5B%5D=23, accessed 5.11.2010.
Bierschenk, T. & Olivier de Sardan., J.-P. 1997. ‘Local powers and a distant state in rural Central African Republic’, Journal of Modern African Studies 35, 3: 441–68.
Bierschenk, T. & Olivier de Sardan., J.-P. 2003. ‘Powers in the village: rural Benin between democratisation and decentralisation’, Africa 73, 2: 145–73.
Brubaker, R. 2004. Ethnicity without Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
European Report on Development (ERD). 2009. ‘Overcoming fragility in Africa’, available at: http://erd.eui.eu/erd-2009/, accessed 15.1.2010.
Herbst, J. 1996. ‘Responding to state failure in Africa’, International Security 21, 3: 120–44.
Herbst, J. 2000. States and Power in Africa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Huggins, C. 2009. ‘Agricultural policies and local grievances in Rwanda’, Peace Review 21, 3: 296303.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). 1995. ‘Rwanda: the crisis continues’, 1 April 1995, A701, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6a7f50.html, accessed 23.8.2009.
HRW Rwanda. 2002. ‘Preparing for elections: tightening control in the name of unity’, HRW briefing paper, May 2002, available at: http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/2003/hrw-rwa-8may.pdf, accessed 8.11.2009.
Ingelaere, B. 2010. ‘Do we understand life after genocide? Center and periphery in the construction of knowledge in postgenocide Rwanda’, African Studies Review 53, 1: 4159.
Jackson, R. H. & Rosberg., C. G. 1982. ‘Why Africa's weak states persist: the empirical and the juridical in statehood’, World Politics 35, 1: 124.
Mamdani, M. 1996. Citizen and Subject: contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Mbembe, A. 2001. On the Postcolony. London: University of California Press.
McConnell, J. 2009. ‘Institution [un]building: decentralizing government and the case of Rwanda’, report for the European University Institute, 15.5.2009, available at: http://erd.eui.eu/media/mcconnell.pdf, accessed 5.12.2009.
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN). 2000. Rwanda Vision 2020. Kigali: MINECOFIN, July. Available at: http://www.gesci.org/assets/files/Rwanda_Vision_2020.pdf, accessed 24.2.2008.
Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Social Affairs (MINALOC), Government of Rwanda. 2008. ‘Good practices on African policy reforms which promote transparency, accountability and participation in municipal public expenditure management and service delivery’, paper presented by Musoni Protais at RSA Durban, available at: http://www.minaloc.gov.rw/IMG/pdf_African_good_practices.pdf, accessed 22.10.2009.
MINALOC. 2010. ‘Concept paper on imihigo planning and evaluation’, available at: http://minaloc.gov.rw/IMG/pdf_Imihigo_Concept_Note_22_feb_2010_1_.pdf, accessed 10.9.2010.
National Democratic Institute (NDI). 2003. ‘Assessment of Rwanda's pre-election political environment and the role of political parties’, 3–11.8.2003, available at: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADD285.pdf, accessed 14.10.2009.
Ngoma District, Eastern Province, Republic of Rwanda. 2009. ‘Imihigo report 2008’, available at: http://www.primature.gov.rw/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=794&Itemid=95, accessed 23.1.2010.
Penal Reform International (PRI). 2007. ‘Transitional justice in Rwanda: the limitations of the popular gacaca courts’, PRI Newsletter 60, 4, available at: http://www.juvenilejusticepanel.org/resources/items/P/R/PRINews160_07_EN.pdf, accessed 15.2.2010.
Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Republic of Rwanda. 2009. ‘National Agricultural Extension Strategy [Draft]’, available at: http://www.primature.gov.rw, accessed 15.1.2010.
Reid, R. 2009. A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the present. Oxford: Blackwell.
Rettig, M. 2008. ‘Gacaca: truth, justice, and reconciliation in postconflict Rwanda?’, African Studies Review 51, 3: 2550.
Stover, E. & Weinstein., H. 2004. My Neighbor, My Enemy: justice and community in the aftermath of mass atrocity. Cambridge University Press.
Straus, S. 2006. The Order of Genocide. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Thomson, S. 2008. ‘Rwanda’, in Mehler, A. & van Walrave, L., eds. Africa Yearbook 5: politics, economy and society south of the Sahara 2008. Leiden: Brill, 233–44.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Rwanda. 2008. ‘Women and vulnerable groups in land dispute management: a plan to ensure that they fully participate and benefit’, available at: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADM809.pdf, accessed 17.10.2009.
United States Department of State (US DoS). 2009. ‘2008 human rights report: Rwanda’, Washington, DC: US DoS, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, 25.2.2009.
Uvin, P. 1998. Aiding Genocide: the development enterprise in Rwanda. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press.
Verwimp, P. & Pinchotti., S. 2007. ‘Social capital and the Rwandan genocide: a micro-level analysis’, HiCN Working Paper 30, March.
Widner, J. 1995. ‘States and statelessness in late twentieth century Africa’, Daedalus 124, 3: 129–53.
Willum, B. 2001. ‘Foreign aid to Rwanda: purely beneficial or contributing to war?’, unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Copenhagen, available at: http://www.willum.com/dissertation/6foreignaidwareffort.pdf, accessed 5.10.2010.
Wynter, A. 2009. ‘Rwandan Red Cross: an “imihigo”’ for risk reduction', 17.6.2009, available at: http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/news/v.php?id=10151, accessed 14.11.2009.

The New Times Kigali (NTK), Kigali.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed