Classic peacekeeping tactics, containing conflicts diplomatically

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Rwanda is a country in central Africa that experienced ethnical animosity between its two major tribes (Hutus and Tutsis). Within the 100 days between 6 April and 16 July 1994, an estimated 8,00 00 men, women and children were brutally killed, many hacked to death with machetes. The victims were Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The United Nations(UN’s) peace keeping role was ineffective. Media Played a Huge Role. Kangura newspaper and Radio Télévison des Milles Collines(RTM) controlled by Hutus extremists had been spouting hate. This Genocide ended only when the RPF took over the country. The RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) were a trained military group consisting of Tutsis who had been exiled in earlier years, many of whom lived in Uganda. They entered Rwanda and slowly took over the country, hence, genocide stop.

Roméo Dallaire took command of the UN Observer Mission in Uganda and Rwanda (UNOMUR) and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). It was a modest operation, with Dallaire seconded by the UN under a civilian contract, stationed on the Ugandan side of the border and supported by only one Canadian officer, Major Brent Beardsley. They received little support; Dallaire requested 5000 UN troops and was given 2600, which was subsequently reduced to 500. He forewarned his superiors at UN Headquarters in New York of an impending mass killing of ethnic Tutsis by Hutu nationalist extremists. He pleaded for permission to act to prevent widespread violence and slaughter. The UN refused to allow Dallaire and his UN troops to act more forcefully against the escalating violence.. A significant challenge of the UN mission was trying to use classic peacekeeping tactics, containing conflicts diplomatically, with weapons used by UN troops only for self- defence. Standard peacekeeping guidelines were woefully inadequate to contain a Rwandan regime intent on genocide. In the mission's rules of engagement, Dallaire established the authority to use force, including deadly force, to prevent "crimes against humanity." It was groundbreaking, but too late for too many. Yet another of the world's genocides was not stopped in time. Dallaire was deeply moved by the horrors of life in Rwanda, particularly the plight of children, and the seeming futility of his assignment, which caused post-traumatic stress upon his return to Canada.


Leadership is about setting direction and helping people do the right things. The whole world just stood by and watched. It is evident that leadership contributed much to failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda. Following World War II and the holocaust, the UN adopted a resolution in 1948, which stated: "The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and punish." One is left wondering, why didn’t the world step in to stop? It is sad to note that when Romeo reported to the UN his findings and suggestions, he was told that it could take atleast three months for an agreement to deploy any troops.

Bureaucratic responses: due to bureaucracy Dallaire’s appeal for more troops was turned down for budgetary reasons and chain of command involved in making decision. This was a major drawback.

Factors that led to failure to prevent genocide: Some research show that the world powers realized it was genocide but that they didn't want to pay for the needed supplies and personnel to stop it.

Genocide was unpredictable though this should not exempt international community(the governments of Belgium, France, the US, and the UN) from preventive action. From late 1993 onwards, the international community possessed clear information about an upcoming tension and could thus have stopped it(Adelman and Suhrke 1996, 38; DesForges 1995a, 456).The tension reported according to them could not lead to genocide.

Another reason is: definition of Genocide in the Geneva Convention on the Crime and Punishment of Genocide, might therefore be considered here. These reports seriously challenge the assertions by the international community if this was civil war or Genocide.

The other major reason is time factor. The mentioned warning signs of the events that would begin April 1994 occurred only in late 1993 and early 1994, that is, within a few months before the actual genocide-too late for ordinary processes of policy-making to move into action in time to stop the genocide.

This leads us to another major reason, lies in the potential for confusion with "ordinary" political violence. The last years were characterized by broad and widespread political violence: the assassination of opposition leaders, the creation of militia by all political parties, terrorism etc. It may have made sense for many observers to lump all occurrences of violence in the broader category of political violence and to believe that the latter would be solved by bringing the peace cum democracy negotiations in Arusha to a good end. This explains the inaction of the UN secretariat toward General Dallaire's information about impending genocide: the UN Secretary-General has argued that such plots are often exposed in conflict regions and communicated to the secretariat only to later be uncovered as false alarms (Boutros-Ghali 1996).

However, even if the international community could not have foreseen the genocide, and could thus not be expected to have acted to explicitly prevent it, the debate on its role and responsibility is not closed. For, before this, there were 40 months of widespread violence and massive human rights abuses in Rwanda, directed against innocent Tutsi solely based on their ethnicity.

Interplay between key leaders and geo-political relations

Rwanda is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of central Africa covering 25,000 km2 of land and 1,400 km2 of water. It is densely populated with 3.5% growth rate. The political, social and economic context of Rwanda is profoundly affected by the civil war of the early 1990s and genocide of 1994. Whether considering demographic trends, issues of landownership or penal-code reform, the background of devastation and horror impinges on the consciousness of all concerned. Rwanda lies at the centre of a densely populated region that encompasses Rwanda, Burundi, the Kivu(eastern Congo) and south-western Uganda. This area shares very similar languages, common culture and a long history of socio-economic and politico-military interaction. Rwanda’s stability is intimately linked with the stability of this broader region and vice-versa. In 1993, as UN was considering a mission to Rwanda, to negotiate the hoped-for peaceful end of a civil war between the government and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The rebels were positioned behind a demilitarized zone monitored by neutral military observers from the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The president of Uganda asked the UN to establish a small force to monitor the border to ensure that soldiers and weapons were not entering Rwanda to reinforce the RPF.

It is sad to note that wide distribution of arms to civilians and militia passed through the neighbouring countries like Uganda.

Different frameworks of leadership to understand relations between leadership approaches and contexts which influence particular approaches

Comparing Transactional to Transformational frameworks of Leadership (covey 1992)



Builds on man’s need to get a job done and make a living

Builds on a man’s need for meaning

preoccupied with power ,position,

politics, and perks

preoccupied with purposes ,values,

Morals and ethics

Is mired in daily affairs

Transcends daily affairs

Is short-term and hard data orientated

Is orientated toward long-term goals without compromising human values and principles

Focuses on tactical issues

Focuses more on mission and strategies

Relies on human relations to lubricate human interactions

Releases human potential-identifying and releasing talent

Follows and fulfills role expectations by striving to work effectively within current systems

Designs and redesigns job to make them meaningful and challenging

Supports structure and systems that reinforce the bottom line maximize efficiency and guarantee short term profits

Aligns internal structures and systems to reinforce overarching values and goals

Transformational leadership is closer to the prototype of leadership that people have in mind when they describe their ideal leader, and it is more likely to provide a role model which subordinates want to identify. Transactional leadership has been the traditional model of leadership with its roots from a business perspective in mind.

In my view, transformational leadership would be ideal in preventing genocide in Rwanda.


People deserve a leader with trust, which is why it's important to be ethical.Also, be authentic in your actions and communication, not forgetting humbleness. These qualities will inspire the trust of your people and strengthen the relationship you have with them. Do your best to support their needs, and always keep your word with them (integrity). Others include: assertive, cooperative, decisive, dependable, dominant, energetic (high activity level), Persistent ,Self-confident, Tolerant of stress, Willing to assume responsibility and charismatic


  1. US Agency for International Development, ‘Rwanda Democracy and Governance Assessment’, November 2002.

  2. Excerpt from Professor Uvin's forthcoming book, Aiding Violence: The Development Enterprise in Rwanda (West Hartford, Kumarian Press, August 1998).

  3. Bass,B.M., & Avolio, B J. (1990). The implications of transactional and transformational

  4. leadership for individual, team, and organizational development. In R. W. Woodman

  5. Bass, B. M., & Steidlmeier, P. (1999).Ethics, character, and authentic transformational

  6. Covey, S. (1992) Principle-Centered Leadership. Simon and Schuster.

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