Church, Politics and Race

Whilst the Europeans brought developement and many practical
benefits, the changes that occurred in Rwandan society over a period of five decades were profoundly unsettling. Far- reaching shifts in political and economic fortunes compounded the confusion about ethnicity and identity and led to increasing resentment and mutual mistrust among Rwandans.

Towards the end of their rule, the Belgian authorities and their close ally, the Catholic Church, reversed their historic position and put their considerable weight behind Hutu demands for political enfranchisement. Archbishop Perraudin, Apostolic Vicar of Kabgayi, encouraged the drafting in 1957 of the 'Hutu Manifesto' by a group of nine Hutu intellectuals, led by Gregoire Kayibanda, which argued that political authority should be transferred to the Hutu majority.