We, the People of Rwanda,
1. In the wake of the genocide that was organised and supervised by unworthy leaders and other perpetrators and that decimated more than a million sons and daughters of Rwanda;

2. Resolved to fight the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations and to eradicate ethnic, regional and any other form of divisions;

3. Determined to fight dictatorship by putting in place democratic institutions and leaders freely elected by ourselves;

4. Emphasizing the necessity to strengthen and promote national unity and reconciliation which were seriously shaken by the genocide and its consequences;

5. Conscious that peace and unity of Rwandans constitute the essential basis for national economic development and social progress;

6. Resolved to build a State governed by the rule of law, based on respect for fundamental human rights, pluralistic democracy, equitable power sharing, tolerance and resolution of issues through dialogue;

7. Considering that we enjoy the privilege of having one country, a common language, a common culture and a long shared history which ought to lead to a common vision of our destiny;

8. Considering that it is necessary to draw from our centuries-old history the positive values which characterized our ancestors that must be the basis for the existence and flourishing of our Nation;

9. Reaffirming our adherence to the principles of human rights enshrined in the United Nations Charter of 26 June 1945, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 21 December 1965, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights of 19 December 1966, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 19 December 1966, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1 May 1980, the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights of 27 June 1981 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 ;

10. Committed to ensuring equal rights between Rwandans and between women and men without prejudice to the principles of gender equality and complementarity in national development;

11. Determined to develop human resources, to fight ignorance, to promote technological advancement and the social welfare of the people of Rwanda;

12. Considering that after the Transition period, Rwanda shall be governed by a Constitution comprising ideas expressed by Rwandans themselves;

Now hereby adopt, by referendum, this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic of Rwanda.


Article 1
  1. The Rwandan State is an independent, sovereign, democratic, social and secular Republic;
  2. The principle governing the Republic is "government of the people, by the people and for the people".
Article 2
  1. All the power derives from the people.
  2. No group of people or individual can vest in themselves the exercise of power.
  3. National sovereignty belongs to the people who shall exercise it directly by way of referendum or  through their representatives.
Article 3
  1. The territory of Rwanda is divided into Provinces, Districts, Cities, Municipalities, Towns, Sectors and Cells.
  2. The law determines the number, boundaries, organization and functioning of Provinces, Cities, Municipalities, Towns and Districts.
Article 4
  1. The Capital of the Republic of Rwanda is the City of Kigali.
  2. The law determines the organization, functioning and operation of the City of Kigali.
  3. The Capital can by law be transferred elsewhere within Rwanda.
Article 5
The national language is Kinyarwanda. The official languages are Kinyarwanda, French and English.

Article 6
  1. The national symbols of Rwanda are the flag, the motto, the seal and the national anthem.
  2. The national flag is made up of three colours: green, yellow and blue.
  3. The flag comprises the following colours from the bottom to the top : a green strip, followed by a yellow strip both of which cover half the flag. The upper half is blue and bears on its right hand side the image of the sun with its rays of golden yellow. The sun and its rays are separated by a blue ring.
  4. The law determines the characteristics, significance, usage and ceremonials of the national flag.
  5. The motto of the Republic is : UNITY, WORK, PATRIOTISM.
  6. The Seal of the Republic is made up of a circular green rope with a green knot at the base, bearing on its upper part, the imprints « REPUBULIKA Y'U RWANDA ». At the bottom of the knot is the motto of the Republic : « UBUMWE, UMURIMO, GUKUNDA IGIHUGU ». All these inscriptions are in black against a yellow background.
  7. The Seal of the Republic also bears the following ideograms : the sun with its rays, a stem of sorghum and a branch of a coffee tree, a basket, a blue wheel with teeth and two shields one on the right and one on the left.
  8. The characteristics, significance, usage and protection of the Seal are determined by law.
  9. The national anthem is "RWANDA  NZIZA".
  10. The characteristics and ceremonies of the National Anthem are determined by law.
Article 7
  1. Every person has a right to nationality.
  2. Dual nationality is permitted.
  3. No person may be deprived of Rwandan nationality of origin.
  4. No person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality or of the right to change nationality.
  5. Rwandans or their descendants who were deprived of their nationality between 1st November 1959 and 31 December 1994 by reason of acquisition of foreign nationalities automatically reacquire Rwandan nationality if they return to settle in Rwanda.
  6. All persons originating from Rwanda and their descendants shall, upon their request, be entitled to Rwandan nationality.
  7. The conditions of acquisition, retention, enjoyment and deprivation of Rwandan nationality are determined by an organic law.
Article 8
  1. Suffrage is universal and equal for all citizens.
  2. Suffrage is direct or indirect and secret, unless the Constitution or another law provides otherwise.
  3. All Rwandan citizens of both sexes who fulfil the requirements provided for by the law have the right to vote and to be elected.
  4. The law determines the conditions and modalities for the conduct of elections.

Article 9
The State of Rwanda commits itself to conform to the following fundamental principles and to promote and enforce the respect thereof:
  1. fighting the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations;
  2. eradication of ethnic, regional and other divisions and promotion of national unity;
  3. equitable sharing of power;
  4. building a state governed by the rule of law, a pluralistic democratic government, equality of all Rwandans and between women and men reflected by ensuring that women are granted at least thirty per cent of posts in decision making organs;
  5. building a State committed to promoting social welfare and establishing appropriate mechanisms for ensuring social justice;
  6. the constant quest for solutions through dialogue and consensus.