Resistance to Reforms: settlement and agricultural reforms in post-genocide Rwanda
In this thesis I explore the phenomenon of resistance to settlement and agricultural reforms in post-genocide Rwanda. The aim of the thesis is to understand how farmers experience the implementation of settlement and agricultural reforms and how they react to and resist them. To achieve this aim, three broad research questions were framed as follows: how do farmers experience the implementation of settlement/agricultural reforms; how do farmers react to settlement/agricultural reforms and; which of the farmers’ reactions can be considered acts of resistance. The study was based on multiple approaches involving focus group, qualitative interviews and participant observation and was carried out between 2010 and 2012. The findings of this thesis show that most of my interviewees experience the effects of coercive power and a top-down approach of the implementation of the reforms. In addition to this, many faced problems with their economic capacity to afford the costs of reform implementation. The thesis also shows the importance farmers attribute to their cultural heritage and property. The thesis reveals that although some farmers occasionally use overt resistance and refuse to comply with certain decisions that disregard their context-based priorities, many farmers use covert resistance to express their discontents with forced relocation, imposed new crops and an agricultural system using expensive chemical fertilisers instead of local manure. Moreover, the findings show that despite the fact that resistance to reform implementation often led to coercive measures, there were a number of cases where instead of intensifying coercion, farmers’ resistance has to some extent increased the flexibility of the reform implementers.
Doctor of Philosophy
Göteborgs universitet. Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Social Sciences
School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research ; Institutionen f??r globala studier, freds- och utvecklingsforskning
kl. 13.15, Annedalsseminariet sal 302
Date of defence
From the empirical results, I found that farmers experienced problems such as abandoning their properties when they were forced to relocate; separation of extended families when some are expropriated and forced to relocate; obligation to grow seeds which do not meet their everyday needs; favouring monocropping and forbidding multiple cropping when the latter solve the problem of imbalanced food in small landowners, etc. Famers’ reacted in different ways but they often resisted in hidden ways, for example by building new houses in forbidden areas when it is dark; repairing old houses from within when it was forbidden; replacing recommended seeds with the local ones; selling fertilisers secretly, etc. The analysis of resistance to reform implementation through the prevailing forms of power during the implementation was opted for in order to understand hidden acts of resistance.
Hahirwa, Gumira Joseph
Resistance, power, reform(s), implementation, settlement, agriculture, genocide, Rwanda