In order to enjoy your rights and perform your duties as a citizen or resident of Rwanda, it is important to know the country in which you live. The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda provides this information.
Article 4 of the constitution says that Rwanda is a republic which is independent, democratic, social and secular. This means that it is not governed by a foreign power, people choose their leaders, while the government works for the good of the people, and upholds freedom of/from religion. The founding principle of Rwanda as a republic is “Government of Rwandans, by Rwandans and for Rwandans.”
Like any other country, Rwanda has territorial assets within its boundaries such as land, rivers, lakes and airspace. According to article 5 of the Constitution of Rwanda, the country’s boundaries are defined by international agreements which are approved by Rwanda and Rwandan laws.
Article 6 of the Constitution of Rwanda says that the country’s public powers are decentralized. That is why there are such things as regions, districts and villages. Decentralization is often done to bring services closer to the people.
The capital city of Rwanda, according to article 7 of the constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, is Kigali. It is possible to change a capital city if there is justification for doing so.
The national language of Rwanda is Ikinyarwanda. This is according to article 8 of the Constitution of Rwanda. However, this is not the only language spoken in the country; in fact many official documents are translated to English and French because they are official languages alongside Kinyarwanda. Kiswahili has also been introduced as an official language in Rwanda to keep up with the spirit of the East African Community.
Rwanda has national symbols. According to article 9 of the Constitution of Rwanda, they include the national flag, the motto of the Republic, the Seal of the Republic and the National Anthem.
The flag comprises a green stripe at the bottom which represents happiness and peace, a yellow stripe in the middle symbolizing economic development, and then a blue stripe at the top which contains the image of the sun on the right hand side. The blue stripe represents hope of prosperity while the sun represents enlightenment.
Rwanda’s motto is “Ubumwe, Umurimo, Gukunda Igihugu” which translates to “Unity, Work, Patriotism.”
The Seal of the Republic of Rwanda 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.
The Seal of the Republic contains the sun with its rays, sorghum and coffee tree, a basket, a blue wheel with teeth and two shields one on the right and one on the left. The National Anthem is “Rwanda Nziza” which means “Beautiful Rwanda.”