1 March, 2010
Viret Emmanuel

The term, which means ‘private council’ in the Rwandan language, refers to the immediate entourage of Agathe Kanziga, the wife of Juvénal Habyarimana, regarded as one of the key figures in the organization of the genocide. The key members of this informal structure came from the communes of Karago and Giciye in the prefecture of Gisenyi.

In addition to the First Lady’s three brothers, Protais Zigiranyirazo (former prefect of Ruhengeri), Colonel Elie Sagatwa and Séraphin Rwabukumba, the Akazu contained senior officers of the Rwandan Armed Forces like Colonel Laurent Serubuga, but also civilians who had risen to leadership positions in the civil service or the para-public sector under the Second Republic: Séraphin Bararengana, Charles Nzabagerageza, Alphonse Ntirivamunda and Joseph Nzirorera. However, the organization and the term referring to it long predate the preparation of the genocide. 

It seems that the Akazu was linked to the assassination of Colonel Mayuya, regarded as Juvénal Habyarimana’s dauphin. In addition, by the beginning of the 1980s, the term referred to the circle of those close to power (Guichaoua, 1995: 270/765).

Cite this item

Viret Emmanuel, Akazu, Mass Violence & Résistance, [online], published on: 1 March, 2010, accessed 17/02/2021, http://bo-k2s.sciences-po.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/akazu, ISSN 1961-9898
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