If there is anything I know, for sure, that Hutus and Tutsis have any common, it is this blind and irrational obedience to whoever is in charge, and it is not some kind of genetic mutation that turned Rwanda into a Nation of irrational automatons programmed to do whatever the leader says they should do, or go completely berserk if left unchecked. It is a psychological brainwashing process that took centuries to develop, under an elaborate horror based system of Government known as Kalinga, created and enforced by the Tutsi monarchy for more than three hundred years. The supreme symbol for this system was a drum by the same name: Kalinga.
This was serial killer type of trophy trove, decorated with conquered hutu leaders and other recalcitrant characters’ males genitals, their wives’ breasts and everybody’s eyeballs, and other small human body parts the King considered necessary to cement fear within his subjects, to the point where if he asked a man to throw himself in the fire to amuse the King’s honored guest at the court, the person would have no choice but to gladly accept to burn alive, just because the king said so. Besides, since the punishment for not complying with the King’s request would have resulted in the extermination of a person’s entire family, in what was called: “stemming out the cause for vendetta”(kuzimya inzigo), people would do as they told to save their loved ones. This was the Genocide Ideology of the first order!
Unfortunately, for Rwanda this is not fiction, this was true up until 1959. Now, Mr. Feingold, if you think I am making up this stuff; make a phone call to a man named Jean Baptiste Ndahindurwa. He is the last known person to decorate this insane symbol with his country men’s manhood, and the families of his victims are still around somewhere. He still claims to be our King, and every once and while; he writes us a very polite letter calling us all his children. He lives somewhere in the Washington area, and I heard that he collects food stamps at times, but this could be just a rumour.
Reign of Rwabuguri (19th century)
In the 19th century, the state became far more centralized, and the history far more precise. Expansion continued, reaching the shores of Lake Kivu. This expansion was less about military conquest and more about a migrating population spreading Rwandan agricultural techniques, social organization, and the extension of a Mwami's political control. Once this was established camps of warriors were established along the vulnerable borders to prevent incursions. Only against other well developed states such as Gisaka, Bugesera, and Burundi was expansion carried out primarily by force of arms.
Under the monarchy the economic imbalance between the Hutus and the Tutsis crystallized, and a complex political imbalance emerged as the Tutsis formed into a hierarchy dominated by a Mwami or 'king'. The King was treated as a semi-divine being, responsible for making the country prosper. The symbol of the King was the Kalinga, the sacred drum.
The Mwami main power base was in control of over a hundred large estates spread through the kingdom. Including fields of banana trees and many head of cattle, the estates were the basis of the rulers' wealth. The most ornate of the estates would each be home to one of the king's wives, monarchs having up to twenty. It was between these estates that the Mwami and his retinue would travel.
All the people of Rwanda were expected to pay tribute to the Mwami; it was collected by a Tutsi administrative hierarchy. Beneath the Mwami was a Tutsi ministerial council of great chiefs, the batware b'intebe, while below them was a group of lesser Tutsi chiefs, who for the large part governed the country in districts, each district having a cattle chief and a land chief. The cattle chief collected tribute in livestock, and the land chief collected tribute in produce. Beneath these chiefs were hill-chiefs and neighborhood chiefs. More than 95% of hill and neighborhood chiefs were of Tutsi descent.
Also important were military chiefs, who had control over the frontier regions. They played both defensive and offensive roles, protecting the frontier and making cattle raids against neighboring tribes. Often, the Rwandan great chief was also the army chief. Lastly, the biru or "council of guardians" was also an important part of the administration. The Biru advised the Mwami on his duties where supernatural king-powers were involved. These honored people advised also on matters of court ritual. Taken together, all these posts from great chiefs, military chiefs and Biru members existed to serve the powers of the Mwami, and to reinforce the king's leadership in Rwanda.
Located in the border camps, the military were a mix of Hutu and Tutsi drawn from across the kingdom. This intermixing helped produce a uniformity of ritual and language in the region, and united the populace behind the Mwami. Most evidence suggests that relations between the Hutu and Tutsi were mostly peaceful at this time. Some words and expressions suggest there may have been friction, but other than that evidence supports peaceful interaction.
A traditional local justice system called Gacaca predominated in much of the region as an institution for resolving conflict, rendering justice and reconciliation. The Tutsi king was the ultimate judge and arbiter for those cases that reached him. Despite the traditional nature of the system, harmony and cohesion had been established among Rwandans and within the kingdom since the beginning of Rwanda.
The distinction between the three ethnic groups was somewhat fluid, in that Tutsis who lost their cattle due to a disease epidemic, such as rinderpest, sometimes would be considered Hutu. Likewise Hutu who obtained cattle would come to be considered Tutsi, thus climbing the ladder of the social strata. This social mobility ended abruptly with the onset of colonial administration.
Leader of the group (standing second from left) and the royal drummers at the palace of the Mwami. Four Kalinga drums. Four drums, four drummers and four holders of drums. The traditional double crescent hair do, each crescent diametrically opposite of the other, from left and rear right of the head. These are the four Royal Drums kept at the palace at Nyanza. (1952)
The kingly power of the mwami was symbolized by the kalinga, a large ceremonial drum frequently decorated with the dried heads and dessicated testicles of vanquished opponents of the royal armies. Rwandan author and historian Benjamin Sehene writes that “an atmosphere of veneration and a grand ceremonial surrounded the kalinga (“token of hope”), which was kept in a palace, protected day and night by a special guard.” This important symbol was painted with the blood of bulls, which gave it a reddish-brown appearance, and was often escorted by three other royal drums, called “He possesses knowledge,” “the Country expands” and “the Nations are subject to me.” If ever the kalinga were lost or captured in battle, it was universally believed that this setback would certainly signal disaster for the entirety of the Rwandan nation.
The mwami was the supreme servant of the drum. Only noble Tutsi were permitted to beat the drum and the king could only ascend to the throne after he had mastered the drum.
On 23 March 1960, the Special Provisional Council, a body created by the Belgian administration after the November 1959 riots that strongly weakened the monarchy, addressed a number of measures to the king, Kigeri V Ndahindurwa. The most revolutionary measure was the banning of the Kalinga royal drum and its replacement by a flag. While all the political parties unconditionally backed the measure, monarchist UNAR [Union Nationale Rwandaise] suggested that such a measure would only be accepted after a referendum on the question. (Nkundabagenzi, p. 199-201). Reacting to that proposal one month later, King Ndahindurwa wrote: "That issue relating to the dynasty and to the Rwandan society is crucial and fundamental. It cannot be dealt with so summarily by a Provisional Council that is not representative. It should be considered by a more representative organ, especially the one in charge of drafting the Constitution. "
Why should a drum be the cause of a political impasse? King Ndahindurwa answers: because it is crucial to the [Nyiginya-Tutsi] dynasty and to the Rwandans. Why then was it crucial to the dynasty? Writing about its introduction by king Ruganzu II Ndoli around 1580, Alexis Kagame tells the story of Rwoga – Kalinga’s predecessor - which the Banyabungo had taken after defeating King Ndahiro II Cyamatare. In the eleven years that separated Ruganzu’s return from Karagwe (east of current Tanzania) and the death of his father Cyamatare, Rwanda had no royal drum and the situation was dramatic. A popular legend about this period has entered Rwanda’s collective memory: "The legend speculates about that period of ‘widowhood’. According to it, there were no births among men and beasts, there was such a severe drought that smoke came out of cattle’s horns...all these misfortunes were due to the absence of the legitimate king on Rwanda’s throne! The enthronisation of Ruganzu II Ndoli instantly changed the situation which became normal....He inaugurated the new royal drum Kalinga to succeed the taken Rwoga. "
The Kalinga drum symbolised not only Banyiginya’s power and supremacy over the rest of Rwanda’s populations, but also and above all, it summarised the long blood-tainted history of the making process of Rwanda. With the introduction of Kalinga, the Tutsi started ornamenting the royal drum with the testicles of the defeated [and assassinated] Hutu kings to symbolise their definitive political extinction. Before this memory-keeping gesture, the King had to make sure that the slain Hutu king left no male descendent. Historian Ferdinand Nahimana notes that King Ruganzu II Ndori not only killed in the 17th century the Bugara Hutu King Nzira, son of Muramira, but also decimated all his male descent (Nahimana, 1993:9). He also relates a similar story with the Nduga King Mashira who was taken into a marriage trap set by Tutsi King Mibambwe I Sekarongoro I Mutabazi I. He was assassinated by the latter together with all his male descent (Nahimana, 1993: 9). The sexual organs of Nzira, Mashira, and other Hutu Kings were ornamenting the royal drum, making the proud of
the victorious Kings and their descent.
It was until the late 50s-early 60s that the Hutu elite realised that they could not be politically at ease with the testicles of their forefathers still ornamenting the Kalinga. This explains why the ban of that drum was so essential for the Hutu emancipationists. Mamdani (2001: 119) remarks that Hutu’s focus at that time was on that prime symbol of Tutsi power as it signified ‘a permanent vision of Hutu inferiority’. From King Ndahindurwa’s arguments, one understands that the drum was crucial to the dynasty because of its memory-keeping function which maintained his dynasty and ethnic group in an eternal superior position. Reflecting on the Hutu-Tutsi memory conflict, Hutu emancipationist leader Joseph Gitera  argued that
the Tutsi kings violently conquered the Hutu masses, marching on the corpses of their kings, using women as traps. (Nahimana, 2007: 83). Regarding the testicles of the Hutu kings still hanging on Kalinga, Gitera mentioned his visit to the King Mutara III Rudahigwa in 1958: "As reconciliation protocol, we demanded that the venerable corpses of our ancestors that hanged on the Kalinga [royal drum] to symbolise the ignominious bondage forever, and the immortal trophies, be removed and officially and honourably buried. Astounded and furious, Rudahigwa
and his entourage responded: “There is no Hutu-Tutsi problem in Rwanda, as there is no brotherly relationship between Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda. They have nothing in common but
‘domination and bondage’.
Interesting aside - about the modern use of the word Gacaca, which many see as partial Tutsi justice. Be aware when reading Wiki articles that the RPF has a very polished propaganda bureaucracy.
The Gacaca court is part of a system of community justice inspired by tradition and established in 2001 in Rwanda, in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, when between 800,000 and 1,000,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsi alongside moderate Hutu, were slaughtered. After the Genocide, the new Rwandan Patriotic Front's government struggled with developing just means for the humane detention and prosecution of the more than 100,000 people accused of genocide, war crimes, and related crimes against humanity. By 2000, approximately 120,000 alleged genocidaires were crammed into Rwanda's prisons and communal jails (Reyntjens & Vandeginste 2005, 110). From December 1996 to December 2006, the courts managed to try about 10,000 suspects (Human Rights Watch 2004, 18): at that rate it would take another 110 years to prosecute all the prisoners.
Originally, the Gacaca settled village or familial disputes. The courts were informal means of solving disputes around issues like theft, marital issues, land rights, and property damage. They were constituted as village assemblies, presided by the ancients, where each member of the community could request to speak. The trials were meant to promote reconciliation and justice of the perpetrator in front of family and neighbors.
Well-respected elders, known as Inyangamugayo, were elected based on their honesty by the people of the community. The name gacaca originates from the word umucaca in Kinyarwanda, Rwanda's national language: it can be roughly translated into English as "short, clean cut grass". It is symbolic for a gathering place for elders to sit on and judge the trial. Inyangamugayo would assemble all parties to a crime and mediate a resolution involving reparations or some act of contrition. The Gacaca court is thus a system of grassroots legal bodies inspired by traditional power structures.