More than 7.5million Rwandans currently have National IDs. It is an exciting step because for it has been 26 years that the Genocide against the Tutsi was stopped, and Rwandans are proud to have documents that do not contain racial discrimination.
Rwandan history shows that during the colonial era, what was once a wealthy class of Rwandans was transformed into ethnics and the colonists began to include it in Rwandan documents called “books” which later came out of the paper identity card.
In an interview with RBA, Antoine Mugesera, an expert in Rwandan culture and history, said that the "Book" consisted of about 10 pages.
“It was a little booklet, they called it a book. They used the book to segregate indegenous Rwandans from the twenty families, the Singas, the Zigabas, the Geseras among others,” he said.
The identity card was widely used in the Genocide against the Tutsi, where at various barriers they were set up, the Interahamwe asked for it looking for who to kill.
Mugesera says that in the aftermath of the Genocide against the Tutsi, things have changed and ethnicity has been removed from identity cards.
“I was one of the founders of the project, I was raised by the commission that issued it in 1995/96; Arusha had confirmed that the identities containing the so-called ethnicities would be removed, and that Habyarimana wanted to do so and changed his mind. It was not an easy thing to do for him”.
A 16-year-old Rwandan is currently allowed to obtain an identity card, as a proof of identity.
Mukesha Josephine, director general of the National Identification Agency, said the study of identity thesis was in line with modern technology.
“There is a program called ‘digital ID’ which means that you still have your physical ID, and can present it to access your digital information. You can even place your signature on it and there are no gaps allowing for it to be used by another person,,” she said.
In 2016, the agency announced that the digital ID would be combined with up to seven other documents including identity card itself, driver’s license, RSSB number, insurance, tin number and family members among others. It will cost Rwf15,000.
Currently, 7,586,813 Rwandans have IDs, of which about four women.