It was founded by Grégoire Kayibanda as a political party of moderate Hutu nationalists who fought for emacipation of the oppressed Hutu majority. Kayibanda overthrew the Tutsi monarchy of Mwami Kigeri V in 1961, and appointed a government of Hutus.
After independence, in July 1962, Kayibanda became president of Rwanda. In the at the general elections of October 1963, Parmehutu won all seats in the parliament.
In the coup of July 1973, Kayibanda was ousted by his cousin Juvénal Habyarimana, and the Parmehutu party was dissolved.