Africa (Conversation) – Africa is known for its rich biodiversity. On a continent where people depend on this biodiversity for their daily livelihood, the question of how animals and plants that live on it will be protected, remains crucial. A…
Paul Kagame led his country away from genocide and war, but today his regime is upheld by authoritarian controls and political violence.
In 1994, Paul Kagame and his rebel forces, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), took Rwanda’s capital Kigali from Hutu extremists, bringing an end to the genocide that saw close to a million people killed in 100 days. Although only officially elected president in 2000, Kagame has been the de facto leader ever since and, following recent changes in the nation’s constitution that allow him to run for a third term, he could remain in power until 2034. Rwanda has seen great progress during his incumbency and has been held up by many in the international community as an exemplary model of development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, it is not all sunshine and smiles. Kagame faces allegations of war crimes, is known to suppress any form of political opposition and has even been implicated in the assassination of various Rwandan dissidents. Despite all this, western leaders — who continue to give substantial aid to Rwanda — have not only failed to challenge Kagame on these issues in any meaningful way, but have even praised him as being, to quote Bill Clinton, among “the greatest leaders of our time.” Why does the west turn a blind eye to Rwanda’s dictatorship?