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Rwandan President Paul Kagame receives frequent praise for leading the country through an extended period of relative peace and prosperity after the country’s brutal genocide in 1994.

The country has also experienced huge economic growth and much development, especially in Kigali. But Kagame’s dramatic re-election with 99 percent of the vote( even Jesus Christ would not get 99 percent) , the changes to the Constitution allowing him to potentially keep in power until 2034, and accusations of repression, have raised alarm that Rwanda is sliding into dictatorship.

In recent years, international human rights groups and even allies like the USA have alleged harassment, abuse and arrest of Kagame’s political opponents.

So, is Rwanda under Kagame a peaceful, democratic miracle or is it becoming a dictatorship?

Unsurprisingly, the prospect of such a long mandate has democracy heads like mine cringe. Meanwhile, other observers point to successful post-genocide reconstruction, amazing economic growth rates, and high levels of gender parity in government and business as reasons why it might be worth it to give up some democracy in return for benefits that most other African nations have yet to see. The highly divided reactions to Kagame’s victory raises the question: what kind of human right violation should we be willing to tolerate when it comes to stability vs. democracy in Africa?

It’s about time the international community stopped hailing Kagame as such a savior and opened their eyes to his underhanded efforts to consolidate his hold on power.



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