He is Paul Kagame, the ‘darling tyrant,’ as ‘Politico’ Magazine puts it. Bill Clinton, who is credited with putting an end to Rwanda’s genocide 20 years ago, has claimed to be one of “the greatest leaders of our time.” Tony Blair referred to him as a ‘visionary.’ Others assert that he is the continent’s greatest success story. The Rwandan president’s website boasts of accomplishments such as increasing educational enrollment rates, significantly improving the economy, and stabilizing and growing the country. The western world and international organizations such as the World Bank have fallen in love with the political and military mastermind, believing he is their best hope for regional improvement. However, a darker side to this leader has been revealed. The dictator plotted a coup against Rwanda’s government and succeeded in seizing complete power, which he retains to this day. After assuming power, the genocide continued, with only the perpetrators swapped out. Between the ongoing genocide, the Congo Wars, and political assassinations, the tyrant is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of over 5 million people since the mid-1990s. His atrocities against humanity have been compared to those perpetrated by Saddam Hussein. Nonetheless, the western world continues to praise the man for transforming a hopeless Rwanda into a land of prosperity and hope.
Childhood & Adolescence
Paul Kagame was born in Rwanda on October 23, 1957, to a Tutsi royal family. His mother was a descendant of Rwanda’s last queen, and his father was related to King Mutara III. The Tutsi lost political power shortly after his birth, and the family fled to Uganda, where he spent the majority of his childhood in exile.
His early education took place in the vicinity of the refugee camp until he was transferred to ‘Rwengoro Primary School.’ After graduating with honors, he was admitted to one of Uganda’s best schools, the ‘Ntare School.’
Tragically, he lost his father in the early 1970s, resulting in a significant decline in his academic achievements. He was suspended from school shortly afterwards.
Career of Paul
He began his political and military career in Uganda during the Bush War. He joined the ‘National Resistance Army’, a rebel group aimed at overthrowing Uganda’s government, in 1981.
In 1986, he led an estimated 14,000 soldiers in overthrowing Uganda’s government and establishing a new one. He was appointed head of military intelligence and immediately began planning an attack and invasion of Rwanda.
The military man assumed command of the ‘Rwandan Patriotic Front’ in October 1990. For the next three years, his army and the Rwandan army were paralyzed and eventually compromised, with the RPF gaining significant roles in the post-war transitional government.
On April 6, 1994, Rwandan President Habyarimana was assassinated, precipitating a mass genocide against Tutsi and moderate Hutu. Kagame was able to defeat the Rwandan army’s extremists in three months, effectively ending the conflict and establishing a new government.
He was instrumental in supporting the First and Second Congo Wars from 1996 to 2003 in order to protect Rwanda from Hutu sympathizers. War, disease, and starvation claimed an estimated 3-7 million lives during the wars.
On September 12, 2003, he won Rwanda’s first multiparty election by a landslide and was sworn in as President.
Throughout the campaign, he emphasized his identity as a Rwandan, rather than a Tutsi. He was re-elected with 93 percent of the vote in 2010. He ultimately defeated three other opposing party candidates and is currently serving a seven-year term as President.
Significant Works of Paul
The 1994 mass murder of Tutsis and even moderate Hutus by extremist Hutus is considered one of the worst and quickest genocides in history. Kagame and his soldiers seized control of the country, effectively putting an end to the conflict. He has since served as the country’s de facto leader.
Awards and Accomplishments
Between 2008 and 2012, Kagame’s government claimed to have lifted over 1 million people out of poverty. Despite the global economic crisis, the economy grew by an astounding 8% during that time period.
In 2010, he received the ‘Global Citizen Award’ from the foundation of former US President Bill Clinton. Clinton is adamant that Kagame has built a strong nation that can serve as a model for the rest of Africa.
Personal History and Legacies
He married Jeannette Nyiramongi in 1989 and the couple had four children. Brian, Ian, and Ivan are their sons. They have one daughter, Ange, and three sons, Brian, Ian, and Ivan.
Despite his election victory in 2003, he was extremely aggressive toward his Hutu opponents. The politician even arrested supporters of his adversary and forced several candidates to withdraw from the race. Similarly, opponents were denied media time during his 2010 election, and an opposition party leader was mysteriously murdered.
The United Nations has evidence that Kagame’s staff committed war crimes and possibly genocide between 1996 and 1998. Their reports establish a link between the dictator and the mass slaughter of thousands of civilians and rapes.
Numerous countries have chosen to look the other way out of concern for Rwanda’s destabilization.
Kagame was ranked number one on ‘People with Money’ magazine’s list of the top ten highest-paid political figures in 2015. His total net worth is estimated to be $500 million, largely due to his family’s control over the Rwandan economy through ‘Crystal Ventures.’
Estimated Net Worth
Paul Kagame is a Rwandan politician with a $500 million fortune. In 2000, Paul was elected President of Rwanda. Kagame took office in March 2000, following Pasteur Bizimungu’s resignation.
The famous politician is credited with revitalizing Rwanda’s economy, and his personal website even credits his rule with a 14-year increase in life expectancy. When he took power, more than 40% of Rwanda’s population had been murdered or fled.