25 YEARS LATER

Kagame has done well, must not stifle Rwanda

Truth be told, Kagame has done a sterling job in turning the country around.

In Summary

• Close to a tenth of the country's population was decimated as the world silently watched.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame speaks about 'Flagship Reforms for a More Effective African Union', at the Brookings Institution in Washington, US, September 21, 2017. /REUTERS
Rwandan President Paul Kagame speaks about 'Flagship Reforms for a More Effective African Union', at the Brookings Institution in Washington, US, September 21, 2017. /REUTERS

This year, Rwanda marks 25 years since the genocide that left 800,000 people dead and millions of other displaced.

The killings that lasted 100 days saw the minority Tutsi hunted down like cockroaches and massacred by ethnic Hutu extremists.

Close to a tenth of the country's population was decimated as the world silently watched. By the time global leaders acted, it was too late, placing Rwanda among the top 10 countries with the worst genocides in history.

President Paul Kagame led the rebel force that ended the genocide and has been in power for 19 years.

The country has since been peaceful and realised good economic growth, which currently stands at 7.2 per cent, the highest in East Africa.

Truth be told, President Kagame has done a sterling job in turning the country around.

However, he has since morphed into a benevolent dictator who clamps down on any dissenting voices. Detentions and assassinations are used to silence critics. 

The world would not want to see a repeat of what happened in Rwanda. Kagame must ease his strong-arm tactics and let democracy take root.

Strong institutions outlive leaders and keep a country sound. Kagame must, therefore, strive to put up structures to ensure a peaceful and strong Rwanda long after his exit.