Socialist Worker

Rwanda: Kagame is a friend of the West

Issue No. 2214

Elections this week in Rwanda, central Africa, saw much praise for President Paul Kagame.

He’s presented as an effective peacemaker who has ended ethnic hatred in the country.

But that’s far from the whole truth. Kagame is a leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which was armed and supported by US allies in the region in the 1990s.

The RPF took over as the government in the wake of the 1994 genocide launched by the French-backed “Hutu power” government.

The ending of the genocide was of course a huge relief.

But Kagame installed a neoliberal and pro-US government that has been part of the bitter fighting in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

And there is precious little democracy in Rwanda for those Kagame has decided are unacceptable. Several opposition candidates were stopped from standing against Kagame, and 30 newspapers banned in the run-up to the vote.

Even the BBC admits, “Paul Kagame’s RPF took power in 1994. Today it is still Mr Kagame and a tight-knit circle of former rebels from the Tutsi minority who hold real power in Rwanda.”

Kagame, was given military and strategic training in Fort Leavensworth in Kansas in the US in 1990. Rwanda was one of very few countries in Africa to support the US invasion of Iraq.

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