Big Issues

Kagame: “On Judgement Day, I will get better marks than those who criticise us over human rights”

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From the struggle against the coronavirus, to the relationship with France and with the neighbours, and the state of human rights in Rwanda, an interview with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

“Wakanda is real”, said one breathless blogger after visiting Rwanda in February, and seeing the growth of the Kigali Innovation City, an effort to crowd in technology, biotech and higher education investment.

The country will be leaning into its digital headstart in the economic reset post pandemic; other sector like tourism will no doubt struggle.

There are also political resets  underway for Rwanda;

  • In its relationship with neighbours Burundi and the DRC, both under new management.
  • In its relationship with France, especially following the arrest of Félicien Kabuga, the financier of the 1994 genocide who was caught in France after 25 years on the run.

There are still calls for more political renewal within Rwanda itself, though President Kagame hits back at critics of human rights, saying their accusation are motivated by historical guilt.

The Africa Report: Rwanda has been relatively less hit by coronavirus, but cases are now rising, how are you managing the situation?

Paul Kagame: As best we can. The lockdown helped a lot, we had a rigourous testing, tracing and isolation process.

With the easing of the lockdown, to allow life get back to normal, we found other problems, with cases coming from movements from beyond our borders. These arrived through truck drivers coming from our two economic lifelines, from Mombasa in Kenya, and Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania.

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