Behind the Story: TIME’s Alex Perry Discusses Rwandan President Paul Kagame

14 Sep

World

If you look at a map of Africa you could be forgiven for assuming that the actions of the President of the tiny, landlocked country of Rwanda are not hugely consequential on the international stage. After all, Rwanda is a country just 1% the size of its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo. But Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, is a political actor of great importance for the whole continent. Most importantly, he is a key playmaker in the politics of central Africa. And it’s for his actions in that role that he is increasingly the target of criticism from the West, from organizations like Human Rights Watch to aid donors and governments, including those of the U.S. and Britain.

Eighteen years after defeating the genocidal militias who murdered 800,000 fellow Rwandans, mostly of a different ethnicity from theirs, in 100 days, the perception of Kagame’s leadership among many Western officials and governments has shifted…

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