Kagame’s thoughts on the upcoming election, Rwanda’s vision

Kagame’s thoughts on the upcoming election, Rwanda’s vision

With the elections fast approaching in August, in Kigali, succession is probably not the order of the day. As politically incorrect as it may seem, very few Rwandans want it because of Paul Kagame’s legitimacy, the fear of a future without him and the discipline that defines the society are irrevocable and undeniable. Especially that, as noted by all the African visitors who come back overjoyed, Rwanda has become the symbol of a “successful Africa,” with a “knowledge-based economy” on the rise and the ambition to jump to the third industrial revolution and skip the other two.

With start-up incubators in Kigali like the Innovation City, a smaller version of Bangalore, situated 15 km from the capital where Carnegie Mellon University has set up a campus. There, the talk is about e-books, drones, photovoltaic parks and FabLab.

With a 7 per cent projected growth rate for 2017, ranked as the second country in the Doing Business ranking, 95 per cent of the population covered by high-speed internet and 91 per cent by health insurance, a maternal and child mortality rate that has decreased six folds in twenty years: these undisputed Rwandan achievements, to which must be added security, cleanliness and a low corruption rate (4th in the last African ranking of Transparency International), make Paul Kagame, 59, an example for half a dozen of admiring French-speaking heads of state – from Alpha Condé to Ali Bongo Ondimba, from Faure Gnassingbé to Patrice Talon.

Of course, these facts and figures are in stark contrast with: a per capita annual income of $700, a budget dependent on foreign aid by 30 per cent, tightly controlled freedom of expression and association inducing at times a lack of vitality in the political and cultural life.

But there are some unmistakable signs that Paul Kagame’s countrymen and women are supportive of the country’s deliberate choice of development over democracy: the number of nationals from the diaspora who choose to return to the country largely exceed those who decide to emigrate.

Many of them are young, graduates, entrepreneurs and define themselves as Rwandans before being Hutu or Tutsi. In ‘Kigal-e’, the most important incubator is that of a post-ethnic society…

Read interview with Kagame on http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-05-19/212705/