Newsweek

Is Rwandan President Paul Kagame a Savior or Dictator?

Seventeen years is a long time for a leader to stay in power, but not everyone in Rwanda is ready for change.
As Rwanda's president Paul Kagame—an ethnic Tutsi who has been in power since 2000—runs for another seven-year term, many Rwandans, particularly ethnic Hutus worry their country is turning into a one-party state, claiming their government that is crushing dissent ahead of the election. Following a 2015 referendum to extend term limits, Kagame can now legally remain in power until 2034.
07_21_Rwanda_01 Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Sitting outside his grocery shop in the Nyabugogo slum in Kigali, Rwanda, in June, Francis Nduwimana described his longing for a change in leadership in the presidential election on August 4. “We are tired of Kagame, but we cannot express our views openly,” said Nduwimana, an ethnic Hutu, in his vernacular language of Kinyarwanda. “If you criticize him, you will be accused by the government agencies of dividing the country, and you will either be imprisoned or killed.”

As Rwandan President Paul Kagame — an ethnic Tutsi who has been in power since 2000 — runs for another seven-year term, many Rwandans, particularly ethnic Hutus, share Nduwimana’s fear. They see a government that is

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