91 Facts About Paul Kagame


Paul Kagame is a Rwandan politician and former military officer who is the fourth and current president of Rwanda since 2000.


Paul Kagame previously served as a commander of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a rebel armed force which invaded Rwanda in 1990.


Paul Kagame was considered Rwanda's de facto leader when he served as Vice President and Minister of Defence under President Pasteur Bizimungu from 1994 to 2000 after which the "Vice President" post was abolished.


Paul Kagame joined the RPF, taking control of the group when previous leader Fred Rwigyema died on the second day of the 1990 invasion.


Paul Kagame resumed the civil war and ended the genocide with a military victory.


Paul Kagame said he did not support these killings but failed to stop them.


Paul Kagame's rule is considered authoritarian, and human rights groups accuse him of political repression.


Paul Kagame has had mostly good relations with the East African Community and the United States; his relations with France were poor until 2009.


Since coming to power, Paul Kagame has won three presidential elections, but none of these have been rated free or fair by international observers.


Paul Kagame was born on 23 October 1957, the youngest of six children, in Tambwe, Ruanda-Urundi, a village located in what is the Southern Province of Rwanda.


Paul Kagame's father, Deogratias Rutagambwa, was a member of the Tutsi ethnic group, from which the royal family had been derived since the 18th century or earlier.


At the time of Paul Kagame's birth, Rwanda was a United Nations Trust Territory which had been ruled, in various forms, by Belgium since 1916 under a mandate to oversee eventual independence.


Paul Kagame's family abandoned their home and lived for two years in the far northeast of Rwanda and eventually crossing the border into Uganda.


Paul Kagame began his primary education in a school near the refugee camp, where he and other Rwandan refugees learned how to speak English and began to integrate into Ugandan culture.


Paul Kagame subsequently attended Ntare School, one of the best schools in Uganda, which was the alma mater of future Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.


Paul Kagame was eventually suspended from Ntare and completed his studies at Old Kampala Secondary School.


Paul Kagame was initially hosted by family members of his former classmates, but upon arrival in Kigali; he made contact with members of his own family.


Paul Kagame kept a low profile on these visits, believing that his status as a well-connected Tutsi exile could lead to arrest.


Paul Kagame used his time in Rwanda to explore the country, familiarise himself with the political and social situation, and make connections that would prove useful to him in his later activities.


Paul Kagame received training at the United States Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


Paul Kagame took part in the Battle of Kabamba, the PRA's first operation, in February 1981.


Caplan noted Museveni's reputation for toughness, and said that Paul Kagame would have had to be similarly tough to earn such a position.


Rwigyema became the RPF leader shortly after joining and, while still working for the Ugandan army, he and Paul Kagame completed their invasion plans.


Paul Kagame was not present at the initial raids, as he was in the United States, attending the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


Paul Kagame returned to Africa and took command of the RPF forces, which had been reduced to fewer than 2,000 troops.


Paul Kagame restarted combat in January 1991, with an attack on the northern town of Ruhengeri.


Paul Kagame responded by suspending peace talks temporarily and launching a major attack, gaining a large swathe of land across the north of the country.


Rever held Paul Kagame responsible, giving as his motive a desire to plunge Rwanda into disorder and therefore provide a platform for the RPF to complete their conquest of the country.


Paul Kagame began an attack from the north on three fronts, seeking to link up quickly with the troops isolated in Kigali.


An interim government was set up but Paul Kagame refused to talk to it, believing that it was just a cover for Bagosora's rule.


On 10 June 1989 in Uganda, Paul Kagame married Jeannette Nyiramongi, a Tutsi exile living in Nairobi, Kenya.


Paul Kagame had asked his relatives to suggest a suitable marriage and they recommended Nyiramongi.


Paul Kagame travelled to Nairobi and introduced himself, persuading her to visit him in Uganda.


Paul Kagame assumed the dual roles of Vice President of Rwanda and Minister of Defence while Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu who had been a civil servant under Habyarimana before fleeing to join the RPF, was appointed president.


Bizimungu and his cabinet had some control over domestic affairs, but Paul Kagame remained commander-in-chief of the army and was the de facto ruler of the country.


Paul Kagame controlled the national army and was responsible for maintaining the government's power, while other officials began rebuilding the country.


Paul Kagame strove to portray the government as inclusive and not Tutsi-dominated.


Paul Kagame directed removal of ethnicity from citizens' national identity cards, and the government began a policy of downplaying the distinctions between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa.


Many observers believe Paul Kagame ordered the killing; as Caplan noted: "the RPF denied any responsibility, which no one other than RPF partisans believed".


Paul Kagame first provided troops and military training to aid a rebellion against Zaire by the Banyamulenge, a Tutsi group living near Bukavu in the Zairian South Kivu province.


Paul Kagame integrated former soldiers of the deposed genocidal regime's military into the RPF-dominated national army and appointed senior Hutu to key local government positions in the areas hit by insurgency.


Together with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame supported the newly created Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, an alliance of four rebel groups headed by Laurent-Desire Kabila, which began waging the First Congo War.


Paul Kagame accused Kabila of supporting the ongoing insurgency against Rwanda from North Kivu, the same accusation he had made about Mobutu.


Paul Kagame responded to the expulsion of his soldiers by backing a new rebel group, the Rally for Congolese Democracy, and launching the Second Congo War.


Paul Kagame dismissed these allegations as unsubstantiated and politically motivated; in a 2002 interview with newsletter Africa Confidential, Paul Kagame said that if solid evidence against Rwandan officers was presented, it would be dealt with very seriously.


Paul Kagame accused Bizimungu of corruption and poor management, while Bizimungu felt that he had no power over appointments to the cabinet and that the Transitional National Assembly was acting purely as a puppet for Paul Kagame.


Historians generally believe that Bizimungu was forced into resigning by Paul Kagame after denouncing the National Assembly and attempting to sow discord within the RPF.


However, Paul Kagame told Kinzer that he was surprised by the development saying that he had received the "startling news" in a phone call from a friend.


Paul Kagame had been de facto leader since 1994, but focused more on military, foreign affairs and the country's security than day-to-day governance.


Bizimungu started his own party in 2001, but Paul Kagame's government banned it on the grounds that political campaigning was not permitted under the transitional constitution.


Paul Kagame was imprisoned until 2007, when he was pardoned by Kagame.


Since ascending to the presidency in 2000, Paul Kagame has faced three presidential elections, in 2003,2010 and 2017.


Paul Kagame was the RPF candidate, while former prime minister Twagiramungu was his main challenger.


Paul Kagame returned to the country from Europe in June 2003 and began campaigning in August.


Paul Kagame declared victory in the election one day after the poll, and his win was later confirmed by the National Electoral Commission.


Paul Kagame filed a petition at the Supreme Court to nullify the result, but was unsuccessful and he left Rwanda shortly afterwards, fearing that he would be arrested.


Paul Kagame ran for re-election in 2010, at the end of his first elected term.


Paul Kagame was endorsed by the RPF national congress as their candidate in May 2010, and was accepted as a candidate in July.


The election went ahead in August 2010 without Ingabire and two other banned candidates, Paul Kagame facing three opponents described by Human Rights Watch as "broadly supportive of the RPF".


Paul Kagame responded that it was not his own decision to seek a third term, but that the parliament and the people had demanded it.


Paul Kagame launched a national consultation process and sought the advice of experts from emerging nations including China, Singapore and Thailand.


Paul Kagame has stated that he believes Rwanda can emulate the economic development of Singapore since 1960.


Paul Kagame, as set out in the national Vision 2050 Policy, believes that Rwanda can become an upper-middle income country by 2035, and a high-income country by 2050.


In 2005, after the country was ranked 158th on the Ease of Doing Business Index, Paul Kagame set up a special unit to analyze the economy and provide solutions to easing business.


Paul Kagame's government is seeking to improve this situation as one of the Vision 2020 priorities.


Paul Kagame has garnered praise for the country's response to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.


The Second Congo War, which began in 1998, was still raging when Paul Kagame assumed the presidency in 2000.


Paul Kagame's government announced at the end of 2002 that all uniformed Rwandan troops had left Congolese territory, but this was contradicted by a 2003 report by UN panel of experts.


Paul Kagame blamed the DRC for failing to suppress the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, Rwandan Hutu rebels operating in North and South Kivu provinces.


Relations have improved since 2016, as Paul Kagame held a bilateral meeting with Kabila in Gisenyi.


Congolese officials such as Walikale member of parliament Juvenal Munubo, as well as civilians, have reported sighting RDF soldiers in the DRC, but Paul Kagame consistently denies these claims.


Paul Kagame spent most of his childhood and young adult years living in Uganda, and has a personal relationship with President Yoweri Museveni dating back to the late 1970s; they fought together in the Ugandan Bush War, and Paul Kagame was appointed head of military intelligence in Museveni's national army following the NRA victory in 1986.


Paul Kagame accused Museveni's government of supporting the FDLR and harassing Rwandan nationals in Uganda, leading Rwanda to set up a blockade of trucks at the border.


In 2006, French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere released a report on the assassination of President Habyarimana which concluded that Paul Kagame had ordered the shooting of the plane.


Paul Kagame denied the charges and immediately broke off diplomatic relations with France.


Paul Kagame reciprocated with an official visit to Paris in 2011.


Paul Kagame attended the subsequent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, addressing the Business Forum.


Paul Kagame has been vocal in his praise of China and its model for relations with Africa, saying in a 2009 interview that "the Chinese bring what Africa needs: investment and money for governments and companies".


China does not openly involve itself in the domestic affairs of the countries with which it trades, hence has not followed the West in criticising Paul Kagame's alleged involvement in the war in the Congo.


Paul Kagame cited an example of donor countries providing free fertilisers to farmers; he believes this to be wrong because it undercuts local fertiliser businesses, preventing them from growing and becoming competitive.


In 2012, Paul Kagame launched the Agaciro Development Fund, following proposals made at a national dialogue session in 2011.


Paul Kagame served as Chairperson of the African Union from 28 January 2018 to 10 February 2019.


Paul Kagame pushed through a reform of African Union structures in an effort to improve their effectiveness and make them financially sustainable.


Dukalskis says that to suppress negative information, the Paul Kagame regime has curtailed access to academics and journalists, and threatened and assassinated critics of the regime.


Approximately two million Hutu lived as refugees in neighbouring countries until 1996, when Paul Kagame forced them to return home.


Many Hutu supported the late 1990s cross-border insurgency against Paul Kagame by defeated forces of the former regime.


British journalist and author Michela Wrong and Filip Reyntjens disagree, with Wrong saying that "the level of invective Paul Kagame dedicates to the Rwanda National Congress, the amount of energy he has expended trying to get Uganda and South Africa to expel or extradite or close down these players, suggests he sees them as a real threat".


Paul Kagame was credited with ending the genocide, bringing peace and security to Rwanda, and achieving development.


Since 2010, the international community has increasingly criticized Paul Kagame following a leaked United Nations report alleging Rwanda's support for the rebel M23 movement in Congo.


American journalist Stephen Kinzer, who wrote the biography A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It in collaboration with Paul Kagame himself, describes him as "one of the most intriguing leaders in Africa".


Paul Kagame has received many honours and accolades during his presidency.