Time Magazine Used To Praise Kagame. Now The Publication Says It Is A Question Of “When And How” His Regime Will Violently End

By David Himbara

In 2009, Time included Kagame among the top 100 world leaders. In those days – eight years ago – Time described Kagame as follows:

“Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, is the face of emerging African leadership. His reconciliation strategy, management model, empowerment of women in leadership and insistence on self-reliance are transforming a failed state into one with a bright future.”

Fast-forward to 2017. This is how Time Magazine now describes Kagame:

“Kagame is no doubt a ruthless leader…He has ruled with a strong hand since assuming power, cracking down on the free press in particular (Reporters Without Borders ranks the country 159th out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index). He’s poised to continue doing so for the foreseeable future; the new constitution allows him an additional two five-year terms through 2034. His hanging on will probably drive another violent transition before 2034 – it’s just very hard to predict when or how.”

Time’s 2017 perspective is obviously correct. No post-independence Rwandan ruler ever gave up power peacefully. Each transition was a violent affair. Gregoire Kayibanda was overthrown in a military coup d’état, his cabinet massacred, and died poor under house arrest. Juvenal Habyarimana was literally shot from the skies.

And as Time Magazine rightly concludes, Kagame’s clinging on to power will “drive another violent transition before 2034.” What remains to be seen is just “when or how.”