Dragging his country up from the depths of a bloody nightmare into a major African success story, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has emerged as the “Global Elite’s” unrivalled “Favorite Strongman”. In two decades, Kagame has transformed Rwanda from a country shattered to pieces by its 100-day genocide to a unified nation rallied behind him in the pursuit of peace, stability, progress, and self-reliance. Kagame, through rhetoric and policy, has chosen step by step to bring Rwanda back to life. His multi phase plan to re-build Rwanda started with fostering national unity, followed by a focused social and economic development plan and, finally, instilling in Rwandans a sense of empowerment. But Kagame’s use of authoritative power to affect this plan has come at the cost of protecting individual freedom rights. Although he is not a saint, Kagame has earned respect as a role model for African leadership through his successes and principles. Rwanda’s upward trajectory, under Kagame, is a beacon of hope for prosperity and true socio-economic reform in countries plagued by a history of violence, corruption, weak institutions, and unremitting poverty. Undeniably, those who seek positive and radical change and are not afraid of the potential for controversy, have a lot to learn from “Rwanda’s Rebel Reformer” – President Paul Kagame.
Natasha Field-Marsham is a sophomore at Stanford University intending to major in International Relations and minor in Economics and MS&E. Within International Relations, she is pursuing concentrations in Economic Development and Africa. Her personal and academic interest in Africa is focused on the study of larger-scale leadership wielded by heads of states. She has previously examined some of Africa’s most murderous and destructive leaders, namely President Joseph Mobutu and President Laurent Kabila of The Democratic Republic of Congo. This year, Natasha has chosen instead to research and analyze a leader who has, despite his autocratic nature, successfully managed a nation-wide crisis and inspired his citizens to pursue a more peaceful, stable, unified, developed, and empowered future. She has chosen to examine “Rwanda’s Rebel Reformer”, President Paul Kagame.