Kagame's Strategic Pillars

President Paul Kagame’s rhetoric centers on the idea that he has succeeded, to a large extent, in envisioning for Rwandans a future built on first stability, followed by progress and finally self-reliance. Kagame, through rhetoric and policy, has chosen to re-build Rwanda step by step, targeting the base levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. His first step was establishing “unity”, which corresponds to Maslow’s criteria of security and love/belonging. Next he dedicated himself to development, addressing Maslow’s “physiological” needs. Finally, he has focused on empowerment; linked to Maslow’s concept of “esteem”. Kagame, however, seems to intentionally violate the fourth and final stage that we call “freedom”. The question we all ask ourselves is when or even if Kagame will start building this last layer of Rwanda’s pyramid?

Kagame’s leadership style, with regards to his three key focuses, also seems to fit well with Anne Firth Murray’s [25] outlook on leadership:


 The three communication strategies that Kagame relies on to achieve his goals (unity, development, empowerment) are all closely related and reinforce each other. Ultimately, they work in unison to create this one image of Kagame as a benevolent, yet autocratic, leader. It is through this projection of benevolent leadership that Kagame has managed to establish legitimacy and maintain his grip on power.