Kagame’s Economic Mirage in Rwanda
An Interview with David Himbara
By Ann Garrison and David Himbara
The tiny East African nation of Rwanda has played a unique and prominent role in U.S. political ideation since the 1994 massacres known as the Rwandan Genocide. The West’s so-called “failure to intervene in Rwanda” — and the Holocaust — became arguments for violating the national sovereignty of nations in the Global South to protect people from their own governments.
The 1994 bloodbath in Rwanda also became an argument for the suppression or even criminalization of speech. No one makes these arguments more fiercely and absolutely than Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Kagame is now campaigning for his third formal term in office, though he has in fact ruled Rwanda since overthrowing its government with the covert assistance of the U.S. and U.K. in 1994, at the end of a four-year war. That four-year war began when Kagame’s army invaded Rwanda from Uganda.
Kagame claims to have inspired Rwandans to rise from the ashes to build an economic miracle and example for all Africa, and no one reinforces these claims more than Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. In a new book, however, economist David Himbara says that Kagame’s economic miracle is in fact an economic mirage. I spoke to David Himbara.