Foreign Journalists together with Western and European elites love to hate him and paint him as an authoritarian leader with no respect for human rights. They take every opportunity they have to try and belittle him and other African leaders who refuse to be the West's puppet.
President Paul Kagame is not just any African president. He is one of the finest and smart African presidents of the 21st Century and a man few leaders will ever match up. He is by no means a perfect man but then again show me anyone who is.
Despite the Western elites disdain for him, he is one person who has earned his stripes. For someone who managed to rescue his country from genocide when the rest of the world chose to turn a blind eye, he deserves more respect than he gets. It is no easy fete maintaining stability in any country where tribalism trumps nationalism. Just ask Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who is struggling to keep the country together. President Kagame has maintained peace in his country for more than 15 years yet he is vilified internationally while Prime Minister Abiy is feted.
The reason for this is quite simple. Unlike other leaders, the Former Chair of the African Union shoots from the hip and speaks his mind especially when he feels like an entire African race is under attack by white supremacists who see and hear no good coming from Africa and Rwanda in particular. He believes that foreign aid should not be used as a tool to supervise African leaders hence the reason as to why he is determined to make Rwanda and Africa self-reliant.
It is therefore not surprising that his maiden official visit to Botswana was met with excitement and jubilation which has been building since the announcement that he would visit the southern African country where he is something of a cult figure. Many of his supporters believe in his vision for Rwanda and Africa as a whole. They assert that he is the type of leader that Rwanda needed and still needs to keep it stable. They argue that if Rwandans themselves have not shown him the door, why should the West and Europe feel the need to interfere?
As his plane touched down at the international airport in Gaborone on Thursday, the people of Botswana had taken to social media praising the Rwandan leader for his ‘spectacular leadership’.
In one of the rarest events in the country, Botswana gave President Kagame the highest honour ever accorded to a visiting head of state with a 21-gun salute before he inspected a guard of honour.
Professor Thapelo Otlogetswe, a scholar from University of Botswana, writing about the significance of the visit, said Rwanda under Kagame must export peace and share best practices with other African countries.
More trade, cooperation, partnerships, and exchange needs to happen between African states. We must promote each others’ strengths and not weaknesses. Welcome your Excellency” he said.
Facebook user, Moneedi Moitoi wrote:
I hope you (President Masisi) learn from him (President Kagame) how he managed to empower his country to be industrious as it is today.”
Another,Koobakile Shielahmodukz, said “I like his leadership skills.”
Emily Bosekilwe wrote:
If Botswana government could benchmark on this country things would be better for us. We need transformation as a nation.”
Another user wrote:
He is one of the two African leaders in this day and age who is loved in his country and the rest of Africa. We need more like him.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the visit by his Rwandan counterpart will afford both of them an invaluable opportunity to exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Header Image Credit: APA