Paul Kagame Biography
Paul Kagame was born on 23 October 1957, in Tambwe, Ruanda-Urundi, a village located in the modern Southern Province of Rwanda. His father, Deogratias, was a member of the Tutsi ethnic group, from which the royal family had been derived since the eighteenth century or earlier.
Kagame’s mother, Asteria Rutagambwa, was also a Tutsi, descended from the family of the last Rwandan queen, Rosalie Gicanda.At the time of Kagame’s birth, Rwanda was a United Nations Trust Territory; long-time colonial power Belgium still ruled the territory, but with a mandate to oversee independence.
Paul Kagame Education Background
Paul Kagame began his primary education in a school near the refugee camp, where he and other Rwandan refugees learned English and began to integrate into Ugandan culture. At the age of nine he moved to the respected Rwengoro Primary School, around 16 kilometres (10 mi) away, graduating with the best grades in the district.He subsequently attended Ntare School, one of the best schools in Uganda. It is also the alma mater of future Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The death of Kagame’s father in the early 1970s, and the departure of Rwigyema to an unknown location, led to a decline in his academic performance and an increased tendency to fight those who belittled the Rwandan population.He was eventually suspended from Ntare and completed his studies without distinction at Old Kampala Secondary School.
After finishing his schooling Paul Kagame made two visits to Rwanda, in 1977 and 1978. He was initially hosted by family members of his former classmates, but upon arrival in Kigali he made contact with members of his own family. He kept a low profile on these visits, believing that his status as a well-connected Tutsi exile could lead to arrest; on his second visit he entered the country through Zaire rather than Uganda to avoid suspicion.Kagame used his time in Rwanda to explore the country, familiarise himself with the political and social situation, and make connections that would prove useful to him in his later activities.
Paul Kagame Marriage and children
On 10 June 1989 in Uganda, Paul Kagame married Jeannette Nyiramongi, a Tutsi exile living in Nairobi, Kenya. Kagame had asked his relatives to suggest a suitable marriage and they recommended Nyiramongi. Kagame travelled to Nairobi and introduced himself, persuading her to visit him in Uganda. Nyiramongi was familiar with the RPF, and its goal of returning refugees to Rwanda. She held Kagame in high regard. The couple have four children. Their first child, a son they named Ivan Cyomoro Kagame, was born in 1990.Since then, a daughter, Ange Kagame, and sons Ian and Brian have been born.
Paul Kagame Vice President and Minister of Defence
The post-genocide Rwandan government took office in Kigali in July 1994. It was based loosely on the Arusha Accords, but Habyarimana’s party was outlawed. The positions it had been assigned were taken over by the RPF. The military wing of the RPF was renamed as the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), and became the national army. Paul Kagame assumed the dual roles of Vice President of Rwanda and Minister of Defence while Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu who had been a civil servant under Habyarimana before fleeing to join the RPF, was appointed president. Bizimungu and his cabinet had some control over domestic affairs, but Kagame remained commander-in-chief of the army and was the de facto ruler of the country.
Paul Kagame Presidency
In the late 1990s, Paul Kagame began to disagree publicly with Bizimungu and the Hutu-led government in Rwanda. Paul Kagame accused Bizimungu of corruption and poor management,while Bizimungu felt that he had no power over appointments to the cabinet and that the National Assembly was acting purely as a puppet for Kagame. Bizimungu resigned from the presidency in March 2000. Historians do not agree on the precise circumstances of Bizimungu’s departure; American author Stephen Kinzer contends that “one of the president’s friends called Kagame with the startling news that the president was preparing to resign”while Prunier states that Bizimungu was forced to resign, having denounced the National Assembly and attempted to sow discord within the RPF. Following Bizimungu’s resignation, the Supreme Court ruled that Kagame should become acting president until a permanent successor was chosen.
Paul Kagame had been de facto leader since 1994, but had focused more on military, foreign affairs and the country’s security than day-to-day governance. By 2000, the threat posed by cross-border rebels was much reduced and when Bizimungu resigned, Kagame decided to seek the presidency himself. The transitional constitution was still in effect, which meant the president was elected by government ministers and the national assembly rather than by a direct election.
The RPF selected two candidates, Kagame and RPF secretary general Charles Murigande; the ministers and parliament elected Kagame by eighty-one votes to three. Kagame was sworn in as president in April 2000. Several Hutu politicians, including the prime minister Pierre-Célestin Rwigema, left the government at around the same time as Bizimungu, leaving a cabinet dominated by those close to Kagame. Bizimungu started his own party following his resignation, but this was quickly banned for “destabilizing the country”. He was subsequently arrested and convicted of corruption and inciting ethnic violence. He was imprisoned until 2007, when he was pardoned by Kagame.
Paul Kagame Personality and public image
Investigations describe Kagame’s personality as one of seriousness and intelligence. Richard Grant, writing in London’s Daily Telegraph, described Kagame as radiating “a quality of intense seriousness that is both impressive and intimidating. Roméo Dallaire, commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda during the Rwandan Genocide, described Kagame as having a “studious air that didn’t quite disguise his hawk-like intensity”.
Kagame has a highly dominant personality, which he uses to enforce his rule and to ensure that his vision for the country is followed. American journalist Stephen Kinzer, who wrote the biography A Thousand Hills in collaboration with Kagame himself, describes him as “one of the most intriguing leaders in Africa”.Kinzer credits Kagame with leadership skills that have fostered Rwanda’s rebirth following the genocide, but also cites a personality of “chronic impatience, barely suppressed anger, and impulsive scorn for critics”. In his interview with Grant, Kagame claimed he sleeps for only four hours per night, devoting the remainder of his day to work, exercise, family, and reading academic texts and foreign newspapers.