KIGALI, 12 Oct 2012 – A senior opposition leader in Rwanda has likened that country’s leader Paul Kagame to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who wants to rule forever.
Boniface Twagirimana, vice-president of the United Democratic Forces party, said Kagame was a dictator just like Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
Twagirimana said Kagame was determined to rule for as long as he could. He was responding to a pledge by Kagame that he will step down in 2017 after serving a second term in office.
“Maybe they will change the constitution so he can continue. I think he would like to rule for 20, 30, 50 years like Robert Mugabe,” Twagiramana said.
“President Kagame is a dictator. He’s operating like he’s still in the forest as a rebel. He’s not a president for the whole country, only RPF members. He doesn’t want to open the political space to allow freedom of expression.” Mugabe has ruled for 30 years and does not seem to be ready to step dwon despite his advanced age.
Just like Mugabe, Kagame is accused of stifling democratic space in his tiny central African country. Western powers including the European Union and the United States have stopped aid to Rwanda.
On his part, Kagame claims the West should not impose its own notions of democracy on Africa
The Western powers have often clashed Kagame over his tight and dictatorial grip over Rwanda. But most recently they accused him of supporting armed rebels operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mugabe does not see eye to eye with Western leaders who accuse him of being a dictator and poor leader who has run a once promising country into a basket case.
Mugabe castigates the West accusing its leaders of interfering into the internal affairs of Zimbabwe in a bid to remove him from power and replacing him with their ‘puppet’.
Ironically, the Rwandan President said Mugabe was now a liability to Zimbabwe and Africa at large.
Kagame accused fellow African leaders for not doing anything to help solve the crisis inside Zimbabwe. He said African leaders have let down the people of Zimbabwe.
“There is a failure by African countries to support the process in Zimbabwe,” Kagame told journalists in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital in 2009. “The first impression is that there are some serious problems.”
Kagame was speaking during his regular meetings with members of the local and international media at Village Urugwiro on Wednesday.
Kagame seized power in 1994 after his then rebel forces stormed Kigali to end 100 days of bloodletting which left almost one million Rwandans dead.