Kagame Recruits Leaders From Overseas. What Does This Say About His Own Leadership?

What strategies is Kagame and his chief of staff/top confidante Ines Mpambara pursuing these days?

By David Himbara

Several key Rwandan institutions are now led by individuals President Paul Kagame recruited from overseas. It is not clear if this is a strategy to counter the shortage of leaders — or merely Kagame’s preference.

Regardless, this is embarrassing for the Rwandan strongman. He has led Rwanda since 1994 — that is twenty-four years. And still, imports leaders and from overseas.

Here is the evidence from the University of Rwanda, Bank of Kigali, Rwanda Development Board, and the Rwanda Energy Group. These key public institutions are now led by people that Kagame recruited from Britain, the US, and Israel. Take a look:

1. Philip Cotton, Vice Chancellor, University of Rwanda – British;

Philip Cotton in Rwandan military outfit.


2. Mike O’Neal, Chancellor, University of Rwanda – American;

Mike O’Neal and Kagame


3. Marc Holtzman, Chairman, Bank of Kigali – American;

Marc Holtzman and Kagame


4. Itzhak Fisher, Chairman, Rwanda Development Board – Israeli;

Itzhak Fisher, a former campaign official for Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among other things.


5. Ron Weiss, CEO of the Rwanda Energy Group – Israeli;

Ron Weiss formerly was the vice president of Israel Electric Corporation.


Evidently, Kagame never heard of the often quoted phrase by Tom Peters that ”leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” For the past twenty-four years, Kagame has been creating more followers. This legacy speaks volumes about Kagame’s own leadership — pathetic.