Kagame runs Rwanda as an absentee boss.

By David Himbara

General Paul Kagame, Madam Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame, and their children at Ian Kagame’s graduation at Williams College, June 2, 2019.

Kagame runs Rwanda as an absentee boss. He does not govern by collective cabinet decisionmaking as stipulated in the constitution. He convened cabinet two times in the past six months while he attended 29 events abroad.

In a functional government, the cabinet is typically the main decision-making body within the executive branch. The role of the cabinet is to direct government policy and make decisions about national imperatives. The cabinet normally meets weekly to discuss and solve national challenges as well as implementing the forward agenda. It is from the cabinet that collective responsibility is derived — as opposed to individual ministerial responsibility. Individual responsibility is about a minister’s actions at the ministerial level. Collective responsibility requires that the head of state and all cabinet ministers make government decisions as a whole. It is also the cabinet that engages other branches of government in law-making and law-enforcement processes.

The Rwanda constitution is very clear on the role of the cabinet as stipulated in Article 122 on ”Cabinet functions on the principle of collective responsibility:”

”The Cabinet meeting deliberates on the following: 1° draft laws and draft decree-laws; 2° drafts of presidential orders, Prime Minister‟s orders, orders issued by Ministers, State Ministers and other Cabinet members; 3° all other matters in its competence by virtue of this Constitution and other laws.”

Kagame no longer even pretends that he rules Rwanda in accordance with the constitution.

Attending a festival in Burkina Faso in March 2019

General Paul Kagame convened and attended cabinet meetings twice in six months — on January 28, 2019, and March 3, 2019. Kagame did not attend the March 26, 2019 cabinet session which was merely to approve the Budget Framework Paper for the 2019/2020. Kagame has been mostly conferencing and having fun outside Rwanda. Between January and June 2019, Kagame attended 29 meetings/events abroad. This is an average of nearly 5 foreign events per month. The overseas events Kagame attended are as follows:

  1. Attending his son’s graduation at Williams College | Williamstown, USA 2019, 2 June 2019.
  2. Visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo | Kinshasa, 31 May 2019
  3. Attending his daughter’s graduation at Columbia University | New York, USA, 19 May 2019.
  4. Meeting with Young Presidents’ Organization Paris Chapter | Paris, France, 17 May 2019.
  5. Attending VivaTech2019 | Paris, France, 17 May 2019.
  6. Attending 22nd Milken Institute Global Conference | Los Angeles, USA, 30 April 2019.
  7. Attending World Economic Forum Center for 4th Industrial Revolution Business Roundtable | San Francisco, USA, 29 April 2019.
  8. Attending Broadband Commission meeting for Sustainable Development | San Francisco, USA, 29 April 2019.
  9. Watching Basketball |Oakland, USA, 29 April 2019.
  10. Visiting Tarana Wireless Offices | San Francisco, USA, 28 April 2019.
  11. Attending AU Troika Summit on Libya and Sudan | Cairo, Egypt, 23 April 2019.
  12. Visiting Saddleback Church | California, USA, 14 April 2019.
  13. Attending UN reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda |United Nations Headquarters | New York, 12 April 2019.
  14. Attending NBA Board of Governors Dinner | New York, USA, 11 April 2019.
  15. Attending swearing-in of President Macky Sall of Senegal | Dakar, 2 April 2019.
  16. Working Visit to Angola | Luanda, 21 March 2019.
  17. Working visit to Tanzania | Dar es Salaam, 8 March 2019.
  18. Attending Young Presidents’ Organization | Cape Town, South Africa, 5 — 6 March 2019.
  19. Attending Fespaco 2019 | Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 2 March 2019.
  20. Meeting with Business Leaders hosted by Hiinga | Charlotte USA, 18 February 2019.
  21. Attending All-Stars Baseball | Charlotte USA, 17–18 February 2019.
  22. Attending Munich Security Conference | Munich, Germany, 14 February 2019.
  23. Attending Milken Middle East and North Africa Summit | Abu Dhabi, 13 February 2019.
  24. Attending World Government Summit | Dubai, 13 February 2019.
  25. Attending Ordinary Session of the African Union | Addis Ababa, 11 February 2019.
  26. Attending the 20th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State | Arusha, 1 February 2019.
  27. Attending the World Economic Forum | Davis, 22 — 24 January 2019.
  28. Attending High Level Consultation Meeting of Heads of State on the Situation in DRC | Addis Ababa, 17 January 2019.
  29. Official visit to Japan | Tokyo, 8 January 2019.

There is no collective responsibly in Rwanda. Kagame runs the country as an absentee boss.

Kagame at a basketball game in Oakland, USA, on April 29, 2019.

Kagame is an absentee ruler that increasingly resembles a kingpin in charge of a totally personalized organization. Kagame has absolute control of the organization — read Rwanda. Because Kagame is greatly feared for his ruthlessness, nobody dares question his abandonment of collective-decision making as enshrined in the Constitution. His willingness to routinely imprison his military generals and even take lives to exert his influence keeps everyone in check. Instead of the collective decisionmaking through the cabinet, Kagame issues orders from whichever foreign capital he is visiting.