Kagame Wanted to Impress Commonwealth Leaders with his “Cleanest City in Africa.” The Poor, Gay, Transgender, Sex Workers, and Street Traders Became Endangered Species

By David Himbara

Kigali, the clean city with high human cost

General Paul Kagame demands an all-hands-on-deck attitude, effort, laws, and discipline from the general public and from his police state to reinforce cleanliness in the Rwandan capital city, Kigali. That is how the capital city acquired its slogan – “Kigali the cleanest city in Africa.” So when Kagame convinced fellow Commonwealth leaders to hold their meeting in Kigali, the Rwandan strongman went into overdrive to clear the capital city of what he considered the “undesirables.” The latest Human Rights Watch (HRW) report provides a chilling account of how Rwandan security machinery rounded up and arbitrarily detained gay and transgender people, sex workers, homeless children, and street traders in preparation for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The “undesirables” were dumped at the Gikondo Transit Center. Read the HRW report here.