By David Himbara
As he prepares to grab power in a few months, which will see him rule until 2034, according to the new constitution, President Paul Kagame’s game is very clear. The past three months in which he has been mostly in foreign capitals indicate his game plan for 2017 comprising four acts:
1. Dominate global headlines as an eminent African statesman determined to improve African and Rwandan lives. Travel the world even if it means living in a luxurious $60 million Gulfstream.
2. Meanwhile inside Rwanda, repress and overwhelm totally any opposition so that there is no independent candidate to appear anywhere on the political scene. “All Rwandans want only Kagame” – is the impression Kagame is determined to create.
3. Aggressively seek invitations to prominent events especially in US elite institutions such as Harvard and Yale. This will impress the new administration that has not yet developed an African policy. Winning favourable goodwill from Trump presidency is top concern.
4. Invite prominent personalities to Rwanda to say great things about what Kagame has accomplished and will continue to achieve in the foreseeable future. We see for example the World Bank president singing praises for Kagame’s medical drones in a country of 12 millions – but with only 660 medical doctors.
Overall, Kagame has concluded that he has successfully turned Rwandans into a docile population, and can rule Rwanda with remote control from his planes and overseas hotels. That is why you will hardly see him Rwanda this year. He will only visit the country once in a while. Watch out – Kagame is about to take off again for the United States.
Will this master plan work out for 2017-2034? Well, even kinani – or the invincible one – Juvenal Habyarimana had the same power arrogance. He was forcefully ejected from power, as he had done to his predecessor. As the German philosopher Hegel used to say, the only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.