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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 21st July 2017 > PEACE PRICE

PEACE PRICE

Paul Kagame’s presidency has brought stability to Rwanda, but will voters back their increasingly authoritarian leader?

RWANDA

SITTING OUTSIDE his grocery shop in the Nyabugogo slum in Kigali, Rwanda, in June, Francis Nduwimana described his longing for a change in leadership in the presidential election on August 4. “We are tired of Kagame, but we cannot express our views openly,” said Nduwimana, an ethnic Hutu, in his vernacular language of Kinyarwanda. “If you criticize him, you will be accused by the government agencies of dividing the country, and you will either be imprisoned or killed.”

As Rwandan President Paul Kagame—an ethnic Tutsi who has been in power since 2000—runs for another seven-year term, many Rwandans, particularly ethnic Hutus, share Nduwimana’s fear. They see a government that is crushing dissent ahead of the election. And they worry that their country is turning into a one-party state: Following a 2015 referendum to extend term limits, Kagame can now legally remain in power until 2034.

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