By our reporter
Paul Kagame is the current President of Rwanda a country he has ruled since 2000.
Kagame previously commanded the rebel force that ended the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He was considered Rwanda’s de facto leader when he served as Vice President and Minister of Defence from 1994 to 2000.
Kagame was born on October 23rd, 1957 in Rwanda to a Tutsi family with royal ties. His mother was descended from the last Rwandan queen and his father had ties to King Mutara III. Shortly after his birth, the Tutsi lost political power and the family fled to Uganda, where he spent most of his childhood in exile.
His early education took place near the refugee camp until he moved to ‘Rwengoro Primary School’. Graduating with top marks, he was able to attend one of the best schools in Uganda, the ‘Ntare School’.
Tragedy struck in the early 1970s when he lost his father, resulting in a significant decline in his academic achievements. A short time later, he was suspended from school.
He got his political and military start during the Ugandan Bush War. In 1981, he became a founding soldier for the ‘National Resistance Army’, a rebel group aimed at overthrowing Uganda’s government.
In 1986, his rebel army of an estimated 14,000 soldiers overthrew Uganda’s government and formed a new one. He became the head of military intelligence and began working on plans to attack and invade Rwanda.
In October of 1990 the military man took command of the ‘Rwandan Patriotic Front’. For the next three years, his army and the Rwandan army were at a standstill and eventually compromised, with the RPF gaining significant roles in the transitional post-war government.
With the assassination of Rwandan President Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 came a mass genocide against the Tutsi and moderate Hutu. In three months’ time, Kagame was able to defeat the Rwandan army extremists, effectively ending the conflict and creating a new government.
From 1996 to 2003, he was central in supporting the First and Second Congo Wars in order to protect Rwanda from Hutu sympathizers. The wars resulted in a loss of an estimated 3 -7 million lives through war, disease, and starvation.
On September 12, 2003 he won by a major landslide in Rwanda’s first multiparty election and was sworn in as the President of the country. During the campaign he put strong focus on himself as a Rwandan rather than a Tutsi.
In 2010, he was overwhelmingly reelected with 93% of the vote. He ultimately went up against three other candidates from opposing parties and is currently serving the seven-year term as the President.
Kagame’s government has claimed that between 2008 and 2012, it has lifted over 1 million people from poverty. During the time, the economy grew an astounding 8% despite the global economic crisis.
In 2010, he received the ‘Global Citizen Award’ from former United States President Bill Clinton’s foundation. Clinton strongly believes that Kagame has created a strong nation which could be a model for the rest of Africa.
In 1989, he married Jeannette Nyiramongi and the two went on to have four children. They have one daughter, Ange, and three sons, Brian, Ian, and Ivan.
The famous politician is credited with uplifting Rwanda’s economy and his personal website even goes so far as to attribute the 14 year life expectancy increase to his rule. When he assumed power, over 40% of Rwanda’s population had been killed or fled.
Additional information from; The Famous People
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