A press release written in Kinyarwanda – ordering all local authorities of Buye district to open Twitter accounts and follow President Paul Kagame and other high ranking officials in the country – has surfaced.
Twitter user @MuvunyiF, who wrote about the copy of the press release, is calling the order “an act of dictatorship”.
There have been several reports of Kagame’s authoritarian style of ruling even though many Rwandans view him as a saviour. In the late 1990s as he ascended into the global political stratosphere, Kagame was proclaimed to be part of a “new breed of African leaders” that would usher in a new era in African leadership and politics – an era devoid of past shortcomings.
The 59-year-old Kagame has ruled over Rwanda in various capacities since 1994 when his rebel group ended the genocide that killed 800,000 people, many of them from the Tutsi minority group. Kagame first served as defense minister, then as vice president, before ascending to the top post in 2000 when his predecessor resigned. In 2003, he was officially elected to office under the auspices of a new constitution and was re-elected in 2010 for a seven-year term.
Kagame was not supposed to run this time, but following an August 2015 consultation with “millions of Rwandans”, only ten people were found who opposed a constitutional amendment which took place later that year. The amendment lifted term limits, which could see him rule until 2034. The outcome of the current election was almost certain: the president himself has said that the poll was a mere formality.
Former US President George W. Bush called Kagame ‘a man of action’ when he was in office with Kagame British ex-Premier Tony Blair calling him ‘a visionary leader’.
There were several responses on social media, and not everyone thought the action showed dictatorial tendencies:
This is a personal initiative and many people disagree. I don’t even get your point. In real “dictatorships”, all Mayors would have written a similar letter, which is not the case here. It’s rather this kind of cheap globalization thay indicates dictatorial tendencies. – Ndoli Gitare (@ndoligitare) November 27, 2018
In response, Fred Muvunyi (@MuvunyiF) said: I would always expect you to be the last person to understand this. Men in chains understand less about Freedom.
Dictatorship for sure… People deny it all the time, but People in Rwanda are in trouble for sure… it is so sad that no one will be able to stand and refuse to do this. – Charles Karangwa (@KCharles83) November 27, 2018
Tweeting’s not dictarorship, ahubwo ubuze icyo atuka inka aravugishwa ngo dore igicebe cyayo ” fake new” – Kalisa Kevin (@KalisaKevin5) November 27, 2018
Ariko it is another way of communication these days anyway!Just look @realDonaldTrump! namwe you should think twice before let out those nosense words. – Rwambali Alex? (@alex_rwambali) November 27, 2018
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