Rwanda - Leadership

During his tenure, President Pasteur Bizimungu and the Tutsiled RPF were locked in a dispute that illustrates the political and ethnic difficulties of the country's post-genocide power-sharing agreement. Senior RPF members and some legislators charged that Bizimungu was invoking ethnic problems as a smokescreen and that he opposed the campaign against corruption for fear of being accused himself. On the other hand, Bizimungu's supporters accused Kagame of usurping power and being the real force behind the scenes. The ruling pair of Kagame, English-speaking and Tutsi, and Bizimungu, French-speaking and Hutu, meant to be a symbol to the world of Rwanda's post-genocide reconciliation, proved to be a cosmetic and tense pairing. Thus, the long-awaited ascendancy to power of Kagame as president of Rwanda has the benefit of clarifying the situation with power at last corresponding with office. Over the years Kagame has displayed strong leadership qualities. He and his personal staff are known to be well disciplined, shunning alcohol and tobacco. His ambition is to restore hope in a country torn asunder by ethnic animosities and to introduce "social justice for all based on the rule of law." He himself a victim of Rwanda's decades of ethnic tensions, Kagame's ambition is to reconcile the Hutus and the Tutsis, but he is faced by the tough task of reconciling a nation ruptured by massive killings. Critics say his elevation to the presidency shows he is trying to consolidate power at the expense of reconciliation between the Hutus and the minority Tutsi population. Regardless of such criticism, under Kagame, Rwanda has grown more stable and seen an annual economic growth rate estimated at more than 9% in 2002. In recognition of his leadership, in 2003 the Young Presidents Organization awarded him the Global Leadership Award.

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