Sunday, May 2, 2010
PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME ONE OF THE AFRICAN RESPECTED LEADERS
Paul Kagame (born October 23, 1957) is the current President of the Republic of Rwanda. He rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), whose victory over the incumbent government in July 1994 effectively ended the Rwandan genocide. Under his leadership, Rwanda has been called Africa’s “biggest success story” and Kagame has become a public advocate of new models for foreign aid designed to help recipients become self-reliant
Kagame was born to a Tutsi family in Ruhango, Rwanda in October 1957 to Deogratius and Asteria Rutagambwa. In November 1959, an increasingly restive Hutu population, sparked a revolt, eventually resulting in the overthrow of Mwami Kigeri V Ndahindurwa in 1961. During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 150,000 people were killed in the fighting, with the Tutsis suffering the greatest losses. Several thousand moved to neighbouring countries including Burundi and Uganda. In all, some 20,000 Tutsis were killed. In 1960 Kagame left with his family at the age of two and moved to Uganda with many other Tutsis. In 1962 they settled in the Gahunge refugee camp, Toro, where Kagame spent the rest of his childhood years. He attended Ntare Secondary School in Uganda. During this time Kagame was a "motivated student" and bore an early fascination with revolutionaries like Che Guevara.
His military career started in 1979, when he joined Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army (NRA) and spent years fighting as a guerrilla against the government of Milton Obote in what is commonly known in Uganda as the bush war.
On July 27, 1985, Milton Obote was ousted in a military coup led by Tito Okello. In 1986 the NRA succeeded in overthrowing Okello and the NRA leader Yoweri Museveni became President of Uganda.
Paul Kagame and U.S. President George W. Bush in the White House.
This same year, Kagame was instrumental in forming, along with his close friend Fred Rwigema, the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), which was composed mainly of expatriate Rwandan Tutsi soldiers that had also fought with the NRA; the RPF was also based in Uganda.
In 1986, Kagame became the head of military intelligence in the NRA, and was regarded as one of Museveni's closest allies. He also joined the official Ugandan military.
During 1990, Kagame went to Fort Leavenworth where the U.S. Army gave him military training. Broadening this connection, the U.S. and U.K. military provided further training and active logistical support to the RPF, which it used to take over power in Rwanda after 1994. After coming to power, Kagame arranged for the RPF to receive further counterinsurgency and combat training from U.S. Special Forces, which was put to use in the 1996-1997 Rwandan-backed military campaign to overthrow the government of neighboring Zaire.