Emmanuel Macron’s visit comes as the increasingly ruthless Rwandan leader is running out of friends
There are moments when the international community’s perception of a leader shifts into a new configuration, often for reasons that can’t be entirely logically explained. Myanmar’s Aung San Sui Kyi reached that tipping point during the Rohingya crisis, Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has been undergoing the same transition since war broke out in Tigray, and the same process is taking place with the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame.
Today, he is welcoming the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to Kigali, his spotlessly tidy hillside capital. The visit marks the culmination of a bromance that has seen the French, once supporters of Kagame’s predecessor, Juvenal Habyarimana, make a public “mea culpa” for past support of a genocidal regime, and Kagame’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which did its best to eradicate French influence after seizing power, signal its interest in partnering up once again.