Kagame’s Costly Fights In 2018–2019

General Paul Kagame loves and lives by fighting. In 2018–2019, he fought with four countries. First, he fought with the United States over used apparels with the Trump Administration. Rwanda was subsequently suspended from free access to the American market via the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Second, Kagame fought with Burundi, leading the latter to term Kagame’s Rwanda ”an enemy state”. Third, Kagame fought with South Africa after the latter would not normalize relations, which means that thousands of Rwandans traveling to South Africa must still apply for via outside Rwanda. Instead, South Africa opened an inquest to the death of Patrick Karegeya, the former Rwandan intelligence chief murdered in Johannesburg in 2013. Fourth, Kagame is now fighting with Uganda for what Rwanda describes as harassment and torture of Rwandans in Uganda. This, after years of kidnappings and killings of Rwandans inside Uganda. Kagame has now closed the Rwanda-Uganda border through which over half of Rwanda’s annual US$3.3 billion international trade passes onto the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa. For Kagame, winning is not a required outcome for engaging in a fight — as long as he gets to fight.