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Rwandan President Paul Kagame speaks on the sidelines of the G-20 Compact with Africa summit. Rwandan President Paul Kagame speaks at a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Compact with Africa summit in Berlin, Germany on Nov. 19, 2019 (Photo by John MacDougall for AFP via AP Images).

Rwanda’s Opposition Is Disappearing, Along With Kagame’s Credibility

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020

In a country where political opponents and outspoken critics of President Paul Kagame have a tendency to turn up dead or disappear, the official explanation of the death of a popular Rwandan gospel singer last week was immediately met with skepticism. The singer, Kizito Mihigo, had been arrested at the border earlier this month for allegedly trying to flee the country illegally and join armed rebels in neighboring Burundi. Three days later, he was found dead in his cell; the police say he committed suicide.

Some of Mihigo’s songs run counter to the government’s preferred narrative about the Rwandan genocide, and he had previously spent four years in jail on charges of inciting hatred and trying to assassinate Kagame before being pardoned in 2018. After his death, outside observers suspected foul play or at least negligence on the part of authorities, while human rights groups called for a thorough and swift investigation. ...

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