ADEKEYE ADEBAJO: What does Nobel activist see in Rwanda’s strongman?
‘Rwanda has had growth without transformative economic development, with 80% of people living below the poverty line’
One of the most curious mutual admiration clubs has been that between recently re-elected Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Nigerian Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka. In his rich 2006 memoirs, Soyinka described Kagame as "seven foot plus, every inch exuding intelligence and discipline … a formidable force to encounter … one of the continent’s rare breed of leaders". In 2012, Soyinka praised the country as "a model of reconstruction", noting that "Rwanda has indicated that however thin the hope of a community can be, a hero always emerges". Kagame returned the favour in 2014, describing Soyinka as "an unapologetic exponent of the universality of African values". Soyinka has been one of the most consistently eloquent campaigners for human rights across Africa over the past six decades. He was detained for 27 months by Gen Yakubu Gowon’s administration during Nigeria’s civil war, an episode captured in his 1972 prison notes, The Man Died.He wrote a stinging rebuke of autocrats, K...