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Rwandan president Paul Kagame gestures during a press conference following a high-level meeting a the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) headquarter on November 12, 2008 in Geneva.

Image copyright AFP
Lanky and soft-spoken, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame portrays himself as a modern-day politician who sees social media as a way of championing democracy and development.
However, his opponents accuse him of being the latest in a long line of authoritarian rulers in Africa, who will win the 4 August election after his regime brutally suppressed the opposition and killed some of his most vocal critics - a charge his allies vehemently deny.
One of the first African leaders to set up a website with a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr, Mr Kagame believes the IT revolution has meant there are "few excuses" for political intolerance and poverty.
"There is a global awareness of national events - for example, in China, and days before that, in Iran, that is due to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and relatively inexpensive access to technology," the 59-year-old Rwandan leader said at the World Technology Summit in 2009, long before many other African leaders had grasped the significance of social media.
"These moments in history are captured and diffused in remote corners of the world, even as the events unfold," he added.

'Schooled in conflict'

His comments are ironic, given that the international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders identifies him as a "predator" who attacks press freedom, citing the fact that in the last two decades, eight journalists have been killed or have gone missing, 11 have been given long jail terms, and 33 forced to flee Rwanda.
"A lot of effort has been made to improve internet access, but the idea is still to control discourse on social media, including by trolling journalists," Reporters Without Borders Africa head Clea Kahn told the BBC.
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Mr Kagame, who received military training in Uganda, Tanzania and the US, is seen as a brilliant military tactician.
A refugee in neighbouring Uganda since childhood, he was a founding member of current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's rebel army in 1979.
He headed its intelligence wing, helping Mr Museveni take power in 1986.
Then he spearheaded the launch of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel movement. It took power in Kigali to end the 1994 genocide which killed some 800,000 Tutsis - the ethnic minority group to which Mr Kagame belongs - and moderate Hutus. 

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