Rwanda’s Kagame Becomes First African Leader to Gain 1 Million Twitter Followers

By Arinaitwe Rugyendo & Alex Masereka

He has been lauded for being one of the few social media suave presidents on the continent.

A screen shot showing President Kagame's twitter page.
A screen shot showing President Kagame’s twitter page.

Now, Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s presence on micro-blogging site, Twitter has reached an unprecedented milestone after he became the first African leader to gain 1 million followers. This achievement makes him the most followed African president using the handle @PaulKagame.

This comes just weeks after the Twiplomacy Study 2015, an annual report on world leaders’ use of Twitter published by public relations firm Burson Marsteller, named four major politicians who do their own tweeting. Kagame was among the four.

In the same report, he was ranked the second “most conversational” leader on Twitter after Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Kagame, with his propensity to answer voters, don’t say anything interesting to them, but they spread a good feeling by bestowing a moment of their attention on an ordinary person.

As a result, Rwandan political leaders have embraced the power of Twitter to converse directly with their constituents and friends and foes around the world.

It is said that the Rwandan leader tweets from his BlackBerry generally in the evening, and the account is most active on Sundays. He chats with his followers and anyone who wants to engage with him.

Kagame is credited for lifting his country from the dungeons of hell following the 1994 genocide that ravaged the East African nation.

In the late 1990s, Kagame began actively planning methods to achieve national development. He launched a national consultation process and also sought the advice of experts from emerging nations including China, Singapore and Thailand.

Following these consultations, and shortly after assuming the presidency, Kagame launched an ambitious programme of national development called Vision 2020. The major purposes of the programme were to unite the Rwandan people and to transform Rwanda from a highly impoverished into a middle income country.

The programme consists of a list of goals which the government aims to achieve before the year 2020. These include reconstruction, infrastructure and transport improvements, good governance, improving agriculture production, private sector development, and health and education improvements.