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A Critical Analysis of Rwanda's Youth Volunteer Program with Paul Kagame as a Propaganda Tool

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Mbeki edmond

May 8, 2024

Unmasking the Facade

President Paul Kagame addressed over 7,000 youths from across Rwanda at the 10-year Youth Volunteers celebration at BK Arena in Kigali on May 7
Kagame addressed over 7,000 youths from across Rwanda at the 10-year Youth Volunteers celebration at BK Arena in Kigali on May 7

President Paul Kagame recently met with over 7,500 youth volunteers at the BK Arena to show unity. However, critics claim the event is just a facade, designed to falsely demonstrate his strong support among the youth. Attendees received T-shirts with his name and praised him, which critics say is a way to manipulate public opinion and regain international attention and support. This comes as Rwanda prepares for presidential elections on July 15, 2024, despite his government facing accusations of human rights abuses and political repression

The BK Arena event, while presented as an opportunity for the President to interact with the youth and discuss their role in the country's development, has been criticized as a propaganda tool aimed at portraying Kagame as a benevolent leader who enjoys the support of the younger generation however it is far from reality, as many young people in Rwanda face significant challenges, including limited opportunities for political participation, economic hardship, a lack of access to basic services, and a low rate of employment among youths according to the world-bank statistics.

The lack of financial compensation for these volunteers is particularly concerning. Many of them are living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet, yet they are expected to work for free in the name of national development. This has led some to compare the situation to a form of modern-day slavery, where individuals are exploited for their labor without being given the means to improve their lives.

In conclusion, the recent meeting between President Kagame and thousands of young volunteers at the BK Arena has brought to light the shortcomings of Rwanda's youth program. While it may be well-intentioned, the program fails to provide the support and opportunities that young people need to thrive. Instead, it perpetuates a cycle of poverty and exploitation, leaving many volunteers no better off than they were before.

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