Kagame defends Rwanda courts as key dissident faces trial

President Paul Kagame insisted

“This matter has nothing to do with La Francophonie,” Kagame said.

Jean had urged people in a tweet this week to “follow the trial as closely as possible”.

Jean, a Canadian, is set to be replaced shortly at the head of the OIF by Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

Kagame, who is credited with overseeing rapid economic development in Rwanda after the genocide, faces regular accusations from rights groups of muzzling the opposition.

He was re-elected for a new seven-year term in August 2017 with nearly 99 percent of the vote.

Constitutional reforms adopted by referendum in 2015 would potentially allow him to stay in power until 2034.

Rwanda’s successful bid to lead the OIF sparked controversy, not least since the organisation’s remit includes reinforcing democracy and as the country switched to English as the language of education in 2008.

Kagame on Sunday insisted: “French has never disappeared in Rwandan schools and it will continue.”