“Even at its most defiantly promising, Rwanda’s story has never stopped being deeply troubling,” Gourevitch continues. “Kagame’s been its chief author for sixteen years now, and he’s got seven more as president under the constitution. That’s a long time—most Rwandans are too young to remember the time before he came to power, and nobody knows how he will leave and what happens then. So, frankly, the verdict is out.”

Gourevitch’s influential reporting played a key role in revealing the horrors of the genocide, but controversy over his portrayal of post-genocide Rwanda mean that, for Gourevitch’s writing, too, the verdict must still be out. 

Note: Philip Gourevitch responds to this article, and the author replies, here.


Tristan McConnell has reported from Africa since 2004. He is currently senior Africa correspondent for GlobalPost and East Africa correspondent for The Times of London. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya.