SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

From FPR-Inkotanyi to Rwandan Patriotic Front: Authoritarian Mutation and Survival in the New New Rwanda

Will Jones (Royal Holloway)

Date: 25 October 2017Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 25 October 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar


Rwanda may be one of the strangest autocracies in contemporary Africa. Depending on who you ask, Rwanda is either an inspiring success story, or the African North Korea. From the ashes of the almost complete destruction of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, Rwanda is now hailed as a model of clean, technocratic good governance and developmental success. Critics allege this is just a façade of statistics and shiny new buildings concealing deep structural inequality and poverty. Politically, a tiny military elite, composed largely of returned refugees has transformed into one of the most dominant ruling parties on the continent, as displayed by the 98% vote for incumbent Paul Kagame in this summer’s Presidential election. In this talk, I try to work out what’s really going on in Rwanda: is Rwanda authoritarian? Is it developmental? Is it only developmental because it is authoritarian? How stable is its current political settlement, and could its successes mean for ruling elites seeking to mimic its successes?


Will Jones is a Lecturer in International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, and a research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre of the University of Oxford. His work is primarily on the politics of refugees and the state, particularly in Central Africa. His most recent book, Mobilising the Diaspora (2016, with Alexander Betts) considered the struggles of Zimbabweans and Rwandans outside the state to mobilise against their government. His work on the reconstruction of the Rwandan state (the subject of this talk) will be forthcoming as a book, Rwanda Since 1994: Capital, Coercion, and Consent, with Oxford University Press in early 2018. He also works on resettlement policy, and is the co-founder of a charity, Refugees’ Say, which works to use cutting edge research in politics and economics to redesign resettlement processes, and incorporate the agency of refugees in that process (

Organiser: Matthew Eagleton-Pierce

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