Rwandan President Paul Kagame of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) waves to his supporters during a rally in Nyanza, Rwanda, July 14, 2017.

The red, white, and blue flags of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party flutter atop trees and lampposts along the highway leading north from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, to the scenic highland town of Musanze. Tricolored banners also don the scaffolded archways that appear at regular intervals along the road and bear a photograph of Rwanda’s lean, bespectacled president, Paul Kagame. It is election season in Rwanda, and the RPF’s campaign materials are everywhere. 

Since his official bid for reelection began three weeks ago, in preparation for the vote on August 4, the president has been visiting all

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