If Rwandans voted him back as king—as he’s confident they would—he would serve. If not, he’d accept the demotion to ordinary citizen. All he wanted was a chance. Could the last in a line of once-absolute monarchs be any more sensible? The difficulty was that, by 1994, few Rwandans really knew him. The country’s post-genocide leaders, members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, had distanced themselves from the king as they prepared to retake power, with violence if necessary, in the early 1990s. When Kigeli visited the State Department in 1994 to “talk about his options,” political backing from the US wasn’t on the table. “We told him perhaps he could get a job as a professor, teaching African history,” a spokesperson told the Washington Post at the time. Nor could Kigeli bankroll his own campaign. He gets by on food stamps, a Section 8 housing subsidy, Medicaid, and private donations of cash and clothing, as well as the occasional sale of Rwandan knighthoods to jet-set strangers in search of novelty status symbols.