Rwandan President Kagame Expected to Secure Fourth Term in Upcoming Election


KIGALI, July 11 (Reuters) – Rwandan President Paul Kagame is anticipated to win a fourth term in the election on Monday, facing two opposition candidates with modest expectations. Kagame, 66, who played a crucial role in ending the 1994 genocide and has been president since 2000, competes against only two rivals after six other potential candidates were disqualified by the state-run electoral commission.

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Kagame secured nearly 99% of the vote in the 2017 election, following a constitutional change that removed term limits. His potential reelection could signify ongoing stability but also continued global scrutiny due to allegations of human rights abuses and tensions with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kagame has been praised for rebuilding Rwanda, transforming it into a regional financial hub after the genocide, which claimed over a million lives. However, his administration faces accusations from Western nations and rights activists of suppressing media, assassinating opponents, and supporting rebel groups in neighboring Congo.

International attention intensified with the 2022 migration deal in which Rwanda agreed to accept thousands of asylum seekers from Britain. The newly elected British Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, recently announced plans to scrap the agreement.

Despite the allegations, Rwanda’s government denies all charges. During his campaign, Kagame promised ongoing development and stability. At a rally in Eastern Province, he told young supporters, “With you, there is nothing our country will not achieve, because today you have leaders who are not foolish and you are not foolish.”

Two Challengers

Of the eight candidates who applied to run against Kagame, only two were approved by the electoral commission. The disqualified candidates, including Kagame’s vocal critics, were invalidated for reasons such as prior criminal convictions.

The two approved candidates, Frank Habineza and Philippe Mpayimana, also ran against Kagame in 2017. Habineza, leader of the Democratic Green Party, expressed hope of improving on his 2017 vote share of 0.48%. “People are only considering 2017 and say that I got 0.4%, but they forget that our party stood for parliament and got more than 5%,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

Mpayimana, who works for the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Engagement, urged voters at a campaign event to consider his candidacy. “It’s true you cannot change the winning team, but we also have to give opportunities to the junior teams to see if they can deliver on their pledges. That is what democracy means,” he stated.

Over 9 million voters are registered for the polls, which will also elect members of the 80-seat lower house of parliament. Provisional results are expected by July 20.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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