Kagame wins third term, 98%
Former rebel leader and Rwanda’s longtime president, Paul Kagame, easily won a third term in office in an incredible landslide victory, which he had called “a formality”.
The result gives him another seven years leading the small East African nation praised for its economic performance, but criticised for its silencing of opponents. His victory has extended his 17 years as president.
Kagame was running against Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda – the only permitted opposition party – and independent candidate and former journalist Philippe Mpayimana.
Three potential candidates were disqualified for allegedly failing to fulfil requirements, including collecting enough signatures.
With 80% of votes counted, Mpayimana had just 0.72% and conceded defeat and congratulated Kagame. Habineza had 0.45%.
More than 80% of Rwanda’s 6.9 million registered voters cast their ballots, according to Charles Munyaneza, executive secretary of the Rwanda Electoral Commission.
The commission said Kagame had won more than 98% of the vote with 80% of ballots counted, with no major change expected.
He addressed jubilant supporters at party headquarters and urged Rwandans, including those who did not support him, to work together.
“This election was criticised so much due to me continuing to be your leader, especially by people from outside the country because they oppose the will of Rwandans,” he told supporters. “But Rwandans have shown that it was not manipulated by anyone, but their own will.”
Kagame has led the country of 12 million people since his rebels helped to end its genocide in 1994 during which more than 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by Hutu extremists.
agencies – Staff reporter and