Kagame wins third term, 98%

CityPress - - News -

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

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