Kagame wins overwhelming majority, 7 more years in power
KIGALI: Incumbent leader Paul Kagame swept to a landslide victory in Rwanda’s presidential election, securing a third term in office and extending his 17 years in power, final results showed on Saturday.
Kagame has won international praise for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery in Rwanda since a 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
But he has also faced mounting criticism for what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, a muzzling of independent media and suppression of political opposition.
The 59-year-old former guerrilla leader had secured 98.63% of Friday’s vote, according to a final tally released by the National Electoral Commission on Saturday .
The board said turnout topped 96.42% in the country of 12 million people, in an election that fielded only a single opposition candidate, Frank Habineza, and an independent candidate.
Addressing supporters early on Saturday, Kagame said he would work to sustain economic growth.
“This is another seven years to take care of issues that affect Rwandans and ensure that we become real Rwandans who are (economically) developing,” he said in a speech broadcast live on television.
Under his rule, some dissidents were killed after fleeing abroad, in cases that remain unsolved. The government denies any involvement.
Kagame won the last election in 2010 with 93% of the vote. Habineza won 0.47% in the latest poll.