By Mohammed M. Mupenda KIGALI
Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda’s
presidential campaigns officially kicked off Friday. The
three candidates are Incumbent President Paul Kagame,
Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR),
and Philipe Mpayimana, independent candidate.
the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the campaigns
will end on August 3, one day before the voting day.
launched his presidential campaign on Friday in Rusizi
District, western Rwanda. There are 11 political parties
in Rwanda. Besides the ruling party, eight opposition
parties backed Kagame in this year’s election, according
to Kagame at a campaign rally.
gained landslide victories in the last two presidential
elections held in 2003 and 2010 by winning 95 percent
and 93 percent of the total votes, respectively.
Habineza arrived at the campaign venue in the district,
he was welcomed by hundreds of supporters chanting DGPR
who was born in 1977 in Uganda and returned to Rwanda
after 1994’s genocide, managed to attract the attention
of supporters who came to listen to his manifesto.
emphasizes on eradicating poverty, land taxes, creating
job opportunities for the youths, striving for reduction
of unemployment, establishing a national security
council and ensuring a better civil-military relations
model, promoting economic growth without environmental
degradation, championing the respect of all fundamental
freedoms as enshrined in the constitution.
“We will end
the food shortage and hunger in the country by
considering citizen’s views participation,” Habineza
explained the manifesto to the press and supporters at
“I will make
sure that under my party’s government, we shall achieve
what the RPF (the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front) has
failed to achieve,” he said.
offer shelter for soldiers and provide health facilities
around those houses.”
first stop of campaign in Rusizi, Habineza moved to
Nyamasheke district, western Rwanda on Saturday for the
second day of his rally.
arrival, Habineza, along with his wife Judith Kabarira
and his party members, was welcomed by his supporters
chanting his name and manifesto. Aime Fabien Kamali,
Mayor of Nyamasheke District, in his welcome remarks
reminded DGPR of respecting the campaign rules as
indicated by NEC.
delighted to welcome you to the district. In the
democracy, multiple parties are recognized and DGPR is
legalized on Rwandan land,” Kamali added.
low turn up at the rally, Habineza is confident that he
will win the election. People know DGPR, which is in
people’s heart, he said.
said he will deal with the long standing conflict
between Rwanda and countries such as the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Burundi and France.
“I am ready
to engage in talks. France was once our good friend and
we had good diplomatic relations that I will reinstate
once elected,” he promised.
“I will make
sure we are living harmoniously with France and the
neighboring countries, and what others call enemies for
the country, we see them as Rwandans and we are ready to
engage in daily talks,” he explained his foreign policy.
He also said
he will reduce VAT from 18 percent to 15 percent.
Musanabera, 32, from Nyamasheke District told Xinhua
that Habineza has a good manifesto but she will wait for
other candidates to also present theirs to decide who to
vote for. Pascal Rugira, 28, said Habineza’s policies
can boost social welfare of all Rwandans.
participant Vedaste Nsengiyumva criticizes the DGPR’s
manifesto, saying that the government cannot get money
to develop the countries and paying workers without
taxing citizens on land and other economic activities.
With achievements made,
Rwandans believe in their own path for development
Lyu Tianran, Mohammed M.Mupenda and James Gashumba
KIGALI Rwanda(Xinhua) --
Rwandans will go to polls on August 4 to decide the
presidency for the next seven years. Various
achievements have been made under the current government
led by Incumbent President Paul Kagame, and Rwandans
said they believe in their own path for development.
represents the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), is
seeking re-election. Other two presidential candidates
are Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of
Rwanda, and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent
government’s achievements in the past seven years
include unity, poverty reduction, peace, security,
fighting corruption, inclusive development,
accountability and justice as foundation for sustainable
development, infrastructure development and environment
conservation, women empowerment, according to Anastase
Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board.
has various social protection programs. Elderly or
disabled are given subsistence allowances. Rwanda
alongside Mauritius was ranked the third least corrupt
country in sub-Saharan Africa on the global Corruption
Perception Index released in January 2017.
the Rwandan Household Living Conditions Survey released
by the government in 2012, at least 1 million Rwandans
have been lifted out of poverty in five years.
past seven years, more than 7,000 households were given
cows, over 100 schools were constructed in Gisagara
district, read RPF’s daily campaign brief issued after
Kagame joined presidential campaigns in the district. In
Nyaruguru district, 33 kilometers of feeder roads were
built, the bridges increased to 40 from 26 in 2010, the
number of households connected to the grid has increased
by 20 percent since 2010.
been president since 2000 when he was elected
transitional president by ministers and members of
parliament following the resignation of then President
Pasteur Bizimungu. He was then reelected in 2003 and
have said that the result of the election is a foregone
conclusion. They are not wrong. Rwandans made their
position clear in 2015,” Kagame said at his first
campaign rally in Ruhango District in Southern Province.
2015 voted in a constitutional referendum that allowed
Kagame to seek re-election after his term expires in
2017. Some 98 percent of voters voted “yes.”
States expressed “disappointment” that the referendum
was called on short notice to amend the Rwandan
constitution and introduce exceptions to term limits.
The Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda also
expressed concern that the one week run-up to the
referendum in Rwanda neither fully explained the
constitutional changes, nor offered sufficient time and
space for debate.
referendum, Kagame in a veiled message said statements
that depict Rwandans as people incapable of either
thought or feeling are “deliberately abusive.”
expect a democracy in which public office is routinely
transferred from one individual of their choice to
another, he said at annual national dialogue council
after the referendum, adding that “Rwandans want a good
politics that keeps delivering results, and respects the
fundamental principles in our Constitution.”
decided to use its own democratic way based on commonly
accepted principles of democracy, to which it has
subscribed including free and fair elections, human
rights, rule of law, citizens’ participation in shaping
their future, inclusiveness for all, social protection
and so on, Director General of Rwanda Management
Institute Wellars Gasamagera told Xinhua in a telephone
refused the western style of a copy and refused to paste
the shortcut in the exercise of the democratic agenda,
instituted such mechanisms like the forum of political
parties based on constitutional principles of seeking
consensual settlement of disputes while respecting
differences,” he said.
There are 11
political parties in Rwanda, among them RPF and eight
opposition parities back Kagame in this year’s election.
“Those who think this specialty of Rwanda is not
democracy, their studies on democracy were a waste of
time because everywhere in the world what comes first in
democracy is people’s wish,” Kagame said at his campaign
“It’s a wish
based on many things such as how they see themselves,
how they benefit, how they feel and how they want it.
The decision that is made is of the majority but it
respects the rights of all including those who don’t
agree with us.”
Rwanda genocide claimed over 1 million lives, mostly
ethnic Tutsis. After ending the genocide, RPF formed a
coalition government, which brought parties that did not
participate in the genocide together, and started the
journey of reconstruction and reconciliation.
Rwanda’s reconstruction, Rwanda learned to count on its
own efforts, secure its dignity, ensure that its path to
development is based on self-reliance and not on western
charity, said Gasamagera.
“I does not
care about democracy for the westerners or wherever,
what I care much is security, human rights, development,
people’s value, social well-being and prosperity,” a
28-year-old Rwandan journalist, Anne Marie Dushimimana,
She said she
will vote for someone who is able to maintain security
of Rwanda, has a clear vision for the country, and
understands the value of the people.
Rwanda has a
consensual form of democracy based on power sharing and
this came into force in the 2003 constitution, said
Kayumba Christopher, senior lecturer at the University
of Rwanda. Those who usually criticize Rwanda, they
should know that the country has laws, institutions and
citizens’ vote, he said in an interview.
said he will vote for the leader who understands the
country’s problems and know how to solve them.
Rukundo, a 19-year-old student, said he would vote for a
leader who will bring security, keep the citizens
employed regardless of their status.
for the three qualified presidential candidates started
on July 14 and will end on August 3, just a day before
the voting day.
million people will participate in this year’s
presidential elections, up from 5.7 million who
participated in 2010 presidential elections, according
to the National Electoral Commission of Rwanda.