By Lyu Tianran, Mohammed M.Mupenda and
James Gashumba KIGALI, (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
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 candidate.
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.
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.
According to 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.
Over the 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.
Kagame has 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 2010.
“Some people 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
Rwandans in 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.”
The United 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.”
Rwandans 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.”
Rwanda has 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
Rwanda refused the
western style of a copy and refused to paste the shortcut in the
exercise of the democratic agenda, said Gasamagera.
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 rally.
“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.”
The 1994’s 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
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, told Xinhua.
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
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
Christopher said he
will vote for the leader who understands the country’s problems
and know how to solve them.
Hamza Rukundo, a
19-year-old student, said he would vote for a leader who will
bring security, keep the citizens employed regardless of their
Campaigns for the
three qualified presidential candidates started on July 14 and
will end on August 3, just a day before the voting day.
About 6.8 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