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Thursday,October 22,2020 15:34 PM

Kagame Set To Win Poll

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd August 2003 03:00 AM

KIGALI, Thursday - Some four million Rwandans will turn out to vote on Monday in the first multi-party presidential elections since the former Belgian colony achieved independence in 1962, a poll the incumbent President Paul Kagame is tipped to win.

KIGALI, Thursday - Some four million Rwandans will turn out to vote on Monday in the first multi-party presidential elections since the former Belgian colony achieved independence in 1962, a poll the incumbent President Paul Kagame is tipped to win.

KIGALI, Thursday - Some four million Rwandans will turn out to vote on Monday in the first multi-party presidential elections since the former Belgian colony achieved independence in 1962, a poll the incumbent President Paul Kagame is tipped to win.

Kagame’s main rival is Faustin Twagiramungu, a former prime minister and a moderate Hutu who returned to Rwanda in June after eight years of self-imposed exile in Europe.
The electoral campaign, which started on August 1 and ends on Sunday at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), has been characterised by accusations of “ethnic divisionism” aimed at Twagiramungu.

He has hit back, slamming what he calls “a tough dictatorship” put in place by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, formerly a Tutsi rebel movement headed by Kagame and now a political party.

The accusation of “divisionism” is not to be taken lightly in this tiny central African country, traumatised by the 1994 genocide during which one million people — mainly Tutsis, but also Hutu moderates — were slaughtered in the space of 100 days.

Human rights organisations in the country of eight million people, however, accuse the RPF of applying the “divisionist” label to all opponents it wishes to discredit.

In addition to Kagame and Twagiramungu, who is standing as an independent, two other candidates, both Hutus, are in the running: the former minister Jean-Nepomuscene Nayinzira, an independent, and Alivera Mukabaramba, the first woman to run for president in Rwanda.

She is representing the left-wing Party for Progress and Concord.

Kagame, elected in 2000 by MPs, is standing for public election for the first time. “There is no doubt whatsoever that he’ll win,” a human rights activist, who asked not to be named, told AFP. “By intimidating the opposition, the RPF has taken all the necessary precautions to ensure that nothing is left to chance.”

Kagame, who has effectively led Rwanda since 1994, has visited even the most out-of-the-way areas of the country, welcomed on each visit by thousands of people assembled in the local football stadium, sporting Kagame baseball hats, T-shirts and sun umbrellas.
Among his campaign promises is free education up to the end of the third year of secondary school.

Twagiramungu, who shared power with the RPF for a year after the genocide as prime minister, has campaigned on a less ambitious scale, lacking Kagame’s means.

The main opposition candidate has committed to helping all the country’s orphans, not only those orphaned as a result of the genocide, but also those orphaned as a result of RPF abuses, and ensuring justice for all crimes, including those allegedly committed by the RPF during the war that put an end to the genocide.

Pro-Kagame banners are in evidence across the country, while photos and slogans likely to remind the country’s inhabitants of the presence of opposition candidates are conspicuous by their absence.
AFP
Ends

Kagame Set To Win Poll

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