Rwanda’s Kagame sweeps presidential polls to win third term

Paul Kagame

KIGALI, (Reuters) – Rwanda’s incumbent leader Paul Kagame has sealed a crushing victory in presidential elections that granted him a third term in office, extending his 17 years in power.

Kagame has won international plaudits for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery in the Central African nation since the 1994 genocide, when an estimated 800,000 people Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

But he has also faced mounting censure for what critics and rights groups say are widespread human rights abuses, a muzzling of independent media and suppression of political opposition.

With 80 percent of votes accounted for, the 59-year-old former guerrilla leader secured 98.66 percent, the National Electoral Commission’s Executive secretary Charles Munyaneza told a news conference.

Paul Kagame

“We expect that even if we get 100 percent of votes, there will not be any change,” he said.

The board expected turnout to top 90 percent in the East African country of 12 million citizens once full details emerged, in elections that fielded only a single opposition candidate, Frank Habineza, and an independent.

Kagame, who cast his vote in Kigali’s Rugunga polling station earlier on Friday, said he would work to sustain economic growth in the tiny nation.

“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 they fled abroad, in cases that remain unsolved. The government denies any involvement.

Kagame, a commander who led Tutsi rebel forces into Rwanda to end the 1994 genocide, banned the use of tribal terms after becoming president.

He won the last election in 2010 with 93 percent of the vote and during this campaign for a further seven-year term, said he expected an outright victory.

Habineza, who has so far won 0.45 percent of the early count, had promised to set up a tribunal to retry dissidents whose convictions by Rwandan courts have been criticised as politically motivated.

Another would-be opponent, Diane Rwigara, was disqualified by the election board despite her insistence that she met all the requirements to run.

“To me I see this as a one-man race. I simply did not go to vote,” said one man in Kigali who asked not to be named.

 

Comments  

NFL rallies around protesting players denounced by Trump

SOMERSET, N.J.,/WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – NFL teams staged a show of solidarity with protesting players before yesterday’s games by kneeling, linking arms or staying off the field during the U.S.

Merkel hangs on to power but bleeds support to surging far right

BERLIN,  (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office yesterday but Europe’s most powerful leader will have to govern with a far less stable coalition in a fractured parliament after her conservatives haemorrhaged support to a surging far right.

Battered Puerto Rico hospitals on life support after Hurricane Maria

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO,  (Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s medical services are in critical condition in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Mexicans turn to church as earthquake death toll hits 320

MEXICO CITY,  (Reuters) – Mexicans packed churches on Sunday to pray for the victims of the country’s deadliest quake in 32 years as rescue teams searched against the odds for any survivors trapped under rubble since Tuesday’s tremor shook Mexico City and nearby states.

Kurds stick with independence vote, “never going back to Baghdad” – Barzani

ERBIL, Iraq/ISTANBUL, (Reuters) – Iraq’s Kurds will go ahead with a referendum on independence today because their partnership with Baghdad has failed, Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani said yesterday, shrugging off international opposition to the vote.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×