Two of the three presidential aspirants, incumbent President Paul Kagame and main opposition candidate Frank Habineza have pulled out of Rwanda’s first presidential debate to be aired live on Wednesday.
Only the independent candidate, Phillipe Mpayimana answered positively to the call by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and state-run broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA).
Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)‘s Kagame and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s Habineza have opted to field party representatives for the live event.
According to regional media The EastAfrican, the debate will be conducted in the local Kinyarwanda language and broadcast live on RBA and on the state radio.
Kagame will be represented by his campaign spokesperson Wellars Gasamagera and Habineza by his party’s secretary-general Jean Claude Ntezimana.
Frank Habineza had earlier stated that he will only be at the debate if Kagame is present himself.
Elections will be held on August 3 in the diaspora and August 4 in Rwanda.
Winner of the polls will get a seven-year term to steer the affairs of the country seen as one of Africa’s rising economic powerhouses.