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Rwanda's Kagame files candidature to contest for third term

Rwanda's Kagame files candidature to contest for third term


Rwandan President Paul Kagame has officially filed his nomination to contest in upcoming polls he is expected to win by a landslide.

The Presidency on Friday shared photos to Kagame at the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to present his documents. The country goes to the polls on August 4 to elect a president.

The 59-year-old was unanimously nominated by the ruling RPF-Inkotanyi party at its congress on held on June 17. The decision was made by 1929 members out of 1930 eligible voters at the event.

He agreed to run in the contest and to continue to lead the country to more prosperity, peace, and stability. “Now that you brought me here to accept it, I will give it and you my all. I will do it to the best of my ability” Kagame said.

He added: “We must work harder so that what made you ask me to stay longer can be addressed in these seven years”.

It took a constitutional referendum in 2015, to allow Kagame to run for another seven year term. He will face candidates who do not seem to weigh heavily enough to give him a tough challenge. He has won previous polls in landslides.

The ruling party also has the support of nine political parties out of the 11 registered, despite criticism from the main opposition. If elected, Kagame will be left to retain his seat for another seven year term, after 17 years in power.

His main contender is Frank Habineza, leader of the Green Democratic Party (the only opposition party authorized for four years). Habineza happens to be a former ruling party member who broke away. Political watchers peg Habineza’s vote tally at about 5%. Kagame won 95% of votes in 2003 and dropped by 2% points to 93% in 2010.

35-year-old Diane Rwigara, the daughter of a businessman who recently announced her decision to contest the polls currently has the headache of sorting out how her nude pictures made it to social media. Many have alluded to the regime’s antics to deflate her ambitions.

The man Paul Kagame – A brief profile

Paul Kagame was born in October 1957 in Rwanda’s Southern Province. His family fled pre-independence ethnic persecution and violence in 1960, crossing into Uganda where Kagame spent thirty years as a refugee.

Kagame joined current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his group of guerrilla fighters to launch a war to free Uganda from dictatorship. Under the new government, he served as a senior military officer.

In 1990, he returned to Rwanda to lead the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s (RPF) four-year struggle to liberate the country from the autocratic and divisive order established since independence.

Led by Kagame, the Rwanda Patriotic Army defeated the the government in July 1994 and the RPF subsequently set Rwanda on its current course towards reconciliation, nation building and socioeconomic development.

Paul Kagame was appointed Vice-President and Minister for Defense in the Government of National Unity on July 19, 1994, and four years later was elected Chairman of the RPF, a partner in the Government of National Unity.

On 22 April 2000 Paul Kagame took the oath of office as President of the Republic of Rwanda after being elected by the Transitional National Assembly. He won the first ever democratic elections held in Rwanda in August 2003 and was re-elected to a second seven-year mandate in August 2010.

In 2015, two years to this years’ polls which he was not eligible to stand in, he proposed a constitutional referendum which was largely endorsed allowing him to contest in the upcoming elections.

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