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Rwanda presidential vote sees Paul Kagame with seeming lock on new term

August 4, 2017 - RWANDA

President Paul Kagame, who has held the presidency since 2000 and informally controlled the country since 1994, is expected to romp to victory in the 2017 election. Another term gives him a road to achieving his aim of creating a Singapore in Africa.

He is widely described as authoritarian - as is Singapore - but criticism is muted because landlocked Rwanda is thriving just two decades after the Hutu-Tutsi genocide ripped the region apart. Criticism of Kagame's curbs on political dissent and press freedom is unlikely to affect the outcome of the election.

Britain's Telegraph reports that Human Rights Watch, one of Tutsi Kagame's most persistent critics, accuses him of building resentment because he is denying Hutus a political voice and access to power.

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, the country's only registered opposition, has chosen Frank Habineza as its candidate. His manifesto includes revamping security, agriculture, justice, education and other sectors.

Kagame's campaign will tout advances in the country since he took power. According to Britain's Telegraph, they include a national health system, 19 out of 20 children in school and a good network of immaculately paved roads.

Data from the National Electoral Commission indicate that about 6.6 million Rwandans are expected to cast their vote in the country's third multiparty presidential elections. Rwandans abroad will cast their votes on Aug 3.

Paul Kagame: Rwanda's redeemer or ruthless dictator? (Telegraph Jul 2010)

Green party picks Frank Habineza as flagbearer (NewTimes Mar 2017)

Date written/update: 2017-05-12