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Kagame Faces Familiar Rivals As Rwanda’s Presidential Election Campaign Begins



President Kagame

The campaign for Rwanda’s presidential election, scheduled for July 15, has officially commenced.

Nine million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots in this election, which will be held concurrently with legislative elections for the first time.

Incumbent President Paul Kagame, who has been in office since 2000, is seeking re-election and will face familiar opponents, Frank Habineza and Philippe Mpayimana, who also contested in the 2017 presidential election.

Kagame has won previous elections with a landslide victory, securing over 90% of the vote each time.

However, key opposition figures, such as Victoire Ingabire and Bernard Ntaganda, have been barred from running due to past convictions.

Diane Rwigara’s candidacy was also invalidated due to non-compliant documents, despite being previously excluded and acquitted in 2018.

A constitutional revision in 2015 changed presidential terms from seven to five years, allowing Kagame to potentially remain in power until 2034 if re-elected.

The legislative elections have been synchronized with the presidential election, with over 500 candidates vying for 80 parliamentary seats.

Voters will directly elect 53 representatives, while 27 seats will be reserved for women, youth, and disabled individuals, chosen indirectly.

Kagame’s opponents, Habineza and Mpayimana, have pledged to address issues such as poverty, inequality, and human rights.

However, Kagame’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party has been accused of suppressing opposition and restricting political freedoms.

The election is significant, as it will determine the trajectory of Rwanda’s political landscape and Kagame’s continued hold on power.

International observers will be watching closely, as the country’s human rights record and democratic credentials have been questioned in recent years.

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Despite the challenges, Diaspora Digital Media understands, Rwanda has made significant progress in areas such as economic development and healthcare.

The country has also been praised for its efforts in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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