Rwanda: Paul Kagame wins landslide election victory

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Rwandan president Paul Kagame has secured a third term in power after a landslide victory in the country’s 2017 presidential poll.

With 80 percent of the total votes accounted for, Kagame secured 98.66 percent – more than enough for the National Electoral Commission to announce his victory.

“We expect that even if we get 100 percent of votes, there will not be any change,” the commission’s executive secretary, Charles Munyaneza, said.

 

Kagame secures third term

Roughly seven million people were registered to vote ahead of the polls to pick Rwanda’s leader for the next seven years. Kagame’s overwhelming victory means the 59-year-old will extend his 17 years in power. The president says he will use his third term to sustain the country’s economic growth.

“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 during a live televised speech.

 

No surprises

Of course, Kagame’s victory was never really in doubt. The move to have him secure a third term legally had been in the works for years. All it took was a national referendum asking the people if constitutional changes should be made, allowing Kagame to run again – a poll that echoed this year’s election with a 98% vote in favour of Kagame.

The government insists Kagame’s victories prove his popularity. However, critics and opposition claim the landslides reflect a climate of fear and oppression in Rwanda.

Kagame is widely praised for steering Rwanda out of its horrific 1994 genocide and into economic sustainability. But his regime has also received growing criticism from rights groups over human rights violations, media suppression and political intimidation.

Either way, Kagame’s 2017 election victory means he could now stay in power until 2034.

 

Featured image: By © ITU/J.Ohle, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31853376

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.