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Rwanda has re-elected president Kagame with more than 98% of the vote

06 August, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Voters wait atentively to instructions

The board said turnout topped 96.42 percent in the country of 12 million people, in an election that fielded only a single opposition candidate, Frank Habineza, and an independent.

The counting is being done at polling stations before the results can be relayed at the Commission's headquarters for consolidation and official announcing.

With four-fifths of votes counted, the 59-year-old former guerrilla leader appeared likely to win with nearly 99% of votes cast, the national electoral commission's executive secretary, Charles Munyaneza, told a news conference on Saturday.

It was also reported that Kagame has vowed to keep up the country's economic growth after his victory at the polls.

Kagame, a lanky former guerrilla fighter, was just 36 when his rebel army routed extremist Hutu forces who slaughtered an estimated 800,000 people - mainly minority Tutsis - and seized Kigali.

"This is another seven years to take care of issues that affect Rwandans and ensure that we become real Rwandans who are [economically] developing", Kagame said.

Under his rule, some dissidents were killed after fleeing overseas, in cases that remain unsolved.

The country has fraught relations with Burundi, which has been embroiled in a political crisis since 2015 and accuses Rwanda of meddling - allegations the government denies.




Kagame has won global praise for the stability and economic development he has brought Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, when an estimated 800,000 people were killed, but he has also been accused of running an authoritarian, one-party state.

Habineza, who won 0.47 percent, had promised to set up a tribunal to retry dissidents whose convictions by Rwandan courts have been criticised as politically motivated.

After the vote, he said some of his party's observers were obstructed in carrying out their work.

A State Department statement congratulated Rwandans on their "peaceful and active" engagement in the vote but added that "we are disturbed by irregularities observed during voting and reiterate long-standing concerns over the integrity of the vote-tabulation process". The election board had disqualified a third candidate, Diane Rwigara, ahead of Friday's vote for allegedly failing to meet the necessary requirements to run for office.

Rwandans celebrated Kagame's win in muted fashion, with no spontaneous large gatherings in the disciplined nation. People kept coming in until my bar had more than 200 people.

"We are celebrating the presidential election", said one young man as he danced.

Other residents were less happy, the agency said.

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