Rwanda Nominates President Paul Kagame for Fourth Term

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Rwanda’s ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), has officially nominated President Paul Kagame as its flagbearer for the upcoming July election, paving the way for his potential fourth consecutive seven-year term in office.

Kagame, 66, has been at the helm since winning the presidential polls in 2003, 2010, and 2017, each time securing over 90 percent of the vote.

His nomination at the RPF congress, which concluded on Saturday, was uncontested, underscoring his dominance within the party.

The main opposition figure expected to challenge Kagame in the July polls is Green Party leader Frank Habineza, who garnered 0.45 percent of the vote in the 2017 election, finishing third amidst allegations of irregularities and voter intimidation.

Another potential contender, Victoire Ingabire, leader of the unregistered Dalfa Umurunzi movement, faces legal hurdles due to a prior conviction. A court decision on her eligibility for the presidential race is scheduled for March 13.

Rwanda is set to hold presidential and parliamentary polls on July 15, following the government’s decision last year to regularize voting dates. Concurrently, electoral colleges and committees will elect 24 women MPs, 2 youth representatives, and a representative for disabled Rwandans on July 16.

Campaigning is slated to take place from June 22 to July 12, as per the election calendar.

While Rwanda is often lauded as one of Africa’s most stable nations, critics of Kagame’s administration accuse him of repressing dissent and limiting civil liberties, raising concerns about the state of democracy in the country.

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