Rwandans Decide: President Paul Kagame seals a landslide victory in presidential elections

On August 3rd and 4th, 2017, Rwandans in the country and in the Diaspora took to the polling stations to voice their wish for the commander in chief. By an overwhelming 98.66% of about 7, million voters, President Paul Kagame was deemed the favorite of the people over Dr. Frank Habineza of the Green Party and Phillipe Mpayimana, the independent candidate.

The campaign period in Rwanda took many by surprise. Where period leading up to elections is usually characterized by heated debates and sometimes civil unrest due to divided aspirations, the campaign period in Rwanda was unmistakably a festive time for many Rwandans. All rallies in Rwanda took place without a hitch, with President Paul Kagame, rising as a clear favorite, where some of his rallies gathered over 500,000 people.

In true Rwandan spirit of inclusion, Rwandans abroad were not left behind. Over 44,000 Rwandans living abroad were accorded the opportunity to vote in 98 polling stations outside of Rwanda. In the U.S. alone, 10 polling stations were opened to the Rwandan diaspora, a major development from only 2 polling station the 2010 presidential elections. Rwanda reinforced the spirit of inclusion by also enabling the blind to vote using Braille, a historic development in elections.

A group of Rwandans from Richmond, VA arrive at the Embassy of Rwanda to cast their vote.

The victory of President Paul Kagame is certainly a reflection of the needs of the Rwandan people, and the support he garnered from other political parties goes to show that his policies for country building are shared across the board, and his agenda is fit for Rwanda’s development goals.