Rwanda: Ruling party to sweep Rwanda parliament poll | AFP

Rwanda’s ruling party was set to win three-quarters of directly elected parliamentary seats in this week’s poll, provisional results showed on Tuesday. Long-time ruler President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and its seven smaller allied parties, had 75% of the votes after Monday’s election, with 70% of ballots counted. Final results are not due until 16 September. Parties were vying for 53 of the country’s 80 directly elected parliamentary seats of which 24 are reserved for women, two for youth and one for the disabled, all chosen by special councils and national committees.

Rwanda: Observers urged to be impartial during elections | The New Times

Election observers should be neutral and objective as they monitor parliamentary polls due to take place from September 2 to 4. The call was made Thursday by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) while briefing over 950 observers who have been accredited to assess election activities. They include 184 foreign observers. Over 7.1 million Rwandans have registered to vote for their representatives in parliament for a five-year-term. Although observers enjoy the right to unfettered access to electoral processes, there are basic rules that guide them, said Loyce Bamwine, a commissioner at NEC as she was presenting election observers’ code of ethics. “Election observers should maintain strict political impartiality during the observation period,” she reminded them.

Rwanda: Police ask public to stay calm, vigilant during election season | The New Times

Rwandans need to take extra precautions during the on-going parliamentary election period to ensure that the campaigns and subsequent polls are conducted in an environment that is free and secure. The message was delivered yesterday by the Rwanda National Police spokesperson, Commissioner of Police Theos Badege, in an exclusive interview with The New Times. Badege warned against too much excitement during the election season that may lead to some people forgetting to respect traffic rules and uphold security measures designed to ensure that people are safe at campaign rallies. “We need crime-free elections. We want to conduct elections in a free and secure environment,” he said, urging Rwandans to remain sensitive to security matters during the campaign and elections. Among the things to be avoided by citizens, the officer said, is to overload cars with supporters during the campaign process and trying to transport people in cars that are not meant for passenger transportation such as trucks.

Rwanda: Politically Closed Elections | Human Rights Watch

Presidential elections in Rwanda on August 4, 2017, took place in a context of very limited free speech or open political space, Human Rights Watch said today, as President Paul Kagame is sworn in for a seven-year term. Human Rights Watch released a chronology of violations of the right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly in Rwanda between the country’s December 2015 referendum – allowing the president to run for a third term – and the election, which Kagame won with a reported 98.79 percent of the vote. “Kagame’s landslide win came as no surprise in a context in which Rwandans who have dared raise their voices or challenge the status quo have been arrested, forcibly disappeared, or killed, independent media have been muzzled, and intimidation has silenced groups working on civil rights or free speech,” said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Yet the Rwandan authorities took no chances with the presidential vote, as repression continued in recent months despite the weak prospects for any opposition candidate.”

Rwanda: Electoral commission confirms Kagame’s nearly 99% win | AFP

Rwanda’s electoral commission on Wednesday confirmed President Paul Kagame’s overwhelming victory in last week’s presidential election, even improving his score slightly to 98.79 percent. There had been little doubt that the 59-year-old would return to the helm of the east African nation, which he has ruled with an iron fist since the end of the 1994 genocide. Preliminary results showed he had won 98.63 percent of the votes, handing him a third term in office.

Rwanda: President’s Lopsided Re-election Is Seen as a Sign of Oppression | The New York Times

The re-election of Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s longtime president, had never been in question. But opponents and rights advocates say his nearly 99 percent margin of victory reflects what they call an oppressive political environment that stifles dissent in the central African nation. The lopsidedness of the result of the Friday vote giving Mr. Kagame a third seven-year term, announced on Saturday, was no surprise to supporters. They called it an accurate barometer of his enormous popularity in transforming Rwanda from the post-genocide depths into a beacon of African prosperity and stability. “People trust him. If it were not democratic, he could even score 100 percent,” said Wellers Gasamagera, the spokesman for Mr. Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front political party. “There is nothing strange as to the high score in terms of votes.” Still, the results also punctuated the glaring absence of a viable opposition in Rwanda. Dissenting views are frequently silenced.

Rwanda: US ‘disturbed by irregularities’ in Rwanda landslide vote | The Washington Post

The United States said Saturday it was “disturbed by irregularities observed during voting” in Rwanda’s election, which longtime President Paul Kagame won with nearly 99 percent of the vote. A State Department statement reiterated “long-standing concerns over the integrity of the vote-tabulation process.” Kagame easily won a third term in office in what he had called “a formality.” He faces another seven years leading the small East African nation praised for its economic performance but criticized for its silencing of opponents. Electoral authorities said Kagame won 98.63 percent of the vote. Neither of his two challengers won a full percentage point.

Rwanda: Paul Kagame re-elected president with 99% of vote in Rwanda election | The Guardian

Paul Kagame, the controversial president of Rwanda, has won a landslide victory in the small African state’s election, securing a third term in office and extending his 17 years in power. The result will surprise no one, inside or outside Rwanda. Kagame, 59, has won international 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. Some have dismissed the polls as a sham. Friday’s election came after a constitutional amendment, which ended a two-term limit for presidents and theoretically permits Kagame to remain in power until 2034. The amendment was approved by 98% of voters.

Rwanda: Rwanda prepares for general and presidential polls | Al Jazeera

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has campaigned in Gasabo, a suburb of the capital Kigali, in the run-up to the August 4 general and presidential elections. Tens of thousands of his supporters had to be beaten back by police brandishing baton sticks and fenced in on Wednesday as they fought to catch one last glimpse of their leader. Some claim the rally is evidence of the depth of Kagame’s support Kagame in the lead-up to Friday’s poll. “It’s because the people love him. He’s our hero, through him we built this country from scratch. Rwanda was dead before and now we are alive,” said Solange Mubaraki, the founder of Defence Spouses Alliance Cyuzuzo, a local support group of more than 250 wives of those serving in Rwanda’s security services. “Everyone can see Rwanda is not about genocide, but development and peace because of the leadership of Kagame,” he said.

Rwanda: Police Reassure of Security During Elections |

The Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, yesterday received a team of African Union observers currently in the country for the presidential election. The IGP briefed the delegation, led by the former Interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traore, on the security situation in the country and reassured them of “peaceful, safe, and smooth elections.” Gasana underscored that the police established a security campaign plan for the entire electoral period – before, during, and shortly after the elections. He informed the observers that the campaign period has been incident-free and reassured them that the elections will be conducted in a secure environment.

Rwanda: What you need to know about the Rwandan presidential poll | ENCA

On 4 August 2017, Rwandans head to the polls to elect a president. They will choose between Frank Habineza, Philippe Mpayimana and the incumbent Paul Kagame. Most observers expect a landslide victory for Kagame. But there’s controversy around the election because of a 2015 constitutional amendment that allowed him to seek a third seven-year term followed by two further five-year terms. The Rwandan election is being watched closely by observers concerned about an erosion of democracy in the country. While some of these concerns are valid, they must be qualified against Rwanda’s historical and developmental realities. At best, Rwanda can be characterised as an illiberal democracy, but this should not detract from the current regime’s successes. Nor is it a suggestion that Kagame shouldn’t lead. Under his tenure the country has enjoyed year-on-year socio-economic progress. In most situations, this would secure electoral victory.

Rwanda: Election countdown in Rwanda | Mail & Guardian Africa

Rwanda is getting ready for its federal election on August 4. If nothing unexpected happens, then President Paul Kagame will win a third term. But there is only one remaining question: Will he get more votes than in the last elections seven years ago, when he won 93 percent? Or will it be even higher than it was in 2003, when he got 95 percent? It seems certain that the opposition doesn’t stand a chance. The press coverage from the mostly government controlled media is concentrated on the ubiquitous Paul Kagame and his FPR party. Nevertheless, two other candidates were allowed to contest for the presidency:  Frank Habineza, chairman of Rwanda’s Green party and a former member of the current ruling party. Little is known about the second candidate – Philippe Mpayimana – a former journalist who recently returned to Rwanda after years of exile in the Central African Republic and France. He is contesting as an independent candidate in the elections.

Rwanda: Election countdown in Rwanda | Deutsche Welle

Rwanda is getting ready for its federal election on August 4. If nothing unexpected happens, then President Paul Kagame will win a third term. But there is only one remaining question: Will he get more votes than in the last elections seven years ago, when he won 93 percent? Or will it be even higher than it was in 2003, when he got 95 percent? It seems certain that the opposition doesn’t stand a chance. The press coverage from the mostly government controlled media is concentrated on the ubiquitous Paul Kagame and his FPR party. Nevertheless, two other candidates were allowed to contest for the presidency:  Frank Habineza, chairman of Rwanda’s Green party and a former member of the current ruling party. Little is known about the second candidate – Philippe Mpayimana – a former journalist who recently returned to Rwanda after years of exile in the Central African Republic and France. He is contesting as an independent candidate in the elections.

Rwanda: President Paul Kagame declares he’s won election a month before it’s held | The Independent

The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has claimed a win in next month’s election. He stated that the outcome of the vote was already known in 2015, when a petition to Parliament by 4 million people, changed the constitution, permitting him to run for office once more. “You can choose not to hear the truth but you cannot deny what your eyes show you here today,” he said, according to an ABC News report. “Pretending not to know the will expressed by the people during the referendum would be a lie, not democracy.” The 59-year-old head of RPF-Inkotanyi, the governing party, came to power 23 years ago. He is also backed by nine other political parties.

Rwanda: Savior or Dictator? Government Critics Challenge Rwanda’s One-Party State and President Ahead of Election | Newsweek

Sitting outside his grocery shop in the Nyabugogo slum in Kigali, Rwanda, in June, Francis Nduwimana described his longing for a change in leadership in the presidential election on August 4. “We are tired of Kagame, but we cannot express our views openly,” said Nduwimana, an ethnic Hutu, in his vernacular language of Kinyarwanda. “If you criticize him, you will be accused by the government agencies of dividing the country, and you will either be imprisoned or killed. ”As Rwandan President Paul Kagame — an ethnic Tutsi who has been in power since 2000 — runs for another seven-year term, many Rwandans, particularly ethnic Hutus, share Nduwimana’s fear. They see a government that is crushing dissent ahead of the election. And they worry that their country is turning into a one-party state: Following a 2015 referendum to extend term limits, Kagame can now legally remain in power until 2034. Seventeen years is a long time for one leader to run a country, but not everyone in Rwanda is ready for change. Many would like to see Kagame in power as long as possible.

Rwanda: Election Outcome is Already Decided | allAfrica

Only President Paul Kagame has a chance of winning the 2017 presidential election. And he could stay in power until 2034. “More of a coronation than real contest.” That’s how the Kenyan daily The Standard characterised Rwanda’s presidential poll slated for 4 August. It sums up the reality well. In countries with competitive politics, elections are an important moment giving rise to debate and excitement. Not so in Rwanda. Rwandans have become accustomed to polls where everything is settled in advance. This was the case before the genocide, when the country was officially a one-party state. And it has been the case since 1994, after which Rwanda became a de facto one-party state under the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

Rwanda: Two candidates cleared to run against Kagame | AFP

Rwanda’s election commission on Friday permitted two opposition candidates to run against President Paul Kagame in elections due on August 4, ruling out three other challengers. National Election Commission (NEC) chief Kalisa Mbanda announced the approval of the Democratic Green Party’s Frank Habineza, independent Philippe Mpayimana and Kagame as candidates, while rejecting three other independents. Habineza’s is the only opposition party permitted to operate in Rwanda, long dominated by Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and the only opponent to a 2015 constitutional reform that cleared the way for the president to run again despite having been in charge of the country since 1994.

Rwanda: Climate of Fear Engulfs Rwanda’s Upcoming Vote, Amnesty Says | Associated Press

Rwanda’s presidential election next month will be held under “a climate of fear” following two decades of often deadly attacks on political opponents, journalists and rights activists, Amnesty International charged Friday, calling for serious political reforms in the East African country. “Since the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front took power 23 years ago, Rwandans have faced huge, and often deadly, obstacles to participating in public life and voicing criticism of government policy,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, an Amnesty official in East Africa. “The climate in which the upcoming elections take place is the culmination of years of repression.” Many killings and disappearances, including some recent ones, have been blamed on the government of President Paul Kagame, who has been his country’s de facto leader or elected president since the end of the 1994 genocide.

Rwanda: National Electoral Commission begins update of voters’ register | The New Times

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has called on all citizens eligible to vote to verify their particulars on the electoral roll in their respective cells and villages to ensure they are ready to participate in the forthcoming presidential election, slated for August next year.In a statement, the commission’s executive secretary, Charles Munyaneza, said voters should check with their local government offices to ensure information about their identification is accurate while those that have recently attained voting age can be registered to ensure no one is left out of the exercise. The two-week exercise starts today and will end on November 30, according to the statement. It will be carried out at the village and cell levels. The eligibility age for voting in Rwanda is 18 years.

Rwanda: Voters approve extension of presidential term limits | Reuters

Rwandans voted overwhelmingly to support changes to the constitution that would allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office, possibly until 2034, provisional results showed on Saturday. Kagame, 58, would be able to run again in 2017 after his second term ends. He has been president since 2000 but effectively in control since his rebel force marched into Kigali in 1994 to end a genocide. “The electoral commission declares in public that 98.3 percent of voting Rwandans accepted the constitution as amended in 2015,” National Electoral Commission chairman Kalisa Mbanda told a news conference after Friday’s vote. Mbanda rejected a statement issued on Friday by the local European Union delegation that there was no independent monitoring in place during the vote.

Rwanda: Rwandans vote on constitution changes to let Kagame extend rule | Reuters

Rwandans voted on Friday in a referendum on changing the constitution that would allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office, possibly until 2034, despite criticism of such an amendment by the United States and other Western donors. Kagame would be able to run again after his second mandate ends under the changes, which are expected to pass. Kagame, 58, has been president since 2000 but effectively in control since his rebel force marched into Kigali in 1994 to end a genocide.

Rwanda: Electoral Commission Set to Hold Referendum | VoA News

Rwanda’s electoral commission says it is ready to hold next week’s national referendum that could allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third seven-year term in 2017. After that, he could also be eligible to run for two additional five-year terms. Kagame, 58, has ruled Rwanda since his army ended the 1994 genocide and ousted Hutu extremists from power. The referendum dates are December 17 for the diaspora and December 18 for Rwandans inside the country. Charles Munyaneza, executive secretary of the National Electoral Commission, said more than four million Rwandan voters requested the referendum, and the commission is only trying to fulfill its mandate to deliver a free and fair electoral process.

Rwanda: Lawmakers Back Move to Abolish Presidential Term Limits | VoA News

Rwandan lawmakers approved a measure Tuesday that would pave the way for President Paul Kagame to seek re-election when his second term ends in 2017. Both houses of parliament voted in favor of a petition that calls for the removal of presidential term limits from the country’s constitution. A reported 3.7 million Rwandans signed the petition, more than 30 percent of the population. The proposal will now be taken up by a parliamentary committee. Kagame has effectively ruled Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide, and he won easy victories in the 2003 and 2010 elections.

Rwanda: President Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front party wins majority of seats in parliament | Associated Press

President Paul Kagame’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front party has won the majority of seats in parliamentary elections, an election official said. The election was free and fair, the head of the Rwandan Electoral Commission Kalisa Mbanda said late Tuesday, even though human right groups said opposition parties not allied to the Kagame’s RPF did not have fair conditions. The RPF won 40 of the 53 seats open to political parties. Rwanda’s lower house has 80 members but 27 seats are reserved for women, people with disabilities and the youth. Monday’s elections were Rwanda’s third legislative polls since the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of more than 500, 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Kagame led the Rwandan Patriotic Front to victory in Rwanda in 1994, ending the genocide and since then the RPF has dominated politics in Rwanda.

Rwanda: Kagame’s party scores landslide win in Rwanda | Reuters

Rwanda’s ruling party held onto power with a widely-expected landslide victory in parliamentary elections, provisional results showed on Tuesday, reinforcing President Paul Kagame’s grip on the country. The National Electoral Commission said Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) had won 76.2 percent of the vote with all ballots counted. Final results are expected on Thursday. Two decades after the 1994 genocide, the east African country has become a favourite with foreign investors under Kagame’s leadership. The order book for Rwanda’s debut eurobond in April was 8.5 times the $400 million sought, underscoring steady economic growth. But Kagame’s opponents have accused him of cracking down on political opponents and restricting press freedoms – allegations he dismisses.

Rwanda: A Strange Electoral System For A Unique Country – Rwanda Votes For Parliament | International Business Times

A national parliamentary election began Monday in the East African country of Rwanda, and the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, or RPF, is expected to maintain control over the national government. This is no ordinary election. Rwanda’s electoral process is unique, as is the East African country of 12 million, an international aid darling whose violent past has given way to dazzling economic growth and development, but whose repressive tendencies are frequently criticized by domestic dissidents and global human rights groups. Rwanda’s parliament is bicameral. The upper house — the Senate, with 26 seats — is indirectly elected by various political groups and institutions, while the lower house — the Chamber of Deputies, with 80 seats — has 53 members elected by the people, with 27 indirectly elected by special interest groups. Of those 27 seats, 24 are reserved for women, two are for young people and one must be filled by a disabled person.

Rwanda: Parliamentary Elections for September 16 |

The RPF-Inkotanyi has pledged more progress and dignity for Rwandans as it reached out to voters ahead of the September 16 parliamentary elections. Launching its campaign Monday, the ruling party, running alongside four other political parties, said it seeks to consolidate the country’s gains under RPF leadership and to fast-track the national development agenda. The party Chairman, President Paul Kagame, launched the RPF-led coalition legislative election campaign in Kamonyi District, Southern Province, in the presence of cheerful thousands of supporters, the New Times of Rwanda has reported. The RPF’s coalition partners include the Ideal Democratic Party (PDI), Parti Socialiste Rwandais (PSR), Parti du Progrès et la Concorde (PPC) and Centrist Democratic Party (PDC).

Rwanda: Opposition party to sit out vote after late registration | Reuters

Rwanda’s Democratic Green Party said on Monday it will sit out September’s parliamentary election after the electoral commission took three years to register it, finally doing so just days before the deadline. Analysts say President Paul Kagame has a well-documented record of blocking, threatening or infiltrating rival parties to stifle even nascent political opposition, and that the belated registration of the Democratic Green Party can hardly be seen as a real opening of the democratic space.