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).
The current template for elections was set in 2003, when a constitutional referendum and the first post-genocide elections were held. In the run-up to these polls, the last genuine opposition party was banned, while the campaign was marred by arrests, disappearances and intimidation. An EU observer mission noted that, ironically, “political pluralism is more limited than during the transition period”.
The polls themselves were replete with allegations of fraud, manipulation of electoral lists, ballot-box stuffing, and flawed counting. Paul Kagame was declared the winner with 95% of the vote.
Full Article: Rwanda: Election Outcome is Already Decided – allAfrica.com.