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.
The electoral commission said 98.8 percent of registered voters cast their ballot, a figure that jarred with accounts from some who said turnout was low in their constituencies.
“People felt like there was no point voting, the RPF was going to win,” said one man from eastern Rwanda, withholding his name, a common occurrence in a country where many feel scared to talk out against the authorities.
Others said that although the result was predictable, the process had been free and fair.