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.
At least seven million voters are registered to cast their ballots in the third elections since the 1994 ethnic massacres.
Kagame and the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) expect a victory that would award the post-genocide president a third term and another seven years in office.
Although Kagame is widely popular, international rights observers have expressed concern over the political environment in which Friday’s vote takes place.