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.
The U.S. statement also said it remains “concerned by the lack of transparency in determining the eligibility of prospective candidates,” and it commended Rwanda’s media for reporting on complaints of harassment of some opposition candidates.
Kagame faced two challengers, while three others were disqualified for allegedly failing to fulfil requirements including collecting enough signatures.