Three candidates will challenge incumbent leader Paul Kagame (pictured) in Sunday's presidential elections in Rwanda, but it is hard to distinguish any real difference between their respective political platforms…
The Rwandan presidential campaign is entering its final phase, with election day sceduled for Sunday August 9. Three candidates are challenging incumbent Paul Kagame for the presidency. But although Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, Prosper Higiro and Alvera Mukabaramba are all campaigning vigourously, their positions on many key issues are remarkably similar.
Economic development, social unity and fighting corruption are the main themes that all four candidates have taken up as their central campaign tenets. Each of Kagame’s three challengers have been described as allies of the president, and even characterised as “political satellites” of Kagame and the RPF.
Paul Kagame, incumbent president
Kagame was first elected in 2003 with 95 percent of the vote. He is widely regarded as a strongman credited with stabilizing the country in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. Running on a platform highlighting the solid economic growth over the past seven years and the return of order and civil society following the genocide, Kagame is favoured to win re-election for a second seven-year term.
After 16 years at the helm (seven years as elected president), Kagame's successes have come at a considerable price, with human rights groups and dissidents accusing the president of squashing political dissent through authoritarian measures. Many of the president’s main political opponents have been killed or are in jail, and numerous civil rights, particularly freedom of the press, have come under attack during Kagame’s time in office.
Jean-Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, Vice-President of the National Assembly
Although Ntawukuriryayo seeks to replace Kagame as president, many of his policies echo those of the incumbent’s: promoting reconciliation, strengthening national unity and pursuing economic development through public investment. With his politicies so similar to those of Kagame’s, Ntawukuriryayo’s opponents accuse of him of being a “stooge” for the president and providing an illusion of pluralism.
Prosper Higiro, Vice-President of the Senate
Alvera Mukabaramba, Senator
Date created : 2010-08-04