Paul Kagame endorsed as RPF candidate in August presidential elections
Kigali – Thousands of delegates of the Rwanda Patriotic Front ( RPF-Inkotanyi) from across the country convened in Kigali in an extra-ordinary congress this Saturday to elect their party flag-bearer for the forthcoming Presidential elections scheduled for August 9th.
After the RPF Secretary General Ngarambe announced that all the other contenders had withdrawn their candidature in writing, the supporters enthusiastically elected by acclamation Paul Kagame, the party chairman, as the party’s presidential contestant in the August elections.
Paul Kagame’s endorsement follows his overwhelming recent victories in the party’s primaries, after competing with other party members, like Justus Kangwage in the Northern province, Charles Muligande in the Eastern province, and Josee Kagabo in Kigali municipality.
Besides the party members, the nomination ceremony was attended by representatives of the South Africa’s ruling party ANC and of the Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD.
During a press conference at ‘Village Urugwiro’ on Tuesday Mr Kagame had declared his intentions to run for another seven-year term as president representing the RPF. He told reporters that the RPF was prepared to review the outcome of the recent primaries during a national congress and officially announce the RPF candidate.
“If you want to pre-empt me, it looks like I will stand and will continue with the mission of the RPF to continue with development of the country. I am confident RPF is going to win these elections,” he said.
“RPF has worked well in providing leadership stability and development in the country. I don’t see any reason why the party shouldn’t get overwhelming support,” Mr Kagame added.
“We should not divert from the main course of our country’s development. The performance of the country will remain consistent irrespective of the political calendar. Despite some, ‘alarmists,’ wanting to invest in creating crises, we shall remain consistent.”
With this nomination, Paul Kagame is now the first officially designated candidate to the August presidential elections.
Two parties the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Liberal Party (LP) have announced a few weeks ago that they are going to designate their presidential candidates.
Jean Nepomuscene Nayinzira has declared that he also intends to contest the post of President of the Republic, claiming that he had been so instructed in a vision by the Virgin Mary.
The main element of suspense in this year’s election is whether three radical opposition parties including, Social Party-Imberakuri (PS-Imberakuri), the Democratic Green Party (DGP) and the United Democratic Forces (UDF Inkingi), will be allowed to field their own presidential candidates.
Mr Kagame last month slammed the three parties saying that they were formed by people with contempt for Rwanda.
The Democratic Green Party, led by Frank Habineza, is yet to be cleared for the party’s first delegates’ convention.
Though PS-Imberakuri is registered, its founder chair Bernard Ntaganda is being investigated for remarks which authorities have called divisive. The party is now broken into two factions – with one actively operating within the RPF-led political party forum and that of Mr Ntaganda jealously preferring to stay independent.
While Ms Victoire Ingabire, a potentially serious contender, has been designated by her party FDU-Inkingi as their official presidential candidate, all efforts to register the party have until now been hindered by the RPF regime. She has been dragged to court facing charges on terrorism, genocide ideology and ethnic divisionism.
The three parties announced in February that they had formed a forum (the Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda) to discuss, among other things, common problems including current harassments and intimidations.
Less than three months before the presidential elections, it is clear now that the RPF which has been governing the country since 1994, has managed to ensure that no serious contender be able to democratically challenge Paul Kagame on 9th August.