Rwanda’s presidential election will be held today, with incumbent Paul Kagame expected to win handily. In the 23 years following
Rwanda’s presidential election will be held today, with incumbent Paul Kagame expected to win handily.
In the 23 years following a horrific genocide that claimed the lives of around 800,000, Rwanda has undergone miraculous developments. Under Kagame’s 17-year rule, infrastructure has been expanded and upgraded and the economy has been stabilised—all facts Kagame has touted in the months leading up to the election.
Regardless, as many of the president’s critics reiterate, such advances have come at the expense of political freedoms and civil liberties. Kagame’s actions have made many dissenters the victims of harassment, incarceration, and murder. A number of opposition leaders and regime critics have been disqualified from running or found dead. Similarly, several people at Kagame’s political rallies had been forced or coerced into attendance.
While happy with the country’s development, many fear their government is drifting towards dictatorship. With underlying concerns about Kagame’s power mounting, some Rwandans are having flashbacks to the political power sharing dynamics that ultimately led to the country’s 1990-1994 civil war.