Rwanda’s ruling party, Rwandan Patriot Front (RPF), on Saturday, June 17, 2017 picked the country’s incumbent President, Paul Kagame as its presidential candidate for the elections scheduled to hold in August.
Kagame, also the chairperson of RPF, was the sole candidate in a unanimous vote conducted by RPF Congress at the party’s new headquarters in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.
He gained 1929 congress members’ votes out of 1930, after one vote was declared invalid.
“RPF members from all provinces including south, east, west, north and the capital endorsed Kagame as their sole candidate due to his track record,’’ Wellars Gasamagera, the RPF Commissioner for Political Mass Mobilisation said.
Clad in red party T-shirt, Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame arrived for the RPF Congress at 11:24 a.m. in the company of RPF’s vice chairperson Christophe Bazivamo and Secretary General Francois Ngarambe.
“Party members said the RPF is confident of the popular support due to good governance and achievements on security.
“Other achievements are on poverty reduction, unity, graft fight, women empowerment, universal health insurance coverage among others,’’ party member, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, said at the congress.
On Monday, Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) started receiving applications for candidates wishing to take part in the August presidential elections.
Leader of the opposition, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda Frank Habineza, was the first to present the application.
Two other prospective candidates – Gilbert Mwenedata, an independent competitor, and Fred S. Barafinda, said to be the representative of Rwanda Revolutionary Union Democratic Advancers (RRUDA) – presented their credentials to the commission.
RRUDA is not known among registered parties in Rwanda.
There are 11 political parties in Rwanda.
Major competitors in the previous elections of the ruling party Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), including the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Liberal Party (PL), have recently announced their support for President Kagame.
Other prospective candidates yet to present credentials include Diana Shimwa Rwigara, daughter of deceased tycoon, Asinapol Rwigara, the only potential female candidate.
Rwanda will go to the polls for presidential elections on Aug. 4 for the third time since the end of the genocide regime in 1994.
NEC had said that a provisional list of qualified candidates would be announced on June 27.
The names of qualified candidates will be published on July 7, a week before campaigns begin.
Campaigns for the qualified candidates will officially begin on July 14 and end on Aug. 3, a day before the elections.
According to NEC, it is estimated that no fewer than 6.8 million Rwandans will vote in the upcoming elections.
Additional reports by Xinhua.