KIGARI-(MaraviPost)- Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on Friday, won a third term in office with a landslide, the country’s electoral commission has announced.
According to the BBC monitored in Lilongwe, the partial results of Friday’s election gave Kagame 98% of the votes cast on the polls.
Kagame’s supporters, who say that he has brought stability and economic development after the horrors of the 1994 genocide, began celebrating even before the electoral body made the announcement.
The President-elect vowed to maintain the country’s economic growth. However, his critics, most of whom are outside the country, say Kagame rule the country through fear.
“This is another seven years to take care of issues that affect Rwandans and ensure that we become real Rwandans who are (economically) developing,” President Kagame said in a speech broadcast live on television.
Kagame, who has been in power for 17 years, was challenged by Frank Habineza, from the Democratic Green Party, and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent.
However, an independent challenger, businesswoman and rights activist Diane Shima Rwigara, was disqualified by the Electoral Commission.
The remaining eight opposition parties did not put forward a candidate but instead backed President Kagame.
His two challengers complained that their supporters were intimidated, which they say explains the low turnout at their rallies. They also accused some local authorities of undermining their campaigns. The ruling party denies accusations of any wrongdoing.
President Kagame previously called the election “just a formality.” Beyond this, he could run again, potentially staying in power until 2034.
Kagame, 59, came to power in 1994, when his Tutsi rebel group took control of the capital, Kigali, ending the genocide. Eight hundred thousand Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the ethnic conflict that then UN under Secretary-General Kofi Annan labeled a genocide.
Rwanda’s constitution was amended in 2015, following a referendum, that enables President Kagame to run for a third term.