Rwandans vote amid great cheer and poll decorations
The excitement of the 2017 presidential election began when more than four million Rwandans signed a petition requesting the Rwandan Parliament to amend the constitution to allow the President of the Republic serve beyond the two terms limit currently in place. This culminated in a constitutional referendum which was held in Rwanda on 18 December 2015. The amendment was approved when 98% of the voters voted affirmatively.
Following the start of campaign rallies, incumbent President Paul Kagame, chairman of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, Frank Habineza Leader of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate, visited all thirty districts in Rwanda presenting their manifestos to supporters in preparation for the elections.
The biggest concern is the media houses that have devoted a great amount of effort in tarnishing Rwanda’s image. How do people who have never visited Rwanda begin to presume know what Rwandans are feeling during this election period? Why do they want to impose their democracy on us? Rwandans wake up at 4am to attend campaign rallies because they want to, because they know their vote counts. We have experienced bad leadership and we do not want to board that ship again.
Rwanda has managed to rebuild itself, we are not where we aspire to be just yet, but Rwanda’s achievements following the 1994 Tutsi Genocide transcended expectations.
Western media will do well to realize that all African elections do not end in violence. Rwandan elections are a celebration, a huge party. So please come, take this as an open invitation, and get engulfed by an amazing climate of cheer.
The views expressed in this post are of the author’s and in no way reflect those of The Election Network.