14 July 2017

Rwanda: Presidential Campaigns Kick Off

Photo: New Times
Youths tipped on elections.

The country's three presidential candidates vying for President begin the campaign trail today.

The incumbent Paul Kagame, of the RPF Inkotanyi; Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda; and Philippe Mpayimana, an , all chose to begin their campaign rallies at sites out of the capital Kigali.

The candidates will spend the next 19 days travelling to the different parts of the country, holding rallies and searching for votes.

The candidates will unveil their political programmes, essentially asking citizens to vote them for the next seven-year presidential term.

President Kagame, the flag bearer for the ruling RPF-Inkotanyi, will launch his campaign in Southern Province's Ruhango District today.

RPF's manifesto mainly focuses on further strengthening the economy, boosting social welfare, and good governance as well as justice.

RPF Secretary-General François Ngarambe told journalists in a news briefing on Wednesday that, while the party has achieved a lot over the last seven years, the people want more and the progress maintained.

"What we will tell Rwandans is mostly about how we will sustain the achievements made so far in the areas of the economy, wellbeing, good governance and justice," he said, explaining that the party knows what it did to promote those crucial areas and what it wants to do next once it's back in the top office.

Habineza will launch his campaign in Western Province's Rusizi District with a manifesto that pledges to re-enforce the rule of law in the country, promote food security, reduce taxes, and grow an economy that is more environment-friendly.

The presidential hopeful is pitching tax and land reforms in an effort to win votes.

Mpayimana will launch his campaign in Eastern Province's Bugesera District today with a pledge to strengthen democracy, promote trade and agriculture, foster more unity among Rwandans and empower the Rwandan youth, including those in the Diaspora.

"The most important thing is to give farmers the freedom to sell what they grow to markets and control prices for them. So far, they sell their produce through cooperatives, which work as intermediaries and farmers need to be better entrepreneurs, who are strong enough to influence prices on the market," he told The New Times yesterday.

Mpayimana says he also wants to promote unity and reconciliation in Rwanda by sensitising more Rwandans to move on from their tragic past and embrace unity and a peaceful life in their communities across the country.

The presidential campaigns will end on August 3, a day before Rwandans in the country go to the polls. Diaspora community vote on August 3.

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