4 August 2017

Rwanda: RPF Candidate Paul Kagame Leading in Preliminary Results

Candidate Paul Kagame 59, is leading in the Presidential polls with a total of 54582 votes (99.38%) so far counted; reports KTPress

Candidate Frank Habineza 40, the flag bearer of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) has scored 189 votes (0.34%) total votes so far counted. The party has hosted its supporters at Lemigo Hotel in Kigali.

Provisional results of the votes counted also indicate that independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana 46, has so far fetched 121 votes (0.22%). His supporters are camped at Capri hotel in Nyamirambo toasting to the end of an aggressive electioneering process that lasted 20 days.

On Friday night National Electoral Commission presented to the nation 40% of the total votes so far counted. Then another 60% would follow by end of same night, NEC said it should be able to relay some 70% of the results.

With such a margin, the Rwanda Patriotic Front party could be destined to take the Country's presidency and manage the country for the next 7-years.

Prof. Kalisa Mbanda the Chairman National Electoral Commission on Friday night announced preliminary poll results. The commission said it could be able to announce the full final results on Saturday evening

The RPF supporters are gathered at the party's new headquarters in Rusororo sector, Gasabo District already in in a jubilant mood.

Meanwhile, the Diaspora community are at Rwandan embassies following vote counting ongoing back home.

According to provisions of the electoral law, the winner must attain at least 50% of the total votes counted and is sworn-in as president of Rwanda two weeks after the final results are announced.

Voter Turnout

Presenting the outcome of the presidential elections, Prof. Mbanda said that a total of 6, 897,076 voters turnout for polls. There are 2,340 polling stations across the country with a total of 16,691 rooms. The elections were monitored by 1800 observers including 400 foreign.

In the Diaspora alone on Thursday a total of 44,362 voters turned up at 98 polling stations.

For the national electoral body, the elections were generally peaceful, started on time and concluded at 3PM however, a few voters arrived at polling stations minutes after closing time.

Prof. Mbanda earlier in the day said that some voters were missing on lists, "some had used phones to transfer new poling centers but upon arrival were told they weren't on the list at a new polling centre. Since they had Identity cards they were allowed to vote - it's their right as long as they are in Rwanda."

The 20-day Campaign

Presidential campaigns kicked off on July 14th with three candidates hitting the field soliciting for votes. Although the first campaign week was tense for the candidates, the RPF party had an upper hand - it had planned earlier and attracted larger rallies.

Independent candidate used a mega phone walking door to door convincing voters. At some point campaign rally site remained with empty chairs for almost 2 hours without any supporter turning up. However, deep into the campaigns, Mpayimana managed to attract sizeable rallies and hired a mobile sound system.

Frank Habineza hit a wall when he drove to campaign in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts both in eastern province. Local authorities in Rwimiyaga sector in Nyagatare district canceled Habineza's rally arguing that he had assembled near the market on a market day.

This prompted him to drop the rally and drove to nearby Gatsibo district where also rowdy motor taxi operators covered in tree branches disorganized him along the way but later managed to address supporters at a rally.

For candidate Kagame, the RPF party meticulously planned its rallies and provided drinking water, big tents, entertainment and promotional materials.

Interesting at RPF rallies, women took the centre stage moderating, protocol and mostly giving emotional testimonies reflecting personal and collective transformation under Kagame leadership - for this strategy, supporters identified more with their candidate.

Whenever candidate Kagame picked the microphone, supporters anxiously waited for his powerful quotes and he never disappoints. For his heroic credentials, millions of Rwandans cannot miss having a glimpse of Kagame.

Also supporters of all eight opposition political parties allied to the Rwanda Patriotic Front not only endorsed Kagame as their candidate but also boosted the RPF rallies.

Candidate Kagame always arrived at his campaign rallies with his wife and children which is not usual - this also played a big role at the rallies.

In a recent referendum conducted on December 19th, 2015 to amend the constitution, 98% of the voters agreed to the revision of article 101 and for Kagame this was victory secured. Under the revised law the seven-year term was scraped and permits presidents to serve two five-year terms beginning with 2024.

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