18 August 2017

Rwanda: Kagame Slams Foreign Meddling in Politics

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame Friday criticised attempts by foreigners to meddle in the country's politics.

Mr Kagame was speaking at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali shortly after taking oath of office for a third seven-year term.

He thanked Rwandans for re-electing him as well as his opponents, Frank Habineza of Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana, saying: "Together, we created a positive environment where no vote was cast against anyone but rather all were cast for Rwanda".

President Kagame won in landslide victory garnering 98 per cent of the August 4 vote.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by more than 20 heads of State and governments from across the continent, whom the president thanked saying "Africa has been with Rwanda when we needed you most."

Taking a jab at critics, President Kagame said attempts to deny the validity of the election and "glorify the old politics of division only made Rwandans more defiant and more determined to express ourselves through the vote."

Critics say the Rwandan government is repressive and that elections are held in a "climate of fear," where individuals risk being chastised for not supporting the president.

"Our experience is that we will be vilified anyway, no matter what. So we might as well do what we know is right for our people, because the results are much better, and the costs are much lower," said President Kagame.

Resist interference

He urged African governments to resist interference from outside, saying Africa has no civilizational problems, only assets.

"There is really no justification for all the effort that goes into cutting Africa off from itself, as if sharing lessons and experiences with one another might be harmful, without adult supervision."

He pressed for unity among Africans, learn from past shortcomings and make good choices.

"The governance and prosperity of Africa cannot be outsourced. Let's build on the reform spirit that has taken root in the African Union," he said.

President Kagame, 59, is currently leading AU reforms that are aimed at making the continental bloc financially independent and self-sustaining. Next year, he will also take over the African Union chairmanship from Guinean President Alpha Condé.

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