Rwanda’s incumbent president, Paul Kagame has won the Presidential election for a 3rd time extending his 17 year rule. But could this be a sign of fear among citizens of the country?
Kagame presided over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery since the 1994 genocide where an estimated 800,000 Tutsis were killed. There have been reports about how citizens are afraid to challenge the existing government, people going missing if the rise to form an opposition movement. It is true that people trust him and human beings are known to abhor change, hence they would rather stick with the devil they know. Looking at it on the flip side, one observes that this is the same political behavior that leads the people to an uprising after having one person in power for some 30-40 years.
Maybe Kagame has performed beautifully over the past years, maybe Kagame has made Rwanda’s two major ethnic groups live in peace, but is that enough reason to allow one man rule for up to two centuries? It is sad that a country that supposedly runs a democracy and has up to 12 million citizens can hardly provide a different leader after 17 years. A certain Ida Sawyer, the central Africa Director at Human Right Watch spoke to New York Times saying that under Mr Kagame, independent new media have been silenced and rights organizations are almost non existent due to years of intimidation and interference.
Observers of the political climate in Rwanda would bear witness that a contender for the presidential seat from an opposing movement, Ms. Diane Shima Rwigara had within days of announcing her intention to run had nude pictures of her – which she claims were photoshopped – circulate the internet, leading, among other reasons best known to the electoral commission to her disqualification from participating in the election. Rwigara states that though Kagame has been good for the country in the past, the country needs a new president to lead the nation.
Another contender for the seat, Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party said they asked for a venue to perform their campaign but were sent to the cemetery. Even members of the party reported receiving death threats for opposing Kagame.
One can see that though Rwanda has peace and stability, they do not have democracy and no sooner than later would this come to bite them in the ass.
Written by Blessing Iyamadiken