Tragedy Strikes as Rwanda’s Election Campaign Begins

Rwanda’s presidential election campaign kicked off with a tragic incident at a rally for incumbent Paul Kagame. One person died and dozens were injured in a crush during the event in Rubavu district, casting a somber shadow over the campaign’s start.

Kagame, who has effectively led Rwanda since 1994, is seeking a fourth term. His last victory in 2017 saw him win with nearly 99% of the vote. While his leadership has brought stability and economic growth, critics argue it comes at the cost of political freedoms.

The ruling RPF-Inkotanyi party expressed deep sadness over the incident, promising to monitor the injured. Officials urged future rally attendees to follow safety instructions carefully.

Kagame faces two challengers in the upcoming election: Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana. Notably absent from the race is Diane Rwigara, a vocal critic who was barred from running, citing issues with her application – a decision she disputes.

As Rwanda prepares for the July 15 polls to elect both president and lawmakers, this tragic start highlights the intense political atmosphere in the country. The incident serves as a grim reminder of the challenges facing the nation as it navigates its democratic process, balancing popular support with concerns over political opposition and human rights.

About Geraldine Boechat 2757 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia