Insight from the RPF campaign trail: Citizens now expect much more


RPF campaigns saw a huge turn up of supporters across the country. / File

As a reporter who was on the RPF campaign trail, it was clear to me that Kagame is revered across the country. I got to speak to a number of Rwandans at the different rallies to get a first-hand account of why.

One of the common response I got was that he has demonstrated, more than anyone else, that he has the ability to address their challenges.

And, now that the elections are over, Rwandans are going to expect a lot more going forward.

Kagame’s next mandate will be met with more demands for public services than ever before. Here is why; Rwandans today are more aware of what they deserve and most of them have a clear understanding of their government’s obligation to deliver.

Secondly, they have tasted and liked what Kagame has to offer, and they sure want a lot more – sooner rather than later.

From my interaction with those who showed up at the rallies, some of the most interesting programmes they want more of have to do with social protection.  For example, they want the Girinka programme to keep the milk flowing by expanding the number of cow beneficiaries.  

Then there are utilities. Electricity and Water. There is also infrastructure. The roads that will ease access to markets. A lot has been achieved by the President, the citizens know this and that, from my view, explains the immense support the candidate has.

One of the overarching message at the RPF campaign trail was that no Rwandan would be left behind. And, indeed, over the next seven years the government will continually be reminded of this promise. Be it the young people who want jobs, or the homes that are yearning for electricity and piped water. There is a lot more hope and belief that with President Kagame, what he promised will be delivered.

In 2015, the overwhelming demand for the change of the constitution to allow the President stay in office was reaffirmed by the recently concluded elections.

Rwandans overwhelmingly (98 %) voted for President Paul Kagame in the August 4, presidential elections.

Does it mean that this mandate will be any easy because he has a lot of support from citizens?  Not necessarily.

In my view, because the people who elected him are expecting more than ever before, there is going to be pressure especially with the country’s meagre resources.

The good news is that Kagame’s track record speaks for itself. His ability to align his team to the country’s vision will go a long way in pulling off the task ahead. Not to mention the optimal use of the resources and the zero tolerance for mediocrity from leaders.

Eugene Kwibuka is a Senior Reporter for The New Times. He covered the RPF rallies across the country.