URUGWIRO VILLAGE - President Paul Kagame, yesterday said he was confident that the ruling party, Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), will win the August Presidential elections.
Kagame, who was addressing journalists at the monthly Presidential news conference, pointed out that the confidence is a result of the party’s role in what the country has achieved and the fact that it has fulfilled its mandate to Rwandans.
“I am confident that RPF is going to win these elections and it is not by guessing. It is by building on the fact of what has happened (progress) in this country,” he said. “The centrality of RPF in this has brought progress and change that is visible.”
Kagame said that RPF and its leadership will continue with their mission to spearhead the development of Rwanda.
“In my view and those of the assessed Rwandans, RPF has done a decent job in terms of carrying out its responsibilities as the leading party in Government,” Kagame said.
“I see no reason why RPF should not come back with a huge majority of support from the people of this country and I have no doubt about that,” he said.
The President stressed that the government will ensure that there is a fair, stable and free election.
Referring to the last presidential election that took place in 2003 – where RPF won with a landslide - Kagame advised observers to be more analytical when drawing conclusions over election results.
“It was like the RPF candidate winning elections overwhelmingly was supposed to be undemocratic or faulted,” he said. “I think there is shallowness in this thinking, or assertion because it doesn’t contextualize events properly.”
The president highlighted Rwanda’s high voter turnout, saying that it is a sign of democracy, unlike in countries where victory is based on few voters.
“If you go to some developed countries the turnout (voter) is 30 percent, because people have become disillusioned or skeptical about politics or the election process,” the President said, adding that Rwanda’s turn up of 96 per cent says it all.
“It is not long that we had turmoil in this country, total devastation, but people come out (to vote) because they are united, reformed and driven by a desire to have something different.”
The President dismissed recent media reports that suggested that he was being suppressive in the run up to the elections.
He clarified that the arrest of the senior military officers, Victoire Ingabire of the yet- to- be registered party FDU Inkingi, and the suspension of the two local tabloids are all isolated cases.
He said that irrespective of the timing, the government will always hold people accountable for their actions.
“They say the President is becoming repressive,” Kagame said. But, “Generals being held accountable is not something that is happening for the first time. There is a tendency of creating an impression of a crisis that is not there.”
Some media reports have suggested that Ingabire was arrested because she declared her intentions to run for President. However, Kagame emphasized that he had no responsibility in the timing of her arrest.
He said that Ingabire should be responsible for her association with the FDLR – a terrorist group.
“The facts are there, there is documentary evidence,” Kagame said.
An independent group of experts hired by the UN, last year presented its report which clearly shows the link between Ingabire’s FDU and FDLR, to the UN Security Council.
With regard to the 25th session of the France – Africa Summit due to take place in Nice May 31 – June 1, Kagame revealed that he has received an invitation and he will attend. The president said that he will highlight pertinent issues that concern Rwanda.
In relation to increasing access to ICT and broadband connectivity, Kagame underscored that one of the challenges that stand in the way of achieving this goal in Africa, has to do with issues of mentality, belief and making the right choices. He added that human resource and adequate capital are key to attaining this goal.
Concerning the unwillingness on the part of some public officials to provide information, the President called upon leaders to be forthcoming in this regard, while urging journalists to play their part by insisting on accessing information.
With regard to recent allegations that some youth have been forcefully kept on Iwawa Island in Lake Kivu, the Minister of Internal Security clarified that the people who are undergoing vocational training at the island, are individuals who fall within the definition of the Law that empowers the Government to rehabilitate them.
These include Juvenile offenders and delinquents as well as beggars. It was emphasized that there is nothing mysterious about the place, since it is an open institution that equips these youth with technical skills, and that nobody is there without legal and legitimate basis.