At least half a million people graced the final campaign rally of RPF-Inkotanyi’s presidential candidate Paul Kagame in Bumbogo in the urban district of Gasabo, Wednesday, two days before polls open across Rwanda.
Over 6.8 million Rwandans are expected to head to the polls Friday to pick the country’s next president. However, citizens in the Diaspora will cast their votes a day earlier – tomorrow.
Addressing the mammoth crowd composed largely of youthful voters, Kagame pledged continued progress across various sectors should Rwandans reaffirm their support to him and the governing RPF-led political movement on the Election Day.
Eight opposition parties, the majority of whom have worked closely with the RPF over the last two decades in engineering the country’s recovery from the devastation of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, are backing Kagame’s re-election bid.
Leaders of these political parties took to the stage to reaffirm their support for Kagame’s leadership and urged Rwandans to vote for him come Friday.
“I’m your shock absorber,” the incumbent President told his supporters in Bumbogo,” in apparent reference to mainly Western critics who question Rwanda’s model of democracy.
Kagame said, by voting for him, his compatriots will be giving him the mandate to continue on the country’s development journey.
All campaign activities are legally supposed to come to an end this evening with campaign materials expected to have been removed from public spaces by 6a.m Thursday.
Two opposition candidates are challenging Kagame for the job he has held for the last 17 years. They are Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent, who only returned to the country earlier this year after spending about seven years in France.
The two opposition candidates were also expected to wrap up their campaigns before official closure of campaign rallies at 6:30p.m Wednesday.
The three candidates have traversed the country in search of votes over the last three weeks.
Kagame’s rallies have by far attracted the biggest crowds often surpassing the 200,000 mark.