Campaigning yesterday in Bumbogo Sector of Gasabo District where more than 500,000 supporters received him, RPF-Inkotanyi presidential candidate, Paul Kagame, said that he will be the ‘shock absorber’ for all citizens and stand in the way of any harm directed at the country.
The rally was one of the largest gatherings of Rwandans at a single event in modern history.
The RPF candidate reminded the Rwandan people that, when voting for a leader, whether in these elections or in the future, one of the key qualities is the ability to protect their people.
“The duty of a leader is to be a shock absorber for those he leads. I have accepted that challenge. As long as we are on this journey together, I will always stand in the way of any harm directed at Rwandans,” he said.
“All the hits will stop at me,” he added, drawing deafening applause from the RPF supporters.
Kagame rallied his supporters reminding them that Rwandans have learned from the lessons of the past and are determined to stand up for their right to choose their own unique path.
“We are making our own choices. We will face their consequences the same way we faced and overcame the harm they caused us. Our history has taught us that when things go wrong, they will not come to our rescue,” he said.
In making his final pitch to the voters, Kagame outlined the reasons why they should vote for RPF this week.
He said, with the RPF, Rwandans will be assured of unity, security, gender equality, inclusive development as well as good governance and accountable leadership.
“Any Rwandan, wherever they are, is assured of a voice,” Kagame said. “With the RPF, we move fast, we move together and we get to where we want to be.”
The RPF candidate assured young people of job opportunities, a conducive environment to innovate and do business, and a better future and country.
Kagame pledged to continue working with Rwanda’s neighbours and other countries to the benefit of Rwandans.
“Let us push Rwanda forward and protect what we have achieved,” he said, adding that Rwandans should turn a deaf ear to detractors.
“Rwanda has gone through a lot and lessons we have learnt along the way will not be wasted,” Kagame said.
At the rally in Bumbogo, leaders of eight opposition political parties that endorsed the RPF’s candidate in the presidential election spoke about why they opted to support Kagame.
The parties, that are all part of the power-sharing system, include the Liberal Party (PL), the Democratic Union of Rwandan People (UDPR), Ideal Democratic Party (PDI), Social Democratic Party (PSD), Party for Progress and Concord (PPC), the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), Rwandese Socialist Labour Party (PSR), and the Party for Solidarity and Progress (PSP).
PSD president Vincent Biruta said that his party is happy to continue supporting Kagame because of his track record.
“Rwandans are very happy with what has been achieved. They have hope for a bright future. They are thirsty for more progress and all of this is based on the love they have for the RPF candidate,” he said.
“Based on this, there is no doubt that our candidate will emerge victorious on Friday. It’s not a secret that he will be very victorious,” he added.
Biruta promised to maintain his party’s cooperation with the RPF over the next seven years, joining in efforts to develop the country.
“We will work together in the process to bring about shared development for our country, to bring about transformation that doesn’t leave any citizen behind,” Biruta said.
The Liberal Party president, Donatille Mukabalisa, said her party is supporting Kagame because they have seen him govern in the interests of all citizens.
“He brought us inclusive development that doesn’t leave anyone behind; whether it’s women, adults, youth or senior citizens,” she said, adding that the PL-RPF partnership will continue.
PDI’s Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana had his take too.
“What we will do on August 4 is to reaffirm our unique democracy,” he said.
PDC’s Agnes Mukabaranga said her party endorsed the RPF flag bearer because he is the best candidate to lead Rwandans to the bright future they want.
PPC’s Alvera Mukabaramba said love and trust between Rwandans and the incumbent President will be crucial for achieving inclusive development under his leadership once he is re-elected.
Rwandans will vote their next president on Friday for a seven-year term. Voting will close at 3pm, with the electoral commission scheduled to announce the provisional results before midnight.