This week has been a momentous one in Rwanda’s democratic journey. For three days, the country held its third multiparty parliamentary elections since 2003, culminating into the election of 80 men and women who will soon take the oath of office to discharge the duties entrusted to them by the electorate.
We congratulate the winners and wish them the best as they prepare to take on the urgent task of nation-building for which they were chosen from a total of 410 candidates.
Significantly, we applaud the nearly six million voters who turned up at their respective polling centres and cast their votes in a peaceful and democratic manner. To them and the general Rwandan public, we say congratulations.
To those who contested but could not make it, including independent candidates, thank you for giving Rwandans alternatives on the ballot paper.
Losers have gracefully conceded defeat and winners have been gracious. Together you have made Rwanda a stronger democracy.
Last but by no means least, the National Electoral Commission deserves a pat on the back. The electoral officials and the thousands of volunteers who helped conduct a smooth and historic election have made Rwandans proud and enormously confident in our democratic journey.
Various observer missions have already hailed the polls as free and fair, attesting that the outcome was a true reflection of the will of the people. Who would, in their wildest imaginations, think that a country that suffered the worst genocide of the 20th century, only 19 years ago, would come this far this soon?
Yet Rwandans, despite a few murmurs from detractors outside the country, approached this election just like any other in recent years. They woke up early, headed to the polls, held their ballots in peace, and by midday the majority of voters were already going about their routine work.
At the end of the day, the biggest winners in this election are the people of Rwanda. It’s now time for us all to continue with the task at hand—that of developing this country further.