Kagame speaks out on foreign interference in elections

President Paul Kagame has said that diplomatic missions in the country should refrain from interfering and meddling with the elections and let the electoral commission do their work. The president made the remarks during a special Kwibohora conversation with Eugene Anangwe of Rwanda Television, Yann Gwet of Le Monde and Christopher Kayumba of the East African.

President Paul Kagame has said that diplomatic missions in the country should refrain from interfering and meddling with the elections and let the electoral commission do their work.

The president made the remarks during a special Kwibohora conversation with Eugene Anangwe of Rwanda Television,  Yann Gwet of Le Monde and Christopher Kayumba of the East African.

 

He was responding to a question on utterances by the European Union Representative to Rwanda calling on the electoral commission to explain why signatures of one of the contenders were rejected.   

 

Kagame said that diplomatic missions representing various countries should let the National Electoral Commission do their work adding that the election process cannot be based purely on what the diplomats residing in the country deemed fit. 

 

Terming it as a bizarre situation, he said Rwandans have to learn not to be held back by this behavior.

“This is a bizarre situation and we have to learn to live with this and work around it and with it and still make progress. It is the same sort of interference I have read on twitter and different news statements where you find embassies summoning candidates to meet them and give explanations,” he explained.

 “There is something wrong but I can live with it.  What is wrong is that diplomatic missions here are not and should not replace the electoral commission. They should allow the people of this country and the electoral commission to do their work,” he added.

The president who is also a candidate in the oncoming August 4 election said it was somewhat contradictory that the same diplomats interfering with the process are from the same places where there has been an outcry over external forces meddling in elections. 

Kagame however clarified that refraining from interference does not mean that people have no right to point out irregularities but is more about thinking about the consequences of their actions.

“It has nothing to do with saying that nobody should talk about what might be going wrong. If anything is going wrong, people have a right to talk about it, but how far do you go? Do you realize the implications in some situations of what you are doing?” he pointed out.

Noting that the interference was not prone to Rwanda alone, he advised that Africans should be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights.

He explained that in Rwanda, there had been progress to ensure that the people’s voices and choices were heard and at times doing what the rest of the world would find unpopular such as fostering reconciliation between victims and perpetrators. 

During the interview, Kagame spoke against seeking validation and praise from external factors saying that what mattered was the impact of decisions on Rwanda and its citizens.  These he said is among the core principles of the ruling party the Rwanda Patriotic Front.

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