Over 1.7 million young Rwandans will be exercising their right to vote for the very first time. They will be voting for their preferred leader in the presidential elections that kick off with the Diaspora today.
The colourful campaigns have come to a close and the mood and daunting photographic evidence must have put to shame the many prophets of doom out there. They came up with guns blazing from the very beginning making up all kinds of stories that described the country and the kind of reigning atmosphere in bad light.
But, as usual, Rwandans were not distracted but continued on their charted course. As if to send a very resounding message to all detractors out there, the last day of campaigns held in one of the suburban districts, Gasabo, attracted over half a million supporters of incumbent Paul Kagame.
The over 40,000 members of the Diaspora who registered to vote were not left out of the fun either; the main candidate’s campaigns were streamed live on the internet. For obvious security reasons, Rwandans in Burundi and the DR Congo will not take part in the exercise but the rest will wake up early today to cast their votes.
Giving the Diaspora a say in the running of the country is one of the key policies that came about with the current government. Inclusiveness has been the key word from the word go. Even one member of the Diaspora is trying his luck by vying for the presidency.
One thing is very clear from these elections and the subsequent campaigns, Rwandans, and only them, will decide their country’s fate and they are ready to make their voices heard, peacefully and in an orderly manner.