Incumbent President Paul Kagame took a major early lead in Friday’s presidential polls with 5,433,890 votes (98.66 per cent) of the total votes counted by 12:30am.
By press time (around 1am), the National Electoral Commission had managed to count about 80 per cent of the votes cast (5,498,414 votes) from 1,732 polling stations.
There were 2,340 polling stations across the country.
Independent candidate Phillippe Mpayimana was in a distant second having just garnered 39,620 votes (about 0.72 per cent).
Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, trailed with a measly 24,904 votes, which is 0.45 per cent of the votes counted.
In Northern Province, Kagame led with 98.64 per cent, Mpayimana polled 0.84 per cent, while Habineza garnered 0.33 per cent.
In Southern Province, Kagame was voted by 98.58 per cent of the population, Mpayimana by 0.68 per cent, while Habineza got 0.62 per cent of the vote.
Eastern Province electorates voted overwhelmingly for the incumbent at 99.16 per cent (1,199,137 votes), while Mpayimana and Habineza garnered 6,342 votes and 2,283 votes, respectively.
In Western Province, Kagame received 98.28 per cent of the vote, while Mpayimana got 0.91 with Habineza trailing at 0.63 per cent of the votes.
Kigali’s three districts saw Kagame receive 98.5 per cent of the votes, while Mpayimana managed 0.67 per cent and Habineza got about 0.49 per cent.
By press time, NEC had received about half of the votes from the Diaspora with Kagame leading by 98.95 per cent.
‘Not much to change’
Speaking to Saturday Times on the poll outcome, Kalisa Mbanda, the chairperson of NEC, said given that about 80 per cent of the votes had been counted, they do not expect much to change as the remaining votes come in.
He said that the final results will be announced at 4pm today when they expected to have the final tally.
NEC went past the earlier predicted preliminary count which they had initially estimated at 70 per cent.
NEC Executive Secretary Charles Munyaneza said they were able to count and relay more than they had initially planned due to the efficiency and capacity of their staff and volunteers as well as use of technology in the process.
“We were able to go past the target we had initially set largely due to the efficiency and capacity of our staff as well as the technology adoption across various aspects of the process,” he said.
He said that going by the votes counted so far, the voter turnout was estimated at over 97 per cent, which he expects could rise to 98 per cent.
According to NEC, so far, no candidate had raised concerns or complained about the election process and the exercise had been without any major incidents.
Explaining the minor incidents that occurred during the voting exercise, Munyaneza said there were a few people who could not find their names on the voter lists since they had not transferred their status to their preferred polling stations.
“This also affected some people who had initially registered to vote in the Diaspora but were in Rwanda during the polls,” he said.
However, the NEC official noted that they were able to sort it out enabling the affected people to cast their votes.