Independent presidential candidate Phillipe Mpayimana Saturday morning conceded defeat, congratulating Paul Kagame of RPF-Inkotanyi, who is far ahead of the other candidates with 80 per cent of the votes tallied.
Mpayimana, who received the results from Capri, a hangout in Nyamirambo, Nyarugenge District, was accompanied by his wife and supporters.
Speaking in three languages – English, French and Kinyarwanda – he said that he was happy and respectful of the will of the people of Rwanda.
With 80 per cent of tallied votes, Kagame, the incumbent, was leading with a big margin of 98.66 per cent, while Mpayimana came second with 0.72 per cent and Frank Habineza trailed with 0.45.
The results announced are partial with the final results expected at 4pm today, according to the National Electoral Commission.
“I thank local authorities that facilitated me to conduct my campaigns despite difficulties in the first week. Our country has matured in security and democratic system,” said Mpayimana.
Considered a political novice when he threw his hat in the ring a few months ago, Mpayimana said he had achieved his main objective of “inspiring the first steps of democracy of our country” and pledged to carry on with the same cause.
“Join me as I work on the strategy for the next challenge,” he added.
Mpayimana arrived in Rwanda early this year having spent about a decade in France.
“I appeal for continued calm in the country, this is the will of the people,” he said on the public broadcaster earlier, after 40 per cent of the results had been announced. “I will be happy to continue my contribution toward the development of the country.”
To his supporters, he urged them not to take the small victory lightly; saying that in Rwanda, even the voice of the minority is listened to, expressing optimism that through these votes garnered they will continue to push through the political agenda on which he campaigned.
Mpayimana, during the three weeks of campaigns, pledged to promote democracy, trade and agriculture, and empower the youth.
Meanwhile, Habineza said he would not address the media, saying he would speak to them today to comment on the outcome of the election.
Habineza had spent the evening with his family and supporters at Lemigo Hotel in Kimihura, Kigali, where he had earlier hosted them to a dinner before they sat and waited for results relayed through the state broadcaster.
“We want to thank you for being with us tonight, let us keep waiting for more results. I am not talking to the media, maybe tomorrow,” Habineza told journalists who were asking for a comment before he left swiftly with his wife.