Kagame confident of victory
KIGALI - Excitement engulfed APE Rugunga polling station in Kiyovu as Paul Kagame arrived at about 11:40a.m to cast his ballot in the country’s second pluralist presidential poll.
Dressed in a black coat, white shirt and cream trousers, Kagame, was received by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Chairman, Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa, before the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) candidate headed straight to the voting room to cast his ballot.
He was in company of his wife, Jeannette, and their elder son Ivan Cyomoro.
Speaking to the press shortly after, Kagame said that he is almost certain of victory, adding that the outcome should reflect the choice of Rwandans. He said that in case he loses, he will go “home and graze my cows, rest, read and write books”.
He refused to be drawn into speculation, urging for patience. “It doesn’t cost me much to be patient and see what comes out but there should be no reason why I shouldn’t be one of the most likely winners. Maybe I should win---I have no reason why I shouldn’t come out the winner”.
He described the poll as democratic.
“I think for the election to be democratic, we have to look at a number of things. First of all, what will Rwandans think about it in terms of their being free to choose and express themselves?
“When I see the turnout in the last three weeks (on the campaign trail), when I have seen how they have expressed themselves, the people of Rwanda and all that has been done and said by the people of Rwanda, gives an impression to me that the process has been very democratic,” said Kagame, who is seeking a second seven-year in office. Vote counting and tallying and tallying process started at 3p.m when the voting ended.
Kagame downplayed talk of lack of a credible opposition, saying that those who wanted to stand for president and were qualified did stand. He accused some sections of the foreign media of misrepresenting facts on the ground, by choosing to read from a different script, projecting an atmosphere of fear, without giving Rwandans a chance to speak.
The RPF candidate pointed out that electoral process has gone on without any incident despite the international press predicting violence.
“In the last three weeks, I haven’t heard of any serious incident. I think the security situation has been excellent but people will tell you different stories,”
“The whole process has been very exciting. Rwandans have turned out and freely expressed themselves in all sorts of ways, happily and the conclusion of it is today and I think the results will speak for themselves,” he added.
Asked about possible changes in his government if he wins, Kagame said that changes are indeed likely to happen, noting that that would be for the better.
Over five million Rwandans headed to polling stations Monday in the country’s second presidential election since the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
NEC Chairman Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa could announce the provisional results as early as tonight.