The opposition leaders, in the just concluded presidential elections, this week, invited the press to announce that they had conceded defeat and were ready to work closely with the winner, President elect, Paul Kagame, who garnered 93.8 percent.
They went to congratulate their challenger. Jean-Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, the presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party (SDP), scored 5.15 % , Liberal Party’s Prosper Higiro 1.37 % and Alvera Mukabaramba of the Party for Progress and Concorde (PPC) only 0.4%.
They declared that Rwandans had spoken and their views must be respected. The opposition also hailed the National Election Commission (NEC) for organizing the elections in an exemplary manner, and the general public for turning out in large numbers to vote and conducting themselves peacefully during the elections. Of the 5,178,492 registered voters, 5,049,302 cast their votes, representing a 97.51 % turnout.
Now, this is remarkable. It was a big test for the country, and considering the success of the entire process, the Rwandan people have themselves to thank for setting the pace in making decisions that concern their country.
Rwandans have taken a firm stand, despite foreign interests and backward local politicians who sought to undermine the process.
In Africa, we are used to losers who view defeat as a crime and conceding, therefore, becomes a taboo. Even where the opposition is beaten even fairly because it ran a miserable campaign, it will always cry foul and blame it on the winner or the incumbent for that matter.
In Rwanda’s case, all of us were winners.