Category archives for: Rwanda

President Bashir Arrived in Kigali for the Inauguration Ceremony

Kigali — The President of the Republic, Omar Bashir, on Friday attended the inauguration ceremony of President Paul Kagame, in the presence of 21 heads of state and government.

President Bashir arrived here Friday for the ceremony marking the induration of President Kagame for a third term in office.

President Bashir left Khartoum early morning Friday heading a delegation that includes the Minister of the Presidency of the Republic Dr Fadul Abdalla Fadul, and the State Minister at the Presidency and Director of the President’s offices, Hatim Hassan Bakheet.

President Kagame, following the military parade and the opening ceremony, spoke of the need for economic integration among African countries.

He also stressed the need that youth and women be empowered.

Sudan

South Kordufan Governor Says Tourism Festival Reflect the Stability His State Enjoys

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President Kagame’s Inaugural Address

Photo: The Rwandan Focus

President Paul Kagame.

document

Today is a day of celebration and a day to thank each of you. Today is a day of renewal and gratitude. I would therefore like to begin by thanking those who have joined us here.

The presence of so many brothers and sisters from around Africa honours our nation deeply and gives us strength. We thank you. Africa has been with Rwanda when we needed you most.

Nothing gives our people greater pride than contributing together with you to the greatness of our continent. Standing alongside us are friends of Rwanda who have always kept our country in their hearts and worked hard to advance it.

I want to acknowledge the leaders and members of the 8 political parties who joined with RPF to nominate me as their candidate. For twenty-three years, we have collaborated with deep mutual respect to repair the social fabric of our devastated nation.

I also congratulate the two other candidates who brought their message directly to citizens. Together, we created a positive environment where no vote was cast against anyone but rather all were cast for Rwanda.

If we always succeed in rallying so strongly around ideas and leadership that work best for all of us it would be a good thing. This approach is not merely a stepping-stone, away from our moment of tragedy. It is truly a privilege and an honour to serve you.

Together we have lived a life, which at every turn has been unexpected, unprecedented and often shocking. We have made progress, thanks to the distinctiveness of our choices and the resilience of our people.

More on This

Rwanda President Kagame Sworn In


Kagame Sworn InKenyatta Heads to Rwanda for Kagame’s Inauguration

What Next for Rwanda’s Opposition After Poor Poll Results?

What Next for Rwanda’s Opposition Politics After Poor Showing in Polls?Independent Candidate’s Second Place Was Surprise

‘Kagame’s Life Rule Endangers Rwanda, Region and Africa’

Paul Kagame’s Life-Presidency – The World Abandons Rwanda AgainWhat’s Next After Kagame’s Re-Election?

Today, Rwanda defines no one as an enemy, whether domestic or foreign. Every Rwandan has a country and with every other country, we seek partnership and cooperation. Rwanda’s institutions are founded on the common good as it should have been all along. The gains in public services, individual well-being, national unity are now undeniably real.Every attempt that was made to denigrate the process and glorify old politics of division only made Rwandan voters more defiant. We have had to fight to protect our right, to do what is best for us. We will, without any doubt, continue to do so.Every African country has to contend with efforts to force us to live on someone else’s terms. They demand we replace systems that are working well for us with dogmas in which their own people are rapidly losing faith.Africa has no civilizational problems, only assets. Sans aucun doute. Over centuries of adversity, our civilisation sustained us. Today, it endows us with ambition, compassion and creativity. Without exception, there is infinitely more that unites us, as Africans, than divides us.Attacks on our character only make us stronger provided we respond with clarity and conviction. Our experience is that we will be vilified, no matter what. So, we might as well do what we know is right for our people.Those who are worried about our welfare should feel at ease. We are the best students of our shortcomings. It is no longer business as usual in Africa. There is really no justification for all the effort that goes into cutting Africa off from itself.There is no single model for nation-building. At the root of any success are good choices built on a mindset: Do It Yourself.We in Rwanda will continue to be firm believers in real partnership and cooperation with friends around the world.More on ThisKenyatta Heads to Rwanda for Kagame’s Inauguration

President Uhuru Kenyatta is Friday morning travelling to Kigali, Rwanda for the inauguration of President Paul Kagame. Read more »

Kagame Sworn In

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/New Times

Zambian President Edgar Lungu is welcomed by Stella Ford Mugabo, the Minister in Charge of Cabinet Affairs.

By Collins Mwai

12:00PM: At around 11:50 AM on Friday morning, President Paul Kagame took oath of office as President of Rwanda.

Kagame was sworn in by the Chief Justice Prof. Sam Rugege with the First Lady Mrs Jeanette Kagame by his side and applause from the crowd.

The swearing in was witnessed by about 20 heads of state from all across Africa, representatives of countries and international organisations as well as over 25,000 Rwandans at the Amahoro National Stadium.

Thousands others followed proceedings from giant screens mounted outside the stadiums with millions following from television sets across the country.

Following the administration of oath, president Kagame received symbolic instruments of power which include a copy of the constitution, national flag and the coat of arms from the Chief Justice.

Rwanda Defence Forces chief of Defence Staff General Patrick Nyamvumba handed the President a shield and sword symbolic of national defence.

Kagame inspected a guard of honour which was preceded by the national anthem.

Kagame takes oath of office two weeks after he was re-elected into office by an overwhelming 98.7 per cent beating Frank Habineza, of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate.

More on This

President Kagame’s Inaugural Address

Today is a day of celebration and a day to thank each of you. Today is a day of renewal and gratitude. I would therefore… Read more »

V-Ball – Mukunzi Quits Bulgarian Side VC Marek Union-Ivkoni

By Damas Sikubwabo

Rwanda national volleyball team captain Christophe Mukunzi has parted ways with Bulgarian first division side VC Marek Union-Ivkoni with immediate effect. The 28-year-old confirmed the development to Times Sport on Wednesday.

The former Kigali Volleyball Club right-attacker leaves the Bulgarian side nine months after signing a one-year contract last November.

Mukunzi helped the club to finish 6th in the 14-team Bulgarian first national volleyball championship.

In an interview with this paper, Mukunzi, said; “I’m not returning to VC Marek Union-IVkoni. I’m a free agent right now. I have decided not to go back in order to save my career because the Bulgarian league is deteriorating.”

“I am going to work with my manager to get a new team abroad in a more competitive league, if it doesn’t happen; I will sign for one of the local teams for the 2017/2018 season,” he explained.

Prior to joining VC Marek Union-Ivkoni, the Rwandan captain played for Turkish topflight division side Payas Belediye Club.

Mukunzi made his league debut for Kigali Volleyball Club (KVC) in 2007 and stayed there until he turned professional four years later when he joined Libyan side Tarsana Club. He also played for Blida Club of Algeria, Qatari side Al Arabi Sports Club, Algerian side El Fanar Ain-Azel Club.

Rwanda

Politically Closed Elections

Presidential elections in Rwanda on August 4, 2017, took place in a context of very limited free speech or open… Read more »

Police Recover Rwf13.5 Million Stolen From Travel Agency

Rwanda National Police has recovered Rwf13.5 million that had been stolen from Waheguru Travels Ltd in Nyarugenge District, on Wednesday.

The money was recovered on Thursday from one Livingstone Twahirwa, a marketing officer of Waheguru Travels Ltd, the prime suspect, police said.

Twahirwa was intercepted in Kayonza District, where he was hiding.

Waheguru country manager, Kautuk Chandra Kumar, said they had on August 16, at about 3pm, given Twahirwa a cheque to withdraw Rwf13.6 million from I&M Bank.

“The facility of the bank branch, where he was withdrawing the money from also houses our offices. The bank had earlier called asking me to authorise the withdrawal, which I did, but he didn’t report back to the office after he got the money,” said Kumar.

“About 30 minutes later, I called him, but he kept saying he is coming. That’s when I went to the bank only to find that he wasn’t there, contrary to what he was telling me. Out of suspicion, I immediately filed a complaint at Nyarugenge Police Station,” he added.

The money was meant to facilitate usual company business, he said.

The Central Region Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rogers Rutikanga, said: “After the company filed a theft case, information was relayed to all the district police units countrywide, as is the norm. Today (Thursday) morning, Twahirwa was located and arrested in Gakoma Village of Buhabwa Cell in Murundi Sector in Kayonza as he was fleeing with the money.”

By the time of his arrest, Twahirwa had already spent Rwf36, 500 and carrying the rest of the money in a backpack.

Twahirwa, who was paraded before the media, yesterday, said he was at the time of his arrest, headed to his aunt’s home in Kayonza, where he was to hide the money as he strategised the next move.

Rwanda

Politically Closed Elections

Presidential elections in Rwanda on August 4, 2017, took place in a context of very limited free speech or open… Read more »

Politically Closed Elections

press release

Nairobi — Presidential elections in Rwanda on August 4, 2017, took place in a context of very limited free speech or open political space, Human Rights Watch said today, as President Paul Kagame is sworn in for a seven-year term. Human Rights Watch released a chronology of violations of the right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly in Rwanda between the country’s December 2015 referendum – allowing the president to run for a third term – and the election, which Kagame won with a reported 98.79 percent of the vote.

“Kagame’s landslide win came as no surprise in a context in which Rwandans who have dared raise their voices or challenge the status quo have been arrested, forcibly disappeared, or killed, independent media have been muzzled, and intimidation has silenced groups working on civil rights or free speech,” said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Yet the Rwandan authorities took no chances with the presidential vote, as repression continued in recent months despite the weak prospects for any opposition candidate.”

In the days following the vote, Human Rights Watch spoke with local activists and private citizens who spoke of intimidation and irregularities in both the lead-up to the election and during the voting. In Rutsiro district, in Western Province, donations to the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) were mandatory. “Nobody could escape this order,” said one voter. “It was organized through the National Electoral Commission.”

Another voter, also from Rutsiro, said that he was forced to vote in the presence of a National Electoral Commission official. “After verifying my name on the voting list, I was told to vote then and there in front of him,” the voter said. “It was easy to see who I was voting for on the ballot, so it was impossible for me to vote for anyone besides Kagame.”

A person monitoring the vote in Nyamagabe District, in the south, said he saw voting officials sign ballots for at least 200 people who did not show up to vote. All the votes went to the RPF.

On August 5, the US State Department released a statement citing “irregularities observed during voting.” On August 6, the European Union released a statement supporting the peaceful elections but adding: “in view of future elections, the EU expects further efforts to increase the inclusiveness and transparency of the process, in particular as regards the registration of the candidates, the tabulation of results and other prerequisites for achieving a level playing field.”

Three candidates contested the elections: Kagame (Rwandan Patriotic Front, RPF); Frank Habineza (Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, DGPR); and an independent candidate, Philippe Mpayimana. Both Habineza and Mpayimana said they experienced harassment, threats, and intimidation after announcing their candidacy. Neither posed a serious challenge to President Kagame. Mpayimana won 0.73 percent of the vote and Habineza won 0.48 percent.

A person who monitored the campaign in Musanze, Burera, and Rulindo districts, in the Northern Province, said that local security forces went door-to-door in various neighborhoods before the vote, telling people not to participate in Habineza’s campaign rallies. “It was too much of a risk for most people to go to the rally and listen to what [Habineza] had to say,” he said, “so only a few people dared to go.”

Two other would-be independent candidates, Diana Rwigara and Gilbert Mwenedata, said that they had fulfilled eligibility requirements of 600 signatures supporting their candidacy, including 12 from each of the 30 districts. But the National Electoral Commission rejected their efforts to register, claiming that many of the signatures were invalid. Another potential candidate, Thomas Nahimana, a Catholic prelate turned politician, was denied access to Rwanda in January when he tried to enter from France, where he now lives.

On August 3, Rwigara told the BBC Kinyarwanda service, which is banned in Rwanda, that five of her supporters had been arrested for wearing t-shirts supporting her political campaign. The supporters were later released.

Kagame himself boasted that the election results were already known during a campaign rally in Ruhango district, in Southern Province, in mid-July. “I am very pleased because we are already aware of the results of the elections,” he said. “Anyone who says that results are not known is lying. The results were already known since December 2015.”

On December 18, 2015, Rwandans overwhelmingly approved amendments to the constitution to allow Kagame to run again – a third term had not been permitted under the previous constitution. According to the official results, 98.3 percent of the 98 percent of registered voters who participated in the referendum voted in favor of the amendments.

The referendum followed attacks on suspected political and military opponents in the years since the RPF came to power in 1994, including murders both inside and outside of Rwanda.

In the period between the referendum and the August 2017 presidential elections, Human Rights Watch documented an ongoing pattern of harassment, arrests, and detention of opposition party leaders and supporters, activists, and journalists. Several were forcibly disappeared or prosecuted after making comments critical of the current government or ruling party.

Human Rights Watch has documented that poor people, critics of government decisions regarding land disputes, and suspected petty criminals have been arbitrarily arrested, held in illegal detention centers, and in some cases executed, forcibly disappeared, tortured, or mistreated. These tactics ensure that citizens are afraid to speak out against the government.

The revised constitution, among other things, reduces presidential terms to five years, renewable only once, after a transitional seven-year term starting in 2017. It also reset the clock on presidential terms already served. It allowed Kagame to run for a third seven-year term in 2017 and will allow him to run for two five-year terms, in 2024 and 2029, opening the possibility of extending his rule until 2034.

The process was initiated by a series of petitions in which more than 3.78 million people claimed to support extending Kagame’s stay in office. Parliament, after national consultations, unanimously approved the amendments. The opposition DGPR lost a case before the Supreme Court challenging the proposal, and was the only registered political party to oppose the constitutional amendments.

“Rwanda’s donors and partners should take a stronger stance against the government’s many measures to clamp down on free expression and quash dissent, and make clear that there will be consequences,” Sawyer said. “While the country has made remarkable economic and development progress since the genocide that devastated the country in 1994, it should not come at the cost of the Rwandan people’s most fundamental freedoms.”

Chronology of Rwanda’s Closing Space

The following charts several key political developments between January 2016 and August 2017, including many threats to and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly in Rwanda leading up to presidential elections on August 4, 2017. The list is not exhaustive. Human Rights Watch documented several other cases that are not included because the people concerned feared repercussions if their situation is publicized.

2016

January 1

President Paul Kagame announces his intention to run again.

January 29

John Williams Ntwali, one of Rwanda’s few investigative journalists, is arrested and accused of raping a minor. Judicial officials later changed the charge to indecent assault and eventually dropped the case for lack of evidence. Ntwali had been investigating several sensitive issues, including the death of Assinapol Rwigara, a businessman and father of would-be independent presidential candidate Diana Rwigara, whose candidacy was later rejected. Ntwali had been arrested several times before, and his website blocked by a government regulator, apparently because of his critical reporting.

February 3

Police confiscate the computers of East African newspaper journalists Ivan Mugisha and Moses Gahigi. They had been investigating cases of alleged tax evasion and corruption. The police briefly detained and questioned Mugisha.

February 8 – March 22

Local elections take place, at the level of the cell, district, and the city of Kigali – the capital. Several participants allege voter intimidation.

February 9

Ntwali is released.

February 29

The Rwandan government withdraws its declaration allowing individuals to file complaints with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the grounds that the remedy was being exploited by convicted genocide fugitives. The court had been due to hear a complaint against Rwanda, brought by Victoire Ingabire, president of the Forces démocratiques unifiées (FDU)-Inkingi, an opposition party, serving a 15-years sentence after a flawed trial based partly on politically motivated charges.

March 26

Léonille Gasengayire, a FDU-Inkingi member, is arrested after visiting Ingabire in prison.

March 26

Illuminée Iragena, a nurse and FDU-Inkingi member, is reported missing. There has been no news of her since. People close to her fear she may have died in detention. Iragena is married to Martin Ntavuka, the FDU-Inkingi’s former Kigali representative, who has been arrested at least twice since 2010 in connection with his political activities.

March 29

The police release Gasengayire, after beating and questioning her about a book she had attempted to bring to Ingabire in detention. She had also revealed that Iragena had been involved in trying to get the book to Ingabire.

March 31

A military court sentences Col. Tom Byabagamba, former head of the presidential guard, and retired Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara, former secretary general of the Defense Ministry, to 21 and 20 years in prison respectively, including for inciting insurrection and tarnishing the government’s image. The prosecution accused them of criticizing the government, alleging state involvement in assassinations of opponents, and complaining about foreign and economic policy. A prosecution witness said he was forced to testify against the two. Retired Sgt. François Kabayiza, found guilty of concealing evidence, is sentenced to five years. He said in court that military personnel had tortured him in detention.

April 13

An intelligence agent questions Epimack Kwokwo, former executive secretary of the Regional Human Rights League in the Great Lakes Region (Ligue des droits de la personne dans la région des Grands Lacs, LDGL), a regional nongovernmental organization that works on human rights issues, for several hours about his legal status in Rwanda and his work for the organization.

May 1

Bernard Ntaganda, an opposition leader, is arrested on suspicion that his party, the Social Party (PS)-Imberakuri, which has been unable to register, had wanted to organize a party meeting. He is charged with disobeying the enforcement of the law, organizing an illegal demonstration or public gathering, and illegal formation and leadership of a political organization, but is released the same day. Ntaganda had previously been arrested on June 24, 2010, and found guilty on February 11, 2011, of endangering national security, “divisionism” – inciting ethnic divisions – and attempting to organize demonstrations without official authorization. On appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the first two charges. He was released from prison in June 2014.

May 19

Caroline Buisman, Ingabire’s Dutch lawyer in her case at the African Court, is expelled from Rwanda. She had been in the country with a tourist visa because the immigration authorities had not granted her a regular visa. Over the years, Rwanda has expelled and refused entry to several international human rights lawyers, journalists, and researchers.

May 28

Immigration services order Kwokwo, LDGL’s former executive secretary and a Congolese national, to leave the country.

August 8

John Ndabarasa, a journalist at Sana Radio in Kigali, is reported missing. He is last seen in Kicukiro.

August 23

Gasengayire is rearrested and charged with inciting insurrection or disorder among the population, in relation to her opposition to the expropriation of local residents’ land and of promoting the FDU-Inkingi.

August 30

Police tell news media that they opened an investigation into Ndabarasa’s disappearance, after the Rwanda Media Commission, a media self-regulation body, informed them about the case.

September 18

Théophile Ntirutwa, Kigali representative of the FDU-Inkingi, is arrested, allegedly by military, in Nyarutarama, a Kigali suburb.

September 20

Ntirutwa is released, after being beaten and questioned about his membership in the FDU-Inkingi. Ntirutwa had previously complained several times to authorities about threats and harassment by local officials, including because of his opposition to the constitutional amendments.

Late September

A European Parliament delegation that visits Rwanda is denied access to visit Ingabire in detention.

October 8

The authorities arrest Joseph Nkusi, a Rwandan blogger deported from Norway, and question him about his political activities and his blog, which contains severe criticism of the Rwandan government, including unfounded theories about the genocide.

October 15

Robert Mugabe, editor of online media Great Lakes Voice, publishes an article alleging multiple kidnapping attempts in Kigali.

December 28

Mugabe says he was called in for questioning by the police and accused of treason and disobeying the law.

December 31

Shyaka Kanuma, a journalist and owner of Rwanda Focus, a Rwandan newspaper, is arrested, accused of tax evasion and fraud. Ten days earlier, he had sent several messages on WhatsApp announcing his intention to become an activist and saying he had been questioned by the head of the intelligence services. It is unclear whether his social media activities and his arrest and charges are linked.

2017

January 12, 18, and 19

Boniface Twarigimana, the vice-president of the FDU-Inkingi, is questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Rwandan police about his alleged role in publishing information on extrajudicial killings. Human Rights Watch later reports on these killings and others in July.

January 31

Philippe Mpayimana arrives in Kigali from France and announces his intention to run as an independent presidential candidate. A pro-government online news outlet accuses him of minimizing the genocide, which Mpayimana denies.

February 14

Violette Uwamahoro, a Rwandan-British woman married to a member of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an opposition group in exile, visiting Rwanda to attend her father’s funeral, is reported missing in Kigali.

March 1

Rwanda’s withdrawal of its declaration allowing Rwandan individuals and non-governmental organizations access to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights comes into force.

March 3

The police announce that Uwamahoro is in government detention.

March 3 – 6

Two family members and an acquaintance of Uwamahoro are forcibly disappeared. One, a policeman, later resurfaces in court and testifies against Uwamahoro. The two others are released several weeks later.

March 6

Ndabarasa resurfaces in Kigali, more than six months after his disappearance in August 2016. He tells media that he had fled the country, but decided voluntarily to come back. The story raises suspicions.

March 13

The trial against Nkusi starts at the High Court in Kigali, which later declares itself incompetent to deal with the case.

March 13

Uwamahoro and a co-defendant are charged with revealing state secrets and offenses against the established government or the president. She is accused of inciting her co-accused to join the RNC and an armed movement outside of Rwanda.

March 19

The DGPR confirms Frank Habineza as the party’s presidential candidate. The party had been able to register in August 2013, a week before the deadline for the September parliamentary elections that year.

March 23

The High Court chamber of Rusizi acquits and releases Gasengayire, after seven months in pretrial detention. During the trial, several witnesses say they were threatened.

March 28

Uwamahoro is released on bail because of insufficient evidence to warrant her ongoing detention.

April 12

Uwamahoro returns to the United Kingdom.

May 1

The Official Gazette is published, which contains National Electoral Commission regulations (from April 4) on social media use by candidates during the campaign. The regulations state that any candidate wanting to post campaign messages on social media networks must first submit the material to the commission for approval 48 hours in advance. The regulations draw criticism from government officials and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority.

May 3

Diana Rwigara announces her intention to run in the presidential election. Seventy-two hours later, nude photos of her are published on social media in an apparent attempt to humiliate and intimidate her. Rwigara said in international media that the photos were photoshopped.

June 1

The National Electoral Commission announces it will adjust its social media regulations based on public feedback.

June 14

Deadline for the applications from presidential candidates.

July 7

Rwigara, Gilbert Mwenedata, and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda are disqualified by the National Electoral Commission from participating in the elections.

July 14

Start of the electoral campaign.

August 3

Voting by the diaspora, in Rwandan embassies.

August 4

Presidential elections in Rwanda, with a 98.15 percent voter turnout. Kagame is re-elected with 98.79 percent of the vote. Mpayimana wins 0.73 percent and Habineza 0.48 percent of the vote.

August 18

Kagame is sworn in.

U.S. Pharmaceutical Firm Sets Up First Subsidiary in Rwanda

By Elisee Mpirwa

L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals LLC, a US-based global pharmaceutical company, announced Wednesday it is setting foot in Rwanda.

L.E.A.F. Rwanda Ltd, a biotechnology company, will be headquartered in Kigali.

The parent firm is located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, USA. It says its mission is to discover, develop and commercialise innovative and safe therapies for cancer.

The company expects to focus on establishing Rwanda as a hub for biotechnology Research and Development (R&D) as well as pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa.

The Kigali company will work to attract and retain highly skilled biotechnology scientists and clinical researchers from Africa and beyond, in a quest to discover and develop innovative medicines against diseases that predominantly afflict the health of the African population, according to a statement.

L.E.A.F. Rwanda will partner with L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals to facilitate advanced skills transfer to the continent, for long-term sustainability of a robust biotechnology industry in Africa.

“Historically, innovative lifesaving medicines have taken too long to reach the African population, if at all. A key component of L.E.A.F. Rwanda’s mission is to focus on expeditiously making available such medicines to the African population,” Founder, President, and CEO of L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals, Dr Clet Niyikiza, said in the statement.

Since the pharmaceutical company began operations in August 2014, it has filed nearly a dozen patent applications to protect its intellectual property.

The new company in partnership with L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals, anticipates making available its first anticancer medicine in Africa starting in 2019, it said.

Rwanda

Politically Closed Elections

Presidential elections in Rwanda on August 4, 2017, took place in a context of very limited free speech or open… Read more »

Kagame Won By 99% but Will Still Share Power – a Peep Into Rwanda’s All-Inclusive Governance Model

opinionBy James Munyaneza

Today is Inauguration Day in Rwanda. Paul Kagame will be sworn in for the fourth time as president after an election that only cemented his undisputed popularity among the people of Rwanda.

That Kagame would easily sweep to victory, no matter who his opponents in the poll were, was a foregone conclusion. Here is a man who has worked for the better part of his adulthood to earn the utmost trust and confidence of all the people of his country.

And there was no short-cut. To earn the trust of the people of Rwanda was never going to be effortless for anyone considering the criminality that for long dogged the high and mighty in this country, culminating into the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed a million plus innocent lives. It has been a long, tiring journey.

But if anyone was ever going to restore confidence of a broken and shattered society in a government, Kagame is certainly that person. Today, the people of Rwanda have become so used to his exceptional levels of dedicated service and consistency they are almost taking it for granted.

Yet, in all honesty, it sometimes feels like a dream to those who lived under previous governments to see Rwanda’s fortunes dramatically being turned around in less than a generation – with the country going on to become the safest African nation (World Economic Forum, Gallup Poll (US) surveys), the most improved country in ease of doing business globally (World Bank’s Doing Business reports), the second African country where it is best to be born a girl (Royal Commonwealth Society and Plan-UK), Africa’s third least corrupt country (Transparency International), among other feats.

Nonetheless, the people of Rwanda, the same people who went to the polls on August 4 to pick their next leader, are firsthand witnesses to this transformation. They have lived it and seen it all unfold before their very eyes. Each of these accomplishments is a result of meticulous and often ambitious policies that have resulted in life-changing actions on the ground.

Yet, despite all these gains, the country’s economy remained very small (at a GDP per capita of just $US738.6 as of 2016, despite having more than tripled in two decades), which is still far from representing the true aspirations of the people of Rwanda. The private sector is still weak and the economy needs more substantial FDIs; the country’s already much improved competitiveness needs further overhaul; efforts to link Rwanda to the seaports of East Africa through a standard gauge railway remain pretty much at the nascent stage; while the country’s trade deficit continues to widen, sometimes by two digits.

To the overwhelming majority of Rwandans, no one was better placed than a tested-and-trusted Kagame to lead the country in the foreseeable future.

Equally significant, for a people that had for long lived under autocratic, abusive and genocidal governments to have a leadership that’s pro-people and pro-inclusivity even when they have won a resounding mandate from the people, it was an unnecessary gamble to let go of such a leadership in the name of conforming to inconsistently applied standard that someone else feels fits Africa.

It therefore did not come as a surprise when nearly 4 million people petitioned parliament to give them a chance to revisit Article 101 of the constitution that barred Kagame from seeking another term in office. A subsequent referendum in December 2015 saw 98 per cent of voters backing the changes to the supreme law.

This was a clear indication of what the outcome of the presidential election itself would look like.

But there were other factors behind Kagame’s 98.79 per cent win. One of them being the fact that as many as eight opposition parties (including three that had previously fielded candidates against Kagame) backed his candidacy this time round and their leaders were vocal on the campaign trail in support of the RPF-Inkotanyi flag-bearer.

Now, this kind of unity among political actors is a rarity – globally. Unity among different political parties and consensual-rather-than-confrontational politics have played a key part in Rwanda’s post-Genocide recovery and healing.

The arrangement is such that no single political party will monopolise power even if it wins elections 100 per cent. This is entrenched in the laws of the land. For instance, the constitution stipulates that the ruling political organisation shall not hold more than 50 per cent of cabinet seats, while the President shall not come from the same political organisation as the Speaker of Lower House.

But there is also an unwritten tradition that has seen other strategic seats consistently go to opposition parties or independent politicians. For instance, the current Senate president is not affiliated to any known political party, while the Prime Minister belongs to the Social Democratic Party. This spirit and principle permeates through all layers of leadership.

That this power-sharing arrangement was devised by Rwandans and championed by those who in fact had legitimacy to do otherwise, as is the case in most other countries, speaks to the nobility and rare qualities that characterise Kagame as a person and leader.

Kagame has restored a strong sense of belief, pride and belonging among Rwandans. Never before have Rwandans believed in their individual and collective potential to become the best that they can possibly be.

Yet I have seen some foreign journalists ferociously criticise this pro-people and progressive leader and, by extension, his people’s aspirations. They have relentlessly attacked his outstanding reputation, even openly discouraging other Africans from drawing a lesson or two from Rwanda and its leader. There are also some that want to be seen to be neutral. It’s wrong. Journalists should stand for the truth.

The people of Rwanda and their government need to be supported, rather than unfairly attacked, in their continued legitimate aspirations and genuine strides toward a future they deserve.

The writer is an editor with The New Times.

President of the Republic to Head to Kigali Friday to Partake in Kagame’s Inauguration Ceremony

Khartoum — President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir leaves, on Friday to Kigali, Capital of Rwanda, on a one-day visit to take part in inauguration of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame.

The President will be accompanied by Minister of Presidency of he Republic, Dr Fadl Abdalla Fadl, State Minister and Director of the President’s Offices, Hatem Hassan Bakheet and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Attal-Mannan Bakheet.

It is worth mentioning that Kagame won with overwhelming majority the vote which was held on August 4th.

Sudan

South Kordufan Governor Says Tourism Festival Reflect the Stability His State Enjoys

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Mbusa Kombi Joins Musanze as Assistant Coach

By Peter Kamasa

Former Rayon Sports striker Mbusa Kombi Billy has joined Musanze FC as assistant coach signing a two-year deal, the club Secretary General and Spokesperson, Moussa Masumbuko has confirmed.

He joins the Azam Rwanda Premier League side from Rubavu-based Women’s league side Scandinavia FC, which was recently promoted to the first division as second division champions.

At Musanze FC, Mbusa Kombi will work under his former teammate at Rayon Sports Sosthene ‘Lumumba’ Habimana.

“It is true Mbusa Kombi will be Habimana’s assistant, he has signed a two-year contract. We believe that he will play a big role in helping Musanze FC to achieve its goals. He knows Rwandan football very well and hopefully his partnership with Habimana will yield the desired results,” Masumbuko said.

During his time at Rayon Sports from 1998 to 2005, Mbusa Kombi was one of the best strikers in the country, winning the league twice and the Peace Cup.

Musanze FC, who finished sixth last season with 45 points, have so far signed seven new players in a bid to boost their squad ahead of next season. The team started pre-season training on Wednesday.

Head coach Habimana, a former Rayon Sports player and assistant coach noted that, “We’re bringing in experienced players, who we think will help the team to improve from last season. We are working hard to strengthen the team before the league starts. We have to be ready.”

On working with Mbusa Kombi, he said, “He has coaching experience and I hope to have an excellent relationship with him. He has vast knowledge of the game and I believe players will gain a lot from him.”

The Musanze-based outfit has signed former Mukura Victory Sports captain and goalkeeper, Andre Mazimpaka and defenders Philbert Shyaka and Daniel Mwiseneza on a two year deal.

Others include; goalkeeper Abouba Bashunga from Rayon Sports, striker Japhet Imurora from Police FC, forward Suleiman Mudeyi from Gicumbi FC and midfielder Franck Barirengako from Burundian side Muzinga FC.

Rwanda

Kagame to Be Sworn in Today

President Paul Kagame will take oath of office, Friday, officially marking the start of a new seven-year term. Read more »

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