Rwanda: 7 major parties endorse President Kagame for 4th term in office

In a significant political development ahead of Rwanda’s upcoming presidential election in July, seven prominent political parties have thrown their support behind the candidacy of incumbent President Paul Kagame.

The endorsement comes from a diverse array of parties, including longstanding allies of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) as well as smaller coalition partners.

The Liberal Party (PL) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), two of Rwanda’s oldest political parties, have joined forces with four smaller parties already aligned with the RPF to back President Kagame’s bid for a fourth term in office. This unified support underscores the broad consensus among various political factions in Rwanda in favor of Kagame’s leadership.

Both the PL and PSD have historical ties to the ruling RPF, with their leaders having previously held key government positions. For instance, Donatille Mukabalisa, the president of the Liberal Party, also serves as the Speaker of Parliament, highlighting the intertwined relationship between these parties and the government.

Speaking on behalf of the PL, Mr. Mukabalisa emphasized President Kagame’s track record in driving progress across multiple sectors such as agriculture, education, health, and security, as a key factor behind their endorsement.

Similarly, Vincent Biruta, the president of PSD and Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, lauded President Kagame’s openness to considering ideas from diverse political parties, signaling a collaborative approach to governance.

The endorsement from PL and PSD marks a continuation of their longstanding alliance with the RPF, which dates back to the early 1990s when the RPF, led by Kagame, launched a military campaign against the government of then-President Juvenal Habyarimana. Since then, both parties have consistently supported the RPF’s leadership.

Despite having fielded presidential candidates in previous elections, such as Prosper Higiro for the PL in 2010 and Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo for the PSD, both parties have acknowledged President Kagame’s overwhelming popular mandate, with Kagame securing over 93% of the vote in the last election.

Critics of Rwanda’s political landscape have raised concerns about the dominance of the ruling party and its allies, arguing that a robust opposition is essential for a healthy democracy. However, proponents of the current political arrangement argue that it reflects a democratic exercise of freedom and choice by the participating parties.

Looking ahead to the upcoming election, the Forum for Political Parties in Rwanda maintains that the decision of these parties to endorse President Kagame is a legitimate expression of their democratic rights. According to Pie Nizeyimana, the forum’s spokesperson, political parties have the autonomy to support candidates of their choosing, whether from their own ranks or through coalition agreements.

In the midst of these political developments, President Kagame’s campaign continues to emphasize themes of unity, development, and national sovereignty, positioning himself as the candidate best equipped to lead Rwanda into its next phase of growth and prosperity.

With the backing of seven major political parties, including longstanding allies and coalition partners, President Paul Kagame’s bid for a fourth term in office gains significant momentum ahead of Rwanda’s presidential election in July. While critics raise concerns about the dominance of the ruling party, proponents argue that the endorsements reflect a democratic exercise of freedom and choice by participating parties.

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