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Rwanda

Kagame kicks off re-election campaign

Photo: Reuters

Rwandan President Paul Kagame began his presidential campaign on Tuesday. Kagame, who has ruled the country since the end of 1994 genocide, is widely expected to be re-elected. His party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, will be holding a large rally at Kigali’s national stadium on Tuesday night. Opposition parties are struggling to raise money for campaigning.

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At tonight's rally he is expected to remind Rwandans that "as much as enormous strides have been made, there is a lot that lies ahead to achieve," Information Ministry spokesperson Ignatius Kabagambe told RFI.

Kagame’s campaign is expected to cost 1.5 million euros. Campaign coordinator Christophe Bazivamo says the money came from “voluntary contributions”.

Opposition parties are finding it harder to raise cash. The Social Democratic Party is planning to take out a bank loan, while the Liberal Party and Party of Progress both have low budgets.

Meanwhile, the Unified Democratic Forces party has not officially been registered, and its leader Victoire Ingabire is facing legal action. The Social Party has similar problems; its leader Bernard Ntaganda is in prison.

Kagame will be making the economy one of the main policy issues of his campaign.

"The right politics, the right policies, the right programmes, the right behaviour in every aspect of our lives, is supposed to be focused on how we are going to liberate ourselves, as a nation, as a continent, from this poverty," says Kabagambe.

Kagame secured more than 95 per cent of the vote in the 2003 elections and is expected to achieve a similar share of the vote in these polls.

"95, 94, 93, 96 - is as good as it can be - it's as good as it gets. If he wins in the nineties again, well, it would be a good reward for the effort his government has put in," says Kabagambe.

I would only be surprised if the election was too close to call. I expect him to win easily, to win very comfortably

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