Thousands of supporters today Friday thronged Ruhango, Rwanda where President Paul Kagame launched his much-anticipated presidential campaign bid, blasting critics for disparaging the country’s leadership.
Old women and children walked long distances to hear president Kagame rally support for his third term in office.
The crowds were seen cheering Kagame as he arrived at the venue and waved RPF branded banners to show their support for the president.
Kagame, who enjoys huge popularity across the country for leading a guerrilla movement that ended the 1994 genocide, is promising to “empower Rwandans” to transform their lives.
He is also pledging to continue the path of progress, sustain opportunities for the youth, preserve women’s dignity and uphold unity, democracy and development.
“Our aim is to multiply our achievements, give our children the kind of education that allows them to build their future,” said Kagame amid cheers from the audience.
“Our history and context is unique,” said Kagame, adding, “We have to be proud of who we are and do what is right for us.”
As walked ahead of his family members to the podium, Kagame saw hundreds of supporters craving for his handshake.
Some elderly women wanted a hug.
Kagame, well known for not mincing his words, did not spare critics.
“Critics are meaningless when you are on the right path. Our role is to continue working to transform our nation,” said the president.
Human rights groups and opposition figures have previously accused Kagame of highhandedness and abuse of human rights.
The president believes the critics have an mischievous agenda.
“You can choose not to hear the truth but you cannot deny what your eyes show you here today,” said Kagame.
“They blame us for having elections with a clear favoured winner and call it undemocratic,” he added.
Kagame said some actors tried to interfere in the Rwanda presidential elections.
“They don’t see or hear, they criticise us, they tried to file candidates, but they forgot one thing: they don’t vote,” said the President.
Kagame praised RPF and its members for the “trust you have put in me,” emphasizing, “I owe my candidacy to your support.”
Other presidential candidates in the race include Frank Habineza of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda; and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate.
Rwandans will go to polls on August 4, to elect the Head of State in the country’s third multiparty presidential elections.