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Le projet sur les elections en Afrique: votre portail exclusif et credible d'information et de connaissance en ligne, qui couvre les élections à travers le continent
Date:25 Jul 2017
#RwandaElections: Closer look at 3 contending presidential candidates

Three Presidential candidates have emerged from the pack after Diane Shima Rwigara, the only female candidate together with two other independent presidential aspirants, did not meet the nomination requirements to challenge President Paul Kagame in the upcoming August 4, 2017 polls.

This will be the first election to be held under the 2015 amended constitution of Rwanda which allows the incumbent Paul Kagame to run for a new term and two more five-year terms.

Over 6.8 million voters are expected to cast their vote on August 3 (Diaspora) and August 4. The preliminary election results will be announced on the night of August 4 but the final results will be published between August 9-19.

Here is a look at the three candidates contesting the 2017 elections:

Paul Kagame
This election will be the third time the 60-year-old Rwandan incumbent leader will be contesting the high office of the presidency.

Kagame is the youngest of a Tutsi family of four sisters and one other brother. His father was from a privileged Tutsi background drawing on familial relations with King Rudahigwa of Rwanda. 

He received military training in Uganda, Tanzania and the US and was a founding member of the current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's rebel army in 1979 and headed its intelligence wing, helping Mr. Museveni take power in 1987.

Kagame spearheaded the launch of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel movement, which took power in Kigali to end the 1994 genocide.

Paul Kagame is married to Jeannette Kagame, and they have three sons and a daughter; Kagame became Rwanda’s sixth President in 2000 and has previously served as Vice-President and Defence Minister from 1994 to 2000.

He won 95% and 93% of the vote during the presidential election in 2003 and 2010 respectively. Under the provisions of the previous constitution, he was barred after his second term in office. However, in 2015 about 4 million people mainly from the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), organised a “spontaneous” petition to let him stay on. A constitutional amendment then passed with 98.3% of the vote during a referendum.

The amendment means Mr. Kagame can in theory remain president until 2034, when he will be 77. Officially however, President Kagame has announced that he would retire after the end of his third term in 2024.

President Paul Kagame has been credited with transforming Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, which left the country in reigns. He is currently campaigning on strengthening the economy, boosting social welfare, and good governance as well as justice.

Philippe Mpayimana
Philippe Mpayimana was initially among the disqualified presidential candidates who failed to present the minimum required 600 signature of endorsement but was able to satisfy this requirement within the week grace period given by the Rwanda National Electoral Commission (NEC).

The 47year old Philippe Mpayimana who is the only independent presidential candidate in the upcoming election is a former history teacher turned journalist and now an author. He holds two Masters Degrees and has authored four books; amongst which is one on democracy in Rwanda and another on the life of Rwandan refugees.

Mpayimana, is a father of four, three of his children live in France with his first wife. He has a child with his current wife and has lived in exile since 1994, mainly in DR Congo, France and Belgium.
Mr Mpayimana is campaigning on a pledge to strengthen democracy, promote trade and agriculture, foster more unity among Rwandans and empower the Rwandan youth, including those in the Diaspora

Frank Habineza
Frank Habineza is the standard-bearer representing the country’s main opposition - Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DPGR)

Habineza has been in the Rwandan political scene since 2009 when he formed the DPGR an alternative to the dominant Ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front of President Paul Kagame.

He is currently the President of the African Greens Federation a coalition of 30 political parties and movements across the African Continent. He represents Africa on the Council of Global Greens and is now a member of its Executive Committee.

Habineza who was born in Mityana, Uganda where his parents were staying as political refugees attended the National University of Rwanda from 1999 to 2004, graduating in Political and Administrative Sciences with a major in Public Administration. 

In August 2010, the 40year old candidate was forced to leave his county and seek refuge in Sweden, where he stayed together with his wife and three children. To meet the Rwanda electoral code, he had to rescind his Swedish citizenship in order to contest the presidency.

Frank Habineza, says he will champion the respect of all fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the constitution and promoted by international human rights instruments. He pledges to prioritise the rule of law in the country, ensure food security, reduce taxes, and grow an economy that is more environment-friendly.

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