KIGALI, Rwanda — President Paul Kagame called Rwanda’s election democratic and predicted victory, though critics said political repression and attacks in the run-up to yesterday’s vote ensured that he faced no real competition.
The presidential election is only the second since Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, when at least half a million people were slaughtered. Since then, Kagame has guided the country through a period of mostly peaceful prosperity, though the government cracks down harshly on dissent.
A former high-ranking member of Kagame’s inner circle said yesterday the government plans and orders assassinations of political opponents, a charge the government denies.
The chairman of Rwandan’s electoral commission, Chrysologue Karangwa, said voting went smoothly across the country and that polling stations saw a high turnout.
Kagame won election in 2003 with 95 percent of the vote. If elected, Kagame will gain another seven-year term. He was elected president by parliament in 2000 and by voters in 2003.
This year’s campaign was marred by a series of attacks on outspoken critics of Kagame’s government, and other opposition politicians say they’ve been barred from participating.