President Paul Kagame has nodded once again to leading his political party in the August 4th Presidential Elections.
After congratulatory speeches from representatives of major political parties across Africa and local opposition parties, Kagame took to the podium and said he was ‘very happy’ to be nominated as flag bearer of RPF-Inkotanyi party.
The RPF party nominated Kagame as its flag bearer after he was voted by 1929 party members (99% of the total vote) out of the 1930 members who voted.
“What made you ask me to stay longer may be addressed in next 7 years. I want you to think about it… I am not putting much pressure on you but I am asking you to think about it because you must think about it,” President told delegates at an extraordinary RPF party congress.
However, Kagame has again sent his party into a tactical homework tasking them to plan for a transition after him.
“There is no deadline. In the next 7 years I want you and I to work together, maybe double efforts to overcome the challenges that compel you to ask me to stay,” he said.
The RPF party held its major congress at the new state-of-the-art party headquarters with over 2000 party delegates including guests from across the continent.
The massive structure with an impressive architectural design has a 2500-seater conference hall and offices is built on top of a hill Rusororo sector, Gasabo district.
If his party wins the elections, Kagame said in the next seven years he will give his best, but asked congress; “we do things either differently or better or work harder so that the 7 years coming give us some kind of transition.”
“Rwanda needs and deserves the right leaders. Invest in yourselves,” Kagame said, urging Rwandans to engage in politics because every Rwandan who is 38 years and above can be President.
For him, Rwandans should not give room to someone else to make choices for them; “Reject the idea that someone else is better than you and that has the right to tell you what you should be.”
The President reminded party members that RPF is not about red T-shirts, blue or white, but “It is what we have in our hearts and heads.”
Before the event, party members voiced out countless achievements of RPF under the stewardship of President Kagame, and said they still want him to lead the country for another term of seven years.
The Other Short Speeches
For instance, Abdul Karim Harelimana – RPF member, took to podium and said; “I have been living in this capital Kigali ever since it was a village. Today, I am living in a shining city because you have made it look like this. There is no one I would wish to lead this country apart from you, your Excellency.”
Earlier before the endorsement process, Professor Anastase Shyaka, RPF member and CEO of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), outlined RPF achievements and prospects for the next 7 years.
For instance, on the party’s targets for the next 7 years if President Kagame is re-elected, Prof. Shyaka said the government will cut the country’s trade imbalance by increasing exports to 70% from current 25%.
RPF government will also raise per capita income from current $718 to $1500 in the next 7 years, while domestic resources to fund national budget will be raised at 100% from current 83% announced for the 2017/2018 budget.
“The government expects to achieve these ambitious targets from the already vibrant ‘Made in Rwanda’ initiative we launched,” Prof. Shyaka said amidst applause from party members.
Other targets, Prof. Shyaka added, will be promoting access to justice, quality service delivery, and unity of Rwandans, accountability; low crime rates and passing development-friendly laws, among many other targets.
Political parties present at RPF congress came from 10 countries including the Communist Party of China, South Africa’s ruling Africa National Congress (ANC), Uganda’s National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Other ruling parties represented during RPF congress include Tanzania’s CCM, Kenya’s Jubilee Party; the ruling parties of Djibouti, Congo Brazaville; Angola, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Kagame thanked representatives of political parties for being by RPF side for many years. For South Africa’s ANC, Kagame said; “ANC and RPF crossed paths in 1994. While South Africa became free and independent, Rwanda was sinking in bottomless pit.”
Dr. Edith Edna Molewa who represented the party at the congress said that ANC has established a policy that fully puts South Africa at the heart of the continent.
“If Rwanda fails, Africa will fail…if South Africa fails, Africa will fail. This is the policy we are implementing at Africa National Congress,” she said.
Other party representatives paid tribute to RPF milestones in liberating the country and making it one of the fastest growing economies.
Abdulrahman Kinana, Secretary-General of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) said; “Rwanda is the country of heroic people who fought for their liberation under the leadership of RPF. The story of RPF is of a progressive party.”
Chinese ambassador to Rwanda, Rao Hongwei who represented Communist Party of China said, his party cherishes the special relationship with RPF and is ready to move beyond.
For Nelson Nzuya who represented Kenya’s ruling party said, “We in Kenya have learnt a lot from the RPF. Few Political organizations around the world can claim such achievements.”
Out of 11 registered political parties in the country, nine have already announced they will support President Kagame as RPF flag bearer in the next Presidential elections.
President Kagame will soon present his credentials to National Electoral Commission.
On Monday this week, Presidential hopefuls in Rwanda started submitting their credentials to National electoral commission (NEC) that will determine who qualifies to contest as candidates in the August 4th Presidential elections.
NEC will continue receiving credentials from potential candidates until July 7th when qualified candidates will be announced. Candidates will campaign for 24 days before August 4th when voters will go to polls to cast their votes.