High turnout in Rwandan vote

2010-08-09 14:10
Rwandans line up to vote in the presidential election in Kigali, Rwanda. (Marc Hofer, AP)

Rwandans line up to vote in the presidential election in Kigali, Rwanda. (Marc Hofer, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kigali - Rwandans turned out in large numbers to vote in Monday's presidential election, many leaving home well before daybreak to form neat lines in front of spick and span polling stations.

People strode purposefully under wooden arches set up by the electoral commission to vote in schools decked out in the national colours of green blue and yellow and decorated with banana trees.

Germaine Mutetesi, a housemaid, arrived out of breath to vote in Kigali's Kimihurura district, insisting she had no time to talk as she had to "get back home for the housework".

Emmanuel Ndagijimana, a young domestic worker accompanying her and sporting a Las Vegas T-shirt, was also breathless.

"But it's important to come and choose the president," he said. Asked which candidate he would choose, he declined give a candidate's name.

President Paul Kagame, who has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist for 16 years and won the 2003 election with 95% of the vote, faced no serious opposition on Monday and appeared certain of re-election.

But out of a dozen people questioned, nobody would reveal their choice.

"Rwandans are reserved by nature," commented Francois Byabarumwanzi, campaign manager for the Liberal Party.

Tight security

"It's a bit difficult to tell you who I'll vote for," 18-year-old Richard Hakizimana, voting for the first time at the same centre, said hesitantly. A secondary school student, he dreams of becoming a professional football player.

Rose Uwimana, in her thirties, was queuing up in the dark 45 minutes before polling stations opened at 06:00 (04:00 GMT).

"It's important for the country so I've come very early," she said, smiling broadly.

Most people went out to vote on foot. The extensive roadworks that have been whipping up clouds of red dust in the capital have all been halted for the day.

A local journalist interviewed from a polling station on Contact FM radio expressed astonishment when asked if there had been "any pushing and shoving" and said no, definitely not.

At Rugunga school where Kagame was due to vote, security was tighter with a scanner set up and a trained dog sniffing into handbags.

Officials appeared bent on proving that Rwanda not only starts voting bang on time, it even completes polling well ahead of time.

Radio commentators speculated many stations would complete polling well before closing time, planned for 15:00 (13:00 GMT).

Hard military dictatorship

State radio reported that at some polling stations in the Western Province, every voter on the registry had cast their ballot in the first hour.

Kagame has been acclaimed for maintaining stability in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, modernising the economy and turning Kigali into one of the safest and cleanest capitals in Africa.

His critics argue he has achieved that by cracking down on any form of dissent and turning Rwanda into a hard military dictatorship.

A lone voter thought it a pity "the real opposition" was excluded.

"They should have let (Bernard) Ntaganda run. He'd have got maybe 10 percent. They (the RPF) would still have won," he said, insisting he not be quoted.

Bernard Ntaganda, the founder and chairman of PS Imberakuri, the only real opposition group to have even been allowed to register as a party, was ousted and is currently in prison on charges of "divisionism" and associating with people who pose a threat to national security.

- SAPA
Read more on:    paul kagame  |  rwanda  |  east africa  |  rwanda elections
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.