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Kagame: 93% of vote was not enough

2011-06-08 09:12

New York - Rwanda's president Paul Kagame bristled on Tuesday at suggestions that democracy is not flourishing in his country, and said that the 93% of the vote he won last year was not enough.

Kagame said Rwanda enjoys a multi-party political system and that he supports "a right that allows anybody, everybody to express themselves".

He said the will of the people was expressed during last year's presidential election. "So, 93% - I wonder why it wasn't higher than that," Kagame told the Council on Foreign Relations, a prominent New York-based think tank.

When a senior Human Rights Watch director in the audience challenged Kagame, the president said he did not want to hear "lectures".

Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said there had been "no opposition and independent journalists were silenced" ahead of the poll.

Kagame denied this, insisting that there were four presidential candidates from four different parties, although his three nominal opponents in fact had ties to his Rwandan Patriotic Front party.

Kagame said anyone can participate in Rwandan politics as long as they do not advocate a return to the genocide that tore the country apart in 1994.

"There are things that are unacceptable here or in Rwanda, or anywhere else if they work to the detriment of society," he said.

Kagame's plea for understanding and for his performance to be put in the context of the difficulty Rwanda faces in overcoming the massacres did not convince Hicks.

"If he really wants Rwandan people's voices to be heard he should allow them to vote for all the candidates," she told AFP after the talk was over. "And if he wants Human Rights Watch to listen to the voices, then it would be nice to have visas [issued] like we used to have."

Comments
  • MIGISHA Magnifique - 2011-06-08 09:19

    Rwanda is a model country in the continent, in terms of democracy, social welfare and development.

  • letsee - 2011-06-08 11:58

    It is obvious that western countries don’t understand democracy according to Paul Kagame’s standards but his people would rather live in a western country. WHY Mr. Kagame?

  • bayingana ivan k. - 2011-06-12 16:35

    I DOESN'T MATTER WAT PEOPLE OUTSIDE RWANDA THINK ABOUT PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME ,THEY CRITICIZE HIM , THEY CALL HIM NAMES ,IT'S OK AS LONG AS THEY DON'T DISTURB HIS PLAN OF RWANDA AND RWANDESE, I CAN TELL THEM TO STAY WHEREVER THEY WANT AND CRITICIZE AS MUCH AS THEY WANT. WE ,RWANDESE IN THE COUNTRY AND SOME OUTSIDE ,WE KNOW THE DEFINITION OF GOOD GOVERNANCE.

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