Kagame gets new term as party boss

Monday December 16 2013

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame pays his respects to South African former president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on December 13, 2013. President Kagame has been re-elected to head the country’s ruling party, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), by an overwhelming majority of 99.5 per cent, a party spokesman said on December 17, 2013. PHOTO | AFP

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame pays his respects to South African former president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on December 13, 2013. President Kagame has been re-elected to head the country’s ruling party, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), by an overwhelming majority of 99.5 per cent, a party spokesman said on December 17, 2013. PHOTO | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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KIGALI
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has been re-elected to head the country’s ruling party by an overwhelming majority of 99.5 per cent, a party spokesman said on Tuesday.

President Kagame garnered 1,948 votes out of a total of 1,957 cast by Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) delegates during a party congress on Sunday, spokesman Aimable Bayingana told AFP.

“It really was an overwhelming victory,” he said.

Mr Kagame’s sole opponent Abdul Karim Harerimana, a lawmaker at the East African Legislative Assembly, got just nine votes.

The Rwandan president has headed the RPF since 1998. The party has no term limits for its chairman.

President Kagame has effectively been in power in Rwanda ever since the RPF, then a rebel group, took power after ousting Hutu extremists and ending the genocide in 1994.

In the presidential polls of 2010, Kagame, praised by his supporters as an economic visionary and criticised by his detractors for his alleged repression of political rivals, took 93 per cent of the votes.

Kagame is widely expected to seek a third term as president when his current one expires in 2017 — even though the constitution currently allows only two consecutive terms in office.

Meanwhile, amid the purge in Rwanda, the Supreme Court at the weekend increased Victoire Ingabire’s jail term to 15 years from eight years earlier ruled by the High Court, after it found her guilty of inciting the masses to revolt against the government, forming armed groups to destabilise the country, and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“The court has found Ingabire guilty of spreading rumours with an intention to incite the public to rise up against the State, endangering state security and minimising the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. For that, she’s sentenced to 15 years in prison,” Justice Immaculee Nyirinkwaya announced.

Both Ingabire and prosecution had appealed the earlier sentence.

The evidence of Ingabire’s trial shed light on her active participation in the leadership of the armed terrorist group made up of the Congo-based militia Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda militia, which is responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.