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Rwanda’s response to criticisms on democracy

By IGIHE
On 8 December 2023 at 08:45

In a recent interview with a British digital radio station, Times Radio, Yolande Makolo, the spokesperson for the Government of Rwanda, provided insights into Rwanda’s democratic processes following President Paul Kagame’s election with 98% of the votes.

Addressing concerns raised by journalist Stig Abell about the democratic legitimacy of the election, Makolo defended Rwanda’s political system, emphasizing that electoral dynamics depend on the context, historical background, and the prevailing circumstances in a specific country.

Makolo underscored President Kagame’s achievements in steering Rwanda from devastation to visible progress. She highlighted the unity, aspirational thinking, and responsibility embraced by Rwandans, emphasizing that the country’s developmental strides were motivated by internal considerations rather than seeking external validation.

Disputing Abell’s assertion that Rwanda was built around one individual, Makolo expressed disagreement, stating that such a description doesn’t resonate with the Rwandan populace. She emphasized that Rwanda’s progress, both economic and otherwise, stemmed from active citizen participation and a sense of shared responsibility in nation-building.

Discussing the adaptation of Rwanda’s democratic model, Makolo stressed its specificity, pointing out that the Rwandan context, history, social fabric, and values differ from those of other nations.

She clarified that Rwanda’s development path is unique and tailored to its own circumstances, asserting President Kagame’s popularity and appreciation within the country.

Makolo acknowledged the seemingly high 98% election percentage, explaining that it reflects Rwanda’s current developmental stage and may evolve over time. She concluded by stating that, given their specific history, Rwanda will continue working with what they have, as it suits their current developmental needs.

President Kagame, who assumed office in 2000 after succeeding Pasteur Bizimungu, was first elected during general polls in 2003. He secured re-election in 2010, and 2017 following a constitutional amendment responding to citizens’ demand.

Yolande Makolo, the spokesperson for the Government of Rwanda.

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