’I tried to do my best’ - President Kagame tells Rwandans as RPF kicks off campaign in Musanze

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 22 June 2024 at 03:06

Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) presidential flag bearer Paul Kagame officially kicked off his re-election campaign on Saturday with a message to the citizens urging them to vote wisely in the election slated for July 15.

Addressing thousands of RPF-Inkotanyi party supporters at Busogo ground in Musanze District, the Head of State told the residents that he had tried his best to fulfil the responsibilities entrusted to him.

“Being here asking you to make a good choice on July 15, 2024, I don’t have a big part to play in that election. That’s why I came here to thank you. Didn’t you put me in this position? So if you put me in, will you take me out? If you decide to take me out, you have your way of doing it, and I have no objections. All the work you entrusted to me in past years, I tried my best to do it, and you helped me. For what did not go well, you also share in the responsibility, just as you share in what went well,” President Kagame stated, further telling those who don’t wish Rwanda well to “tone down”.

Thousands of supporters from Musanze, Burera and Nyabihu districts attended the event.

Reflecting on Rwanda’s painful history during and after the colonial period, President Kagame noted that the country had made huge strides, especially in the last 30 years despite being derailed by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He attributed the transformation to the unique leadership of RPF, which took over the reins from the previous genocidal administration.

"The RPF represents uniqueness. It is unique in this history, unique in how things need to change. The question is, who makes these changes? How do they change? They are changed by you," President Kagame remarked.

Musicians Bruce Medolie and Bwiza entertained RPF supporters at the event.

In an apparent reference to constant criticism from the West over democracy in Rwanda, President Kagame emphasized that Rwandans have the right to choose their leaders in a democracy.

"Democracy means choosing what is right for you, what you want, and having the freedom in that choice. Democracy is not about having someone choose for you; no one should choose for you, you choose for yourself. This should be understood here and elsewhere, including where it is said to originate.

“Where it originates, no one chooses for them, which is why they do not have the right to choose for others. This choice stems from the unique nature of a country, its people, and Rwanda,” he said.

The RPF chairman is running against Frank Habineza, the leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and Mbayimana Philippe, who is vying for the presidency on an independent ticket. Six other independent candidates had their candidature rejected after failing to meet several requirements set by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

The campaigns will close on July 13. Approximately 9.5 million people have registered to vote in this year’s parliamentary and presidential elections.