The two candidates are again challenging Kagame

The two candidates are again challenging Kagame

The two candidates are again challenging Kagame

The two candidates cleared to run against Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Monday’s election are also the only two who ran against him in the last 2017 poll.

Here’s what you need to know about the two men:

– Frank Habineza –

Habineza, who represents the Democratic Green Party (DGPR), won just 0.45 percent of the vote in 2017 to become one of the party’s two politicians in parliament.

The 47-year-old is a former member of Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) but defected in 2009.

He fled to Sweden in 2010 after the unsolved death of his party’s vice president, but said in 2012 he was returning to fight for democracy in his home country.

During the campaign, he pushed to raise the salaries of doctors and teachers, eliminate the property tax, and modernize agriculture in Rwanda while protecting the environment.

He also called for greater freedom of speech domestically, careful not to directly criticize Kagame, who has been Rwanda’s de facto ruler since the end of the 1994 genocide that left an estimated 800,000 lives, mostly Tutsis.

He dismissed accusations that his candidacy is a front to appease Western donors, telling AFP in March: “You have to be in the game, fight the game.”

– Philippe Mpayimana –

Mpayimana, who now serves as a senior expert in the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Engagement, took home just 0.72 percent of the vote in his 2017 attempt.

The former journalist left Rwanda for the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1994, at the same time as hundreds of thousands of Hutus fled the advance of Kagame’s Tutsi-dominated militia in the final days of the genocide.

The 54-year-old settled in France in 2003 after stints in Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon, and since 2012 has split his time between there and Rwanda.

Mpayimana told AFP he sees himself as a “peaceful opponent” who is running “without showing hostility”.

He wants to reform the Labor Code, as well as renovate and develop the transport infrastructure.

“I recognize the good results, but I don’t want my people to just keep cheering, we have to prepare for the future,” he said.


FOX28 Spokane©