Kagame lacked critical opposition in Rwandan poll
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Bob Moon: Results from Rwanda’s election announced today show incumbent president Paul Kagame has won this week’s general election with 93 percent of the vote. Since the Rwandan genocide 14 years ago, Kagame has worked hard to change his country’s reputation. For one thing, he wants to make Rwanda a center for business in Africa. But, as the BBC’s Peter Greste reports from Kenya, Rwanda’s economic success has not been without controversy.
Peter Greste: By any measure, winning 93 percent of the vote in a presidential election is emphatic. Since he became president in 2000, Paul Kagame has ushered in a period of political and economic stability. Rwanda’s economy has grown steadily by around six percent a year, and he’s attracted foreign investment by assembling one of the most efficient and least corrupt governments in Africa.
At a news conference in the capital, Kigali, an election observer, Salim Ahmed Salim, said the election day itself had run smoothly:
Salim Ahmed Salim: For this 2010 election, the commonwealth observers have found a well organised and peaceful poll. The national electoral commission has conducted technical aspects very well, providing confidence to the people to turn out in large numbers.
But the election observers qualified their conclusions. They said a lack of critical opposition voices marked the poll. That’s because a series of murders and legal cases kept most of President Kagame’s serious opponents out of the election.
The Rwandan government said it wasn’t involved, but the election observers said the country still needs to address issues of political participation and greater media freedom. Despite Rwanda’s success, analysts insist that more political space will only encourage further foreign investment.
In Nairobi, I’m the BBC’s Peter Greste for Marketplace.
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