Rwanda's Kagame guaranteed re-election as results expected in poll
The final results of Rwanda's second presidential election since the 1994 genocide were expected Wednesday, with incumbent Paul Kagame guaranteed victory in a poll marred by accusations of political repression, dpa reported.
Provisional results released by the National Electoral Commission Tuesday gave former rebel leader Kagame 92.9 per cent of the vote - a slight dip on his tally of 95 per cent in the 2003 election.
Kagame, 52, has run Rwanda since his Tutsi rebel group the Rwandan Patriotic Front ousted the Hutu militia that slaughtered an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the genocide.
The small coffee-producing East African nation has blossomed under Kagame, becoming the most stable state in the region, posting economic growth averaging over 8 per cent in recent years and attracting huge sums in foreign aid.
The leader is popular with his people, but human rights groups and political opponents accuse him of using state organs to stifle real opposition.
Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, chairman of the Commonwealth election observer mission, said that while the poll was peaceful and well-organized, there was no credible opposition to Kagame.
"While the campaign was fairly active, albeit dominated by the largest party, the fact that the four candidates were all drawn from the governing coalition meant there was a lack of critical opposition voices," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Kagame's three opponents did little but praise him during campaigning, and critics say they are merely fronts for the RPF.
Opposition parties that criticized Kagame say they found their attempts to register and take part in the election blocked.
Two of Kagame's opponents - the deputy leader of the Democratic Green Party and a journalist critical of the regime - were murdered in the run-up to the elections. The government said the killings were common crime, but international human rights groups believe they were politically motivated.
Opposition newspapers have also been closed down and journalists and political opponents arrested on various charges, including genocide denial.
Kagame, however, insisted that the election was free and fair as he cast his ballot in Monday's poll, which will see him take on another seven-year term.