|Name||Party||% of vote|
|Paul Kagame||Rwandan Patriotic Front||92,9%|
|Damascene Ntawukuliryayo||Social Democrats Party||4,9%|
|Prosper Higiro||Liberal Party||<2%|
|Alvera Mukabaramba||Party for Progress and Concorde||<2%|
The second Presidential election since the ending of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, showed a resounding win for incumbent President Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Preliminary results announced by Poll chief Chrysologue Karagwa, indicate that Kagame had won 1 610 422 votes, which is equivalent to a commanding 92,9% of the vote.
Kagame's closest challenger, Damascene Ntawukuliryayo of the Social Democratic Party, conceded defeat winning only 4,9% of the vote. The other two contenders, Prosper Higiro of the Liberal Party and Alvera Mukabaramba of the Party for Progress and Concorde, both won less that 2%.
Despite Kagame's resounding victory, the election was marred by allegations of a government crackdown on the opposition and demonstrating an increasing intolerance of dissent.
Prior to the election there were a number of incidents that drew widespread criticism of the RPF regime. Firstly, there were a number of irregularities that occurred with regard to candidate registration, which effectively meant that most opposition members were barred from competing in the poll. The United Democratic Forces party was not registered by the electoral commission and leader, Victoire Ingabire, faces legal action of negating the genocide and abetting terrorism.
Similarly, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Bernard Ntaganda, has been imprisoned since June 24, while the vice-chairperson of the unregistered opposition Green Party, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, was found murdered on July 14.
A number of senior army officers have also been arrested in recent times, while a high-ranking general, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, narrowly survived an assassination attempt while in exile in South Africa. The South African government has since recalled its ambassador to Rwanda. Kagame's government has denied involvement in the incident.
Although the election results have been labelled free and fair by numerous international observers, the climate under which the poll took place has received criticism from sources such as the US and the UN. Further, the opposition has been particularly outspoken over the result with Ingabire calling it a "masquerade", and alleging that the opposition candidates who were permitted to run were "stooges" of Kagame and in a race to "bolster the legitimacy of the RPF and hoodwink the international community that the elections are free and fair".
Although all three of the opposition candidates that stood against Kagame in the recent elections had different policy views, none criticised Kagame, or the RPF, on their campaign, and supported the party in the 2003 election.
Despite the election taking place under controversial conditions, Kagame will preside in his second term over the tiny East African country. The euphoria of victory will give way to the realisation of the challenges Rwanda faces, which include promoting national reconciliation in a country which is still highly sensitive to issues of ethnicity, and promoting economic growth.
Rwanda, in effect, is a single party state, which makes violating the principles of democracy such as centralising power all the more enticing. To attract foreign investment and stabilise Rwandan internal relations, Kagame will do well to accommodate dissent and institute suitable democratic processes that allow democracy to flourish, so as to avoid an incident such as the genocide of 1994.
Business Day. Kagame wins Rwanda election by a landslide. (August 11, 2010).
Sapa. Political violence casts pall over Rwanda election. (July 19, 2010).
BBC News. Rwanda's Kagame celebrates early poll results. (August 10, 2010).
Polity. Rwanda: Pre-election report. (July 27, 2010).
Global Post. Rwanda: Kagame wins landslide victory. (August 10, 2010).