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Wednesday 22 November 2017
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Lessons from the Rwanda polls

Incumbent, Paul Kagame, expected to be re-elected with wide margin
The people of Rwanda are at the polls today and of course there are concerns even as there are lessons. Incumbent President Paul Kagame, who has been accused of violating human rights and running a ‘virtual dictatorship’ has been in power for three decades and is set to clinch the polls once again. Is he the only one?
Beyond this however, there are several notable things about the election.
One it would be the first time that children born after the 1994 Genocide will be voting.
Two, there is no holiday for the elections and movement remains unrestricted countrywide. Roads, borders, airports, seaports, offices and business centres are not closed.
Three, braille ballot papers have been designed to give visually impaired voters a chance to better assert their right to cast their votes freely at the polling stations.
Four, on Friday, 44, 362 Rwandese living abroad cast their votes in the elections, using 98 polling stations spread across the world. 
Five, some Some 7 million Rwandans are voting across the country. No holiday for the election and early accounts talk of a high turn-out of voters.
Six, an African Union observer team is in the country but the European Union declined participation.
And as one observer also remarked: ‘Rwandans will not kill somebody………They even decorated the Polling Stations!’
 

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