By Edmund Kagire & Ambrose Gahene


President Kagame’s campaign trail took him to Gicumbi, yesterday, where he attracted the biggest crowd so far (Photo Adam Scotti)


GICUMBI – Paul Kagame, the RPF candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections, yesterday, took a swipe at those who attack the country’s democratic credentials, as he strongly pointed out that it is only the Rwandan people who have the mandate to determine what is good for them through democratic processes such as the August 9 polls.

Addressing a massive rally in Gicumbi District – the largest since the Presidential campaigns kicked-off last month, Kagame, evidently spurred on by the huge turnout, challenged the critics and those who have been publishing false stories, to come and ask the Rwandans what they want, before drawing conclusions.

Amidst wild cheers, Kagame told the mammoth crowd of over 150,000 supporters that it is always up to the Rwandans to choose what is best for them and that when people choose who they want to lead them, there is nothing more democratic than that.

The candidate pointed out that it is democratic enough when people choose a person that will deliver economic development, unity, good infrastructure, good health, good education, peace and stability and justice for all, over those who want to incite ethnic divisionism.

Reflecting on the massive turnout, Kagame who was in a buoyant mood told the residents of Gicumbi that it is high time Rwandans are accorded their right to make their own choices and those who don’t want to see that happen “should go and hang.”

The candidate acknowledged the enormous contribution of Gicumbi district during the Liberation struggle, saying that their commitment has translated into support for Government programmes.

He emphasized that democracy is demonstrated when the people choose their leaders, opt for peace and fight against divisive politics. Kagame added that it is evidence of democracy when Rwandans converge in large numbers at an event such as the RPF rally and speak out what they want.

The candidate went on to say that the last 7 years marked the first phase, and that, if voted into office, he and the RPF will ensure that what has already been achieved will be multiplied 7-fold in quantity and quality. He assured the residents that the best is yet to come.

Kagame, commended the residents of Gicumbi for being pro development and democracy, adding that he and the RPF will not let them down, if they vote for him in the August 9, polls.

Shortly after addressing the crowd, Kagame who was flanked by the First Lady, Mrs Jeannette Kagame took to the dance floor as local artists fired-up the crowd. He momentarily joined the musicians on the stage, sending the crowd into a thunderous applause.

As a tradition some residents of Gicumbi who have seen their lives transformed in the last 7 years gave testimonies and life stories of how they have been able to take advantage of government programmes to eradicate poverty.

At the rally, Flora Uwera gave a testimony about how a Guernsey cow donated to her by the government has lifted her and her family out of poverty. She said that so far, the exotic cow, had birthed 15 heifers and today she is one of the leading milk producers in the district.

Uwera added that through the government programme of rural electrification, she set up a biogas facility which generates sufficient electricity for her domestic use.

Andre Ndayambaje, 40 also shared his experience on how he lived in abject poverty until he joined government programmes of Ubudehe and Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP). Today,he owns a modern house and has generated enough income to sustain his family.

The campaign trail continues today with rallies in Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Bugesera Districts.

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