President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has sealed a third term in office in the just concluded presidential elections.
The incumbent leader won re-election by a huge margin to extend his 17 years in power.
The country’s electoral commission said partial results of Friday’s election had given him over 98 percent of the total votes.
“It is clear that President Paul Kagame, who has 98.66 percent, is in the lead,” said electoral commission head Kalisa Mbanda. He said 80 percent of the vote has so far been accounted for.
Rwandans began voting on Friday in a presidential election that pitted the former guerilla fighter against two little-known candidates; Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana.
The two challengers have, however, complained that their supporters are being intimidated and that they were only allowed one week to fundraise, and three weeks to campaign before the election.
Paul Kagame became the de-facto leader of the country in 1994 at the young age of 36 after the genocide. He led his rebel group to take control of the capital, Kigali, ending the genocide in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.
In 2000, he was appointed as president by lawmakers. He was then elected to the post in 2003 and again in 2010 with more than 90 percent of votes.
In 2015, the Rwandese Constitution was amended to give Mr. Kagame a chance to stay in power until 2034.
Despite criticism of tyrannical tendencies, Kagame is credited with a remarkable turnaround in the shattered nation. The small east African nation today boasts an annual economic growth of about seven percent, is one of the safest and cleanest nations in the world with no tolerance for corruption.
President Paul Kagame has reportedly made a victory speech to his supporters in Kigali on Saturday, August 5, thanking them for their votes.