Written by 02:31 World

Rwanda’s 2024 Election: What to Know


Rwanda’s presidential and parliamentary elections this year are taking place three decades after the genocide in which some 800,000 people were killed.

President Paul Kagame, who helped end the bloodshed, has been in power ever since and is expected to win again in this election, which takes place on July 15. Under his rule, the Central African nation of Rwanda has achieved significant economic strides and become a leading contributor of troops to the United Nations’ peacekeeping forces. But critics say Mr. Kagame has also overseen a repressive state accused of widespread human rights violations and where power and wealth are reserved for his ethnic Tutsi elites.

The election is taking place against the backdrop of rising tensions with the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Kagame has accused Congolese officials of backing Hutu rebels who fled after committing genocide in 1994 and who he says plan on returning to finish what they started. Mr. Kagame has, in turn, been accused of sowing chaos in eastern Congo by backing rebel forces who have carried out massacres and displaced tens of thousands of people in the country.

The election season began as the president promoted his country’s readiness to receive migrants deported from Britain — a contentious plan that may never come to fruition, policy analysts and opposition leaders say. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has delayed the first deportation flights until after the July 4 elections in Britain.

Mr. Kagame, 66, is expected to win a fourth term, according to observers. (There are no independent polls in Rwanda.) In 2015, he oversaw a referendum that changed term limits, ensuring that he can extend his tenure until 2034.

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Last modified: 5 June 2024
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