Rwanda’s 2biggest opposition parties have declared support for President Paul Kagame in the upcoming presidential elections and said they will not field their own candidates, party officials said on Monday.
“RPF and Kagamestand for the same values as the Social Democratic Party,” said PSD president Vincent Biruta adding that “Therefore the PSD has decided to give its full support to Kagame in the August 4 polls”
In a related development, Liberal Party (PL) president Donatille Mukabalisa said the large majority of the party’s members had voted to back Kagame during a recent party congress.
The decision means that the 59-year-old incumbent president is likely to face only four other candidates, who either represent small parties or are independent according to alliance news media
The expression of support by the 2parties PSD and PL comes several days after election officials announced a plan to restrict the display of opposition candidates’ campaign posters and “edit” their online posts, a move opposition parties said equals censorship.
Kagame, who has been in power since 2000, won presidential elections in 2003 and 2009 with more than 90% of votes.
The opposition accused Kagame and his party of electoral fraud as well as of systematic intimidation in the run-up to the polls.
In 2015, Rwandans voted in a constitutional referendum in favor of removing a term limit for the presidency.
Before becoming president of Rwanda, Kagame commanded a rebel force that ended a genocide by Hutu extremists in 1994. An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.