“I will be tackling poverty, I will be tackling injustice, I will be tackling insecurity. In the last 23 years RPF has been in power, they have not been able, not only to eradicate poverty but even to give Rwandans the minimum. Most Rwandans are dying of hunger, they have nowhere to live,” said 35-year old Diane Shima Rwigara who has declared her interest to run for Rwanda’s highest office.
She will run as an independent candidate in the election scheduled for later this year.
President Paul Kagame, who was elected in 2010, is expected to run for a third term
According to AFP, the National Electoral Commission will receive nominations from candidates from June 12 to 23. A provisional list of qualified candidates will be announced on June 27.
The third candidate is Frank Habineza of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, the only registered opposition party to Kagame’s government.
In February 2017 Phillipe Mpayimana, a former journalist and author, announced that he’ll be joining the race.
In a 2015 referendum, Rwandans approved a constitutional amendment that effectively enables Kagame to stay in power until 2034.
The accountant and businesswoman, in her announcement on Wednesday, criticised the referendum.
“When time comes for leaders to leave power, they get excuses to stay and then say that it is the people who are asking them to continue to lead. This is a bad habit across the continent,” she said.
Rwigara is a Tutsi who was born in Kigali in 1981. Her father, Assinapol Rwigara, an industrialist who was a key financial backer of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, was killed in a car accident in 2015, which his family believes was a politically motivated murder.
Rwigara is a trained accountant and a women's rights activist who has repeatedly spoken out against the country's bad governance under President Paul Kagame and about injustice and oppression.