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The first female to join the race for 2017 Rwandan Presidency

Diane Shima Rwigara on Wednesday declared her interest to run for the Rwandan presidency, becoming the first female independent candidate in the 4th.August polls.

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Diane Shima Rwigara at a Press briefing in Kigali

Ms. Diana Shima declared her interest to join the race to challenge Incumbent President Paul Kagame who is expected to win a seven-year third term following the constitutional amendment that allowed him to seek re-election at the end of what would have been his second last term.

In her manifesto, Ms. Shima said that she will work to eradicate poverty, promote free speech to Rwandans, citizens’ leadership participatory, consider citizen’s views, ensure education for all, and provide health insurance for all Rwandans.

Ms. Shima further criticized the ruling RPF party saying it was behind the 2015 referendum that led to the suspension of term limits in Rwanda.

“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.

“RPF has failed to tackle poverty, free speech to Rwandans, provide security and justice notably what RPF has failed to do in the last 23 years, they cannot do it in the coming years’’.

Saying that she will ensure all are delivered to Rwandans,

She, however, called for watchdog observers during election in order to ensure free and fair election

“The presence of watchdog during election would ensure free and transparency and stop rigging votes,”

She denounced the expropriation by RPF to citizens, in her project entitled “Girinzu Munyarwanda”, she assured Rwandans that she will not allow expropriation by force when there are no ready and free houses to accommodate them,

“I will make sure all Rwandans get equal access to shelter by implementing Girinzu Munyarwanda,”

However, in order to be allowed to contest by the National Electoral Commission, they face a daunting challenge of gathering at least 600 signatures from 30 districts — a minimum of 12 signatures and at least an address in each district.

“I am confident to get 600 signatures and 12 signatures needed and other requirements because citizens are tired and they need change,” Ms.Rwigara noted

She, however, declined to comment on how she will get funds to raise her campaign saying she will communicate to the press when time comes,

The commission will receive nominations from candidates from June 12 to 23. A provisional list of qualified candidates will be announced on June 27.

The names of qualified candidates will be published on July 7, a week before campaigns kick off.

Ms. Rwigara 35 years old is the daughter of deceased Kigali tycoon Assinapol Rwigara, who died in a road accident in February 2015,she holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Masters degree in Accounting,and has attained experience through coordinating business on international level.

She joins a growing list of independent candidates including former journalist Phillipe Mpayimana, and controversial Catholic priest Thomas Nahimana who have expressed interest to run against President Kagame.

Others in the race for the presidency is Frank Habineza, the president of the Green Party,

In 2003, Alvera Mukabaramba of the Party of Peace and Concord was the first Rwandan woman to run for the presidency but withdrew on the eve of the elections and joined forces with President Kagame who swept the polls. She tried again in 2010 but lost to President Kagame.


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