Kigali, Rwanda | AFP | Rwandan President Paul Kagame was sworn in Friday for a third term in office. Nineteen African heads of state were present at the ceremony which took place in front of a packed crowd in the national stadium in Kigali, entertained by a military parade and drummers.
The 59-year-old Kagame, who was re-elected with nearly 99 percent of the vote, took a swipe at critics who regularly highlight repression and lack of freedoms in the tiny east African nation.
“Every African country has to contend with efforts to force us to live on someone else’s terms,” he said.
“They demand we replace systems that are working well for us with dogmas in which their own people are rapidly losing faith.”
Notable absentees included Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza and Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who have endured a frosty relationship with Kagame — who appeared to reach out to his adversaries both at home and abroad.
“Today, Rwanda defines no one as an enemy, whether domestic or foreign. Every Rwandan has a country and with every other country, we seek partnership and cooperation,” Kagame said at the inauguration.
Kagame won the August 4 election with 98.79 percent of votes against two little-known candidates.
Kagame has ruled Rwanda since 2000 and will now be president until 2024, at which time he could seek two extra five year terms after a 2015 constitutional amendment.
He is credited with stabilising Rwanda after some 800,000 people — mainly minority Tutsis — were killed in the 1994 genocide at the hands of extremist Hutus.
— The Independent (@UGIndependent) August 8, 2017