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Rwanda's Presidential Campaigns Officially Begin
Rwanda's presidential campaigns officially kicked off Friday as all three candidates launched their respective campaigns across the countryside.
Edited by Li Jing 

Rwandan presidential candidate Paul Kagame, the incumbent President of Rwanda, speaks at a presidential campaign rally in Ruhango, Rwanda, on July 14, 2017. Rwanda's presidential campaigns officially kicked off on Friday. The ruling party Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)'s presidential candidate Paul Kagame, who is seeking a third term, has launched his campaigns in his childhood home town of Ruhango District, Southern Rwanda. (Xinhua/Lyu Tianran)

Rwanda's presidential campaigns officially kicked off Friday as all three candidates launched their respective campaigns across the countryside.

According to National Electoral Commission (NEC), Presidential campaigns officially begin on July 14 and end on August 3, just a day before the elections.

The ruling party Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)'s presidential candidate Paul Kagame, who is seeking a third term, has launched his campaigns in his childhood home town of Ruhango District, Southern Rwanda.

Incumbent President Kagame has been president since 2000 when he was elected transitional president by ministers and members of parliament following the resignation of then President Pasteur Bizimungu. Kagame was then reelected in 2003 and 2010.

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda's Frank Habineza, who is running for presidency for the first time, kicked off his presidential campaign in Rusizi District, Western Rwanda, while Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate, launched his presidential bid in Bugesera District, Eastern Province.

Upon his arrival at the campaign venue in Ruhango District, Kagame was welcomed by thousands of his supporters chanting RPF slogans and songs.

"Despite what we have achieved under the current government, this is the time to even double the effort to take our country where it deserves to be. I promise you, we will achieve more than what has been registered in the country seven years ago," Kagame told supporters amidst thunderous applause from the audience.

Habineza managed to grab attention of scores of supporters in Rusizi District who came to listen to his manifesto.

"I will make sure that under my party's government, we shall achieve what the current regime has failed to achieve," he noted.

Mpayimana moved around the town of Bugesera district presenting his manifesto to supporters after he struggled to get supporters at his campaign venue.

"During my term of office, I will focus primarily on reducing taxes. I want to ensure taxes that are affordable to every Rwandan," he said.

RPF and Kagame's campaign materials are by far the dominant feature across Capital Kigali and main towns around the country.

About 6.8 million will participate in the election from 5.7 million who participated in 2010 presidential elections, according to NEC.

Supporters of Rwandan presidential candidate Paul Kagame, the incumbent President of Rwanda, hold up flags of the ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front at a presidential campaign rally in Ruhango, Rwanda, on July 14, 2017. Rwanda's presidential campaigns officially kicked off on Friday. The ruling party Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)'s presidential candidate Paul Kagame, who is seeking a third term, has launched his campaigns in his childhood home town of Ruhango District, Southern Rwanda. (Xinhua/Lyu Tianran)

(news.xinhuanet.com July 15, 2017)   

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