“I’m in the race to the end” – Mukabaramba

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Kigali: A day to the start of campaigns for Rwanda’s presidency, one of the candidates, Alvera Mukabaramba, has vowed to stay in the campaigns until polling day even as she expects this year’s elections to be more competitive than the last.

Mukabaramba, the only female candidate in the race, contested in the first post-genocide presidential elections in 2003 withdrawing shortly before polling day in support of the incumbent, Paul Kagame, who went on to win with a landslide.

Speaking to RNA, the Party of Peace and Concord (PPC) flag-bearer said that in 2003 she offered her support to Kagame because their programmes almost matched those of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) but also because there was an opportunity to gang up against candidates who were promoting issues that were dragging the country backwards and which her party and RPF had been trying to fight.

She neither specified which candidates they were nor the issues they were promoting.   
Apart from Kagame, Mukabaramba has two candidates to beat: Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo, the deputy speaker and candidate for the Social Democratic Party (PSD), and Prosper Higiro, a fellow senator liker her and candidate for the Liberal Party (PL).

Although she was tight-lipped about what she intended to campaign on, because of restrictions to release manifestos before the start of campaigns, Mukabaramba said that her campaign, and eventual presidency if she wins, will be to promote progress, development, unity and the dignity of Rwandans.

It will also include mentoring Rwandans, taking care and improving the well-being of people living in rural areas.

Mukabaramba dismissed the idea that her candidature represented the women vote and insisted she represented her party and every Rwandan.

Just like the other candidates that are having trouble to distance themselves from accusations that they are RPF stooges, she refuted claims that as part of the ruling coalition she couldn’t effectively challenge the incumbent.

She said that there are instances where coalitions are necessary and there are others where everyone stands on their own.

Senator Mukabaramba tells RNA that her party had areas, which she didn’t specify, where they want to put their emphasis. Her party’s politics, she said, were not to denigrate or deny what the other party has done but to see how that good work can be taken ahead.