, KIGALI, Aug 9 – President Paul Kagame, who on Monday looked set to win another seven-year term after ruling Rwanda for 16 years, dismissed allegations of repression and said the election had been "very democratic".
"I think it has been very democratic," Kagame, 52, told journalists when he cast his vote at Rugunga school in the capital Kigali.
Kagame, dressed in a white shirt and a dark blazer, dismissed accusations that the real opposition was de facto excluded from the vote.
"The people of Rwanda were free to stand for election — those who wanted to — and to qualify, so I see no problem," he said, adding: "Some sections of the media seem to be reading from a different page".
"This is a very important moment for the country and for the people of Rwanda," he said, adding: "I think the results will speak for themselves".
He said his priorities for the next seven years are to "continue with social and economic development and all the other processes that support that," citing among those processes "democracy".
Even Kagame\’s critics acknowledge that his government, thanks partly to generous international funding, has turned round the economy of a country with few natural resources, focusing on services and new technology and modernising agriculture.
The three challengers running against Kagame in Monday\’s presidential poll are all politicians with links to his regime.