Rwanda to hold first live TV presidential debate

Thursday July 20 2017

Rwanda is set to hold its first live televised presidential debate ahead of the August 4 elections.

The organisers, the National Electoral Commission and the state-run broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), announced Thursday but did not give the date for the event.

The debate is likely to take place in the final week of the campaigns, Moise Bukasa, the NEC spokesperson said.

“RBA gave room for the debate, where candidates or their representatives will appear at the same time. They will speak about their policies with a moderator conducting the debate,” he said.

The three presidential candidates – Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF’s) President Paul Kagame, Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and independent aspirant Philippe Mpayimana – are expected to champion their policies in the face off.

READ: The promises of Rwanda's three presidential candidates


However, the ruling party could not confirm Thursday if President Kagame will attend the debate.

“We will first discuss and get back to you,” Wellars Gasamagera, the RPF campaign spokesperson, told The EastAfrican when asked whether the president will take part in the debate.

On his part, Mr Habineza said he was eager to participate in the event but added the caveat that it was dependent on President’s Kagame’s involvement.

“I will be there if President Kagame is there. If he sends a representative, I will also send a representative,” he told The EastAfrican.

Mr Mpayimana was not available for comment by press time.


The three candidates are holding campaign rallies across the country which kicked off last Friday.

The incumbent leader, who is tipped to win with a landslide, continues to draw huge crowds to his rallies unlike his opponents.

READ: Rwanda opposition in uphill battle against Kagame

Over 6.8 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots in two weeks’ time, with Rwandans in the diaspora voting a day earlier on August 3.