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Last Updated: Friday, 22 August, 2003, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Rwanda's candidates in quotes

The following is a selection of statements made during campaigning for Rwanda's first presidential election since the 1994 genocide by candidates Paul Kagame, Faustin Twagiramungu, Jean-Nepomuscene Nayinzira and Alivera Mukabaramba:

Kagame

Making a choice should be easy for Rwandans after nine years. It is easy for you Rwandans to make a choice. If you choose unity you will get it. You will get it if you want it, through the choice of your leaders. If you want democracy, you will get it, through the choice of your leadership.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Mr Kagame downplays ethnic tension in Rwanda

There are some who are scared by unity and by building a country on the basis of ideas. They are still using ethnic criteria and believe that politics should be based on ethnic belonging, religion or other criteria which divide people. I thought we had outgrown that.

We have put in place all measures that ensure a free and fair election, the first being that the vote will be done through a secret ballot.

Twagiramungu

If you asked the common Rwandan, he would tell you that [President Kagame's] RPF party members occupy government posts from the office of the president to the government, the provinces and the districts. That is true. Let's tell the truth because without it there will never be democracy in this country.

It is good that ethnic grouping no longer appears in identity cards, but Hutus remain Hutus and Tutsi remain Tutsis.

Rwandan presidential candidate Faustin Twagiramungu
Mr Twagiramungu accuses the RPF of using ethnicity to silence him

Ethnicity is being used as a shield to openly silence, intimidate and harass my supporters... I don't mind RPF supporters backing their candidate, but let them stop harassing my campaign agents.

I believe that we should support the unity policy. Rwandans should change and become new beings. The issues which divided us before independence no longer exist... This is because there is a new generation of Rwandans, who just want to do business, to farm and study.

Some of my collaborators are having to present themselves in court to face some worrying charges. Some are being accused for their choice of vocabulary. In this country when one wants to abuse someone, they always bring up the topic of divisionism. It has become a very common word... What does divisionism mean? Does it refer to those who do not belong to the RPF party?

Nayinzira

I hope that there will be peace after the elections, after people have voted according to their choice. Those who may be planning to steal votes should desist from doing that.

Rwandan presidential candidate Jean-Nepomuscene Nayinzira
Mr Nayinzira hopes for peace after the elections

Our leaders, even when we choose them to lead us, start to impose their will on us. Thus, a president of the republic slowly changes into a king by no longer seeking consensus and ignoring people's views. He surrounds himself with a small clique. In a democracy people's views should be taken into account. The problem comes when one wants to dictate like a king. This still exists in our society.

Mukabaramba

I had all along thought of my role in rebuilding Rwanda. So I made up my mind and found that was my right choice.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




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