Rwandan Woman to Vie Against Kagame as Independent

Diane Shima Rwigara speaks during a press conference in Kigali on May 3, 2017.

A 35-year-old Rwanda woman is vying for the presidency as an independent candidate in a bid to topple Paul Kagame, who’s been in power for 17 years.

Diane Rwigara said she is running after realizing the failures of the current regime. Rwanda changed its constitution in 2015 to enable Kagame, who has led the East African nation since 2000, to seek a third term at a general election on Aug. 4.

“What the ruling party has failed to deliver in 23 years, they can’t do in the next term,” the accountant and human rights activist told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Kigali. “There is no freedom of expression in Rwanda. Let me see how long I can go with this.”

Rwigara is the youngest female presidential aspirant since a 1994 genocide in which 800,000 were killed. There are three other candidates, including Kagame.

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