It's campaign season in Rwanda.
On Monday night, as I left pub trivia, I noticed several little signs like the one above that had been placed on columns lining the street between the time I went into the pub and the time I left. I thought this was curious.
Then, as I traveled to work to work on Tuesday, I noticed that the same signs were EVERYWHERE in Kigali--on (huge) billboards, on the bumpers of cars, on the backs of (public) buses, on the city's shiny new LED advertising screens. I realized that campaign season, which lasts only 3 weeks in Rwanda, had officially begun. There was even a FPR/Kagame rally at Amahoro Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, which was attended by tens of thousands of people (including most of the employees of the Ministry of Justice). And all day, every day this week there have been trucks full of people in Kagame shirts with megaphones and (incredibly loud) music cruising up and down the streets!
Notice anything about my comments so far? Yeah, in case you were wondering, there aren't any signs or bumper stickers (and certainly no scheduled rallies in soccer stadiums) for opposition candidates. At least, I haven't seen any. **Sigh**
As an American who's just visiting this country for the summer, I try to withhold judgment of things that I don't completely understand, i.e. the Rwandan political system, but I am... conflicted, to say the least... about this campaign season. It's exciting, eye-opening, and interesting. It's also frightening and worrisome.
But I don't have the energy to get into that here and now.
One week til Zanzibar!