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Kigali braces for inauguration fete with massive changes

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Kigali: For everybody planning to be in the Amahoro National Stadium to witness the president-elect Paul Kagame, there will be free public transport from all the 35 sectors making up Kigali – and as RNA reports, this is just part of the fete due in the capital.

The road from the airport via Chez Lando through Kacyiru to the city center has completely new street and traffic lighting. On this road, like across the city, there are national flags flying a few meters apart. The round-about in the city center looks like it has not been there.

The main road which enters the city center was dug away, expanded – and travelers can be seen looking in amazement and excitement at how the road has transformed over night. The road has new lighting and grass which planted just last week – but is already grown due to constant watering. There are even artificial flower-pots dotting the road.

When viewed at night, the lighting on this main road is simply not easy to describe. Buildings located along sensitive roads and streets have been repainted, others sealed off if they are not ready for occupancy.

In preparation for the fete on Monday, Kigali City Council has paid for hundreds of public taxis which will travel to all the 35 sectors to transport all those who want to be in the stadium. Every Kigalian who wants to be there must reach at the stadium before 7am. The same taxis will be at the stadium to return them to their locations – at no cost for both of the trips. 

Announcements on state radio aired several times on Sunday asked people to close their businesses on Monday but will reopen in the afternoon. The ongoing International Expo 2010 will meanwhile continue unaffected, but it is not clear if there will be any visitors. 

Government has given all the 15,155 villages or “Imidugudu” 50,000 Francs ($90) which the authorities are describing as President Kagame’s offer for everybody to “quench thirst”. This is a Rwandan way of saying social gathering or party (Kwica akanyota).

At the Amahoro Stadium, like across the city, armed police officers can be seen is beefed-up numbers. The Police have replaced the army which have has been patrolling the entire city even before the campaigns begun in June.

As officials expect some 100,000 people to be at the stadium, only about 40,000 will enter – with the rest to be kept outside. Giant screens and thousands of seats have been put outside the stadium to cater for those who will be outside.

Podiums have been set up where local and regional entertainers will be keeping the outside crowd busy before the official start of the functions inside the stadium at about 10am. They will then switch to the screens for the proceedings which will also run on state TV and radio, as well as online at 

Inside the stadium, it looks like a wedding is going to take place there. The flowering, the decorations, the arrangements – are simply breath-taking.

20 ambulances can be seen packed in and outside the stadium – which will be on hand to provide any medical care.

Thousands were at the stadium on Sunday to practice the sitting arrangements – with some people scheduled to sit to form the words ‘Paul Kagame’. Free Flags, T-shirts, caps and other materials inscribed with Kagame or his photos have been given out.

The available plan suggests there will be different colours dotting different sections of the stadium.



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