Presidential Election in Rwanda.. Kigali’s Youth Call for Lifting Bar Curfew

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As Rwandans prepare to go to the polls on July 15 for the presidential and legislative elections, the nation’s long-standing president of 24 years, Paul Kagame, is running for a fourth term. In a country where 65% of the population is under 30, a significant portion of Kigali’s youth is urging the next government to lift the bar curfew implemented in September 2023.

In a bar in the Gisimenti neighborhood of Kigali, Ange dances with her friends. The establishment is packed, but the group is already thinking about the end of the night. “I hate this curfew. I love going out, and now, just when we’re really starting to have fun, the music stops. It’s terrible!” exclaims the 21-year-old.

Since September 2023, all establishments must close at 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. The authorities’ goal is to reduce alcohol consumption and noise pollution. These restrictions have met mixed reactions. Oliver, another patron, tries to adapt: “On one hand, it helps us save money, but many young people are against it because it prevents them from enjoying themselves as they want. We have a unity government, so we have to follow what they decide.”

These rules have significantly impacted nighttime businesses. In the bar, John, who manages several pool tables, expresses his frustration: “The curfew has set me back. My hope, as we are about to vote for the president, is that he will help us by lifting this curfew so that my life can improve,” says the 24-year-old.

Even before the curfew hour in the Rwandan capital, the music stops, and patrol cars regularly pass by, signaling the end of the festivities and prompting partygoers to head home.


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