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Rwanda: Opposition Leader Ingabire Conditionally Released

Victoire Ingabire imbere y'abacamanzaVictoire Ingabire in court

Kigali – Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza has been conditionally released after being arrested on Wednesday.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza who plans to challenge President Paul Kagame in August’s presidential election, is accused of collaborating with a terrorist group, divisionism and genocide ideology.

The Gasabo court ruled that Ms Ingabire is banned from leaving the capital city Kigali. Her passport has been seized and she has been ordered to report to the authorities twice a month.

Ms Ingabire, an ethnic Hutu, was said to be propagating genocide ideology after she called for remembrance to be organised for all rwandan victims – including Hutus – of the 1990-1994 conflict. She also called for action to be taken against those responsible for crimes against humanity perpretated by the RPF leaders, including President Paul Kagame inside Rwanda and in the neighbouring countries.

Ms Ingabire, who leads the Unified Democratic Forces party (UDF Inkingi), has been systematically harassed since returning from exile in January and has been barred from officially registering the party. Observers recognize now that the travel restrictions imposed on her could have a severe impact on her campaign.

A series of events in Rwanda confirm fears that Rwanda doesn’t meet the democracy and human rights standards expected from a country member of the Commonwealth.

In just a few days, while preparing for the presidential elections, President Paul Kagame has suspended two independent and outspoken newspapers, arrested two of his army generals and arrested the main opposition leader Victoire Ingabire.

April 22, 2010   1 Comment

World Bank expert says Rwanda is among the fastest growing economies

KIGALI – Rwanda is among the fastest growing economies that have recorded sustained and widespread economic growth on the African Continent, a senior official at the World Bank (WB) has said.

In a video press conference held on Monday for journalists from across the continent, Shanta Devarajan, the Chief Economist for Africa at the WB, referred to Rwanda as one of Africa’s success stories due to existence of government accountability and implementation of good policies.

“The important characteristic of the recent growth experience of Africa is that it is quite broad-based that even landlocked countries, resource poor countries, were growing better than 4 percent. When you look at some of our fastest growing countries like Uganda and Rwanda, they are both landlocked and until recently, not very resource rich either,” Devarajan said.

The Economist also hailed the government for instituting programs that do not only generate more resources to social sectors such as health and education, but also make those resources more productive.

“Rwanda has this result-based financing programme that actually encourages and creates incentives for doctors to show up and availability of medicines– this can lead to faster progress,” he said.

Despite the impact of the global financial crisis, Rwanda maintained a positive economic growth at 5.5 percent last year, according to available information.

He urged other African countries to pursue such initiatives to facilitate them achieve rapid economic growth.

Devarajan also observed that economic growth does not lead to poverty reduction unless it is associated with growth in agriculture, productive jobs and human development.

“We know that 70 percent of the poor earn their living in one or another from Agriculture. And if we want to reduce poverty, we have to make sure that agricultural productivity grows. … We can achieve poverty reduction with faster economic growth, but we have to pay attention to these areas,”

For the first time in three decades, the economist said growth in Africa was equal to that of all developing countries (except China and India).

Until the global crisis of 2008-9, average economic growth had been accelerating from around 4 percent in the early part of the decade to 5.7 percent in 2006 to 6.1 percent in 2007 (with a pre-crisis forecast of 6.4 percent in 2008).

This growth, he said, was not just due to high oil prices either—22 non-oil-exporters sustained better-than-four-percent average annual growth between 1998 and 2008.
Speaking ahead of the Bank’s Spring Meetings due this weekend, Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank Vice President, Africa Region, urged African countries to continue pursuing policy reforms to achieve fast economic growth.

Although Africa continues to have a massive infrastructure deficit, Ezekwesili underlined recent rapid growth of information and communications technology as a success story of policy reform.

“We are using the performance of the telecom sector to say that – in Africa you can actually model your behavior in terms of how you regulate a sector to be attractive”.

The number of mobile phone users on the continent rose from 10 million in 2000 to 180 million in 2007.

[The New Times]

April 22, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: Victoire Ingabire Appears in Court

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Victoire Ingabire - challenges Gen. Paul Kagame and RPF

Kigali — Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the leader of the yet-to-be registered political party, FDU-Inkingi, was yesterday arrested and arraigned before Gasabo Intermediate Court.

Ingabire is charged with association with a terrorist group, propagating the Genocide Ideology, Revisionism and Ethnic Division.

Clad in a grey suit and holding a black handbag, Ingabire arrived in court at around 3.30pm and headed straight to a prosecution room where she stayed for about half an hour before appearing in the courtroom.

She and her lawyer, Protais Mutembe, listened attentively as the representative from the National Public Prosecution Authority read the three charges before the Vice President of the court, Maurice Mbishibishi.

Ingabire is also accused of promoting the genocide ideology through her declarations and speeches made while she was still living in Europe and upon arrival in the country, which contravenes articles 1-4 of the 2008 law against Genocide Ideology.

Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, dismissed claims from Ingabire’s camp that she was being persecuted for her political views.

“The prosecution’s case against Ms Ingabire is based on facts and evidence,” said Ngoga, adding that being a politician did not place her above the law.

“The actions that led to these charges against Ms Ingabire are extremely serious and cannot go unpunished”.

Prosecution pointed to a speech she delivered at Kigali Memorial Centre at Gisozi, upon her arrival, where she lamented that the memorial site only honours the Genocide against the Tutsis but Hutus were left out.

It added that through her declarations and utterances, Ingabire not only engaged in Genocide denial, but also promoted ethnic divisionism.

Since her arrival in January, Ingabire has uttered revisionist statements suggesting that there was double Genocide in 1994.

She has also, in her declarations, appealed for ethnic sentiments in her quest for political support.

It was revealed that Ingabire had been in constant contact with the rebels based in Eastern DRC with the aim of forming armed groups to attack Rwanda.

According to the Prosecution, Ingabire while still in Europe shuttled between Amsterdam and Kinshasa to meet top FDLR commanders who she was trying to convince to quit the militia and launch a new offensive under FDU Inkingi/CDF.

The prosecution maintains that Ingabire met Lt. Col Tharcisse Mutwende in 2008 to convince him to leave the rebel group, mainly Ex-FAR Interahamwe, and also sent him money through Western Union.Ingabire claimed she did not know the said FDLR officer or having travelled to Kinshasa to meet the group.

Her bail application will be decided today.

[TNT]

April 22, 2010   2 Comments

Rwanda to host Commonwealth investment conference on May 10

Five months after joining the Commonwealth, Rwanda has been selected to host the bloc’s Investment Forum slated for May10-11, 2010.

According to a statement posted on the organisation’s website, the forum “will be organised by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in collaboration of the International Private Sector”.

The CBC was formed in 1997 to promote global trade and investment.

“This year’s forum aims to build on Rwanda’s expanding network of relationships created by joining the Commonwealth, and its reputation for stability and good economic management,” the statement reads.

It also states that the conference aims to enhance foreign direct investment by communicating national development goals and by bringing international investors and operators together.

In 2008, the CBC, in collaboration with the East African Business Council, organised a conference in Kigali that drew over 500 leaders of business and government with 250 delegates from over 30 countries outside the East African region.

The forthcoming conference will focus on business opportunities in sectors such as; Agriculture and Food Security, Banking and Financial Services, Investment in Energy and Power, Tourism, Mining and Natural Resources, ICT and Manufacturing.

[TNT]

Related article: Rwanda Investment Forum 2010 starts May 10th

April 22, 2010   No Comments