Rwanda Information Portal

Rwanda: opposition parties want postponement of presidential elections

Kigali – Opposition candidates whistle for new dates for presidential elections because of excessive intimidation.

Three months before the presidential elections in Rwanda, the opposition presidential candidates: Ms.Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the Chair of UDF and Bernard Ntaganda, the founding President of PS Imberakuri are deeply concerned about the lack of election level playing field and the excessive harassment of the opposition leaders. We strongly condemn the persistent interferences of the ruling party RPF and its Government to fuel conflicts within the opposition parties.

While all efforts have been deployed to split or destroy the only registered opposition party PS Imberakuri, the government has continuously refused to authorise constitutional congress of two opposition parties (UDF INKINGI and the Green Democratic Party of Rwanda). Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, has been submitted to inhuman treatments before her arrest and release on bail. Bernard Ntaganda is permanently diabolised while the party renegades enjoy free press from the ruling party and its stooges.

We ask for the postponement of the election because of the following reasons:

– Nothing has been done either to ensure freedom and fairness. There is no clear management dimension aimed at among others, levelling the ground and minimizing election violence. A rigging-induced post-election chaos seems unavoidable.

– The government has failed to release the much tout new electoral code

– The national electoral commission is not neutral: it’s a tool in the hands of the ruling party. All its current members are RPF militants.

– The government has derailed the registration of opposition parties. There is no impartial administration.

– Opposition leaders are victims of politically motivated arrests and trials.

– The government has censored popular independent newspapers.

– The incumbent is already looting State resources for his electoral campaign and is monopolising public and partisan media.

We call upon the International Community to come out of this lethargy state and speak out the harassment of the opposition and the shrinking political space in Rwanda amid the looming presidential race.

Ms. Victoire INGABIRE UMUHOZA
Chairperson, United Democratic Forces

Maitre Bernard NTAGANDA
Chairman, Social Party IMBERAKURI

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May 16, 2010   No Comments

Rwanda: One killed and at least 28 wounded in Kigali grenade blasts

Kigali – Two grenade blasts in Rwanda’s capital Kigali have killed one person and wounded at least 28 people, the latest of a series of attacks, police and medics said.

The explosions happened within an hour of each other on Saturday evening. Witnesses said men in civilian clothes threw the first grenade from a moving car at a busy market area at around 7 p.m. The second grenade was thrown at a bus park in Kigali’s Nyabugogo district.

“Investigations have begun into the blasts. It’s too early to establish a relationship with earlier blasts. We are still comparing the evidence,” police spokesman Eric Kayiranga told Reuters.

There have been at least six grenade attacks in Kigali since early December.

President Paul Kagame’s administration has linked some of the previous attacks to former army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, who fled into exile in South Africa in February. He denies the allegations.

A Reuters witness said baskets of spilt fruit lay abandoned among pools of dried blood at the scene of the first explosion. A doctor at a university hospital who did not want to be named said 32 people had been wounded, some critically.

Violence ahead of August’s presidential election may taint the central African nation’s stable and secure image, which has made it a popular destination for gorilla tracking and helped tourism become the largest foreign exchange earner.

On Saturday, Kagame was nominated the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party’s candidate for the Aug. 9 ballot, a vote he is widely expected to win.

Rights groups have warned of a government crackdown on the opposition and the media in the run-up to the poll after the suspension of two newspapers and the arrest of an outspoken opposition leader charged with crimes linked to genocide.

Source: Reuters.

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May 16, 2010   No Comments

Paul Kagame endorsed as RPF candidate in August presidential elections

Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame: RPF wants him to lead Rwanda another seven years.

Kigali – Thousands of delegates of the Rwanda Patriotic Front ( RPF-Inkotanyi) from across the country convened in Kigali in an extra-ordinary congress this Saturday to elect their party flag-bearer for the forthcoming Presidential elections scheduled for August 9th.

After the RPF Secretary General Ngarambe announced that all the other contenders had withdrawn their candidature in writing, the supporters enthusiastically elected by acclamation Paul Kagame, the party chairman, as the party’s presidential contestant in the August elections.

Paul Kagame’s endorsement follows his overwhelming recent victories in the party’s primaries, after competing with other party members, like Justus Kangwage in the Northern province, Charles Muligande in the Eastern province, and Josee Kagabo in Kigali municipality.

Besides the party members, the nomination ceremony was attended by representatives of the South Africa’s ruling party ANC and of the Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD.

During a press conference at ‘Village Urugwiro’ on Tuesday Mr Kagame had declared his intentions to run for another seven-year term as president representing the RPF. He told reporters that the RPF was prepared to review the outcome of the recent primaries during a national congress and officially announce the RPF candidate.
“If you want to pre-empt me, it looks like I will stand and will continue with the mission of the RPF to continue with development of the country. I am confident RPF is going to win these elections,” he said.
“RPF has worked well in providing leadership stability and development in the country. I don’t see any reason why the party shouldn’t get overwhelming support,” Mr Kagame added.
“We should not divert from the main course of our country’s development. The performance of the country will remain consistent irrespective of the political calendar. Despite some, ‘alarmists,’ wanting to invest in creating crises, we shall remain consistent.”

With this nomination, Paul Kagame is now the first officially designated candidate to the August presidential elections.
Two parties the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Liberal Party (LP) have announced a few weeks ago that they are going to designate their presidential candidates.
Jean Nepomuscene Nayinzira has declared that he also intends to contest the post of President of the Republic, claiming that he had been so instructed in a vision by the Virgin Mary.

The main element of suspense in this year’s election is whether three radical opposition parties including, Social Party-Imberakuri (PS-Imberakuri), the Democratic Green Party (DGP) and the United Democratic Forces (UDF Inkingi), will be allowed to field their own presidential candidates.
Mr Kagame last month slammed the three parties saying that they were formed by people with contempt for Rwanda.
The Democratic Green Party, led by Frank Habineza, is yet to be cleared for the party’s first delegates’ convention.
Though PS-Imberakuri is registered, its founder chair Bernard Ntaganda is being investigated for remarks which authorities have called divisive. The party is now broken into two factions – with one actively operating within the RPF-led political party forum and that of Mr Ntaganda jealously preferring to stay independent.
While Ms Victoire Ingabire, a potentially serious contender, has been designated by her party FDU-Inkingi as their official presidential candidate, all efforts to register the party have until now been hindered by the RPF regime. She has been dragged to court facing charges on terrorism, genocide ideology and ethnic divisionism.
The three parties announced in February that they had formed a forum (the Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda) to discuss, among other things, common problems including current harassments and intimidations.

Less than three months before the presidential elections, it is clear now that the RPF which has been governing the country since 1994, has managed to ensure that no serious contender be able to democratically challenge Paul Kagame on 9th August.

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May 16, 2010   No Comments