Rwanda Information Portal

Rwandans abroad support postponement of presidential elections

The leaders of the two opposition parties PS Imberakuri and UDF Inkingi have requested that August elections be postponed in order to allow the opposition to actively take part into the elections, but have not said what they intend to do in case, as expected, the current RPF regime ignores their call. Independent observers recognize that conditions in Rwanda are not yet conducive for a free, fair, and credible election, but having experience with the RPF methods and practices, don’t have any illusion that President Paul Kagame will react positively to the call of those he calls “political hooligans”.

Echoing the two parties and probably in order to increase pressure on President Kagame, the Support Committee for UDF-INKINGI composed of politically active Rwandans living abroad, has issued the following declaration:

The Support Committee for UDF-INKINGI requests the postponement of the 2010 Presidential elections in Rwanda.

The Support Committee for UDF-Inkingi walks hand in hand with the internal opposition to claim for the postponement of presidential elections scheduled for August 2010. It is convinced that organizing elections without the participation of the opposition political parties would simply suffer from credibility and legitimacy in as much as the regime is missing an opportunity to measure its real audience within the population by shying away meaningful competition.

So far, indeed, because of administrative hindrances and barricades present at every level of civil administration, UDF-Inkingi has neither been allowed to hold the constitutional congress nor to legally register as a political party. UDF-Inkingi Chairperson, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, designated candidate since last September 2009 to compete for the highest office cannot therefore stand in as a presidential candidate. Much worse, she is a prey of baseless judicial inquiries and politically motivated trials.

Two other parties, namely the Green party and the PS-Imberakuri are also at a standstill. The first, in much the same way as UDF-INKINGI, could not hold its constitutional congress. The second, officially registered, is now torn up by internal divisions orchestrated by the regime in order to eject its natural leader Mr Bernard Ntaganda and outlaw his eligibility in the looming presidential elections.

The election postponement can also be accounted for in terms of the calculated delay in the promulgation of legal provisions and regulations to guarantee the political level playing field, the legality, equity and fairness of the poll. The infamous announced new electoral code bill disappeared in some government drawers. The single coloured national electoral commission is more the ruling party’s rigging body than anything national. Independent international observers in charge of ensuring elections legality and transparency are not yet visible in Rwanda.

Consequently, due to visible non-preparedness of the elections as well as to excessive obstacles set forth by the regime to thwart the opposition, the Support Committee for UDF-INKINGI urges the President of Rwanda and his government :

1. to open up the political space and allow the opposition participation

2. to enact necessary measures to level the playing ground and guarantee legal, free and fair elections

3. to postpone August 2010 presidential polls

4. To set a consensus ground with the opposition and other national or international stakeholders for the sake of the legitimacy of the poll.

For the UDF INKINGI Support Committee
Eugene Ndahayo,

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1 Innocent Nsengiyumva { 05.17.10 at 3:39 am }

The issue is not the timing but the mindset of President Kagame.

The crux of the matter is not postponing elections but creating a level playing field.
President Kagame declared that rwandans need hundreds of years to be allowed to enjoy the same civil and political rights n equal level with people in the west ( white people). Until he is convinced that rwandans are not so backward then postponing elections for even a year will not change anything.
How you make him understand that rwandans are mature enough to entrust them with a free vote is the real work that needs to be done.

2 Ambrose Nzeyimana { 06.02.10 at 5:42 am }

@Innocent. I think those asking for postponement of elections are aware of Paul Kagame’s mindset that you say rightly is not yet ready for democracy. To get him changing his mind on the matter cannot be done within the little time left before the election day that he set arbitrarily and unilaterally.

Working out what needs to be done to have him changing his mind, and then applying it, that’s what demands postponement.

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