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Rwanda publishes list of presidential candidates with only three names retained

By Melissa Chemam with RFI
Rwanda REUTERS/Jean Bizimana
FRI, 14 JUN 2024 LISTEN
REUTERS/Jean Bizimana

The final list of candidtates for Rwanda's elections on 15 July has been published. There are only three candidates including the incumbent President, Paul Kagame.

The other two candidtes include Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, (DGPR) and an independent candidate, Philippe Mpayimana.

Rwanda's National Electoral Commission received a total of nine presidential candidacy applications.

Only President Paul Kagame and the two other politicians were cleared by the electoral body.

Kagame, Rwanda's ruler since the 1994 genocide and president since 2000, is bidding for a fourth term in office.

Few candidates

The outspoken critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame Diane Rwigara has been barred from standing.

Rwigara was already disqualified from the 2017 poll and expressed her disappointment to Kagame via social media

“Why won't you let me run? This is the second time you cheat me out of my right to campaign,” she wrote.

The electoral commission said Ms Rwigara had failed to provide the correct documentation to show she had no criminal record.

It also said she had failed to show she had enough support nationwide to stand.

"On the requirement for 600 signature endorsements, she did not provide at least 12 signatures from eight districts," Oda Gasinzigwa, the electoral commission chief, was quoted as saying.

Ms Rwigara had also failed to prove she was Rwandan by birth, according to the commission. She once held Belgian citizenship but surrendered that in 2017 before her last bid to become a candidate.

In March, a Rwandan court also blocked efforts by the prominent opposition figure Victoire Ingabire to lift a ban on her running in the presidential election.

A few days before filing the case, Ingabire told RFI English, "I want to get my civic rights back. My party cannot be registered. Three party members have been killed. Four are missing. And nine are in prison. There is literally no space for opposition in Rwanda.

Crackdown

The authorities in Rwanda have cracked down on the opposition, media, and civil society ahead of general elections scheduled for 15 July 2024, Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote on Friday in a new report.

The authorities should ensure that all Rwandans are able to freely express their views and exercise their vote fairly and peacefully and release people arbitrarily detained, including on politically motivated grounds, the group added.

“The threat of physical harm, arbitrary judicial proceedings, and long prison sentences, which can often lead to torture, have effectively deterred many Rwandans from engaging in opposition activities and demanding accountability from their political leaders,” said Clémentine de Montjoye, senior researcher in the Africa division at HRW.The two candidates  that are to participate in the upcoming elections other than Kagame, also registered for the elections in 2017.

At the time, they both reported that they had received threats, and experienced harassment and intimidation after they annoucned their candidacy.

Mpayimana received 0.73 percent of the votes, while Habineza garnered 0.48 percent.

 (with newswires)

Which team do you think has the higher chance of winning the 2024 elections?

Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024

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