Rwanda's Kagame set for re-election amid repression claims

Rwanda votes Sunday in a presidential election that is already said to be a foregone conclusion, amid suspicious deaths of opponents of the regime and accusations of political repression, dpa reported

President Paul Kagame, 52, has run Rwanda since his Tutsi rebel group the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) kicked out the Hutu militia that slaughtered an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 genocide.

The small coffee-producing East African nation has blossomed under Kagame, becoming the most-stable state in the region, posting strong economic growth and performing well in education and healthcare.

According to Charles Murigande, education minister and one of Kagame's most-senior cabinet members, this record means Kagame is certain to be re-elected.

"I think it is due to his performance in the last seven years," he told the German Press Agency dpa. "Gross domestic product has grown on average by eight per cent over the last seven years."

But Kagame's opponents and international human rights groups say this growth and stability has come at a cost. Kagame has often been accused of shutting down unfriendly media, imprisoning journalists and brooking no political opposition.

In the run-up to the election, two opponents of Kagame were killed.

Jean-Leonard Rugambage, the editor of banned newspaper Umuvugizi, was shot in June by two men, who fled in a car.

The killing came as the online version of the paper raised questions over the government's involvement in the attempted murder of former army chief Lt Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa - an incident that led to South Africa withdrawing its envoy to Rwanda.

In July, the body of Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, deputy leader of the opposition Democratic Green Party (DGP), was found almost decapitated.

The government said both killings were criminal in nature, but New York-based Human Rights Watch suspects the killing of Rwisereka was politically motivated.

Reporters Without Borders, a press freedom watchdog, accuses Kagame of systematically persecuting independent media and has called on the European Union to withdraw funding for the election.

Rwanda is a darling of the international donor community, which continues to throw money at the state despite lingering doubts over Kagame's commitment to real democracy.

DGP chief Frank Habineza, who like several other opposition leaders has not been allowed to register his party, is careful what he says about the murder of his deputy.

But Habineza, who says he has received death threats and believes the government is monitoring his phone calls and e-mails, is less circumspect when it comes to the elections.

"There is no opposition party. It is only the ruling party and its allies," he told dpa. "The government refused all opposition parties to be registered."

Kagame's opponents in the elections are Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, the deputy speaker of parliament who is running for the Social Democratic Party, the Liberal Party's Prosper Higiro and Alvera Mukabaramba of the Party of Progress and Concord.

But Kagame's critics say these parties are merely RPF fronts. Nobody expects any of the candidates to put up a serious challenge.

Victoire Ingabire, a Hutu who heads the opposition coalition United Democratic Forces, has also been unable to register to compete in the election.

She was arrested earlier this year on charges of genocide denial after she called on the government to recognise massacres of Hutus carried out by the invading Tutsi forces.

Her US lawyer, Peter Erlinder, was then jailed for three weeks on similar charges when he turned up to defend her.

"The accusations against me were only a strategy of the regime so that I cant participate in the elections," Ingabire told dpa, adding that she believed the army was essentially forcing people to vote for the RPF.

"How can you talk about a free and fair election under these conditions?" she asked.

However, Professor Chrysologue Karangwa, President of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), says the elections will be fair and denies that there was any political motivation behind refusing the registration of the two parties.

"I don't even know the political organizations ... but I suppose, if they are not accepted by our country, they did not meet the required conditions," he told dpa. "That is the only reason."

Just over five million Rwandans are registered to vote. Provisional results could come out within a few days and final figures will be released by August 17 at the latest, Karangwa said.

But even if the results take the full eight days to emerge, the wait will hardly be suspenseful

Kazakhstan’s postal operator to engage repair services via tender
Kazakhstan’s postal operator to engage repair services via tender
Kazakh energy company opens tender for buying isolators
Kazakh energy company opens tender for buying isolators
Kazakh telecommunications company opens tender to buy station for wells management
Kazakh telecommunications company opens tender to buy station for wells management
Loading Bars
Turkey's revenues from exporting electrical goods to France increase
Fitch Ratings anticipates Azerbaijan's GDP growth in 2021
Value of Georgia's import of Turkish clothes grows
China's import value of Turkish electrical goods up in 4M2021
Turkey unveils number of ships docking at Tuzla port in 1Q2021
French import of grains from Turkey rises in value
Fitch predicts growth in foreign direct investments in Azerbaijan
U.S. requires inspections for wire failure on Boeing 737 Classic planes
Azerbaijani oil prices rebound
Iran hoping to overcome 4-th peak of COVID-19
Iran worried about blackouts due to cryptocurrency mining at homes
Georgia increases exports of beer
Kazakhstan's import value of Turkish electrical goods disclosed
Kazakhstan’s postal operator to engage repair services via tender
Kazakh energy company opens tender for buying isolators
Uzbekistan's import value of Turkish electrical goods notably up
Walmart says fully vaccinated employees can go without masks starting Tuesday
Azerbaijani president, first lady visit secondary school No 1 and Saint Elisæus Jotaari Church in Nij settlement, Gabala (PHOTO)
Georgia reports 1,576 new cases of COVID-19
Iran hopes to start exporting gas if Vienna talks are successful
Iran's 4M2021 import of Turkish grains doubles in value
Turkey reveals 1Q2021 volume of cargo shipment via Trabzon port
Value of Turkish cement export to Germany rises
EBRD to back development renewable energy projects in Georgia
Azerbaijani president, first lady attend opening ceremony of Gabala Railway Station and Laki station - Gabala single-track railway (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president, first lady attend opening ceremony of new bridge over Bum River, road to Bum settlement after renovation (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president, first lady visit Albanian Church of Blessed Virgin Mary in Nij settlement, Gabala (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president, first lady arrive in Gabala district (PHOTO)
Iran inaugurating more projects in Chabahar port
Romania’s Romgaz lowers natural gas output q-o-q
No provocative actions against Russian peacekeepers noted in Karabakh - MoD
Casualties due to landmines in Azerbaijani liberated territories addressed at online conference
India: Modi releases 8th instalment of PM-KISAN benefits
Fitch revises outlook on Azerbaijan's IDR
Armed forces spearhead India’s Covid battle
UN Secretary-General counts on cooperation with Russia in supporting peace and stability
Romgaz’s investments turn out to be 39% less than planned
Spain logged hottest year on record in 2020
Romgaz sees over 7% decrease in Q1 2021 revenues
Khari Bulbul festival in Azerbaijan's Shusha became message to the world - MP
TAP AG joins other partners to submit White Dragon for IPCEI status
UAE urges Mideast ceasefire, offers condolences to all victims
Vienna Energy Research Group talks Iran's capacity in oil production, int'l oil sales
Iran to invest in Afghanistan's infrastructure projects
Petrochemical revenues to become less volatile, says McKinsey & Co.
Tickets for UEFA EURO 2020 matches in Baku up on sale (PHOTO)
Georgia’s subsistence minimum up
Azerbaijan to have two routes to Turkey within BTK corridor
Europe has right conditions for "safe reopening" of tourism in summer - EU Commissioner
Georgian-Lithuanian co-op facilitates freight transport between China, Europe - Ministry
Jan.-Apr. 2021: Georgian wine export up 15%
Demand for domestic tourism on the rise in Kazakhstan
Some 300 applicants register for Presidential elections in İran
Turkey’s 87 tech zones exports reach $5.8 billion
China's probe lands on Mars
Kazakhstan keen to cooperate with Spain in water resources management
Number of active U.S. drilling rigs increases this week
Cuba reports record number of daily COVID-19 cases
Japanese lawyer implores Tokyo to cancel Olympics, 350,000 sign petition
Romania to ease COVID-19 restrictions from Saturday
U.S. city Columbus agrees to pay 10 mln USD to family of unarmed black man killed by police
3 rockets fired from Syria toward Israel
Indonesia reports 2,633 new COVID-19 cases, 107 new deaths
Turkey reports over 14 400 COVID-19 cases)
New project 'Log in Georgia' to give access to high-speed internet to people in rural areas
Head of Kazakhstan holds meeting with World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia
Lithuanian company launches innovative complex solution in Azerbaijan's financial sector
5.2 mln Ethiopians in restive northern region need food aid - UN
Improved coronavirus conditions lead to further relaxation of restrictions in Cyprus
Israel's annual inflation up 0.8 pct, highest in nearly 2 years
Chairs of Azerbaijani Parliament, Turkish National Assembly talk issues of mutual interest
COVID-19 kills 202 more Iranians over past 24 hours
Lithuania gifts 15,000 Covid-19 vaccines to Georgia
Turkey to gradually relax COVID-19 measures, normalcy in June
President Tokayev receives Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva made another post from Karabakh (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Germany's COVID-19 incidence rate drops below 100 for first time in two months
Georgia updates environmental targets with support from EU4Climate project
Azerbaijani FM, high-ranked EU official discuss Armenian-Azerbaijani border situation
Extra costs to air fares for PCR testing almost double flight cost - IATA
SOCAR to supply Rosneft’s oil products to Baltic states, Ukraine, Poland
Google leads U.S. business push to preserve work permits for H-1B spouses
Production of electric cars in Iran needs more motivation - ministry official
Azerbaijan, US exchange views on Armenian-Azerbaijani border situation
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 14
Georgia negotiating with South African, Polish companies to manufacture military UAVs
Second batch of Sputnik V vaccine expected to be delivered to India by end of the week
London May cocoa expiry sees 72,230 tonnes tendered
Azerbaijan confirms 326 more COVID-19 cases, 1,262 recoveries
Azerbaijan names date of issuing tickets for UEFA EURO 2020 matches in Baku
Afghan president calls Azerbaijani president
Wizz Air joins airlines cancelling Tel Aviv flights
Georgia receives financing from WB toward cost of energy supply reliability
More Azerbaijani enterprises to export tomatoes to Russia
'Lancet report on India COVID-19 response another attempt to undermine developing country's ability to challenge big pharma's monopoly'
Kazakh telecommunications company opens tender to buy station for wells management
Russia reports 9,462 daily COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijani MoD names number of commissioned military units in liberated areas (PHOTO)
Total assets of INPEX rise in Q1 2021
INPEX sees decrease in net natural gas sales
All news