Accessibility links

Rwanda Opposition Leader Calls for ‘Peaceful Resistance’ to Kagame Government

  • Peter Clottey

The leader of Rwanda’s opposition United Democratic Forces has called on Rwandans to peacefully resist what she says is President Paul Kagame’s tyrannical rule.

Victoire Ingabire said the international community, including the East African Community (EAC) should reject the August 9 presidential election results based on what she described as Mr. Kagame’s “overwhelming landslide” victory in the poll as well as the lack of credible opposition during the vote.

“Don’t you have any doubt regarding how in [a] normal democracy you can get 93 percent in an election? You believe really that that should be the result if [this] is a democracy? Maybe not, but I have doubts regarding this result from the election,” she said.

Rwanda’s electoral commission officially said President Kagame was re-elected with 93 percent of the total vote cast in Monday’s election.

Some international election observer groups including the African Union as well as poll monitors form the Commonwealth Observation Team hailed the election as transparent and peaceful.

Other groups said they found no evidence of voter intimidation or harassment during Monday’s vote. But, human rights groups expressed concern over violence and government repression in the run up to the August 9 vote.

But, opposition leader Ingabire said the election was not credible. She accused the government of using “murder” and arbitrary arrests of opponents in the run up to the vote.

“The election period was marred by political violence including the assassination of a journalist and opposition members [and] the assassination of the vice president of the Green Party. Today, I was scared to hear that the minister said he was killed in an accident. But, everybody knows that his assassination was politically [motivated],” she said.

Supporters of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) rejected the accusations as baseless, saying there was no voter intimidation or harassment during and after the election.

But, opposition groups and some human rights organizations, including poll observers expressed concern over the lack of “critical opposition voices” in Rwanda.

VOA's Vincent Makori ("In Focus" TV program) interviewed Rwanda's Ambassador to the U.S. James Kimonyo about President Kagame’s landslide victory.