Accessibility links

Rwanda's Kagame to Face 3 Challengers in Election

Rwandan President Paul Kagame will face three challengers in next month's presidential election.

Rwanda's electoral commission said Wednesday that four candidates, including the incumbent, are cleared to run in the August 9 ballot.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Jean Damascene will run as candidate of the Social Democratic Party. Senator Prosper Higiro will represent the Liberal Party. The Prosperity and Concord Party put forward the only female contestant, Alvera Mukabaramba.

The commission says some people who were expected to run, including opposition figure Victoire Ingabire, did not submit applications.

Critics have accused President Kagame of stifling opposition and freedom of expression ahead of the poll. Rwandan authorities arrested Ingabire in April and accused her of working with rebels to destabilize the country.

The presidential election will be the second since the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

President Kagame and his ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front won the first election in 2003.

The official Rwanda News Agency says the candidates will have 20 days to campaign, beginning July 20. It says the election commission has set aside the next two weeks for any issues and complaints it may have to rectify before the election.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.