News / Africa

Rwandan Opposition Seeks Inclusion Ahead of Poll

Multimedia

Audio
  • Frank Habineza,chairman of Rwanda’s opposition Democratic Green Party spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

The chairman of Rwanda’s opposition Democratic Green Party said officials of President Paul Kagame’s administration have repeatedly refused to register his party ahead of the general elections scheduled for 9 August.

Frank Habineza told VOA his group has joined forces with other opposition parties to petition the U.S government to put more pressure on Kigali to ensure a level-playing field ahead of the vote.

“The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, which I head, has been trying to get registered for the last 10 months since August last year. We have been stopped, sometimes violently and sometimes legally. Some of our members have had to run out of the country, others have been imprisoned, and others have been harassed or intimidated,” he said.

This comes after a coalition of opposition parties petitioned the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington, seeking America’s intervention to help resolve what they described as the escalating social and political tensions in the country.

The coalition, which goes by the name the Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties in Rwanda, comprises the United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi), the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and the Parti Social IMBERAKURI.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagama
Rwanda's President Paul Kagama

In the petition, the coalition asked the U.S government to “impress upon the Rwanda government to open the political space and ensure the electoral process for the presidential elections are free, fair and transparent.”

But, the government has often dismissed several opposition accusations that it opposes dissent and tramples on individual freedoms.

Chairman Habineza said the government’s ploy is to monopolize the electoral process aimed at frustrating the opposition to ensure a landslide victory for incumbent President Kagame’s ruling Patriotic Front party.

“Another partner (in the coalition) has also been divided and these divisions make some sources to suggest that some people in the government had a hand in it… We cannot go into the election when our parties are not registered (and) we cannot do anything else because we have tried all the legal requirements, and we have failed. So, this is a deliberate policy from the government side,” Habineza said.

He also said that the opposition parties sought America’s intervention because they feel powerless under the “prevailing condition” which makes it difficult for them to operate ahead of the poll.

Habineza said the government is flouting the constitution by refusing to register several opposition parties ahead of the August vote.

“The government is the one which has the duty to make sure that it registers the other parties…It’s a constitutional right to have other parties. We have a constitution which allows multiparty democracy in Rwanda. So, the government is supposed to allow us to be registered and compete with the ruling party,” Habineza said.

Officials of the government were not immediately available to comment, despite repeated attempts.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More