Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch

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Africa Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog. Our objective is to promote the institutions of democracy,social justice,Human Rights,Peace, Freedom of Expression, and Respect to humanity in Rwanda,Uganda,DR Congo, Burundi,Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya,Ethiopia, and Somalia. We strongly believe that Africa will develop if only our presidents stop being rulers of men and become leaders of citizens. We support Breaking the Silence Campaign for DR Congo since we believe the democracy in Rwanda means peace in DRC. Follow this link to learn more about the origin of the war in both Rwanda and DR Congo:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Editor blames security forces after Rwandan journalist shot dead

Presidential hopeful Victoire Ingabire said she had been denied the right to appear on the ballot. Photograph: Jason Straziuso/AP

David Smith, Africa correspondent

The murder of a Rwandan journalist has raised fears of a violent crackdown on freedom of the press and political opposition after his colleagues claimed the killing was a state-sponsored assassination.

News of the killing came as a leading challenger to the president, Paul Kagame, said she had been barred from standing in August's election.

The acting editor of Rwanda's Umuvugizi newspaper, Jean Leonard Rugambage, died in hospital on Thursday night after he was shot by two men who then fled in a car.

The paper's exiled editor, Jean Bosco Gasasira, said security forces had carried out the attack because Rugambage had been investigating the state's alleged role in the shooting of an exiled Rwandan general in South Africa last weekend.

"I'm 100% sure it was the office of the national security services which shot him dead," Gasasira told the Voice of America.

Gasasira said that Rugambage had complained he was under constant surveillance, but had ignored his colleague's warnings to leave Rwanda for his own safety. "I told him to cross and flee Rwanda into Uganda to see how we can handle the issue. But unfortunately they killed him before," he said.

Gasasira moved to Uganda in April after Umuvugizi and another weekly paper were suspended for six months by Rwanda's press council for inciting opposition to the government. Umuvugizi sought to circumvent the ban by publishing online instead.

Recent crackdowns have heightened concerns about an authoritarian approach to independent media and political dissent in Rwanda as it prepares for its second presidential election since the 1994 genocide.

Tensions were further raised today when Victoire Ingabire, a Hutu opposition candidate, said she was being denied the right to appear on August's election ballot because she had been charged with denying the genocide had occurred.

The opposition parties FDU-Inkingi, headed by Ingabire, and the Democratic Green party of Rwanda claim the government has prevented them from registering their parties and exercising their political rights.

"The ruling party, RPF, has indeed shown to the Rwandan people and the international community that it is too scared to compete with the real opposition and has rather resorted to getting stooge candidates to compete with," said Ingabire and Green party leader Frank Habineza.

Ingabire's party and other opposition parties tried to demonstrate against Rwanda's electoral commission yesterday , but police shut down the protest, saying it was illegal. About a hundred people were arrested, Ingabire said.

Police also arrested another presidential contender, Bernard Ntaganda, on suspicion of attempted murder.

A spokesman Eric Kayiranga said: "[He] has not been charged yet, we will continue working on it. We are still collecting evidence."

Kagame is widely expected to win a second seven-year term in the elections on 9 August. He has held de facto power since 1994 when his guerrilla force took over after ending the massacres of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Kagame is robust in his defence of Rwanda's economic growth, arguing in a recent Guardian interview: "Your model of democracy, why should it be suitable for me?"

South Africa is investigating whether the Johannesburg shooting of Lieutenant General Kayumba Nyamwasa, accused of terrorism by Rwanda, was politically motivated, as intensifying speculation holds. Nyamwasa is recovering in hospital and four suspects are under arrest


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