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:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ominous Rwanda campaign propels Kagame towards re-election

Refugee camp for Rwandans located in what is n...Image via Wikipedia
Kibumba Hutu Rwandan Refugee Camp in Zaire
President Paul Kagame, who has ruled post-genocide "new Rwanda" with an iron fist for 16 years, is almost guaranteed victory on August 9 after a campaign that saw increased repression of the opposition.
The lanky 52-year-old, who has presided over the destiny of the small central African nation since he ended the 1994 genocide against his Tutsi minority, will seek the endorsement of a five-million-strong electorate on Monday.
For the second presidential election since the massacres, Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front will face three candidates who supported him when he won 95 percent of the vote in 2003.
Three other recently formed opposition parties, two of which failed to secure official accreditation, are de facto out of the race after a campaign they have denounced as as mascarade.
While one would-be candidate remained under house arrest and with another investigating his deputy's decapitation, Kagame blazed the campaign trail with mammoth rallies.
His 2003 victory song is blared out in Kigali shopping malls, his best quotes broadcast on his Twitter feed and thousands of people rallied for US-style bashes all over the country.
To cries of "No one else but you!", Kagame has relentlessly enumerated his achievements and called for "the battle for peace and development to continue".
Thanks notably to fervent Western backing, Rwanda has risen from the ashes of a genocide that killed around 10 percent of the population by aggressively steering economic development and modernising agriculture.
Rwanda is now celebrated for its fight against corruption, its struggle for women's rights and has been a leader on the continent for its environmental policies.
Faced with the herculean task of reconciling the Tutsi survivors with the Hutu majority, Kagame's government has managed to prosecute almost all genocide suspects through a unique system of grassroots tribunals known as gacaca.
But his critics argue that the Rwanda success story disguises a repressive and authoritarian regime.
Human Rights Watch recently voiced concern over how "the continuing repression of civil and political rights, particularly restrictions on free speech, is likely to affect the country's long-term stability as well as the prospects for genuine reconciliation in the aftermath of the genocide."
Victoire Ingabire, a Hutu politician who cannot run in Monday's poll because she is under house arrest and faces charges of negating the genocide, said the world was failing to see that Kagame was pushing the country down a slippery slope.
"While some members of the international community and even a handful set of militant diplomats fool the world that the ongoing sham election has some sort of credibility, the country is getting closer to the brink of chaos," she said.
Several senior army officers have been arrested in recent months and one general, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, narrowly survived an assassination attempt in exile in South Africa.
An opposition journalist who claimed to have uncovered the regime's responsibility in the attempted murder was shot dead days later.
Patrick Karegeya, a former head of intelligence who fled into exile in 2007, this week called on Rwandans to rise up against Kagame and oust him from power.
"All those who want war, we'll give them war and they will regret it," Kagame replied two days later.
Kayumba and Karegeya are both former comrades-in-arms of Kagame's, who were part of the close circle of leading figures of the Tutsi Ugandan diaspora that led the RPF rebellion but many have now slipped off the Kigali scene.
The authorities have denied any involvement in the killings and Kagame told his regime's critics during a recent rally that they could "go hang".
(Source: AFP)
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