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:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rwanda: "Election was undemocratic"

RWANDA- Votes for new president

Rwanda: "Election was undemocratic"

Kent Mensah, AfricaNews editor in Accra, Ghana
Rwanda's election has been described as undemocratic since the press were not free to report on actual issues on the ground. According to a journalist who wants to remain anonymous, the atmosphere was tensed on Election Day and the media was totally in bed with the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front of Paul Kagame.
AfricaNews spoke to one of the journalists:

AfricaNews: What is the general mood in Rwanda?

Journalist: The general mood in Rwanda (Kigali where I live in particular) is a state of fear and awe. Members of the ruling RPF are all over the streets but no major incident has been reported yet.

AfricaNews: How would you describe the election?

Journalist: The election that took place was characterized by an atmosphere of intimidation and it was undemocratic. There was no real opposition contesting incumbent president Paul Kagame. The three other candidates were all supporters of Kagame since 2003. They had supported him and praised his tenure and have refused to call themselves opposition. Their policies were not different from the ruling RPF. It’s unfortunate.

AfricaNews: How free is the media to report on the political situation?

Journalist: Since Umuseso, Umuvugizi and Umurabyo, the three independent and critical papers have been closed down and their reporters killed, imprisoned or fled Rwanda, there is no independent media in Rwanda. The radio and television stations and other papers only report the views of the government. For instance, Victoire Ingabire, Bernard Ntaganda and Frank Habineza, the leaders of the opposition have never been given fair reporting in any of the local media.

AfricaNews: How would you describe the status of press freedom in Rwanda?

Journalist: Press freedom is a myth. It does not exist at all, and people know it very well. Journalists who try to criticize the government or to give a space to the opposition are seen as enemies of Rwanda. Even the BBC and the VOA have on several occasions been harassed for their editorial line and for giving space to "genocide deniers" (understand "all those who don't agree with the RPF leadership or Kagame methods" or "all those who call for equal justice for all the victims of the Tutsi genocide and the mass killings of Hutu in Rwanda and DDRC").

AfricaNews: What do you think of the press centre recently opened by the government?

Journalist: Press centre? It's a good idea. But which press is in Rwanda, that's the issue. The government of Rwanda is very malicious. It controls everything including the media. The press centre is just a mirage to make them look good in the eyes of the public.

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