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Aug-10-2010 18:46printcomments

Rwanda's Red Carpet or Red Square

As of this writing, statements have been issued that President Paul Kagame has once again been re-elected with over 95 percent of the vote, again the reigning king of the red square.

Party delegates with The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR)
Party delegates with The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The week rolling into the elections in Rwanda was tapered with interviews from both sides; BBC and NPR both interviewed numerous representatives, dependent papers, online media and government owned media. All of which had their sides blasting to the international community.

DGPR political party

Those inside Rwanda were met with a bit more silence, quiet coverage from those courageous enough to still be reporting, and the obvious voices of the government and candidates.

Missing from this red carpet event was the ringing of opposition and independently owned Rwandan journalism.

Reporters without Borders (RWB) reported last week the government's latest authoritarian measure, the suspension of 30 news media. “The Media High Council's measures, coming just a few days before the election, are highly suspect,” RWB said.

“The aim is to clamp down on the press and prevent journalists from doing their job as independent and impartial observers of the election process.” The organization added.

“How can a normal election be held without a free press, without voters having access to independent information and being able to follow an open debate? What we are seeing is not an open presidential election. It is a closely orchestrated exercise designed to return Paul Kagame to office.” Around 30 news media closed a few days ahead of presidential election - Reporters Without Borders

A second blow came last week when the South African president recalled its Ambassador from Kigali. Sources close in, state the diplomat has been facing challenging moments of unusual threats and intimidation from within the Rwandan government.

Just a year ago, 14 August 2009, The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) was launched to the praise of many, as teh party represented a non-violent, true opposition to the existing government. However, since entering the presidential ring, the DGPR has been hit with 'systematic obstacles' ranging from impossible red tape, to the murder or exile of close colleagues.

Frank Habineza, founding President of DGPR spoke to Salem-News.com stating, “The Government of Rwanda made it very difficult to get registered. We were therefore blocked from submitting a presidential candidate in today’s elections. Circulating in diplomatic circles and in the media are statements that suggest DGPR failed to fulfill all the legal requirements to get registered. We actually did more than was required and continue to pave the way forward for the future of Rwanda.”

He added, “We decided not to contest the process of the Presidential Elections Campaigns. We will not to contest the results of these Presidential elections and will once again request for our party to be registered after the new head of state has been sworn into office. If registered, we shall have two years to prepare ourselves for the 2013 Parliamentary elections. We are a non-violent party, and we are trying our best to do everything possible to avoid getting into situations that can lead the country into any chaos”.

Respected journalist, Ambrose Nzeyimana has been courageously keeping many in the international world informed, last night he released the following comments in regards to the first day of elections.

In the Western Province, Nyamasheke region, Nyabitekeri area, voting bureau of Kinunga, those who are registered to vote in that bureau have been told to complete their voting by Monday 9th august, 6.00 am, and anyone who will not vote Kagame will have to find somewhere else to live because they will not be allowed to live in that area anymore.

In the same Western province further north, in the area called Rubona in Nyamyumba, people have been told to finish their voting by 5.00 am so that any international observer who may visit the area finds the voting already completed.

In the Eastern province, Bugambira area at the polling station of Ruramira, people have to be there by 4.00 am so that international observers find the voting also finished. Of course this will allow elections officers in these different areas and probably thousands more across the country to exchange boxes of voting bulletins with those with finger prints.

Warrants for war crimes, oppression of the press, citizens living in fear of murder or having to disappear in exile if they criticize the government. Where is the promise of democracy that President Kagame has been campaigning, these negative actions are speaking much louder than his words.

As of this writing, statements have been issued that President Paul Kagame has once again been re-elected with over 95 percent of the vote, again the reigning king of the red square.

Also check this link: Rwandan elections 2010 as predicted - therisingcontinent.wordpress.com/


Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: alyshann78@comcast.net




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