RWANDA POLITICS: Diane Shima Rwigara Disqualified From Election

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By Politicoscope July 8, 2017 00:00
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Diane Shima Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, was one of three candidates left off the list, and the only woman.

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RWANDA POLITICS: Diane Shima Rwigara Disqualified From Election

Rwanda’s only female presidential candidate has been disqualified from next month’s election, with authorities saying on Friday that she did not submit enough supporters’ signatures and some of those she did submit belonged to dead people.

Rwanda has the most women in parliament of anywhere in the world – nearly two-thirds of lawmakers are female – but a woman has never been president.

According to the final list, President Paul Kagame will run for a third term on Aug. 4 against Frank Habineza, nominated by the opposition Democratic Green Party, and Philippe Mpayimana.

Diane Shima Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, was one of three candidates left off the list, and the only woman.

Kagame is widely admired for restoring stability after Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, presiding over rapid economic growth and a relatively corruption-free government.

But activists say that came at the expense of civil liberties and media freedoms. Some of Kagame’s political opponents were killed after they fled abroad, in cases that remain unsolved. The government denies any involvement.

Rwigara’s father died in a car accident in 2015 that her family maintains was politically motivated. She has spoken out against what she describes as repression by the government.

The commission said she only submitted 572 valid signatures, below the required 600. She says she submitted 985 signatures, and an additional 120 after many were disqualified.

Kalisa Mbanda, the president of the National Election Commission, told Reuters on Friday “among the signature of her supporters, there are some who are dead.”

After the first batch of signatures was rejected this week, Michael Ryan, the European Union representative in Rwanda, tweeted a picture of himself with Rwigara and “important 4 credibility @RwandaElections to quickly clarify why so many signatures rejected”, prompting a public rebuke from Kagame on national television for meddling.

Constitutional changes, which technically allow Kagame to stay until 2034, were approved in a 2015 referendum by a 98 percent majority that the opposition and Western diplomats said was suspiciously high.

– Reuters



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By Politicoscope July 8, 2017 00:00
Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help
There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
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