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Campaigning for presidential election begins

July 20, 2010 - RWANDA

Campaigning for Rwanda's presidential election begins on Jul 20 and ends on Aug 8, a day before the vote. Voter cards will bear a photo of the voter for the first time could help prevent fraud but is unlikely to avert turmoil during the campaign. The question is whether presidential rivals of President Paul Kagame, who are expected to include opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, will be allowed to campaign freely. They face resrictions that could reignite ethnic tension between Tutsis and Hutus.A press release from her UDF-Inkingi party on Mar 16 says that Ingabire is under investigation from the police and while the investigation is under way, she and her party are barred from convening anywhere in Rwanda.

Campaigning for Rwanda's presidential election begins on Jul 20 and ends on Aug 8, a day before the vote. Voter cards will bear a photo of the voter for the first time could help prevent fraud but is unlikely to avert turmoil during the campaign. The question is whether presidential rivals of President Paul Kagame, who are expected to include opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, will be allowed to campaign freely. They face resrictions that could reignite ethnic tension between Tutsis and Hutus. A press release from her UDF-Inkingi party on Mar 16 says that Ingabire is under investigation from the police and while the investigation is under way, she and her party are barred from convening anywhere in Rwanda. Amnesty International has urged the Rwandan authorities to ensure Ingabire gets a "swift, fair trial" after her arrest on suspicion of denying the 1994 genocide. She was arrested in Kigali on 21 Apr. She is also accused of "collaborating with a terrorist organisation." A Kigali court handed her a conditional release the day after her detention. Human Rights Watch said opposition party members have suffered serious intimidation by individuals and institutions close to the government and Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front. Rwanda's National Electoral Commission announced in Sep 2009 that some 5.2 million Rwandans are expected to turn participate. The number of anticipated voters is 1.3 million greater than the figure for the 2003 presidential elections. "We are working with the National Identity Card Project to have the voters' cards processed," NEC Executive Secretary NEC Charles Munyaneza told AllAfrica in April he said. "The photo on the national ID will be the same photo on every individual's voter's card." He said 16,000 polling stations will be set up, and that 70,000 polling agents are currently undergoing training. (Written Apr 2010)

Rwanda: 2010 Elections Set for August 9 (AllAfrica 15 Sep 2009)

Amnesty calls for 'fair' trial of Rwanda opposition chief (AFP 28 Apr 2010)

Date written/update: 2010-07-20