Rwanda: Three presidential candidates disqualified

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Rwanda’s electoral commission has disqualified three candidates for next month’s presidential election.

Among those disqualified is Diane Shima Rwigara, the only female candidate. Gilbert Mwenedata and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda were also disqualified for not fulfilling requirements set out by the country’s electoral commission.

 

Requirements not met

Kalisa Mbanda, chief of the electoral commission, announced the disqualifications on Friday. They were widely anticipated. He confirmed the candidates had failed to meet the requirements set out by the commission, such as collecting enough signatures of support.

However, candidate Diane Shima Rwigara last week claimed that local leaders were threatening her supporters as they collected signatures. Her claims were promptly followed by a report from Amnesty International warning that the upcoming elections are being held in a “climate of fear”.

The electoral commission’s decision means voters will go to the polls on August 4th to choose among President Paul Kagame, rank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana.

 

Rwigara disqualified

The news also means Diane Shima Rwigara is disqualified from running for president. The country’s first female independent candidate endured a difficult campaign, knowing it would be difficult to meet the commission’s requirements.

According to electoral regulations, independent candidates have to present a total 600 signatures of support, from at least 12 of Rwanda’s 30 districts.

Rwigara was disqualified for submitting signatures from some people who are dead and others belonging to a rival political party, according to commission chief Kalisa Mbanda.

 

Featured image: By Chatham House, London – https://www.flickr.com/photos/chathamhouse/14985842184/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41810843

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.