Rwanda voters ‘too scared to criticise repressive Kagame’

Diane Rwigara

As Rwanda continues to vote for its next president, many of the country’s 12 million citizens are still too scared to take a stand against the powerful ruling party, a disqualified presidential hopeful has claimed.

Twenty-three years after the east African nation’s genocide, Diane Rwigara, a businesswoman turned politician, says that the Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by President Kagame, has instilled terror into ordinary citizens over speaking out about common problems in the country.

“People deal with so much — poverty, injustice, lack of security, lack of basic necessities — but they do not dare talk about it out of fear for their own lives,” she told The Times.

Ms Rwigara, 35, declared her intention in May to stand against Mr Kagame.

President Paul Kagame will eventually be crowned as an undisputed king of Rwanda and will continue to rule the country in a climate of fear and lack of fundamental freedoms.

By extending his 23 years in power, Kagame is denying Rwandans an opportunity to experience the first-ever peaceful transition of power in their country.

The millions of Rwandans who will go to the polls will not be exercising their democratic rights, but rather, will be participating in a forced and staged ceremony that will be more like a coronation exercise than a democratic election.


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