Friday, May 24, 2013

Rwanda: is Kagame trying to form a one party State?

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) continues to have problems in registering to be an officially recognised party in Rwanda.

The party was founded in 2009, but it was blocked from registering as an official party before the August 2010 presidential elections. Link

Then, on the 14 July 2010, its First Vice President, Andre Kagwa Rwiseerek was found decapitated.

After this murder, which was suspected to be political, the leader, Frank Habineza, went into exile in Sweden, where he continued to fight for Rwandan democracy. He returned to Rwanda in August 2012, to prepare for elections to be held this September.

There were internal political problems with a Mr.Mugisha Alexis, resolved when he resigned from the Party.

DGPR’s new request for registration was submitted on 6th May 2012 to the Mayor of Gasabo District. The DGPR requested the Mayor to grant permission to hold their founding congress on 21st May.

Surprisingly Mr.Mugisha Alexis also submitted in a request to hold the same congress on 21st May but at a different location.

On 14th May 2013, while they were meeting the mayor at his offices, Mr.Mugisha Alexis entered and the the Mayor requested us to sit down together and solve the confusion.

This was not part of the plan but the Party respected the Mayor’s request and asked Alexis what he wanted and why he chose to do what he was doing in spite of the fact that he had resigned from the party. He made it clear that he wants to be brought back into the party and hold a senior position than he held before. The party leaders explained to him that we have lost all trust in him and that it won’t be possible and thus advised him to start a new party with a different name. He did not accept that proposal and the party is not ready to allow him back.

It is ridiculous that the Mayor should accept this blatant games-playing by one man, and allow it to frustrate the legitimate democratic desire to found a Green Party in Rwanda.

It is clear that registering an opposition party in Rwanda is exceedingly difficult. There is a real risk that the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is trying to turn it into a one-party state. In other words, he is taking the first steps that lead towards dictatorship, with all the ugliness and suffering that that implies.

Dr.Frank Habineza, the Founding President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, is also President of the Federation of African Greens.

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